Friday, September 30, 2005

When Is A Room Not A Room?

It is really quite incredible how easy it is to create/identify rooms with Revit. Occasionally our enthusiasm for this can be tempered by a room that just won't behave. Here are some common causes for troublesome rooms: (for the sake of brevity this only applies to "Not Enclosed" errors)

  • Overlapping walls, Room Separation lines or both

  • Curtain Walls (not joining with other walls well)

  • Room Separation Lines

  • Openings created with the Opening Command (from Modelling design bar or menu)

Overlapping walls means what it sounds like, walls that overlap. Over each others ends, from a floor above down to a floor below or vice versa. Walls that cross over each other forming a "X" intersection also can cause problems. Same for Room Separation lines. Using Copy to Clipboard/Paste Aligned & Same Place or Current View can cause this when you don't realize a wall is already there, like a multi floor wall.

Curtain Walls join up with walls automatically normally but when we offset them we can affect how well they maintain the area boundary. Also curtain walls that are embedded in other walls will do better than cutting a hole in the wall and placing a curtain wall in the hole.

Room Separation lines should not be placed on top of other walls when things don't "work". Use them sparingly and primarily to define spaces where there are no walls, like a waiting area in a lobby. Take care to place Room Separation lines so they connect with the Loc Line of walls.

The Opening Feature seems pretty handy but does not maintain the area boundary of the wall it cuts. The quickest way to break room bounding is to use it for what really is framed openings in walls. Use a family built from a Wall Hosted Generic Model or Door Template as an opening instead. These will maintain the area boundary of the walls they are in.

That said, openings can be a great thing too, such as for an alcove in a corridor.

To troubleshoot, focus on these items. If one tag goes amiss focus on the boundary of that room. You can sketch a Room Separation line across a room to divide it in half and try to place a tag on either side. If you get an area value on one side but not the other, you can gradually move the Room Separation line closer to the side that isn't working until you isolate the issue.

If a whole plan goes haywire, start looking for openings in the walls that don't maintain the boundary or in otherwords, did you use the opening tool? Next look for overlapping walls, not just those that overlap in the X/Y directions but also in the Z direction.

If I've forgotten any let me know?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Lug Plug: LA Revit User Group

LA Revit User’s Group

When: Usually the third Tuesday of the month
Time: 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Where: Johnson Fain Partners, 1201 North Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
(location will be announced prior to meetings until a regular location is secured)


October Meeting: Daniel Hebert of L.A.CAD will present Revit 8.1, and Tom Weir will present one of his Revit Structure projects.

November Meeting: Scott Davis of WLC is tentatively scheduled to give a presentation on Revit Building Detailing

Food: Dinner will be provided, compliments of Chuck Keeley of Autodesk.

Revit T-shirts will be available to new attendees! If you have any questions please feel free to call L.A. CAD at 877-87-LACAD and ask for Precious Yong.

All are invited and welcome to attend. We especialy would like to see user's with production experience that could present one of their projects to our group.

Note: This group is working on formal recognition by AUGI as a LUG. When complete their schedule and meeting announcements will be listed at AUGI as well.

"Info Lugs"

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Worksets - Take Me To The Library

I like to use a Public Library as the metaphor for how Revit's Worksets allow many people to contribute to a single project. Why? It just fits least I think so. Here is a quick reference to Workset terminology.

First, Revit's worksharing features are for just that, sharing. It is the tool that let's many of us work on the same project at the same time. A by product of worksharing is control over the visibility of worksets because Revit allows us to manage workset visibility in each view.

Back to the metaphor, in the image above Library terms are in black and the red ones are Revit terms. The library in this metaphor is the Central File, Revit's term to describe the main project file. The shelves in the library are worksets. The books are every object in the project, walls, doors, windows, sheets, views, linetypes, dimension styles, text, tags, design options...everything is a book.

Revit allows us to put some books on our own shelves (worksets) but for the most part Revit manages the shelves for things like views, project standards, content etc. So we never have to worry about putting text on the right shelf, Revit just takes care of that, they become part of the "Shelf" of the view they are placed in.

