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We're sorry if you are encountering problems when using CityCAD. Please have a look below to see if your problem is listed. If you do not find a solution, please visit the Knowledgebase and submit a support ticket.

Does your problem relate to:

Licensing / Activation

There are two errors that very occasionally occur:

Need to reactivate each time CityCAD opened, or Licence time/date error displayed

If you encounter this error, please ensure you are using the latest version of CityCAD.

This error can mean your user profile does not have sufficient administrator permissions to activate CityCAD correctly. If you do not have administrator access, or if you are not sure, please contact your technical support team or network administrator for assistance. If the problem persists, please contact support@holisticcity.co.uk

To set CityCAD so that you run the program as an administrator, please follow these steps:

  • Go to Start Menu, then Computer, then your hard disc (usually the C drive), then Program Files, then Holistic City, then CityCAD.
  • Right-click on the CityCAD.exe program file and select 'Properties' from the right-click menu.
  • Go to the 'Compatibility' tab, and under 'Privilege Level', check the box next to 'Run the program as an administrator.'

This should allow CityCAD to run properly. Please contact us at support@holisticcity.co.uk if you experience any other problems.

'No Licence Records Found'

Please double check that you have entered your licence number correctly, and if it still does not work then please contact support@holisticcity.co.uk

Problem importing DXF File

The most common issues experienced with importing DXF files are as follows:

DXF Coordinates

Please note that by default the zero (origin) point of the CityCAD coordinate system is at the centre of the square ground plane. By default the ground plane is a few kilometres wide - you can extend the ground plane up to a maximum of 50km x 50km in the Display Preferences window.

If you are trying to import a dxf file in which the geometry is may kilometres from the origin point (as is often the case with some mapping data), then please note you may need to change the centre point of the ground plane, or import the geometry to a local zero point in order to work with it in CityCAD.


When importing the dxf file, please check that the correct scale is entered in the DXF Import window. For example, if the units in the dxf file are millimetres and you are using metres in CityCAD, then set the scale to 1000.

DXF file open in another application

When importing the dxf file, please check that the file is not open in another application, as this application may have a lock on the file you want to import.

Display Error

Very occasionally when using CityCAD, you might see glitches in the visualization. Remember that if a glitch occurs, you can always Undo the last action by typing Ctrl-Z or selecting 'Undo' from the Edit Menu.

The most common reasons for a display glitch are as follows:

Nodes too close to each other


Because of the way CityCAD draws kerbs to connect streets, if you place two nodes too close together then there may not be enough room to draw the kerb, causing a glitch. As a general rule, nodes should be spaced at least as far apart as the route width. To resolve this, please move the nodes further apart or choose a narrower route type.

Setback too large

If a setback value is entered which is greater than the depth of the block, then the frontage will be pushed back past the edge of the block and the block will appear hollow. To resolve this, select the relevant route and reduce the size of the setback.

Block seems to be missing

The most common reason for this error is a route existing within a block area but which is not connected to the edge of the block. Please check that any routes or blocks within a larger block are connected to the edge of that larger block by a route (eg. a boundary route). Remember that sometimes if routes are drawn without snaps turned on, then a route can look as if it touches the edge but it may be very slightly separate from it. For more information about this problem, please see Route Networks.

When one block is selected, another is selected at the same time

It may be that the two blocks selected are in fact one block, but a route that apparently divides the two does not quite meet the edge. (This can sometimes happen by accident when drawing routes with snaps turned off.)

Alternatively, the 'Select All Elements with same name' feature in the Advanced Preferences may be turned on.

The perimeter objects and trees on a block disappear

In the very unlikely event that this happens, go to the Block Appearance panel in the Properties panel, scroll down to the bottom of the panel and click 'Regenerate Models'.

Notes when importing from DXF-URB

Note that if you are importing curved lines (eg. arcs) then these will be converted into facets in CityCAD. Depending on the arc tolerance import settings and your snap settings, this means that some routes that connected with the arc in the DXF file may not quite reach the faceted route in CityCAD. This may cause gaps, leading to blocks not being created or interpreted correctly.

Problems Selecting an Element

  • If you are trying to select a block, be aware that you can select boundary routes 'through' a block, and so this may be happening. Try zooming in towards the block and orbit up so that you are looking down at the block. This will reduce the chances of selecting a route or other element by mistake.
  • If you are trying to select a node, this can sometimes be difficult unless you have zoomed in fairly close to the node. To select a node, aim for the bottom half of the grey node marker. If the node markers are hidden, you can make them visible by typing Ctrl-Shift-N.
  • If you are having problems selecting a tree, try clicking close to an imaginary line running up the centre of the trunk.
  • A final thing to check is that all types of element are chosen in the Filter Selection drop-down menu for the Select Tool in the CityCAD Toolbar. You can choose to only select Routes, for example, and sometimes it can be overlooked that these settings are still active.

If none of the above helps, then please contact support@holisticcity.co.uk.

Program Crash

As with any complex software application faults can sometimes occur. Our testing program aims to minimize the number of program faults and we're very sorry that you experienced a program crash.

Important: You may be able to recover the model you were working on before the crash

CityCAD has an Autosave function that automatically saves your city model at periodic intervals. You can control the frequency of saves at the bottom of the Advanced Preferences panel.

To open the last auto-saved file, go to the Advanced Preferences panel and click 'Open Autosave Folder'. The most recently edited file will be the most up to date.

