Saturday, December 30, 2006

Notes to User - Family Editor

Would you like to put a note in your families that is just "read only" when used in the project only, like this perhaps?

Here's how:

Create the parameter
Use "Text" for the data type
Enter the value you want stored as text in the formula column
(Just make sure you wrap it with "quotation marks")

Like this:

If using nested families just make sure you do this in the final host family so you can still "touch" the parameter to connect it to its mate in the host.

Hope this helps!

Friday, December 22, 2006

New Build for Revit Building (20061202_0700)

From the Autodesk site:

This build, (20061202_0700), addresses several support requests concerning revit-based release 9.1 project files.

Support requests related to the following areas have been addressed:

Export of projects with linked RVT files to the 3D DWF™ file format
Occasional corruptions within default template files
“Cannot load element” messages preventing the ability to Save To Central
Behavior of dimension witness lines for cropped objects
Visual fidelity of objects when printing files with linked files
Door swings from linked RVT files that would not vector print or export
Selecting of level annotations
Anomalies invoked by exceeding maximum array size
Loading of families into local files


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Workplane Visibility Tips

Two subtle tips for those who like work with the workplane grid visible. If you do use it often you probably already know them?

First when you rotate the grid you'll find that the rectangle sketching option will be constrained to align with the grid. Also it will be easier to sketch and align to the angle of the grid.

Second if you are zoomed in on the grid, how do you select it? Zoom out so you can select the edge? Well you don't have to. Two ways:

One: click Tools menu > Select Work Plane Grid

Two: Click Workplane button > Click OK (selects the grid as a result)

Cadplan enters Phase "Beta" with Content Highway

As David announced on his Revit Beginner's blog , Marek Brandstatter announced that their Revit content application called Content Highway is now available as a beta release. Check it out and let them and us know what you think.

Italian Revit Blog

This blog, Progettare in ambiente BIM is the latest I've found out about on the international Revit scene. Check it out!

Options Bar Data Entry

When I use the Offset tool I find that I must take care when I enter a specific ofset value if I want to use the Tab key to select "A chain of Walls or Lines". I get similar result when I use the Pick Lines option while drawing walls or lines.

The issue seems to be one of focus, Window's focus. That is what programmers refer to when a text box or similar control has the applications attention. When the offset value text box on the options bar has focus, Windows thinks the Tab key should be advancing to another control on the interface. In this case it advances to the Numerical radio button. I have to click in empty space in the drawing window to get the Tab key to do what I want. This put the focus back in the drawing window and Revit gets to define what the Tab key will do.

So watch out for this in your workflow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Patience is a Virtue

Yeah, tell that to me when I'm waiting for Revit to open up the first time. Another usual gotcha I run into in a class setting is trying to open Revit several times when you become convinced that Revit is not loading after you double clicked the Icon on your desktop.

When you double click the icon you get a little hour glass for a few seconds and then, poof!...nothing, no hint of Revit loading and you start thinking, "Did I really double click or was it a single click" and "Did I see an hour glass or did I imagine it?" So you double click it again and suddenly Revit appears again and shortly afterward another session appears and, if you aren't a lucky sort, so does an error about licensing.

This can be lots of fun when a classroom of 12 opens up Revit before I get a chance to warn them. One poor soul tried to open Revit twelve times before I interupted his efforts. At least the other eleven sessions opened up pretty quickly after the first....

So the moral of the story really is patience IS a virtue AND that hopefully Revit will get better at telling Windows what it is up to so we don't start to doubt ourselves!

Space Bar Gotcha - Visibility Graphics

[note: in 2009 versions I don't experience this issue, though it is still technically possible - Steve 09/2008]

I run into this every now and again. Revit user complains that all the model objects are off in a view or all the annotation...or imported files. They've tried all the usual suspects like Visibility/Graphics, Worksets, Phase/Phase Filters, Filters, Design Options and so on. They just didn't notice that every category in the Visibility/Graphics dialog (under one of the tabs) was gray and not selectable.

The question is how did it happen, surely it wasn't done purposely. Enter the good old Space Bar, pun intended. AutoCAD/ADT users are so used to tapping the space bar to start a command that they are hardly aware that they are still tapping it from time to time in Revit, that and Revit uses it for flipping or rotating some objects.

The trouble is that opening the Visibility Graphics dialog and immediately hitting the space bar unchecks the top most check box next to: "Show (Model,Annotation,Imported) Categories in this view". G That's what Windows assigns to the Space Bar for keyboard behavior when Window's focus is on a check box.



So don't let the Space Bar getcha!

Revit JOBS

I've added another blog called Revit JOBS. I mentioned this in an earlier post about HNTB looking for Revit talent. I've purchased the domain so that will take you to the blog site directly now. There are just two posts there at this time. Hopefully it will prove useful!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

AUGI Board of Directors

I've just been informed that my bid to become a member of AUGI's Board of Directors was successful. Voting began on November 28 at Autodesk Univerity and closed on December 15th. My new role with AUGI begins at the beginning of the new year and has a two year term.

I'm looking forward to being part of the leadership of AUGI and hope to make positive contributions that will benefit all AUGI members and naturally with my "Revit bias" I hope to continue to improve the experience for our Revit community at AUGI as well!

Wish me Luck!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Reminiscent of the old "Uncle Sam wants YOU!" signs??

HNTB Architecture is looking for a National CADD Manager. With an initial primary focus on ADT support and training there will be a gradual transition over to BIM. Ideally based at the home office in Kansas City, the right candidate may be in a position to work out of their LA, DC or NYC offices.

If you are interested? You can send an email to pdavis at hntb dot com

[fix the at and dot accordingly 8-)]

Tell em Steve sent you... As of tonight I'll be posting any jobs I learn of or requests to find a job at Revit JOBS. This is a brand new blog space for this purpose, let's see if it proves useful?