Our library card is a personal copy of the Central file, called a Local File. This library card tells Revit who we are and what books we want to borrow or have borrowed. The phrase "Synchronize with Central" (or SWC, a command) and "Relinquish Editable" (options for the command) is how we return our books to the library so others can read them. It also allows us to see what has been returned so we may borrow them now.

Assuming you are familiar with AutoCAD and working with External Referenced files? Imagine you could use in-place Xref editing on a dwg file while others were doing the same thing to different objects from the same file. If you could, that would be very much like what you can do using Revit's worksets. In a sense Revit manages a project at an elemental level while AutoCAD manages at the file level. With Revit we are able to move past the file "barrier" and reach into the individual elements that make up our building, books on shelves.

Worksets seem hard for new users for two reasons, new language and rules. In reality they aren't hard, they are new and/or different. Some of us just have a harder time with language and rules than others!

(this paragraph contains dated comments referring to Revit 8.0)
I like to refer to the recent improvements to Revit's worksharing tools as "the kinder, gentler worksets" because worksets just don't get in your face anymore. In fact it is quite possible now to work on a project that uses worksets and forget that you are.

If you have avoided worksets because of fear...fear not. If you have because you haven't had a need and the extra complexity seemed over the top? Venture in, the waters fine!

[Edited for Revit 2010 language changes]

Friday, September 23, 2005

How Do I Find Things Here?

Since I'm pretty new to this blogging thing and I'm slowly learning the can be a little frustrating trying to figure out if there is anything you want to read here? Check out this little button at the top of the window.

Enter something like "Family" in the text box next to the buttons and see what the search yields. If you have something in mind and not sure if I've written about it, try the search. You might like it?

Just Leaders

It is a pretty common request to place a leader that has no text associated with it. Common enough, but not an obvious enough solution. This outlines how to use an existing family that Scott Brown made ages ago and shared at AUGI, in fact he most likely shared it before that when the forums were part of Zoogdesign. Even possible that he shared it at Alt.cad.revit. It's got some history...well traveled! Thanks Scott!! I can't post a file to share here as far as I know so I'll provide a link here to the thread at AUGI that has the file. If you log into AUGI first you'll just be prompted for a place to save the file, otherwise you be prompted to log in first. If you aren't a member, it is free!

Leader Only

Here's how to use it
Load it into your project File > Load From Library > Load Family

Drafting > Symbol > Choose symbol name: Leader Only

From the Options Bar, Select the number of leaders

After you place it, Select it, Edit Properties and assign the arrowhead type you want

That's it!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Got a LUG?

As Woody said in the movie "Toy Story", "Got A LUG yet?" "GET ONE!!" We'll that is sort of what he said. LUG = Local User Group and there are quite a few throughout the country and even some in other countries. AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) has a dedicated program and staff supporting LUG's. They have a portion of the web site for just LUG information. If you haven't seen this, here's your chance. Here is a link to the LUG page and search page at AUGI. You can search by region and lug name. (To use these you do need to join AUGI, it is FREE!)


There are too many to list here and succeed in keeping this brief so I'm going to focus a little attention on my corner of the USA, Southern California. I've only lived here for a little over a year and half so I'm still learning my way around. There are five LUG's that I am aware of within a couple hours drive of greater Los Angeles. They are:
  • LA Revit User Group
  • South Coast Revit User Group (SCRUG)
  • Revit User Group Inland Empire (RUGIE)
  • San Diego's Revit User Group (RUG)
  • Ventura Revit User Group

I call SCRUG my home but also attend RUGIE. I attend both whenever I'm home. I have every intention to visit the other three when my schedule permits, sooner than later I hope. While traveling I try to find a LUG to visit. I've been lucky enough to attend HRUG in Honolulu a couple times now. I've narrowly missed meetings in New York and San Francisco...rats! Wish me better luck next time!

Why join a local user group?
  • Networking
  • Meet other like minded enthusiasts
  • Learn new tricks
  • Pass along new tricks
  • Find out something you didn't know about yourself, like being good at speaking in front of groups or taking on something larger than yourself and making it happen or making something good, better. (Beatles...Hey Jude!)
  • Good Food and Drinks (no guarantees)
  • Autodesk software door prizes
  • Meet key Autodesk Revit staff and regional salespeople

You never know who you will meet and what you might learn by attending. Often it is something completely unexpected and something you probably wouldn't have had an opportunity to learn anywhere else. Seize the day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Revit Blogs

There are couple more Revit blogs to mention:

David Light in the UK has one now called "Revit", here's a link:


A little more reading material!

