Thursday, February 28, 2013

Show History and a Rogue User Name

I wrote a post recently mentioning that we can use Show History on any file. I saw a post at AUGI that asked how users that claim they've never opened a file might show up in the Show History data. When you use Publish Coordinates to a project file you are altering that file when you save the changes and that change is recorded in the Show History data for it too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Voids Voids Voids

If you read through Autodesk documentation for Revit and the best practices document that they published some years ago you'll find casually mentioned recommendations to "avoid voids" because they will negatively impact performance. That turns into a conversation overhead later, "Never ever use voids in families!!" Hmmm...

Recommendations are wonderful, wonderful when they actually mean something meaningful. A warning like don't use more than six voids in a family. That's specific, I better not use more than six voids or something bad will happen to me, and my project. Then again I might just get wild and create families with seven voids just to make other people mad and drive project performance into the gutter?

I've read and heard similar warnings and recommendations for using formulas, "Avoid using too many formulas in your families". Is eight too many or seven hundred? I'm guessing seven hundred is worse but what about twenty five or forty five. Have we crossed into unsanctioned and untenable content now?

I'd love to see more practical recommendations that quantify things better. I seriously doubt a family with several voids is really going to harm a project, even if there are five hundred copies of the family in the project. I suppose we need to turn the Revit "masses" loose and test all kinds of situations to come up with more specific recommendations?

In the meantime I'm going to keep being careful to avoid voids all while wondering how many voids to avoid...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Worksharing Display Users

When you are using the relatively new Worksharing Display feature you can see which users are assigned to which colors in this dialog.

The history of users interacting with a file can turn into quite a list, it doesn't refresh to reflect the current users, at least not all the time anyway. It seems to retain all the users that have owned or borrowed elements in the file. The little button lurking beneath the list will let you delete inactive users.

You can just start deleting users, don't worry, Revit will tell you if someone is currently borrowing or owning something in the file.

Monday, February 18, 2013

View Template Usage

The other day I wrote about my transition between Revit versions and differences between what we can do with View Templates. Harry "Mr. Boost Your BIM" Mattison offered some code to relieve the tension. It's pretty cool how few lines of code and provide useful answers. Check out his post. Be sure to read his post tomorrow too, he's going to enhance it a bit and share that too!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Create New Local Disabled

Usually the culprit is the network path (previous post). If it is intermittent, as in it worked a few minutes ago but now it isn't, it can be something else. It is probably file access, meaning Synchronization with Central by others or someone opening their own local file at the same time.

I find the create new local option is disabled occasionally when there are a lot of other users active. If I select the file and the option is disabled I click on another central to see if it is network related. My thinking is if it does it for several central files then somethings wrong with "me". If I wait a few seconds or minutes I find that clicking on the file again will allow Revit another "look" at the file and the option "wakes up".

It may just be busy people and activity between locals and the central.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scheduling View Template Usage

When I travel back and forth between Revit versions, say between 12 and 13, I find myself missing things. For example I wanted to see (in 2012) how many views were assigned to view templates and which ones were really being used. In 2013 we can add that parameter to a View List, 2012 not so much. In 2013 we can select a view template and see how many views are assigned to it, in get the idea. I wish life and project conditions didn't make it hard to "just upgrade". Just do it, as soon as you can!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rotate with Component

This little setting is meant to force a tag to rotate with the tagged element, meaning to maintain the alignment.

The easiest example is beam or wall tags following their parent.

These categories respond to Rotate with Component:
Walls, Curtain Walls, Doors, Windows, Railings, Ramps, Stairs (Runs, Landings and Supports), Structural (Framing, Braces and Trusses), Property Boundary, Property Line Segments, Planting, and Parking.

These categories are immune to Rotate with Component:
Foundations, Floors, Ceilings, Roofs, Furniture, Furniture Systems, Casework, Generic Models, Structural Columns, Detail Components, Massing, Mass Floors, Curtain Panels, and Specialty Equipment.

Breaking loose from "Revity rules" the space, room and area tags are allowed to rotate more easily by choosing Vertical, Horizontal or Model, for each tag we use. The Model option allows us to use the Rotate tool to rotate them freely, which would be quite nice for any tag.

Architectural Columns, Shaft Openings remain immune to tagging by category at all.

That seems like a long list but that doesn't even factor in MEP components. Perhaps I'll tackle that another night.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Change Door From and Door To

These settings for doors are determined initially by which side of a wall the door swings into. A door swinging into a room inherits that room as its "to" value. Later if someone flips the door to swing out of the room the parameter does not change. This is intentional and I've written about this before.

Harry started Boost Your BIM a few months ago and he's really dedicated himself to it, bravo! Back then he asked me for some ideas and naturally my mind went blank I could only muster a couple ideas. The beauty of blogging is that the more readers you have the more ideas you'll get. He's been keeping busy with many interesting examples.