RTC 06

Otherwise known as Revit Technology Conference 2006. Better late than never?

I left Los Angeles on October 23rd, Monday night, at 10:30 PM and arrived in Sydney on Wednesday morning at 6:00 AM. I lost one whole day in the process due to the magic of time zones. Much to my surprise I was quite refreshed after my 14.5 hour flight on a Qantas 747/400. The Qantas flight crews were the picture of efficiency right down the instructions to “do up” our seatbelts. I love the way folks outside the USA say things!

The event organizer was and is Wesley Benn, the owner, proprietor, chief cook and bottle washer for Benn Design. Here’s a shot of Wesley.

Wesley was kind enough to rise early enough to give me a lift from the airport and take a little driving tour of Sydney which included walking around the Sydney Opera House. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t get inside. I also realized that I didn’t bring a camera AGAIN! I seem to lack the gene that causes people to photograph things that happen in their life. If it weren’t for other families who do have this gene there would be no record of our children doing anything!

We visited his old office where he “made” me help him move a copier, remove some paint cans and do a little demolition on his signage. We then went to his new office where he again put me to work packing up computers for the labs, teach a couple clients Revit and well…not that last part. Car packed full of stuff we headed for the conference site, but for the brief stop to put some helium in one of his tyres. I had no idea that it is fairly common practice to put helium in tyres instead of air. It is apparently a very stable gas to use and much more reliable than air. (notice my Austrylian spelling of tires?)

The venue was the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa, which is located on the white sands of Shoal Bay in Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia. You can review the conference schedule and the speaker biographies.

When I first started discussing attending this conference with Wesley we thought it would make sense to teach a class. One class became two, the first a family lecture and the second a mini session on massing. Since I was preparing a lecture for Autodesk University 2006 on the subject of Families anyway it made sense to preview or test or demo it on a smaller crowd very very far away right? Good thing too, because my ninety minute session ran forty five minutes over…with permission mind you…I gave them a chance to “run away”. Good thing we were only going to dinner and open bar afterward. Here’s a shot of me doing what I do best…blah blah blah…. And my power point humor 8-)

As conferences go it was very busy, yet very relaxed and a lot of fun with as much effort applied to making time for mingling. I did learn that even though Foster’s is "Austrylian" for beeear, Victoria Bitter and Tooey’s gets poured a LOT more!

One of the highlights of the conference for me was getting to finally meet my friend Bruce Gow in person, who is probably more widely known by his AUGI Revit forum moniker “BeeGee”. We’ve been friends from afar ever since getting to know each other via the internet and the old Zoogdesign Revit forum. It was nice get to sit and talk face to face!! Here’s a couple pictures of Bruce, one where he’s inspecting the inside of his eyelids or maybe he’s just blinking?? You decide…

Apparently after this first picture he figured out how to always stay with his back to the camera?

Here’s a parting shot of the conference attendees! Try to put aside a week and travel down under next time!!

It would be unfair to exclude the contributions of Marina Radosevic and Helen Benn for their tireless effort to organize everything. Also deserving of recognition for their hard work is the remaining leadership of the Revit Users Group Sydney. They are (Treasurer) Michael Juda, (Secretary) Adrian Esdaile, Rocco Raso and Toby Maple.

Okay one more…just what every Revit party needs! A circus performer trying to set himself on fire!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Write a Book…part deux

In my previous post regarding the book I left out two key pieces of information. First the book will be a comprehensive guide to using Revit. The title remains undefined at this time for a variety of reasons.

Second and most important, I am teaming up with my friend and Revit collegue, Bruce Gow. You may be more familiar with his moniker in the AUGI Revit forums, “BeeGee”. As a Revit trainer, consultant and practicing architect in Australia he will provide technical editing as well as be a contributing author. I'm enjoying working with him on this project.

As soon as Wiley/Sybex is able to prepare some preliminary information for posting at Amazon and on their own site it will be possible to pre-order the book.

There is another book underway now that is already listed on the Amazon site HERE or HERE that you might find interesting as well. Recognize the authors? These books are meant to compliment each other.

For those of you who have commented here and written to me, thank you for the kind words.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"You Should Write a Book"...

Hello and thank you for your patience!!! I've been so busy that this blog has taken a back seat unfortunately. So what has managed to distract me?

First of all I attended the Revit Technology Conference in Sydney Australia the last week of October. I presented two topics, Family Editor and Massing. The trip was too short but a lot of fun and my friend and host Wesley Benn never ceases to amaze me. More info on this event in a future post.

Second, Autodesk University which just wrapped up this past Friday. I presented three sessions as I mentioned in an earlier blog post. More on this in a future post or two.

Third and the point of this post...during the last few years I've been told, "Steve, you should write a book". The folks at Wiley/Sybex thought so too, so I signed on the dotted line. I'll post a link to the pre-order page at Amazon in the near future. I'll post about my progress and sorry, no promises about actual release date, ha ha, just like software!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Builds for Revit 20060928_2300

A new build for Revit Building was posted on Friday night. The following information is from the Revit Building download page:

This build, (20006_0928_2300), addresses several upgrade issues discovered in Revit-based release 9.1 project files.

Issues related to the following areas have been addressed:

File inconsistencies stemming from the upgrade process
Behavior of Rooms with Plan regions
Improvements in snap to DWG
Filtering as it relates to the Save-to-Central function
Unexpected behavior when using the spacebar
Placing revision tables inside of titleblock families issue
Irregularities within the Keynote function
Inconsistencies when upgrading template
Issues with portable license utility

Download Link:

Revit Building

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New BIM Blog!

