Monday, 17 December 2018

Happy Holidays, See you in 2019!!!

It has been a quiet year on the blog. For the last two years, I published more than 40 blog posts. This year, I managed just 12, posting in only 7 of the 12 months of the year.

In seeing those numbers the other day it did help me realise just how much I have deviated from my usual routine in 2018. 

It has been a very busy and hectic year and on reflection, it wasn't exactly what I had planned, but I have still learnt a lot! I think every lesson you learn, good or bad, planned or unplanned, negative or positive contributes to making you better at what you do. It makes you wiser. This has no doubt been the case for me and I am glad to end the year off well!

I am looking forward to the new year and what it will bring! (Like BiLT in Melbourne, I know it will bring that! Can't wait!)

My trip to the Great Barrier Reef was a highlight this year!

With that it is time to sign off. I am changing things up a little this year and instead of a review of the years posts, I am going to instead leave a link to the TED Radio hour podcast. It has been a podcast I only started listening to recently and one I have thoroughly enjoyed! I hope you enjoy it too! 

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holidays! 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Empty System Panel is Missing

So, it turns out the curtain panel 'Empty System Panel' family has been missing from most of the default Revit templates since at least 2017.

This thread has tracked the problem for the last few years.

If you are not familiar with this important system family, it allows you to create curtain wall screens, (no glass between mullions) such as the one below.

However, whilst these two screen appear the same, only one of them can manipulate it's shape or attach to slope roofs. 

You see, to make things nice and confusing, there is an 'Empty Panel' loadable family available in the default library that comes with your Revit installation. However, it is a LOADABLE family, not a SYSTEM family. The system family comes with special powers that allows its shape to be manipulated. Anyone who has ever tried to attach a curtain wall with custom panels to a slope roof before, or has come across this empty panel problem, will likely have encountered this error message:

The beauty of the system Solid, Glazed & Empty panels, is they allow for this manipulation without throwing up this warning. 

Finally, being a system family, it isn't loadable, just like walls, floors, roofs and ceilings to name a few. Therefore, the only way to get this into your project should you need it, is to copy and paste a curtain wall that uses the empty system panel family into your project. For some, this may not be so easy if you don't have a copy of a pre 2017 template lying around.

I by chance had one on file and have saved this to a blank template which now lives in one of my cloud storage drives so I will ALWAYS have it on hand if when I need it. 

Hopefully Autodesk take my problem report I logged today seriously enough to fix the next release template. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Installing 'DLL' files for Revit Add-Ins

In my last post "What's In My Add-Ins Tab?" I mentioned two addin-ins that are installed by simply placing the 'dll' files into the addins folder for your Revit installation. The process is very simple, but if you are not familiar with dll files, you may find this quick tutorial helpful. 

In this example, we are going to use 'View Renumber' by LMN add-in now found on GitHub. 

Firstly, navigate to Timothy Logan's GitHub repository here. Scroll down the list and look for 'Revit_Renumber Viewports'. 
Once on this page, you will notice a folder 'Deploy', (the description is 'adding ZIP file with deployable build of plugin'). Click this folder and download the zip file inside. 

Once downloaded, you will find 3 files inside, two 'dll' files and an 'addin' file. You will need all 3 files for the add-in to work. 

Navigate to your Revit installations addin folder. This should be in a similar location to; C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\ [Your Revit version year]

Copy and paste the downloaded files into this folder. Finally, right click on each of the files and select Properties. At the bottom there is a security warning about the file, ensure that 'Unblock' is ticked. 

That's it, you can now boot up Revit and you will notice a new tab at the top 'LMN' (the name of the company that created the addin) with your add-in installed and ready to use.  

Sunday, 14 October 2018

What's In My Add-Ins Tab?

I have written before about thinking of your 'out of the box' Revit installation the same way you would your latest mobile phone purchase (or cell phone if you're in the U.S.). Out of the box is great, but what really makes your phone a productive, connected (and addictive) tool is the countless apps you install on your device after you purchase, right? When was the last time you bought a phone and just used what the factory put on it?  

