Sunday, 21 December 2014

Revit R2 Update - View Reference Search Missing

The recent Revit R2 update gave us the ability to quickly find the content you need by way of a new search feature in the Type Selector or in drop-down lists. It is also available when using the 'Reference other view' feature for callouts, sections & details. To use it you can click the Type Selector or a value field in the properties palette and enter keywords to search.

Interestingly though, this feature is not available when using the 'View Reference' tool. Another example of an unfinished tool? Fingers crossed its due for completion in coming updates!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Best Practices for Better Revit Performance

July issue of AUGI had an interesting article on Revit performance earlier this year. It recently popped up on Architizer website. Some useful tips, so if your looking to improve your Revit performance, here is the link

HP & Case took a look into Revit performance using HP's performance advisor tools & Case through the auditing of BIM models, these were the results. 

Link to AUGI

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Exclusive Dimension Choice in Revit

I was dimensioning a recent project in Revit today and I was wishing away again. 

When dimensioning, in the options bar, we have the ability to prioritise our selection using the drop down menu. Our choices are; wall faces, wall centreline, faces of core, centre of core. 

This is only a priority selection though, not an exclusive one. I wish in the options bar next to the drop menu you could check to make that an exclusive selection, that way, no matter where you hover your cursor over the wall, you can only select that choice. 

I find it annoying that having chosen to dimension to 'face of core' that my cursor still picks up wall faces. When you have walls with layers of plasterboard and I am dimensioning setout, the layers of plasterboard are of no concern to me. It is the framing that I am interested in. I just think this would be a nice feature to improve productivity and reduce error. Less zooming & my middle mouse wheel would last longer too! 

A trip to AUGI wish list is in order!  

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Browser Sorting, View Templates & Dependent Views.

*Updated 19th September, 2017. 
The following issue has been resolved after testing in Revit 2018.1. 

In Revit 2015, I have a view list sorted by a custom parameter we use for our Project browser sorting. All the views are sorted by there intended sheet series. ie: 100 Series Plans, 200 Series RCP etc etc. 

Some of the plans have dependent views. (We'll come back to this point shortly)

The other day I went through the process of renaming the 'sorting parameter' due to project scope changing. Fairly simple process as most views have view templates so I simply updated the parameter and all the views reconfigured themselves under the correct browser sorting names. ie: '100 Series Plans' changed to '1000 Series GA Plans'

BUT... when i went to the schedule view list which sorts by this parameter, I noticed some views were still using previous sorting names. eg: '100 Series Plans' was still being used by some views, even though the heading did not appear in the Project browser! I realised the culprit views were infact the dependent views! 

The parent view had the correct sorting name displayed as assigned by the view template, but this did not update the dependent views.

Parent View - Correct!                                      Dependent View -  Incorrect! 

This seems to occur because the dependent views were created after a view template was assigned to the parent view. Therefore the dependent view takes the same information. If you create a dependent view first, then assign the view template to the parent view, the dependent view doesn't update the sorting parameter.

This is quirky little thing, but there is a problem because the only way it appears you can fix this is to remove the view template from the dependent view, then manually update the parameter to the correct sorting title information, then reapply the view template. This is the only way I have managed to rectify what my schedule view list is displaying and to truly remove the old sorting names from the project. 

I'll keep you posted if I find a solution! 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Revit: Display Model (Can't believe it's not butter)

I discovered something today that has been starting me in the face this whole time & I never saw it. 

I was reading a post on a forum and noticed mention of the 'Display Model' parameter as a solution to the individuals problem. This is a graphics property that is available for most views. I asked myself, what is that? So I went to investigate. 
I created a 1:10 callout of the model I was working on and added some detail components. I then went to the properties of the view and changed the 'Display Model' property to 'Half tone'! That's when I had my moment. 

"No Way!" I felt like a kid with a new toy! 

I have been mimicking this property behaviour via use of a filter for a while now. This has worked fine, but this property is so much easier! You can turn off the model completely too when you are finished overlaying 2D detail, by selecting 'Do not display' leaving only datum objects, such as levels and grids and my detail items. Fantastic! Detailing just got even better! 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Revit 2015 Update R2

This is just a re-post and links to some of the blogs discussing the latest Revit 2015 R2 Update. 

