Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Revit Tip: Insert from File

Insert from File

Tired of having two projects open at the same time just to copy details and drawings over?

Let’s try the Insert from File and Views… option instead.

From here we will need to select the RVT file that we would like to copy some information from.

Revit will go through the same process as opening the file, but instead we are shown a display of all the available views to load.

This list includes Drafting Views, Drawings Sheets, Schedules, and even Renderings. The checkbox in the bottom corner allows you to even Preview the selection.

This is a great way to copy over all those drafting views from a previous project in one fell swoop.

Or to copy all those MEP dummy sheets that you really don’t want to create again.

This certainly saved me the time of copy and past for each view singularly, so maybe it will help you too.

I haven’t tested all the importing methods and possibilities, so feel free to test it out and let me know what you find.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Revit Tip: Revision Schedule

Using the revision feature of Revit

Revit allows for tracking of revisions and tagging clouds.


Without using the Revision feature of Revit, our drawings wind up with a chart that lists all revisions regardless of relevance to the sheet.


  1. Create a border that has a Revision Schedule in the title block. (more on this later)
  2. Create revisions in your project
    • Under settings>revisions click add:New.
    • The sequence number corresponds to revision number, so this will be displayed in your tag triangle. (more on that later)
    • Add a date and description for the Revision
    • Do not check issue until all the clouds have been created.
    • Once you move to the next revision you can change the visibility to tag only. This will hide the clouds and leave the triangle for previous versions.
  3. On a sheet, not in model space, create a revision cloud. Change the properties of the cloud to the appropriate revision that you set up in step 2. NOTE: If you have multiple clouds on the sheet they all need to be in one sketch, not separate clouds. One cloud per revision, otherwise each instance will show up in the schedule.
  4. Use the tag feature to tag the cloud as you see fit.
  5. At the start of a new revision:
    • Create a new revision in settings.
    • Check the box to issue the previous revision
    • Change the visibility for the previous revision to “TAG”
    • Add your new revision clouds.

This will also allow us to tag a cloud similar to tagging a wall. It will also allow our Revit model to track all the revisions in case we need to go back to one. Most importantly, the revision list on the title block now only shows those revisions that the sheet was issued for.

We have introduced the new automatic revision schedule to the newest template and it works great in 2009.

One thing you might not know is the ability to ‘tell’ Revit which revision a particular sheet should be shown in. Previously, we were required to place a revision cloud on every sheet for every revision for the schedule to read properly.

Instead, once all your revisions are set up in the Project information just click the sheet border and click Properties.

For the menu scroll down to the Revisions on Sheet entry and hit the edit button.

Now you can select which Revisions this sheet is included with.

Maybe in the next version they can figure out how to tie this into the drawing list…

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Revit Tip: Dependent Views

Dependent Views

I don’t know when this feature became available, but it was sometime between 9.1 and 2009, 2008 maybe? Next time you need to break up a plan into multiple callouts why don’t you try this little technique.

Most of us create an overall view and then do double or triple duty and have to tag, annotate, and dimensions all of those callout views. This can be a time consuming task, especially when you need to switch back and forth to make sure all your areas are covered, also a risky situation if you don’t cover everything. Instead let’s Duplicate with Detailing our overall plan first. Leave that overall plan at 1/16” scale.

What’s that other option?? Just hold on, we will get there.

Now we are going to change this new plan to our blow-up scale of 1/8” and start tagging and dimensioning the entire building. Name it something like “Overall Plan – Annotations.”

Yes, dimension everything and tag everything here. Once. Just once and you are done. No more guess work to see if everything is covered. Why? Keep reading to see the great benefit of doing it this way.

Now that your plan is complete, let’s break-up that huge plan. Wait don’t use that Callout button or that Duplicate with Detailing feature again!! We are going to use that Duplicate as a Dependent option on our annotation plan. Start with one. Now resize your crop region on this plan to an appropriate sheet sized plan.

You should notice the new green annotation crop region. This will allow you to crop anything that is in the overall annotation plan out of this one that you don’t want shown. If you switch back to your main plan, you can see where all your Dependent Views are being cropped at.

Do this as many times as necessary to finish documenting your plans. Now you have created one plan that will update all the others and vice versa. This includes dimensions and text and tags and any other annotation that we normally have to copy from sheet to sheet.

