Friday, October 24, 2014

Including a Sheet File Name and Path

Ever since we started using computers to generate architectural and engineering drawings we've been inclined to provide a place on a title block to help people find the file. Sometimes it is just the file name and other times it is necessary to have both the file name and path to the folder it is in.

The path is useful to the team working on the files but if those files are passed along to someone else it may be meaningless to them, or confusing at the very least. The file name is useful to anyone who happens to be looking at the drawings as long as they are in a position to access the digital version of the file too.

In a Revit model, which usually contains all the sheets for a project, the file name doesn't have the same usefulness when compared to a file based system like AutoCAD. That's true unless you are printing multiple layouts from a single DWG file, then it's not all that different than Revit. When someone is looking at a printed sheet and sees the file name and path it doesn't help them find the digital version, like a PDF file for Sheet A100 for example, because the file name is the Revit model, not the resulting PDF export.

As such Revit misses the mark in helping us carrying on that tradition. Since there are a number of ways our sheets can end up as individual files it is hard for Revit to anticipate or provide a suitable way to plug in a unique value until the data is exported outside of Revit. I'm sure there are some things that they could do to help us with this but it hasn't happened yet.

Revit's API could be used to capture the sheet information and store a contrived file name in a parameter for each sheet. When we print or export we might end up with the correct file names matching the resulting files or bearing a slight difference. I don't recall an existing application that deals with this specifically but one might exist, like Xrev Tools for example.

If we forget limitations within Revit for the moment, since the output format of a set of documents is where the appropriate file data is really needed it might make sense to consider focusing on how we handle the output files instead, at least for now. For example, the company Bluebeam offers software to process, review, and markup PDF documents. It includes the ability to add custom headers and footers, which can be the file name (among other things). It can also Batch Process files to include the file name. The file path is another available choice to put in a header or footer so we can combine them if we want to include both.

If it is necessary to provide the specific file name (and path) for exports to DWG it is probably best to add it those files after exporting, this way they'll point to an actual file instead of the Revit project file. Again some customization could add the necessary fields pretty effectively.

It seems like post processing this information is probably as effective as trying to come up with a way to deal with it internally in Revit.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Filter Filtering Gotcha

When you create or edit a view Filter we can apply a Filter to the list of categories based on discipline.

Filtering the list of categories has a direct impact on the Filter Rules > Filter by: list too. If you tell Revit to only show you Architecture categories then you'll find the available parameters listed in the Filter by: criteria drop down will not include parameters that are related to other disciplines. For example, if you were hoping to use the filter to alter the way MEP elements look when they are linked into your model then you might be confused until you realize that earlier you told Revit to only show you Architectural stuff.

Remember the Filter's Filter. Same thing can happen in the View Templates, Visibility/Graphics dialog and Object Styles dialogs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Local File Error on Open

Have you run into this error message before?

One possible reason is that the folder you are storing local files is running out of allowable space. A folder can have restrictions placed on it. If so Revit can't properly create the local file in a folder that has hit its quota.

When we create a new local file we can often avoid this if we use the option to Overwrite the existing local file versus the Append Timestamp option. Chances are there are just a great many older local files hanging around in the folder.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Revit MEP Pipe Appearance in Sections

I met Freddie at the BIM Workshop in Anaheim recently. We chatted for awhile about Revit (shock I know) and then a little about music. It was great to meet someone who wasn't necessarily required to know Revit but decided he wanted to learn Revit and has become quite good at it. The company he works for (TJP Engineering) specializes in water treatment systems for aquatic attractions.

He passed along a graphic that Chris Aquino (Autodesk support specialist) marked up for him when he was trying to sort out piping graphics in section views. Sometimes writing this blog only requires sharing what other people tell me, thanks Freddie!

Here's the image which has markups that explain the various conditions they discussed.

Quick Summary of Issues:
  • No rise/drop symbol? Most likely the pipe is sloping "through" the section.
  • If you see a "crosshair" or "target" it is probably the pipe beyond the fitting but within the Far Clip Plane of the view.

Btw, my Uncle Ben called me Freddie when I was a kid. I. Don't. Know. Why... :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Revit 2015 - Closing a Workset and Linked File Ownership Conflict

This post describes an awkward issue with Revit 2015 when using a specific workset(s) to manage a linked file(s).

Project File A has a separate workset for Project File B and that file is assigned to it. Both the linked file's instance and type parameters are assigned to the same workset. User A is the Owner of Project File B's workset. Now User B is working in their own local file and decides to close the Project File B workset (instead of using the Manage Links > Unload method). User B gets a warning that User A owns the element.

When we expand the warning we see that the file is the issue.

User B clicks Cancel and the workset closes, the link is no longer visible (the desired result despite the message). If User B Opens the workset, no error. The error only occurs when the workset is closed.

Closing a workset that has a linked file associated with it now is equivalent to using Manage Links > Unload, because using unload generates this error message now too.

This error dialog is very confusing because it claims that we can't do something, without creating an Editing Request, that clicking Cancel does let us do. We now have a normal error message that we have to tell users they can ignore, click cancel please. That's just ridiculous.

Demand loading and unloading worksets is fundamental and critical for large projects. Large projects have many people contributing so now we'll have many people getting a pointless message.