I downloaded the update last week and so far I am liking some of the improvements I have come across, particularly the search function now available when placing components. The ability to 'load families and close' is also a welcome feature. 

Here is a re-post Autodesk 'In the Fold' on what it is all about.  

Steve Stafford is also posting reguarly on Revit Oped at the moment on these new features. Here is a link to some of the above mentioned features.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Revit Extension Tools

I like my add-ins! They can be hugely productive when you find the right ones. 
I posted earlier in the year about some of my favourites.  

As part of our Autodesk subscription service, we actually have access to some very useful extension tools. Log in to the subscription Centre. Under downloads, you will see 'Product Enhancements'. This will take you to a list of extensions. 

Rather than re-typing it, here is a link to the Cadline Community with a blog outlining available extensions. 

My recommendation is the Revit 2015 extension package which provides tools for bulk uploading of shared parameters into families. I have mentioned E-transmit in the past too if you spend time before issuing models,  purging and deleting views / sheets. 

So take a look at your subscription centre if you haven't already, we pay enough for it!!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Revit Deployments

Preparing and installing another Revit deployment today reminded me just how much easier it is rolling out a Revit version update over an AutoCAD version update.

I always liked to rebuild the CUIx files for AutoCAD. Each new release always had something new and the office I worked for had there own custom toolbars, settings, Autolisp routines & menus. The major issue with AutoCAD was the unknown instability of the CUIx files which made it more difficult to upgrade, sometimes packing it in and not upgrading at all. Yes, I am thinking of you A2009!  

Revit though has no complicated menu system. Majority of the time setting up a Revit.ini file is all you need. Include a custom 'ini' file as part of your deployment plus a few of your favourite add-ins and your good to go. 

If you haven't setup a deployment before, take a look into it, it will be worth the time. To setup a deployment run the installation as per usual but when prompted to install, look to the left of the splash page and you will have an option to create a deployment. Select this and follow the prompts. When choosing your software, click the drop arrow under 'Revit' and scroll down to find 'custom Revit.ini file'. 
Navigate to a shared location where you have saved the file and select this. When Revit deploys onto a computer, it will use the custom Revit.ini file as a start point. Users can then manipulate the Revit options; such as graphic display to their own tastes later. 

For more information on the Revit.ini file visit the following links..
If messing with the Revit.ini file sounds a bit daunting, keep it simple. Rather than editing the notepad file directly, install the software on a computer then open Revit and go to options. Now simply configure the settings how you would like them, including typical folder paths, places etc. Once your finished, close Revit and navigate to the following directory:

C:\Users\<YOUR USER NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2015

Copy the Revit.ini file located here, to a new location and your set to go. 

Choose a silent deployment and select to create a log file in case anything goes wrong, it will help you diagnose the problem. Nominate the custom Revit.Ini file you created & also check to include latest updates. Revit will download these and include them as part of the deployment file. Ensure you nominate to save the deployment file in a shared location that all computers in the office can access. There is also an additional software section where you can nominate any add-ins you may use such a Revit E-transmit. (If you are on subscription, you can download Revit E-transmit from the subscription centre). 

Once the deployment is created and saved in a shared location, simply go to each computer and run the deployment. You have already entered the serial & key when creating the deployment initially (and setup network licencing if any) so you won't be prompted for any of this again. 

Good luck and if you get stuck, there are plenty of resources on the web to assist you. Enquire with your reseller too as they may even be able to talk you through setting up your deployment. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Categories - Structural Columns

Today I came across a problem with an elevation view. A colleague of mine had an in-place family representative of a series of existing walls. (Not how I would recommend normally doing it, but beside the point). They then created a joinery family (aka casework) and placed it within the perimeter of those existing walls. So far so good. An elevation was created to look at the front of the joinery but instead of seeing joinery, we only saw walls.  

(Note: I created a very simple example recreating the problem)
The elevation shown in front of the joinery, surrounded by an in-place family of walls.

The resulting elevation above. No joinery can be seen here.

So I started my usual process of elimination, starting with checking where the elevation line was, view extents, visibility graphics, filters, etc etc. 