Please could you send us details of the crash, if at all possible with details of how to reproduce the crash on our own systems. If the fault relates to a particular file, then if possible please could you send us the file as well. This is usually extremely helpful when identifying the problem, and of course we treat all files received for this purpose as strictly confidential.

The following actions may help reduce crashes:

  • If the crash is related to available graphics memory, then switching off shadows and reducing or switching off anti-aliasing in the Display Preferences may help.
  • If the crash is related to available RAM, then reducing the number of Undo steps in the Advanced Preferences window may help.

In any event, please let us know details of any problems you experience as we aim to diagnose and repair all reported faults as soon as possible.

Colour missing in imported 3D DXF City Item

You may want to create your own objects, such as buildings, vehicles or street furniture and import them as 3D DXF City Items, to be placed in your CityCAD model.

SketchUp™ is the most commonly used application for creating 3D models, which can then be exported to DXF format and imported into CityCAD. Please note the basic version of SketchUp does not include a DXF exporter, and SketchUp Pro is needed to do this. Some free DXF exporters are available, but at the time of writing these did not successfully export colours on 3D faces.

Please note that only colours applied to the front side of a 3D face will be visible in CityCAD. The back side of faces will just display as grey in CityCAD. Also, please note that when imported, any texture files applied to the model will not be visible, only colour shading.

In SketchUp, you can apply colours to both the front and back of a face, so this problem can be tricky to detect. Before exporting your model from SketchUp, follow these steps to ensure that the correct side of the faces are exported:

  • Go to the SketchUp View Menu, go to 'Face Style' and select 'Monochrome'. This will shade the faces according to whether they are front or back. Front faces are light grey, whereas back faces are blue-grey.
  • If there are any back faces visible, right-click on them and choose 'Reverse Faces' from the pop-up menu.
  • Once only front faces are visible, go back to View Menu: Face Style: Shaded.
  • You may then need to re-apply colours to any visible faces which were reversed.

I can't see isovists in the 2D Plan window

This is normally because the transparency of the isovist is set to a high level. To solve this, close the 2D window and go back to the Main Display Window. Select the isovist and reduce its transparency in the properties panel.

The units or population isn't adjusting when I change the size of a block

First, please check that a number of units has been entered for the selected block.

CityCAD calculates population according to the number of units in the block

If you have locked the padlock next to the number of units in a block, then the number of units (and people) will stay constant when it is enlarged or shrunk. Also, if a unit (eg. a shop) has a fixed number of people in it (as set in Land use Settings), then making the block bigger won't change the population).

I've de-selected 'Show Node', but the node hasn't been hidden

Please check whether the node is still selected. Even if the 'Show Node' check box is not checked, nodes will still be visible if selected. To de-select everything, choose the Select tool and click on an empty part of the ground plane.

Data import isn't working correctly

Data import is an advanced feature, and there are many possible reasons why it may produce unexpected results.

Please note that the data is imported and applied in strict order in the 'Map Attributes' panel of the Data Import window. For example, you may import a number of units and this will set values for floors within a block. However, if you then import an average unit size, for a floor with fixed floor area this will change the number of units from the values you imported previously.

If you have any concerns, please send the URB and data file to support@holisticcity.co.uk and we can have a look to investigate the problem.. We do of course treat all files received for support purposes as strictly confidential.

Slow mouse response in 2D plan window

On some systems you may experience slow performance when using the 2D window. This is related to the graphics resources needed to generated the 2D plan, and the following steps may help:

  • Keep the number of city items to a minimum, and uncheck 'City Items & General Objects', and 'Perimeter Objects' boxes if not required.
  • Uncheck the 'smooth lines' box. This will turn off anti-aliasing which will increase performance.

Trees in hidden group still visible

Very occasionally on some systems, if you move a block or route into a hidden group, the trees on this block or route may remain fully visible. The trees will be hidden the next time you draw a route, so if you want to hide them immediately then draw a route (somewhere far away from your model where it will not interfere with it) and then delete the route if you do not need it.

This is a known issue, and we aim to resolve it in a future release.

Can't open DXF file (exported from CityCAD) in AutoCAD

If you have exported a 3D DXF file from CityCAD, you may experience problems when importing DXF files into AutoCAD. In most cases, this can be resolved by de-selecting 'Use descriptive DXF handles' in the DXF Export tab in the Print/Export dialog box.

Also, please note that a number of issues relating to DXF export were resolved before releasing CityCAD 2.4. If you are using an earlier version, please download the free upgrade to CityCAD 2.4 and this may resolve the problems.

Can't zoom in or out using the mouse wheel

Please note that for this feature to work the mouse cursor must be within the Main Display Window. If the mouse cursor is inside the window and the zoom does not work, then please contact support@holisticcity.co.uk.

My perimeter block has disappeared when editing block depths

From CityCAD 2.4 onwards, you can edit the depth of different sides to a perimeter block. If you set the depth to zero, then that side of the block will disappear, meaning you can create U-shaped and L-shaped blocks. However, please note that there can only be one break in the building.

If you add two separate breaks in the perimeter block, then CityCAD will be unable to display the bulding, and some part of it may disappear. To fix this, please change the depth back from zero to a positive number, and the building will re-appear. This is a visualization issue and data (including floor area data) will not be affected.

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