Revit has many flaws and short comings and most of them are well documented. You can however make some simple improvements by getting familiar with some of the great add-ins out there. My main go to location is the Revit app store. I would also recommend the 'Revit Add-Ons' blog by Tim Grimm. His blog keeps up with what is happening in the app store and elsewhere for the latest add-ins. 

So what's in my add-ins tab? 

This app continues to be one of my favourite apps and the one I recommend most to new and long time users. The reason is simple, I use this app multiple times EVERY single day I am in front of Revit. It is a very powerful tool. I have written about some of the great features in a previous post 'Revit Selection Box vs Coins Auto-Section Box' comparing it to the default Revit version of the selection box. This post is also amongst my most viewed. You can download Coins Auto-section box from the app store here. 

I have been using Renumber Viewports & Legend Copy since 2015. They are examples of two extremely simple add-ins that make a big difference. Originally published by LMN Architects technology studio back in 2014, the add-ins are no longer available from their website. Instead you can now find updated versions on GitHub by Timothy Logan

As the name suggests, Renumber viewports allows you to simply click the viewports in the order you wish to number them. Indicate your starting number and that's it. If you have ever tried renumbering viewports on a sheet (and dealing with the unique number warning) you will appreciate the simplicity of this tool. 

Legend Copy helps you to copy legends on a sheet, to multiple sheets in the exact same position. Select a legend on a sheet and run the tool. It will provide a list of your sheets to copy to.

Unlike other add-ins with installation msi files, these two add-ins are simply installed by copying the 'dll' files to your addin folder. The great thing about this is, they aren't version sensitive, so you don't have to wait for updates. I have used the same dll files since 2016. You may need to 'unblock' the files via the properties. Visit GitHub to download the zip files. 

Original publications by LMNts: Renumber Viewports & Legend Copy

A free 5 star add-in, this app let's you transfer single standards between projects. Unlike the built-in transfer project standards, this add-in let's you transfer single items of a particular category, parameter, type etc. Instead of transferring all of those view templates, text types or the like, how about only transferring the ones you want! It's a great tool and helps to keep projects up to date with that ever evolving office template. 

You can download and read more about the app here.

Continuing with Juan Osborne, comes another 5 star add-in, Filter More. Rather than filtering only by category, this app gives you more control over your filtering by letting you filter by category, family and type. You can even filter without making a selection first. The ability to filter by 'Current View' or 'Model' is also a nice feature. 

You can download and read more about the app here.

An extremely useful tool,  I have used this tool for the last few years, but this app almost didn't make the list. It took a while for the author to roll out the 2019 update and I started looking for and installed an alternative (which I will come back to shortly). 

Have you ever wanted to make a selection based on a single parameter value? Want to find all the doors with a certain comment or custom parameter value? RQuick Select handles this task really well. A very simple to use interface, you can drill down for what you are looking for very quickly. The best bit, it caters for both 'or' and 'and' selection sets. 

You can download and read more about the app here.

So what was that app that replaced RQuick Select temporarily? That was CTC Express tools by CTC Software. The full suite isn't free, but if you choose not to licence it, the trial expires and you will continue to get access to the free express tools, one of them being a 'Quick Select tool'. It's a little more sophisticated than RQuick Select and has a nifty ability to make selections based on filters you already have in the project. For this reason and a few other nifty tools that come with this suite, I have kept it installed. 

Go to CTC Software for more on their products here.

I searched for an app like Project Sweeper for a while. It does exactly what I need and makes cleaning up and maintaining the nitty gritty of your models so much easier. Line styles, line patterns, text styles, fills etc all taken care of very easily with project sweeper. This add-in let's you purge, swap, convert and check unused styles. If you have ever experienced users copying and pasting from old projects into new, this add-in is a huge time saver when it comes time to clean up. This add-in really shines when you transfer details from old projects. In a few minutes you can update the line styles in all those details to the latest ones in your template. 