Nothing like other bloggers to make you feel inadequate! Robin and David and far as I know have already mentioned this new BIM blog
(bim)X by Laura Handler of Tocci Building Corporation.

While only having started blogging in September this year, Laura has already written many interesting articles. I appreciate that she is sharing the things they are doing, learning and hoping to accomplish. The insight into how Revit supports their needs (or doesn't) is very helpful! Cheers!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Autodesk University 2006

I apologize, I am late mentioning this. I have been selected to be a speaker at this years Autodesk University 2006, held in Las Vegas at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino (November 28th thru December 1st). The Autodesk University planning team has a difficult task choosing from a great many submissions from highly qualified people. I am flattered and honored to be selected again. If you are interested in the perspective of one such planner you can visit Joseph Wurcher's blog.

I am presenting two classes, repeating one for a total of three sessions:
November 29th at 3:00 PM (90 Minutes)
Powering Up Your Autodesk Revit Families (Lecture Format)

November 29th at 5:00 PM and November 30th at 8:00 AM (90 minutes each)
Autodesk Revit Building Family Editor Basics and More (Lab Format).

The "Powering Up" session is part of a new feature this year, the Revit Power Track. Thirteen sessions are following a theme and related project. The goal is to provide intermediate to advanced level information to attendees craving the "how", now that they know "what" is possible.

The lab sessions are going to focus on reverse engineering examples of some cool content to discuss how and why things were done as well as covering the basics. We'll have a few special guests as well so we should have some fun!

The bad news is the labs are full as of right now. In fact the response to this year's AU and the Revit Power Track sessions has been nothing short of phenomenal. Read Joseph's blog for more data on this.

For those of you already registered, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. For those who have not, check out AU 2006, it might not be too late for you!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oops! I Deleted the Titleblock! Now What?

When you create a Sheet View Revit adds a titleblock to the view. What if you delete it and don't realize it till later. How do you put it back? How can you just put a Titleblock on an existing Sheet View? There is no command...Symbol? No... Component? No... Tag? No... Guess you can't?

Here's two options, best one first:

Use Edit menu > Copy to Clipboard to copy a titleblock from another Sheet view

Use Edit > Paste Aligned > Current View to paste the titleblock into the Sheet View that is missing the Titleblock. (Also can use Edit > Paste Aligned > Select Views by Name if you managed to delete more than one)

You can drag a Titleblock from the Project Browser (found under Annotation Symbols category) onto the Sheet View. Take care that you won't be able to position this titleblock in the exact location the previous one was. That's why the first option is better.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

But I Didn't Do Anything?!? Yes You DID!

Every so often someone will open a project using worksharing, poke around a bit and unwittingly end up borrowing something. Typically a view, plot settings or sheet view perhaps. When they choose File > Close Revit will "yell" at them, telling them they should Save to Central, but they don't because they didn't "do" anything. A little later someone else needs that view or plot setting and they find that this innocent person owns it or them.

What went wrong? First of all the innocent person didn't fully appreciate how their incidental interaction with Revit ended up borrowing something. Then they compounded the problem by not reacting correctly to the warning Revit offered.

Take a view for example, we can look at the model through any view we want all day long without borrowing a view. As soon as we alter the scale, change Model Graphics Style from hidden line to Shading with Edges or turn on an underlay Revit lent us the view. In other words, any change to the properties of the view itself requires Revit to lend it to us.

Similarly if we change a plot setting to use a different sheet to just plot part of a view we are borrowing a plot setting to do so. Seems innocent enough but in reality Revit must manage these things and prevent simultaneous ownership of elements and access to their settings.

How do you get around this?

First of all consider using Detach From Central if you really intend to just poke around and not contribute new work or editorial effort to the actual project.

Second, understand that wandering around the project file is not necessarily the innocent activity it might seem to be.

Third, heed the warnings that Revit gives you. If it says you should Save to Central, you should!

If you are determined not to save any changes you made either intentionally or not then follow these steps.

Step 1: Choose File > Close - When Revit warns you to STC
Step 2: Choose Don't Relinquish - this means you still own things

Step 3: Choose NO - When Revit asks if you want to save your Local File

Step 4: Choose File > Open - Select your local file again
Step 5: File > STC - Relinquish all worksets (this way you'll return everything you borrow previously, without saving any changes)

Alternatively this last step you should be able to use Relinquish All Mine as well.

Relinquish All Mine will work without the above process when you haven't changed any elements at all. Let's say you only borrow a bunch of walls and doors but don't actually change anything about them. You didn't reposition something, change a property...JUST borrowed them. Then Relinquish All Mine will work. Otherwise you'll need to follow the steps above.

May all your worksets be editable!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Autodesk Revit Building and Paul Aubin

MicroCAD in Boston is hosting an all day Revit seminar featuring Paul Aubin, the author of Mastering Autodesk Revit Building. Here are the details that I have.

Excepts from pdf announcment:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006,
Double Tree Guest Suites, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston.

Morning Session:
Revit Building – Family Editor Intro
Detailing in Revit Building

Afternoon Session:
Revit Building – Family Editor Advanced
Design Options in Revit Building

Half day sessions $159
Full day $299
Full day with book $349

REGISTER TODAY! Call 888-923 2279, if you get the form you can fax it in to register and it looks like you can REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Freeform Roof via WikiHow

James Vandezande, with SOM, has shared how to use a freeform roof made in software other than Revit (Rhino) and then use it in Revit. He's shared how on WikiHow. Take a look! Thanks James! (note: I believe this was part of his Autodesk University lecture last year)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

LA BIM Workshop featuring Autodesk Revit & Phil Read

For those of you in Southern California this event will be on October 19th. Space is limited to the first 100 so don't hesitate.