Now, you can go back and put callouts on your original overall plan that reference the new specific Dependent Views. Just make sure to hit the checkbox for Reference other view.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Revit Tip: Plan Regions

Plan Regions

Can’t quite get your plan to cut the building where you need it? Still missing some windows or details vital to the completion of the documents.

Have no fear, the Plan Region is here!!

What’s that you say? You don’t know anything about Plan Regions!!

These are a great way to create a callout plan within a plan.

First, sketch the area we want to show at a different level cut.

Finish your sketch.

Then by selecting the Plan Region and editing the Properties, we can modify the Cut Plane just for that one little area.

Now, a previously invisible window is cut for a complete graphical illustration.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Revit Tip: Poche walls

Poché walls

I was working on schematic plans recently, and ran into a design dilemma. We wanted to show the existing columns and walls as solid black entities.

Revit will allow you to do this when you have demolition plans.

I want to do this, but I am not phasing the project yet. Instead, I can create a new wall type for the poché by duplicating the one I want.

I will edit the structure of the wall.

Open the material of the main structure of the wall.

Duplicate again, this time it’s the material. This way any other walls or objects that use this material don’t get affected by our little change.

Now I get to make it work. We are just going to change the cut pattern to Solid Fill and make sure the color is Black.

There you have it. I also did this with my columns to help them read a bit heavier in the schematic portion of the project.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Revit Tip: Worksets


A little recap on the username and workset issues some of you may be running into.

Remember, anytime that more than one worker needs to use a file at the same time, you will have to have worksets. Once worksets are enabled, these are tracked through the use of your username.

To access your username, just go to the Settings menu and select Options.

This menu is accessible both with files open and not open, but you will need to close open files in Revit if you want the changes to take effect on the file you are working on.

If you create a local file, then you will always need to open this file as the original user. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to save changes.

When working on a file, you will check out portions of the project so that other users are not being counter-productive.

This menu will help explain why you might not be able to edit a portion of a project.

It is possible to grant a request.

But if you have changed anything, you have to Save to Central for those changes to take effect and allow the other user to get them.

So, the most effective method that we have found is for both workers to Save to Central and relinquish control of all worksets.

Both users should then Reload Latest, and this will resolve any issues.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Revit Tip: Edit Witness line

Edit witness line

One thing I hated for a long time was dimensioning in Revit.

Sure it was much easier than in AutoCAD, but every time I miss clicked, I wound up with my dimension string too short.

Then, if I wanted the dimension string to be one element, and I do (it must be the OCD), I would have to redo that long run of dimensions. This sometimes would result in my doing the same thing again and again and again.

Wait! You mean there is a way to fix that one string to include more dimensions! Why didn’t anyone tell me about it?

Don’t worry, I will share. It’s that Edit Witness Lines thing again.

Just click and add more dimension string to the end of your existing line.

Click as many times and to as many things as you want. It will all be tied to the same dimension element.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Revit Tip: Central File

How to create a new central file of a project

You need to make a backup of your central file often. These can become cluttered and have a greater potential for crashing. It is also a good idea to make copies of the project during design phases when a major change is being made to the project. This is a simple process if completed correctly, and can be an onerous task if not.

The first method is to make a local file the new central file. Open your local file, with the correct username, and choose the Save As menu.

You will want to navigate your way to the location of the current central file on the server.

Choose Options from the bottom corner of this menu.

Oh my god! (I am sure you don’t hear my daughter exclaiming this as my father tells her about the possum that they had on their deck a few years back, but it’s great.) There is something about making this the central file.

Check this and save your file to the server. Everyone working on the file will need to make new local copies, but this is the easiest and fastest way to make a new central file.

You might be tempted to simply copy and paste your central file on the server from Explorer.

I wouldn’t suggest this, as Revit seems to know or not know if the central file has moved or been renamed. Best not to tempt the fates.

Another safe method to make a new central file is through the Open command.

Here we will see a very helpful feature for this use, the Detach from Central box.

If we check this box when opening a central file, there will no longer be any problems tying one file to another. We can safely Save As with this file onto the server and use the method above for making this the new central location.

This is not meant to be a substitute for creating new projects! Don’t do it, it’s a bad idea!