Project sweeper asks for a small annual fee, download it from the app store here.  

Anyone who uses add-ins, likely knows about RTV Tools. If you have read some of the popular Revit blogs out there, you have probably seen their logo because many of them have side bar advertisements for RTV Xporter Pro tools. 
It's no secret that the Revit print dialog is, not great (to put it mildly). RTV Xporter Pro makes exporting & printing your drawings much much faster. We recently upgraded to RTV as we needed a tool that deals with our weekly export sets of PDF's and DWG files. This tool allows you export or print views or sheets, you can configure the formats you want, folder location and custom file naming using Revit parameters.

It's not just printing and exporting either. 'Revisions' which is tool inside RTV Xporter Pro takes the default revisions dialog and adds a lot more functionality. Not only can you make all the usual revision changes, it also  allows you to modify the 'Revisions on Sheet' parameter through a single dialog box. You can see, sort and edit all the revisions for your entire project by sheet.

Oh and did I mention it also has a file upgrader?

You can download and try the free 30 day trial here. It is very well priced and an affordable app in my opinion considering how much is included. 

I mentioned we upgraded to RTV Tools. It is worth mentioning Xrev Transmit. We have been using this for the last 12 months and I have used it in a few other offices. We upgraded due to the additional functionality RTV provides. Xrev also allows multiple format publishing and custom file naming. So if RTV tools doesn't work for you, you may want to check out Xrev.

For many years worksharing monitor was a separate add-in. Since 2018 though, the worksharing monitor has been part of the Revit installation and can be found on the Add-Ins tab. This tool is a must for anyone worksharing with colleagues. It shows you the status of other users in the workshared model, you can see if they are in local files or if they have opened the central and when they sync and their sync progress. A history dialog is also available of when users last synchronised as well as an built-in resource monitor for your computer. 

You can get a lot more out of your Revit experience by installing some great apps, some paid, many free!

Do you have a favourite add-in? Leave it in the comments. 

Monday, 1 October 2018

Double Fill Patterns & Detail Level

In Revit 2019 new functionality was introduced called 'double fill patterns'. This new function gives you the ability to apply two fill patterns to a cut or surface pattern. For example, a brick hatch over a solid colour. This example is from the Autodesk knowledge network page:

Today I noticed using foreground or background fill pattern has an impact on the visibility graphics when used with detail level. 

In the example below, I have set two filters; one using foreground solid cut pattern, the other a background solid cut pattern. (The filters reference different values in the comments). I have duplicated the views and assigned different detail levels. As you can see, if your detail level is set to 'course' any background fill pattern overrides do not display.

It's worth noting, even when I tried with an element override, I got the same result. If you apply both foreground and background patterns, then the background pattern displays regardless of detail level. 

I am not sure if this is 'as designed' behaviour or an unintended consequence of the new feature. Detail level has never impacted visibility graphic overrides in previous releases of Revit so it's worth noting as I can see this causing a few problems in the office.  

Sunday, 9 September 2018

20 Years of Revit Code

Autodesk posted a video on YouTube recently titled "20 Years of Revit Code in Less Than One Minute"

I thought it was an interesting graphic showing the visual growth of the Revit core code since the first release. Idea's to some of those key branches?

Image is a screenshot from the YouTube video by Autodesk

Friday, 17 August 2018

Revit 2019.1 Released

This is just a quick post about Revit 2019.1 which was released a few days ago.

For all the new stuff, you can visit the Autodesk Revit Blog. I will post in the coming weeks about my thoughts on some of the new stuff. The new start page has already got people talking on the forums. I am yet to tinker with it officially (outside of the feedback forums), so I will hold my thoughts till then. 


What's New Autodesk Help here. Release notes here.
Link to the blog post can be found here.