Here is an excerpt from the LA CAD flyer:

"L.A. CAD is pleased to offer a unique, local, learning opportunity for Revit users and those considering implementing Building Information Modeling (BIM) in their firm, by bringing Phil Read to Southern California for a one-day workshop to help you achieve more."

Class List:

Session 1 Preliminary Design Techniques in Autodesk® Revit®
Session 2 Large Project Management in Autodesk® Revit®
Session 3 Autodesk® Revit® for Business Managers, Project Managers, CAD Managers


WHEN: Thursday, October 19, 2006
9:00 am to 3:00 pm

WHERE: Holiday Inn LAX
9901 La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

AGENDA: 8:30 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 10:30 Session 1
10:30 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:30 Session 2
12:30 – 1:30 Hosted Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 Session 3

TUITION: $50 per person for the day, includes lunch

TO REGISTER: Call Mayra Jaime at 877-875-2223 x 273, e-mail her at or visit LACAD
AIA CREDITS: AIA is offering 2 Learning Units for attendance

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Periods, Period!

If you used Periods in your file names AND numbers you are asking for trouble.

Here are three examples:

When you save a file named this way you'll get this error message:

Just don't use periods. She'll be right mate!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Repeat a Column

Yonks ago I wrote a post at AUGI lamenting the inability to repeat a column in a schedule. I shared my workaround which involved a second schedule showing just mark and then aligning the schedules, ouch!

Then the Revit team quietly enhanced schedules. Time passed and I never revisited the question. Well you CAN repeat a column, let's choose the Mark value for a door since that's what I wanted back then.

When you create a schedule you have the option to use the Calculated Value feature to create data. In this case we'll use it to make a second Mark parameter called "Mark2". Then we'll assign the data type: Text and then enter Mark for the formula which means it is equal to the Mark parameter already in our schedule.

Take a look at the image. The resulting little schedule in the upper left corner shows the second column and the other dialogs show how we got there.

Just make sure the data type of the Calculated Value is the same as the value you want to repeat.

Happy repeating columns!

(Note: This didn't become possible until Revit Building 9.0 was released)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Do You Have A Pioneering Spirit?

Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo is looking for talent, Revit talent Sir! Here are a couple links to the information you'll need to contact them. With offices in Orlando, Seattle, Honolulu, Irvine, London and Singapore....may 5 Star resorts be in your future!

WATG website Careers


Monday, September 11, 2006

Unsung Feature in 9.1

No mention of this in "What's New".

In past releases grids and levels cared whether you sketched them "right to left" or "left to right". What? Okay...when you drag a grid or level to change its extents Revit will drag all the other grids or levels along with it automatically as long as they have the same "head" and "tail" orientation.

In 9.1 they don't anymore. They align and behave together regardless of which way you sketched them. Thanks!! I like it!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

What's to Love about Revit Building 9.1?

There are no stunning features in 9.1 and that's because it is an alignment release. This means that they are focused on making sure the Revit platform (all three versions) is coordinated well. Naturally improving overall performance and scalability is an ongoing task but unfortunately they are features that only a programmer's mother could love and appreciate 8-).

They also try very hard to tuck in other improvements that don't require as much development time/resources as those that ultimately appear in full "point oh" releases, like the next version Revit Building 10.0, release date tba.

Some of the things we really want Revit to do require considerable effort and even revisiting some of the decisions that were made several years ago. As anyone who has revisited design decisions on projects that take several years to develop can attest, this can be a daunting task. Now where did I put that drawing...?

So what do I really like this time out? I really appreciate the subtle parameter added to elevation view's, "Hide at scales coarser than". The same parameter that Sections have, this means you can specify an elevation's annotation should not appear in a scale that is coarser than the one you place it in or some other scale you choose. This will go part way to making it easier to manage these buggers in our projects. Still a way to go to make them really sing but a nice touch, THANKS!

A few more to keep this post short...

Units can be defined when exporting to dwg. For those working with the metric system it proved somewhat bothersome to find that the unit assigned was millimeter and that you now had to change it after exporting. Now you can specify it before hand. Muy Bueno, no?

Section lines are now better able to snap to non-orthogonal walls. Again a subtle but appreciated touch.

Now you can tell Columns that they are room bounding before you place them.

Revision clouds and their tags can now display separately as is the norm in many firms. As is their habit, once a new revision is made earlier clouds are turned off and the little delta tags remain. Until this release you couldn't keep the tags without the clouds, aaah...much better now.

Last one for now...filled regions have an area parameter. This permits you to sketch a filled region arbitrarily, in a view, and find out the area of the filled region by looking at its properties dialog. Since this is meant as a "throwaway" value it is not possible to schedule or tag, both of which would be nice to be able to do. Still...some users are wishing for a simple "pick based" area command like that of AutoCAD.

Stand Alone? Central File? How Can I Tell?

When you are looking in a project folder on a server how can you tell whether you are looking at a standalone Revit project or a Central and Local File set up for Revit Worksharing? Let's look at a standalone project first.

Revit's default setting is to allow three (3) backup files. Each time the file is saved Revit will cycle through these three backup files, unless you specify more or fewer backups. The project team and/or IT should/will determine how many there should be.

Now take a look at the project after it is converted into a Central File when worksharing is enabled.

Notice the naming convention used? Project name with a suffix of "- Central". This makes it more obvious that you are looking at a Central file. When you make a local file change the name of the copy by removing "- central" and putting your login name and today's month/day just to make it distinctly different. Such as: "Police Station - sstafford09/08.rvt"

Also notice the matching folder with the suffix "_backup". Revit adds this folder during the process of creating the Central file automatically. Pretend this folder has some really "smelly" stuff in there and just stay out. Just like those stickers you see on electronic equipment that say something like: "Warning no user serviceable parts inside - cutting this tape will void the warranty" there are no user serviceable files in this folder.