I finally noticed when selecting the in-place family (representative of the existing walls), the category assigned wasn't in-fact 'Walls'. It was 'Structural Columns'. Ah huh! So we updated the category to walls and there appeared our joinery in the view! 
The view with the in-place family category set to 'Walls'.

Just another thing to add to our list of things to check when troubleshooting. Worth noting this difference in behaviour between the categories too.

Family Party Trick

I discovered a little party trick the other day reading through some forum posts. You may have come across a warning message about not being able to copy in-place families into family files. The warning says something along the lines of; you cannot copy project elements into a family environment. 

Well, if you edit the in-place family in the project and now copy the in-place family, you will be allowed to paste this into a family file. Nice. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Selection Toggles

In Revit 2014 we were introduced to a number of new buttons in the lower right corner of the Revit interface. In order from left to right they are; Select links, select underlay elements, select pinned elements, select elements by face, drag elements on selection. (This last one was in previous versions)

I personally love these new tools as they give us more control in cleaning up what we can and can’t select whilst working, in what can sometimes be a complex and busy environment. 

So cross the ‘select elements by face’ and you will no longer be inadvertently selecting those floors in the middle of the plan. Have some pinned objects you don’t want to be able to select? Cross ‘select pinned elements’. In Revit, when underlays are turned on, they can be edited, which has its positive, but most of the time we use to gauge what is happening above and below. So cross ‘select underlay elements’ and they will no longer be part of your selections. Now it is a true ghost without the ability to select it.

I would recommend crossing all of these and toggling them on as you need them.

Quick tip....  I ALWAYS recommend every user (experienced or not) have ‘drag elements on selection’ crossed. In our haste movement of cursor selection, accidently clicking and dragging (in one motion) a wall a short distance when you don’t want to, then waiting for Revit to throw you a bunch of warnings about how bad this was and how this results in clashes, unjoining, joining, rooms breaking etc etc, it’s a simpler life to have this ability simply turned off at all times. 
The resulting behaviour of this is you must select the object first, then move it.
(I wish windows explorer had this feature! Accidently dragging folders into others is so annoying isn’t it!)

So introduce your team to these new tools, they really do make life that little bit easier and clearer. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Far Clipping - Dependent Views

I have to admit, this one stumped me for a little while today. When using dependent views you may find 'far clipping' is greyed out in the 'child' views. 

After scratching my head and checking all the usual suspects, I discovered when using dependent views the clip depth is actually controlled by the 'Parent view'. Move to the parent view and you will now notice 'Far Clipping' is no longer greyed out.

Makes sense and means less setup when preparing your dependent views. A side tip when preparing dependent views; use scope boxes. They will help to setup consistent crop regions and initial set out of datum objects like levels and grids.

Schedules - Managing Model Data

Schedules aren’t just there for documentation purposes. They can be a great tool in managing your model data and components.
Take a basic room schedule for example; even though a room schedule does not form part of our typical documentation set, they are the best way to quickly identify rooms ‘not enclosed’ or ‘not placed’. When you delete a room from the project, doing so from the model environment prompts the following warning…‘A room was deleted from all model views but still remains in this project. The room can be removed from any schedule or placed back in the model using the Room command’.
Use the delete row button in the schedule ribbon to completely remove the room from the project.
I typically prefix schedules created solely for data management with '_Manage'. This keeps them together and clearly identifies there purpose to other users.

Another recommended schedule you shouldn’t go without in your project is a ‘View List’ schedule. Larger projects can have hundreds of views to manage. Ensuring all the right data is in place through the properties panel of each view is a tedious way to manage so many views. 

A view list schedule will give you a global look at the parameters related to all your views in the project. I usually include the following parameters as part of my view schedule;
  • Type – identify multiple view types (Building sections, wall sections) 
  • View name – Key identifier. Also good way to adjust naming convention 
  • Title on sheet – recommend always filling in this one so you don’t end up with odd view title names coming from your view names. 
  • View template – A must for all your models. Get this right and everything else comes easy. Combine it within the settings of your view types and you’re on the right track. 
  • Sheet number 
  • Sheet name 
  • Phase – can be controlled by a view template 
  • Phase filter – can be controlled by a view template 
  • Detail level – can be controlled by a view template 
  • Custom project browser sorting parameter – great for sorting views into groups for larger projects.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

TEDx:Tatjana Dzambazova; Reality Capture Technologies

The technology that is becoming available to us today is truly amazing.
Tatjana Dzambazova is the Senior Product Manager & Technology Whisperer at Autodesk Inc. 