P.S. If you are reading this, have a Revit oriented blog that I don't include in my Revit blog links on the side bar...let me know. I probably just don't know about it...sorry!

Are You My Mother?

Anyone remember that classic children's book? The story of a little bird falling from the nest and wandering around asking everyone and everything, "Are you my mother?". Well eventually that little bird does find its mother, so don't worry!!

So what does this have to do with Revit? Sorry!

Occasionally you get a family, say a truss, load it in a project and then you wonder...what kind of family was it? It is probably a structural family but which type? So the simplest thing to do at this point is just open the family in Revit. Once open, click Settings > Family Category and Parameters.

Then notice the category selected.

That's assuming of course that you haven't already placed the family. If you did then it is easier still...just hover your mouse over the object, take a look at the status bar or the tool tip that appears.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Double Click...You're In: A Text Tip

Every so often I see folks struggle with editing text. First they click the text object, then they click on the text...or maybe they don't and deselect it. Editing text is a double click away...just put your cursor over some portion of the text string and double click. The first click selects, the second enters edit mode. Even if you don't actually do a double click and just press twice the result is the same. For some reason it is a little "easier" if you think double click though.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Are You a Special Character?

Rather…do you want to use one? True Type Fonts have a great many characters and symbols that go beyond just the routine letters and numbers. Some have more than others. If you want to use them as part of your text in Revit you can use the Windows Character Map application to copy and paste them or make a note of the key combination to “type” them in.

Assuming you are in the process of either typing text or editing text...the “trick” is to use the numeric keypad, the ALT key and type in the number assigned to the symbol. First you enable the numeric keypad, then you press and hold the ALT key and finally type the number (diameter symbol for Century Gothic is 0216). When you let go of the ALT key the symbol appears.

Note, you can’t use the numbers along the top of the keyboard, you have to use the keypad area. Using a notebook computer, you’ll need to type the letters assigned to the NUM lock function.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Plain As The Nose...

Family editor tip: When you have a Type parameter that you can’t change to Instance in the Family Types dialog box because the modify button is inactive...

…don’t fret! Close the dialog box, select a dimension that is assigned to the parameter and take a look at the Options Bar.

Notice the check box next to Instance Parameter? There you go! Thanks to Steven Campbell for the wake up call! Sometimes the answer is as plain as the nose on your face!

Friday, September 09, 2005

It Takes All Types

Here's a tip for Family Editor's, using the Family Types dialog, enter a value into the formula field and click apply, then delete the value. Revit applies the value to all the family's types.'s the background info...thought I'd get the tip out quick first? Yes, I'm quirky...

Working with Revit Families that have many types can be problematic when you need to work on them. You run the risk of breaking a perfectly good family when you don't make sure every type has the "right" value. So typically you have to switch to each type and enter a value, repeat, rinse till done.

A few moons ago I posted a wish at AUGI for a faster way to propagate parameter changes to all the types in a family. I suggested a button to do this. What happened is Matt Jezyk, one of Autodesk Revit's Product Designers who goes all the way back to Revit Technology Corp. days, replied with this killer tip. It is one I use very often and am grateful he shared it.


(one can only enter numbers into the formula field so it isn't going to work for text values unless you place quotes around the text like "My Value". One must be explicit with units, you must define inches using the double quotes. Entering 0-4 will be treated as subtraction not 0'-4", you have to enter 4" to get the correct value)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

8.1 Nugget for Family Editors

For those who spend a lot of time in the Revit Family Editor, a little golden nugget is lurking in the latest release of Revit. Prior to 8.1 if you renamed a parameter that was part of a formula(s) Revit would delete the formula(s) that used it, OUCH! This meant you had to very careful when making a change like this.

NOT ANYMORE! It's fixed! Now when you rename said parameter it gets renamed in the formula(s) automatically! Very nice!