Revit's default worksharing setting is twenty (20) backups. Consider four team members may STC (Save to Central) five (5) times per day. This means there will be a discrete backup file for each time the file was saved during the day, up to twenty times. If more saves occur then Revit will cycle through the twenty backups, overwriting the oldest first.

(Edit: 9/12/06) Just to clarify, when Cad Digest picked up this article and posted a link with a summary it implies that Revit automatically adds the "-Central" to a Revit central file. It does NOT. That was added by ME when I did a SaveAS prior to enabling worksharing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

New Versions: Revit Building and Revit Structure

Revit Building 9.1 and Revit Structure 4 are now shipping. I waited to post this article until the Revit Building web downloads were posted. Revit Structure is still not posted, will post a link when it becomes available.

This release of Revit Building is best described as an "alignment" release whose focus is less on major features than fixing issues, performance and coordinating the behavior of all versions of Revit. People who are "wishlist" watching won't find a lot to be thrilled about for this reason. We will have to wait for the next full release for the next round of major improvements and/or features.

I'm am pleased with the subtle improvement to Elevations however. The addition of the wordy parameter "Hide at Scales Coarser Than" means we now have a level of control over the visibilty of these buggers that is long overdue. Here's hoping we get the rest next time!

Download Revit Building 9.1 HERE and just READ about it. (remember you have to choose your language, then you can select version (RB9.1 or RBS9.1) which to download.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Autodesk Revit Building Customer Council

Autodesk has established a new way to communicate with them regarding the development of Revit. Similar to the approach taken for Autodesk Architectural Desktop in the recent past Autodesk has partnered with Walker Inc (Marketing Firm)to create the Autodesk Revit Building Customer Council.

By joining you are expressing a willingness to take part in surveys sent out to members once a month to help guide the development of Revit. If interested be sure to read through the various links that explain how it works and what to expect. If you are still interested, then join!! Then vote and vote often!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Revit and Spanish

There is now a blog available to those who speak Spanish! Guillermo Melantoni, in Argentina, started his blog Revit Latino recently. Check it out!!

Revit and Spanish - Part Dos

Right on the heels of mentioning Revit Latino another Spanish language Revit blog comes to my attention. Revit-MBA is provided by the firm Montealegre Beach Arquitectos (MBA) in Santiago, Chile. They have been posting articles beginning in May 2006. Check them out!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Making New Sheets

Did you know that you can copy a sheet to clipboard and paste a new sheet into the project browser? Now you DO!

Add a new sheet, rename and number it (or use an existing sheet). In the Project Browser select the sheet and press CTRL + C (Window's copy to clipboard shortcut). Then immediately press CTRL + V (Window's paste from clipboard shortcut). The new view is added and renumbered based on the next number using the previous and using the same name as the previous as well, as fast as Emeril can say "BAMM".

For what it is worth when you select a sheet and Right Click you can choose Copy to Clipboard. No Right Click > Paste From Clipboard however 8-(

Happy pasting!!!

Keep in mind that this will only work if the sheet has NO views on it!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

AU 2006 Blog

Not the first mention of this. Autodesk University 2006 draws nearer day by day and Joseph Wurcher now has a blog dedicated to this event. Joseph Wurcher's role? In his own words, "My contribution to AU is to manage content, select speakers & topics, scheduling and other logistical duties."

He's started the blog: Autodesk University 2006 Agent of Change to chart his efforts, experiences and provide information.

If you get a chance check in from time to time?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Why a Local File?

A fairly common reason offered for having Local Files (storing them on our local PC too) for projects using Worksharing is to improve the disk drive access to data. I believed it, others have believed it, yet it isn't really true.

One of the things I've personally enjoyed about Revit is the active role the founders of Revit take in the Revit Community. So recently when yours truly, among others, offered this story...again, Irwin Jungreis could stand it no more! (kidding)

He wrote the following in a reply at the Revit forums at AUGI.

"The purpose of having separate local and central files is not to handle the network traffic, but rather to give the user control of when his changes are synchronized with those of other users." "If the only time the local file was synchronized was when you closed the file, you wouldn't be able to get other people's changes during your session, or give them your changes." "If it automatically synchronized when you closed the file you wouldn't have a way to keep your changes separate until you were ready to publish them, or avoid having other people's changes come into your session until you were ready."

Irwin, thanks for saying so!

(remember to view a thread at AUGI you'll need to log in, join)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tagging the Un-Taggable

With the release of Revit Building 9 rooms took on some new characteristics. One such feature is that you can place a room and tag in a floor plan even though there are no walls surrounding it. Error message to be sure but you can...

Second you can drag a room and its tag out of a defined location and place it in another location or simply off to the side to wait for a better home.

If you delete the tag in either case you won't be able to re-tag it until the room is properly bounded again. So take care...

Another gotcha, if you drag a room and its tag out of a room, yet the room is still tagged in other views you'll get an error letting you know that it isn't properly enclosed.

No mention of the other tags in the wrong location. That is, at least not until you place the room in a properly bounded location again. Then Revit will let you know...

If you click the little Expand Warning Dialog button you can review the issue.

Lastly, follow the arrows in the image below to track down the errant tag.

One more for the road...if you delete a room it is removed from the schedule, gone! In the past you had an option to keep the room pending a new location perhaps. Regardless it was possible to keep it and let it appear in a schedule until you defined its new home. Not anymore and I think it should be restored to the previous behavior because I'd like to have the option to keep program items in my schedule if they need to be relocated.

The work around is to cut it to clipboard and paste the room back in elsewhere. At least this is necessary if the room needs to change levels. Otherwise just move it out of a room bounding location with its tag, somewhere off to the side.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Which one STC or...STC?