She presents 'The Future of Our Past'. Checkout this clip from TEDx  

Here are the websites to a few of the projects mentioned in the video:

Friday, 4 July 2014

A Few Favourite Revit Apps

If you haven’t visited the Autodesk Exchange yet, I would recommend you go and check it out now..... wait... read this first, then go look.  

The site is full of many useful apps / Add-Ins for Revit that will enhance your user experience and make day to day tasks that little easier. You will find a quick link to the site by clicking on this icon in the top right of your interface.... 

So what are a few of my favourites? Well first off, for those of you on subscription, I would recommend downloading Autodesk's Revit e-transmit. Just like AutoCAD's E-transmit, it will take your Revit model and prepare the files into one folder to send off to consultants. 

They have enhanced the 2015 version by a giving us some additional options to remove sheets & views, disabling worksets and including additional files. 

Now if your like me and not satisfied with the default window tiling in Revit, then checkout Palladio X BIM WindowsLayout by acadGraph. This 5 Star app lets you tile windows in a variety of different layouts and dedicate up to 80% of the screen real estate to the active window, spreading the remaining windows in the available space. You can also save and restore your configurations. We are now waiting for an update to 2015 and it couldn't come soon enough.

Next up Detail Filter by GSA, Inc. This is a powerful tool allowing you to filter in greater detail. You can filter by category, Family, Family Type & even Parts. A must have for the little bit extra from your filter tool. The interface won't win awards anytime soon but it gets the job done. 

Coins Auto Section Box is my most recent discovery. This one even comes with a YouTube short clip outlining this great apps very neat features. The YouTube video says it all but essentially you can make a selection of any object or combination of objects in your Revit model, hit the Auto section box button and it will automatically create a section box around that particular selection. You can even assign a shortcut to make this a very powerful tool. 

What I like most about this tool is there is no need to fumble about with a very long list of views when using the 'orient to view' tools on the view cube. Now, you just click and go, couldn't be simpler. 

Lastly (for this post anyway) but certainly not least is CASE Apps. You can visit their website at Now these guys have too many apps to mention, some free and some paid apps, however I will mention two favourites (and free!). 
Check out 'Change & Replace Linestyles'. I like this one as it has made my job of managing the additional non-standard line styles that enter a project that much easier to manage. 
The other is 'Delete sheets, views & Revit links'. Very easy tool to use and a very fast way to clean up your model before sending it to consultants. If you have Revit e-transmit though, you may not feel the need for this one but I still think its worth a look at just for its simplicity (and its free).

Just a select few valuable add-ins that make life that little bit easier. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Creating a Helix form in Revit

In Revit we don’t yet have a helix tool. To create a helix in Revit requires a series of steps. They are though, easy steps. So let us go ahead and create a helix in Revit. To do so we will need…

•           1 Reference line
•           1 Arc
•           2 Circles
•           Solid form tool (blend technique)
•           Copy tool
•           Rotate tool.

The following video will put it all together for us…

Friday, 20 June 2014

Revisions and a little chuckle.

I am just in the middle of using Revit 2015, preparing some revisions. I stopped and had a little chuckle to myself. To think, that in 2014 we were still clicking furiously like mad people with too much coffee in our veins, trying to keep those cloud arcs small and somewhat consistent. 

Now in 2015 I draw a square and Bob's your uncle. I bet you just had a little chuckle to yourself too! 

So if you aren't aware, revisions came in for a minor make over in Revit 2015. We have the ability to draw revision clouds much the same as the regular sketching we do in Revit, with the same sketch tools. Lines, squares, circles, they are all there now. 

In the revision dialog we also have some control over the size of the random arc length pattern created. We can delete entire revisions now too. You will need to untick them as 'issued' though, before your allowed to delete them. 

