Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sneaky Buttons

Not those campaign buttons with pins but the button you push…or rather click with a mouse. There are a few pesky buttons in Revit that new users find strange. Lets take a look at em?

First up is the “EDIT” button, the long thin one you see when you visit the properties of walls, roofs, floors etc.

Yes it is a button even though it is really thin and long…don’t be afraid, click it! Don’t be fooled when you see this button lurking next to parameters like View Range, Visibility or Advanced Model Graphics either.

Next up, the material button. It is invisible until you do something, like click in the field that shows the material name. Again this is lurking in the properties of objects and in several locations.

After you click the area listing Default Wall as in the image above you see this:

Yes, again that little horizontal line with a down arrow IS a button too, clicking it will load up the Materials dialog

What’s next… about the “LIST BOX” button? It looks like this before you do anything…

Pretty innocent looking, in fact you have no idea there is a button lurking here either, but as promised there is! Click inside the field and you should see this

Click on that little “V” and you’ll get this, a list of choices.

This little guy shows up all over the place, best get to be friends quick!

Anymore to talk about? How about the family editor’s link parameter button? That’s a good one too!

Talk about low profile and sneaky!! This one is lying in the bushes waiting to bite your ankle. Clicking on this button will allow you to choose a parameter to assign to the parameter the button shares a row with. In the image above this button is tied to the Offset parameter in the family, an instance parameter by the way…uh oh…here we go talking about parameters again.

Yet another…the “Corporal” (like the stripes an Army Corporal would wear)…actually the button is the entire blue bar yet the buttons are meant as a indication what will happen, namely the list will contract to hide the list of parameters in the group.

What? Another one? Yes there is, the little expand button for the Dynamically Modify View feature.

A little click and you get.

The dialog expands to show more options. Then if you click the button at the far right it contracts again.

Quite a few quirky buttons eh? Hope it helps!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I was reading a fellow blogger's post tonight and thought I'd place a link to it just in case others might not visit his blog. It's a funny story about how we have another unit of measure, the Smoot!...check it out here:

Robin's Blog is a Smoot

[Category: Info, trivia]

Friday, August 12, 2005

buildingSMART (Get Over It)

It's a very SMART article written by Mario Guttman,vice-president and the Firmwide CAD Director for HOK. I really enjoyed it, and recommend you read it too. I'm not saying so just to try to impress him either, not that it would even work...

It is an article written for Lachmi Khemlani's AECbytes site. Here's a link to the article:


Hope you enjoy it to!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Profiles of Structural Shapes

I've often wondered why there is no library of structural shape profile families. I still wonder why and I know I'm not alone...but I have made three families now including the type catalogs for them (C channel, HSS Hollow Tube and W -flange) They are located in the Revit Families forum at AUGI. Here's a link to the forum:

Structural Shape Profiles

Hope it helps!

Monday, August 08, 2005

AU 2005

By my count there are 32(ish) Revit Building and Structure classes at Autodesk University this year! Big numbers! Cool!

Last year I worked with David Conant during his Family Editor class. I wish I could say that I was more than a "Vanna White" to his "Pat Sajak" but I wasn't wearing a gown, but then nobody boo'd...that I heard! hehe... But I did turn the letters (slides) VERY WELL!

So this year I will be teaching a class (3.5 hour Lab) BD21-1L Autodesk Revit Family Editor: From the Beginning. I'm also very pleased that David has agreed to be a co-speaker in this lab. In fact this lab is meant to be complimentary to his class, BD35-2 Take Your Family to the Next Level.

I had hoped that the lab would follow David's class chronologically at AU, but his class follows the lab instead. So make sure you attend both regardless! The class titles make sense ordered this way though, eh?

Here's a link to my lab: BD21-1L: From the Beginning
David's lecture: BD35-2: Take Your Family to the Next Level

I'm looking forward to it!

Hope to see you there! If you see me and I don't see you...make sure we fix that!

[Fixed the links to the handouts that are now archived at AUGI. 12/31/09]

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Is you Is or Is you Ain't

Are you confused? Okay, I mean are you confused about the “Is Reference” parameter of Reference Planes? If not, sorry I distracted you…

If you are, care to read on?

Am I assuming too much?
Do you know about this feature? If I am and you don’t, it is a parameter of Reference Planes, not in projects, only in the family editor. Here’s what it looks like in the properties dialog.

Now for the long winded explanation
When you choose an ”Is Reference” value you are telling Revit that this Reference Plane is the same as any other, in other families, by the same name. Big deal you say?

Let’s say you have a door in a wall and you’ve decided to make sure the door is 4’-0” from the nearest wall. (You’ve added a dimension and locked it)

When you later decide to use a different door Revit seems to know how to switch the doors yet maintain the same position.

Magical eh? Well sort of, “Is Reference” is the magic. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you that all stock Revit door families have “Is Reference” values assigned to each important Reference Plane. Okay, I know this is on the internet and you are supposed to believe everything you read on the internet but here’s an image to prove it, at least for the door in the image.

Notice there is no name value. This points out that a Reference Plane can be a “Strong or Weak” reference even if it isn’t named.

Oh great, introduced yet another concept without explaining it! Sorry, let me fix that now. Each Reference Plane can be “Strong” or “Weak”, in fact you can choose “Strong”, “Weak” or “Not a Reference” in addition to specific names like “Right”, “Top”, “Bottom”, etc.

A “Strong Reference” has the highest priority for dimensioning or snapping. That’s straight out of Revit’s help document! There IS good information there, don’t forget to check it out!

Ever notice when you dimension objects they offer you certain Reference Lines, yet tabbing sometimes offers you yet other options? This is “Strong” and “Weak” in action. A “Weak Reference” means you may need to use the tab key feature in order to use it for your dimension. Zooming in and out also affects how these two will act when you place dimensions.

Just remember that a “Strong Reference” gets your attention first when there are other, lesser, Reference Planes present.

Back to “Is Reference”, by choosing one of the predefined names (view descriptive) you are establishing two things, a “Strong Reference” and a common Reference Plane for Revit to use when you want to switch families.

If you don’t want a Reference Plane to take on such a role, don’t choose a name or choose “Not A Reference”. If you want your Reference Plane to be unnamed and play a lesser role than your “Strong” Reference Planes, choose “Weak Reference”.

Instance Parameters, Shape Handles and Is Reference

(Note: I forgot to include this part, many thanks to Steven Campbell for pointing out my oversight?)

[Edited 9/2/09: A reference plane's IsReference parameter can be weak or strong and define grips when paired with Instance Parameters since version 2009 and 2010]

As you may or may not know already, Revit can display grips (drag arrows) for parts of your family so you can stretch them manually within a project. This is true for parameters that are defined as instance parameters. When you make a Reference Plane and assign a Strong Reference or other named option (see list below) Revit will display these grips if you've added a dimension assigned to an instance parameter. When you choose Not a Reference the grips will not be available. If the instance parameter bit is confusing, check my earlier blog post What Are Parameters and Why Should I Care.

The ListHere’s a list of the predefined names you can use. (No, you can’t add your own)

Not a Reference
Strong Reference
Weak Reference

Center (Left/Right)

Center (Front/Back)

Center (Elevation)

I sure hope this hasn’t made it more confusing than it really is??

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Revit 8.1 release must be close...

Ran across the following pdf at the Autodesk Revit Building pages at Autodesk's web site.

Revit Building 8.1 Features

I guess they must be getting ready to release soon eh?