STC, is short for Save to Central, (SWC is short for Synchronize with Central as Revit 2010 calls it now) is a common thing when you are working with Revit's Worksharing enabled. It is how we publish the work we have completed, return things we have borrowed and have the changes others have made placed in our Local File.

While working in your Local File take another look at the first row of toolbars and you'll find two SAVE Icons. The first is Save Local and the second is Save To Central for versions prior to Revit 2010.

These are the new buttons in Revit 2010 for Synchronize with Central as it is now called.

Under the File menu you'll find these, Save, Save As and Save to Central.

For Revit 2010 there is no File menu, there is the Application Menu and it does not have options for Synchronize with Central.

There IS a difference between the toolbar Save to Central (and Synchronize with Central) and the one found under the File menu. Most obvious is that this dialog box doesn't appear when you pick the toolbar button (or the Synchronize Now button).

This dialog only appears when you use File > Save To Central. Be sure to check all the boxes (except for Compact..., do that once at the end of the day) to return the stuff you borrowed, see I left the user created workset unchecked, setting a bad example!! Don't forget to check box the "Save the Local after Save to Central completes successfully" too!

With Revit 2010 a new option is described at the bottom of this dialog. Revit now Saves the local file first and then Saves it again after the SWC completes. This protects your local file before SWC and then saves the changes that occur in your local file after the SWC is finished. This process is important to keep your local file synchronized. It is important to check the option, which is checked by default now.

The other key difference between the toolbar and menu is the toolbar button does NOT return User Created worksets. It will return the Families, Project Standards and View worksets. Think of the toolbar button as the "quick" STC/SWC.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sports Fan?

An opportunity to combine your love of sports, architecture and Revit is waiting for you. HNTB in Los Angeles is looking for talented Revit savy architects to do sport (and Aviation) projects.

Interested? Search available positions ONLINE. Alternatively you can contact the Los Angeles office directly.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Face Off

A new family template doesn't get much attention. It is called Generic Model Face Based.rft. From Autodesk Revit's help file:

A face-based family must be created from the Generic Model face based.rft template. A face-based component can be placed on any surface, including walls, floors, roofs, stairs, reference planes, and other components. If the family contains a void cutting the host, the component will cut its host, but only if the host is a wall, floor, roof, or ceiling. When a component with a void is placed on any other host, it will not cut.

Interestingly, a void family, when nested in another, will cut a solid that hosts it.

Take a closer look at this kind of family and see if it might be useful? This image is a face based void applied to various faces of hosts.

This image is a face based family void placed on a solid in another family. Then used an array in two directions. A glass solid was included in the array groups to infill the hole. Some possibilites?

Here's another example using a Face Based "window" hosted in another family to create a "confetti" wall or a seemingly random arrangement of windows. Design belongs to HOK.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Which Came First? The Solid or the Void?

...and the other short story...why did the solid cross the road? Sorry I digress.

So you're making a family and you made this solid and then you made this void and Revit cut away the solid just fine. Now you make a new solid and the void acts like it doesn't know it is there even though they intersect. Voids only automatically cut solids that came before, not those that followed. So...when a void doesn't cut a solid because of the order you created them, just use Tools > Cut Geometry and tell Revit to cut em!Worth mentioning, if you create a void and it doesn't intersect with the geometry of the earlier solid(s) when you finish the sketch, when you drag the void so it does intersect with the solid, it won't cut automatically either. Even if the solid was made earlier than the void. So again, Tools > Cut Geometry to the rescue.aaah...all better now...

Phased by Your Exports?

When you export your project to dwg files do they lack the reference to the phases of your project? The default dwg/dgn export files do not include the information that Revit needs to specify the layers according to phase. It just so happens that there is a Autodesk Knowledge Base article that explains how to resolve this. If you want to search yourself, try the words "phase export" to get a link to the article. Too tired to click the link? Here's the text from the site:


You want to know how Demo, Existing, New, and Temporary layers are included when a file is exported to DWG and DGN.


The default export files, Layers-dgn-AIA.txt and exportLayers-dwg-AIA.txt, do not include appendices for -DEMO, -EXIST, -NEWW, or -TEMP layers for demolished, existing, new, and temporary objects in the model.

These definitions can be added to the templates by adding the following lines to the exportlayers-dwg-AIA.txt file (located in the Data directory):

Demolished -DEMO -DEMO
Existing -EXST -EXST
Temporary -TEMP -TEMP

The following lines can be added to the exportlayers-dgn-AIA.txt file (also located in the Data directory):

Demolished 50 1 50 1 -DEMO -DEMO
Existing 51 1 51 1 -EXIST -EXIST
New 54 1 54 1 -NEWW -NEWW
Temporary 58 1 58 1 -TEMP -TEMP

You can download [Link: RF111d01.txt] exportlayers-dwg-AIA.txt and/or [Link: RF111d02.txt] exportlayers-dgn-AIA.txt and copy them to your [Revit_install_directory]/Data directory.

Sorry you'll have to visit the site to get the files. The date published for this article says 20060405 but I know that I read it earlier than that this year, perhaps it's been modified? I seem to recall it being a couple years old.

Hong Kong Anyone?

Eric in Hong Kong has a blog that I stumbled on tonight. He's civil professional who has joined an Autodesk distributor called Synnex. His blog is found at CADBeyond. He's blogging about more than just Revit but he has dedicated quite a few articles to Revit topics. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Revit Build and Downloading Errors

If you recently experienced problems downloading content or help files for Revit Building 9. Try again, they have posted a new build that worked fine for me just now. The build number is still 20060619_2300 but the download file has "a" added to it like this:

Revit Series = ARS9_20060619_2300a.exe
Revit Building = RevitBuilding9_20060619_2300a.exe

Download it HERE! Choose your language first.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

And Systems Too! New Build...