It's the little things life. Oh and if you are curious, yes, revisions created in 2014 and upgraded to 2015 will take on the new changes, so you can update the arc length of revisions created in 2014 and delete them as well. Phew! 

Now, back to clouding... 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Properties Palette Behaviour. Modifying the Revit INI file.

I recently came across, probably one of the most subtle, yet coolest changes in Revit I have discovered so far this year. What's even more amazing is, its been available since 2014! 

I came across this discovery at Revit Op Ed posted by Steve Stafford. You can visit the post here

In summary, when we make changes in the properties palette, we move our cursor off the palette and changes apply. A simple change to the Revit ini file, allows us to modify this behaviour. We can still apply changes moving our cursor off the palette, but we have to click on the screen now. Fantastic! No more floating cursor making changes to early and the best bit, that scroll bar no longer resetting itself mid change! 

Thanks to Steve Stafford and Aaron Maller for sharing this one! 

Add the line DisableMppAutoApply=1, under [User Interface].

Monday, 9 June 2014

RTC Australia

I recently attended my first Revit Technology Conference a few weeks ago and what a great experience it was!

I have been looking forward to attending the RTC for the last couple of years, but location and scheduling made this difficult to organise, so when I discovered it was going to be in Melbourne this year, this was an event I wasn’t going to miss! (Unfortunately though I was only able to attend on the opening Thursday as a one day delegate, but never the less, it was well worth it).

Let me say from the outset, this is definitely an event everyone should attend. The event is a great way to meet many like-minded people using Revit & building information workflows. There is something for everyone at RTC, from Architects to engineers, beginners to experts.

You will also find other collaborative software and technology on demonstration that is all aimed at improving the way we develop and deliver building information modelling.

The event commenced with a few introductions from the organisers and a word from keynote speaker Professor Mark Burry from RMIT University. Mark gave us a very insightful look into his work on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. He discussed how parametric design and building information modelling is by no means a new concept. The techniques used by Antoni Gaudi being proof of that. 
Those of you not familiar with the famous church should know work commenced on the structure back in 1882. (That’s not a typo either). Professor Mark Burry has been involved with the project since the 1970’s. The current anticipated date of completion is 2026, the centenary of Antoni Gaudi’s death. If you haven’t yet visited this amazing structure in Barcelona, I would certainly recommend it; it truly is an amazing piece of Architecture.

Soon after though the sessions on Revit commenced and the reason most of us were there for; getting our Revit Geek on. For me, the one session I was most looking forward to was ‘Abusing Revit Groups’ by Aaron Maller. (You can find his blog here

Aaron gave a fantastic session and some great demonstrations on his experiences working with groups on a recent hospital project. Everything from the peculiar behaviour groups can exhibit to the workarounds and solutions to best tackle this unusual behaviour. For me, this session alone made the day worth it. Finally, long awaited answers to preventing groups breaking!

The day closed with a short session on ‘gadgets’ and a catered welcome session in the evening to give everyone the opportunity to meet and socialise. Being a bit of a tech head, I enjoyed the gadgets session. It gave me the opportunity to try technologies that they had at the event; such as Google Glass, the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles and the latest in 3D desktop printing. A representative from Autodesk also gave us a sneak peak at some of the new collaboration software coming our way soon, such as the ability to view Revit files in our very own web browsers!

The thing I liked most about the conference is the way it’s delivered. It’s an informal experience and the organisers go to great effort to make everyone feel welcome & relaxed.

This is an event by users, not companies, so it’s not a 3 day sales pitch. You get to choose which sessions you attend (and there are plenty to choose from). In my opinion, if you’re using Revit and looking to improve your professional development and productivity, then attending this event should be on your radar.

The next local event will be on the Gold Coast in 2015, but if you’re heading overseas, you will find events in Chicago, U.S.A and Dublin, Ireland.

Opening Credits

Whoever thought choosing a name for a blog would be so difficult? Well, in the end I went with 'Revit Link'. Thanks to long time colleague and friend, Devla Kabas who put forward the title suggestion! You can visit my other 'About Me' post to read a little about... you guessed it... me!