The other day I was chatting with a Revit user who was expressing frustration with the From/To issue and I thought that a simple "click this click that" experience might at least improve the situation for him. I wrote to Harry and a day or so later we've got this to consider. Cool!

Saturday, February 09, 2013


I know people care a lot about where leaders start on blocks of text. Some want them to start at the first line, others at the bottom line and still others at the center of the text. Personally this has always felt like fussiness, focusing on trees and missing the forest. For eleven years I spent some of my time reading drawings to either bid on a project or to try to build something with them. I never got upset about such things. I WAS frustrated when the leader didn't point at the correct thing or fell short of "something" to point at. Where the leader started never confused me as long as it was clear which note it belonged to.

For my time and money, as long as they are consistent I'm satisfied. Unfortunately Revit isn't in this regard. Text has settings for leader positioning that keynote tags don't. That can lead to inconsistency and that's not good. Any annotation features that are available for text should be extended to other elements that display information that sure looks like text when looking at a printed sheet of paper. My 2.5 cents.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Show History

This might not be obvious. You can use the Show History feature to review what users have been doing even if you have no project open or a different project open. If you don't have a project open the collaborate ribbon will offer you just the Show History and Restore Backup buttons.

You can browse to any project file to review the information available for it. Keep in mind selecting a project that doesn't use worksharing will only show you who saved a file and when. No comments will be there since we can only enter a comment in the Synchronize with Central dialog. Restore Backup will only work for projects that are using worksharing because you need to select the project backup folder, which stand-alone project files don't have.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Linked Files and Delete Rooms

When you are opening a project with linked files (or reloading one) if you see a dialog giving you the option to Delete Rooms, please don't click the Delete Rooms button. Please!

Nobody will be happy with you if you do, not even you. It would be wonderful if Revit stopped offering the ultimate in self-destructive options in warning dialogs. Too often Revit's solution to a problem is a delete button. As the knight's in Monty Python's Holy Grail movie said, "Run away, run away!"

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Managing Revisions

Every time I want to edit the Revisions for a project I activate the Manage ribbon tab. It's never there, no matter how many times I try. The Revisions Button is on the View tab and the Sheet Composition panel. It obviously made sense to the development and user interaction team but not me. I think the correct place to access the Sheet Issues/Revisions dialog is the Manage tab. Despite the inclusion of "Sheet Issues" in the dialog name, mentally I "manage" revisions with that dialog. I'd find it quicker if it were on the Manage ribbon instead. I'd be happy if it was either part of the Settings panel or the Manage Project panel.


Sunday, February 03, 2013

Radio Buttons

Software developers have a lot of tools to manage how we interact with their handiwork. Radio Buttons are one such tool or concept.

They are NOT named because of their shape or appearance.

The name is derived from the way radio station selection worked on car radios, more consistent with older car radios perhaps than current technology (image found at Web Developer AtlanticBT).

For what it is worth, if you do an image search for "radio button" you won't see anything car or radio related, just a lot of examples of software using this radio button concept. If you search for "car radio button" you'll probably find the image I found above.

When you press a button for your favorite station whatever station was selected gives way to your new selection, only one station can play at a time. The same is true for these so called Radio Buttons in Revit. Whenever you encounter a button like these only one can be selected at a time.

How's that for a little pursuit of trivia?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Move with Disjoin

Using the Move tool and checking Disjoin is equivalent to "cut to clipboard" (in effect delete) and then "paste from clipboard". This is necessary to break a wall or line away from other walls or lines that may be connected. Without Disjoin the other walls or lines will attempt to stretch to stay connected.

It is not really just moving the existing elements but recreating them in a new location. This means the elements will get new Mark parameters, assuming Revit numbers them automatically, like doors for example.

If you really need to separate walls or lines (ducts or pipes too) you can move without using the Disjoin option and then manually pull the other elements away from the wall using their own grips instead. A bit more work but maybe less than renumbering elements?

Something to keep in mind.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Lock Down Shared Coordinate Relationships

The more complicated a project is the more trouble someone casually (accidentally) moving a building file can create. The simplest solution is to pin a linked model to interfere with accidental movement. Moving a pinned link takes a deliberate action.

We can put another speed bump in the road by using Worksets as a security guard to make it harder to move a linked file. Assign each link to its own workset and then create a new username like "Link Admin" and while working as this user make each link's workset editable (take ownership of each link's workset). When you synchronize (SwC) don't relinquish those worksets. Next time someone accidentally drags a linked file they'll be warned that "Link Admin says no".

One more step you can take which also involves worksets is to make the Project Info workset editable too, for each building file. The Project Info workset is located in the Project Standards group.

Taking this approach prevents shared coordinates from being altered inadvertently or otherwise. Same strategy, same user, same refusal to relinquish the worksets this user borrowed. This needs to be done in all the linked models as well as a master site model if used to establish the shared coordinates.