From the Autodesk site:

This build (20060619_2300) fixes a memory problem currently found within Autodesk Revit Systems software. It also resolves a conflict where files utilizing Links was found to impact application performance or cause a crash when exporting section/elevation views to dwg files.

Download it HERE!

New Build for Revit Building 9

From the Autodesk site:

This latest build (20060619_2300) fixes some export issues currently found within Autodesk Revit Building 9-based software products. The updates resolve an issue with regard to exporting elevation or section views which contained linked files as well as export of rotated views on a sheet.

Note: This update incorporates issues previously addressed in the last build (20060518_2300); specifically with Autodesk Revit Building 9-based projects utilizing linked files, and issues relating to cascading network licensing for the Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series—Building 9 products, area tolerance issue measurement-related issues discovered in DWF™ files produced from Revit-based release 9 project files.

Download HERE! Just select your language first.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Revit Earth - A Google Earth Connector

Beau Turner has posted a link to check out his firm's (Avatech) new connecting application that permits a Revit building to be part of Google Earth. Check it out!

Revit Earth Connector

Need to See Yer EyeDee Son!

Revit is a database and all records in a database have a unique identity field or ID. This makes it unique among all other records in the database.

A wall for example will have an ID that looks like this, "118476". There are tools to find an object using its ID or to learn the objects ID. Both are located under the Tools menu > Element Ids

Tools menu > Ids of Selection assumes you will select an object and then run the command to display the ID value.
If you select multiple objects Revit will display a list of IDs.

Tools menu > Select by ID assumes you have an ID already and wish to find the object instead. Typically you'll find an ID listed when you are Reviewing Warnings (click the link to check Beau Turners blog for his recent article on this feature). If you click SHOW, Revit will take you to a view, or try, that shows the object in all its glory.

We ID all elements, no exceptions *-)


You are hopefully well aware of this feature in Revit? If on?

The linework tool is intended to allow us to override the way objects appear in a view. Yes, view specific, only the view you apply it in, one place, not project wide. Well you get the idea now right?

Some examples? Embellish your building elevation? Show a roof eave above? A ceiling opening or bulkhead above? Want something solid to appear dashed? Want an object to disappear, remove a line? All possible with the linework tool. I posted an EXAMPLE in a different topic here in the months gone by.

The linework tool relies on Line Styles so if you want to apply a certain line style just make sure you make or have it first. That goes for line patterns too naturally since the linestyle relies on them too.

You'll find the Linework command under the Tools menu and on the second row of the toolbars in between the Eyedropper (Match Type) and Show Hidden Lines (new) buttons. Yep looks like a fountain tip pen with some lines above and to the right of it. Like this >

The default keyboard shortcut for it is LW.

So how do you use it? Easy, click the tool button, click an object. Let's take a look at the first example, embellish an elevation. The third pig in the old children's tale built his house with brick so let look at his house without any extra effort.

There are lots of other possibilities too. I'll post other examples as I get time.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Detach From Central

This is a new option available for Revit projects using worksharing (I believe it first appeared in Revit Building 8.1). Here are six scenarios that are great candidates for using this feature. For the sake of my fingers Detach From Central is hereby dubbed, "DFC". You find this option available when you use FILE > OPEN:

Project Manager Review:
This person may not necessarily be an active participant within Revit but may need to check things or create views so they can resolve design issues without having to ask someone else to create/plot them. A PM can open a central file choosing DFC and work freely without encumbering the project in any way. When they finish they can close without saving and they have in effect been working on a temporary file. No guilt and no un-relinquished worksets. If they want to save the file it becomes its own central file and poses no risk to the one the team is working on.

So you've got to plot an entire set on Wednesday and you need the team to stop cranking long enough to do this only they won't or can't. Tell them to put their pens down at noon, Save to Central and then you open the central file using DFC. Now they can get back to it, and you can plot till the cows come home. Same for exporting backgrounds for your consultants.

Just got Schematic Design approval and want a record copy of your project? Open using DFC then save the file into the correct folder adding the suffix SD (or whatever you require) to the filename. All set, a free and clear central file for archival and the original project filename gets to live on for another phase. No relinking pain, at least not with the main project file. The archived file will need to reestablish the links if any of the linked files are new central files too.

Internal Rendering:
So you like Accurender but wish the rest of the team would leave the project alone long enough to get your mitts on it? Sounding like a broken record now...DFC and go to town. Or maybe you don't like Accurender and plan to export to Viz or Max? Same deal...

What IF? Scenarios:
Your client and PM have been hanging out at the pub (and didn't take you) and came in today with some great new ideas to try out? Now you need to mess up the model but are loathe to do it live because you're pretty sure they should've sobered up first? DFC to the rescue

Troubleshooting/Interoffice linking:
So you've got some warnings you can't quite resolve and you need to let the home office take a look but the last time you did this they accidently borrowed a workset from your central file 1800 miles away, oops... DFC and send em the file! Now they can study the file and give you some ideas to try in your file.

So you are sold, DFC is for you but still confused about what it actually does? Revit breaks the connection between the central file permanently, no going back and you end up in a temporary copy until you click FILE > SAVE. Now Revit will ask you for a filename and once satisfied it will establish a new central file that is not connected to the original, nor can it be either. Like I said, no going back. I quite often quit without saving the file, discarding it nonchalantly.

Opportunity of a Lifetime?

HOK (Hellmuth Obata Kassabaum) is looking for a Revit Specialist. Here's a snippet of the info available online.

HOK is seeking a specialist to lead the firm’s conversion from AutoCAD to Revit. This person will assist project teams with setting up new projects and carrying them to completion. This will include training the team, assisting with setting up the project, and troubleshooting problems. He/she will also review ongoing projects and help to develop firmwide standards and content, create documentation to support these, and promote their usage across the firm.

Does this sound like you? You know they have 22 offices around the world right? Why are you still reading this? CLICK TO APPLY online. Refer to REQ#01128

Note: All applicants must apply online

New Build for Revit Structure 3 posted

This from the Autodesk site:

This latest build (20060619_2300) fixes some performance, phasing and export issues currently found within Autodesk Revit Structure 3-based software products. It resolves the lag time when creating structural components impacting the application performance. It fixes an incorrect phasing display problem. In addition, the updates resolve an issue with regard to exporting elevation or section views which contained linked files

Download the new build here

Thursday, June 22, 2006

True Elevation and Position

Need to define the true position and elevation of your project?

The most flexible way is through linked files and Shared Positioning. This requires at least two files; a site file and a building project or perhaps several building project files if applicable.

Create a site project file using real site data and if you want create topography from it as well. Create a building project with all views set to Project North and use a base elevation set to zero. Be selfish, make it easy to document on paper.

Link the building into your site and place it on the site in the correct location. Move it up to the desired elevation in a section or elevation view. Once it is properly positioned, select it and take a look at its properties. The parameter Shared Location says not shared. Click the long skinny gray button that says not shared and you’ll find this dialog.

Now click the Publish option and choose Reconcile, Click OK in the Properties dialog.

When you save the site project Revit will ask if you want to save the changes to the building project file too. Yes you do!

Now close the site project and open the building project file. Open the site plan view and change the Orientation parameter to True North, notice the building has rotated to match the orientation you established in the site file? (Assuming you changed the rotation of the building in the site file!)

Now open any elevation view and select a level. Edit the properties of the level and click Edit/New. Change the Elevation Base parameter to Shared. Click your way out of the dialogs to return to the elevation view and notice the true elevation is now displayed. Make a second type of level to show Project and the original can show Shared. Now you can show either/or.

The building never had to move in the project file and it was easy to position in the site project. If design or client issues demand a change in position or elevation it is easy to change in the site project and update the building. MUCH much easier than sorting out the change in the building project itself.

Keep in mind that Site Pads must be placed in the site file to alter the site so you’ll have to sketch them in the site file following your linked building as a guide.

This is scratching the surface of the potential of this feature for your projects so try it out and see where it takes you. Imagine a villa placed at fifty different locations and elevations? Your villa project file can know where each of these positions are and display the site, when linked back into the building, in the correct orientation for any of one of the fifty locations at a time.

Consider these options if you aren’t concerned about actually coordinating the building with true site conditions, only interested in showing the correct elevation value(s).

Tools > Project Position/Orientation > Relocate This Project will allow you to "move" your project up to the elevation you specify. In reality it doesn't go anywhere, just tells Revit that zero is really 100 ft. If you load a civil file with real 3D elevation data it will still be above your building so you'll have to move it down to show the correct position relative to the building.

Tools > Shared Coordinates > Specify Coordinates at a Point used in a section/elevation view will establish a shared elevation value instead of manipulating "reality". This means that your building project understands there is a difference between the project elevation and true elevation. This requires you to change the Elevation Base parameter associated with your Level types from Project to Shared in order to display it. This feature can be used in a plan view as well to define a known x/y/z coordinate value so your project is aligned with the civil data. But again it doesn’t actually change the model, it just informs the project.

Neither of these options actually changes anything other than the display of elevation values. The building remains at zero. Any true elevation topography imported will still reflect real conditions and your building will be below the site. If you link the building project into a site project the building will still appear at the lowest elevation regardless of the elevation you assigned to the building in its own project file.

Last, you can build the building on levels that are set to the correct elevations or you can move them to the correct elevation by locking them together with dimensions and changing one of the elevations to the correct value. This can be problematic if you have built many in-place families, so be prepared.

Happy Positioning!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Design Bar Comparison

Lately I've read a couple posts in the newsgroups and forums asking, "Why buy Revit Building since it seems that Revit Systems has practically all the Building features?" I thought, "Does it really?" I thought I'd just compare the Design Bars of each version. So first up is the list of Design Bar tabs. Revit Systems wins with 13 tabs!Just to be out of order I decided to compare the Modelling tab which is called Architectural in Revit Systems 1Missing is Railing, Curtain System, Mullion and Curtain Grid. Or are they? They aren't on the Design Bar but they are on the Modelling menu in Revit Systems. Next I looked at the Basics TabSo the big difference here is what commands are located on the tabs. All the commands in Revit Building's Basic tab are in Revit Systems, just not necessarily on the Basics tab. Next...the View tabCan you live without the Camera and Walkthrough features? Well you don't have to because they are on the View > New menu. How about the Drafting tab?You'll have to live without the Insulation command. Again only if you don't look on the Drafting menu. Okay then...the Site tabWell that's different!! The menu too. The next tab? Structural! You don't need Columns, Beams, Beam Systems or Braces right? They are highly overrated! Apparently they are overrated because they are not on the Modelling > Structural menu either.

I didn't bother to post images of the tabs for Room and Area, Rendering, Massing, and Construction because they are identical.

To sum up the big difference is the complete lack of the Site features save the Pad. Next up are the primary structural modelling objects. Last is content, very very little of the Revit Building content is part of the Revit Systems install. But technically this could be obtained via Autodesk's web content libraries via Subscription's pages.

Otherwise nearly all the features in Revit Building ARE present in Revit Systems. Are enough present for you? Sorry, not going to catch me telling you yes! That's YOUR call 8-)!

I suppose now I should compare Revit Structure..too? Maybe another time? I CAN tell you this much, you won't have Rooms or Areas, in fact no Room and Area tab, in Revit Structure and that might make it hard to use for architecture on its own eh?