Quick TEMP Tip

In any IT person’s quiver, one will find an array of standard quick tools at one’s disposal (I worked real hard making that sentence gender neutral… you are welcome).  Some of the standards of course are:

I’ve added another one to my Revit quiver: emptying out the TEMP folder.

Under Windows, the TEMP folder is supposed to hold (wait for it) temporary files.  Believe it or not, many applications don’t clear out their temp files like they are supposed to for one reason or another.  I have found that a good chunk of strange Revit problems (usually around syncing) can be cleared up with a nice emptying out of the user’s TEMP folder.

You want to make sure Revit is closed.  You can close other software too, that will just make it less confusing.

Go to START -> RUN and type in %TEMP%, then click OK.  That opens the user’s TEMP folder.

Look at all the junk in there!  At this point, you can pretty much select it all and delete it.  Window will tell you if some software is trying to use it still.  Windows 7 will do a lovely job of just skipping the files it can’t delete and wipe out the rest.  Windows XP will halt the process, so you need to start over and this time NOT select the files that it couldn’t delete.  Repeat until you think you have things nice and clean.

That’s it.  I use this trick at least once a month to clear up a random Revit issue.  I probably should actually research the specific problem, but really, who has time?

Here’s An Idea to Help Me Cheat

I just realized I have a lot of Donovan on my iPhone.  Not hours and hours, but like 8 songs.  That seems like a lot of Donovan.  I might need to reevaluate some things in my music listening life.  Hm.

Sorry about that.

After working with Revit for years and years, I’ve come to realize that it likes things a certain way.  Case in point, is the relationship between model elements and annotation.  There is a distinct line between these two categories of items.  I know, this seems like Revit 101, but there are times that I would like these lines to be a little more wuzzy, or maybe to have Autodesk incorporate my latest genius idea!

So you know how when you are placing an element, you can specify (in your project) what tag to place with it?  This works nice for rooms and doors and windows for the most part.  You only have a couple different tags to work with.

We come across problems with items that are a little more vague in nature, elements that are usually associate with symbology and not a representation of the actual element.  In our case, that includes items like fire extinguisher cabinets, ceiling speakers, cameras, wall joints… stuff like this.  Stuff that is hard to tell what it is on its own, and really needs to be represented by a scale agnostic symbol.

In theory, I could load in tags for each, then before I place each one, go to my OPTIONS button and change what tag to use for whatever category of element I am using (a lot of this stuff ends up being SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT or GENERIC MODELS) and Revit will tag it with my symbol.  Sounds OK on paper, but in practice this is pretty annoying procedure and easy to mess up.

So, here’s my idea, stop me if you’ve heard this one.  I wonder if it would be possible to link a specific annotation symbol to a model family at the family editor level, so when the element is placed it simply uses that attached tag all the time.  Right now, we embed symbols into the above mentioned items, but that’s not the same, and we end up having some very odd glitches when a view range just happens to snag an element and the element itself is below a roof or ceiling, but since the symbol is annotation it draws it “on top” of everything.  If a default tag could be tied to components at the family level, and get placed in the view with the component that would definitely lower a lot of the confusion that I see.

Do you see my problem here?  Am I overthinking it?  Have you already solved it?  Curious what others are doing about this.

That’s Why It’s Called ‘Mirror’

Being the IT/Revit guy in my office means lots of things.  It means that chances are I am a giant nerd.  It means I get to help people work through their problems.  It does NOT mean that I have a Batman style red phone to call Autodesk and tell them what I want.

Sadly, not me

Sadly, not me

For some reason, people in the office seem to think that if they tell me something to change in Revit, I can just contact the developers and snap my fingers to have it done.  It doesn’t work that way.  The closest thing I get is to vote on the AUGI Wishlist like everyone else.

Here’s a “wish” that I get a lot.  And this post is my therapy to try to work past it.  You see, I can’t answer the people how I want to answer this.  It would be… unprofessional.  So you get to read it.  Lucky you!

We have multiple disciplines under one roof here: architects and engineers.  So, when it makes sense, we create one piece of content that works for everyone (SYNERGY!!!!!).  This problem always comes up when folks are using our lavs and faucets.  The architects LOVE to mirror these things around the plan to save time.  What they forget is that the faucets have hot and cold on them and when you mirror those, they get flipped around, because, you know, MIRROR.

Got an email from someone the other day complaining about this, and how I needed to get in touch with Autodesk to let them know that this is wrong and it should never do this.  I gnashed my teeth and filed the email away.  What I wanted to tell him was this:

The definition of mirror is “to show a reflection of”.  When we mirror elements, we see a reflection of them along the line that the user defines.  If this tool were to simply rotate the elements 180 degrees, then IT WOULDN’T BE CALLED MIRROR ANYMORE, WOULD IT?!!  And if ONLY Revit had a tool that could ROTATE AN ELEMENT.  Wow. That would be fantastic.

Thanks for letting me vent.  If you have to deal with these folks, keep your chin up and just keep fighting the good fight.

Default View Templates Applied on View Creation

We have people who just like to click buttons.  For no reason, they just click things.  I am tempted to take away their mouse privileges.

Prior to 2013, you could really confuse folks on your team by forcing all new views of the same type to adopt a View Template of your choice.  You would do this by going to Apply View Template, selecting the View Template you want, and then checking the little box in the lower corner that says “Apply automatically to new views of same type”.  Then when anyone would create, say a Section, they would automatically have that View Template applied to their view.  So convenient for you!  And possibly so annoying for them!

This little bugger in the corner

This little bugger in the corner

What if you are a clicker, and you shouldn’t have clicked that?  How do you get rid of it?  One might think one goes to View Template Settings.  One would be wrong.

The only way we have found to fix this is to go to Apply Template to Current View, scroll down to the View Template in question, and then uncheck the box at the bottom.  Then you have to click OK while on that View Template.  You can’t switch templates prior to clicking OK.  It will ignore it.

Because of this strangeness, we usually recommend creating a new view, applying the template with the unchecked box, then deleting that view.

Luckily, the overhaul in 2013 made this checkbox go away.  I know we are still doing a lot of projects in Revit versions prior to 2013; I bet we are not alone in this.  So, hope this helps, and pay attention to what you are clicking next time!

You Know What I Would Love?

I would really like to be able to “convert” a view to a drafting view.  I could totally use this with some 3D views we have of mock up panels from one project that we want in another project, but we don’t want the mock up panel itself (because where would it go?  And don’t tell me another phase.  That’s a waste).

We have been exporting to DWG to get it 2D, then reimporting into a new blank project, then spending hours cleaning it up so it doesn’t corrupt the main model, then copying THOSE drafting views into the model.

You know how much easier it would be to just right-click, Duplicate View, Duplicate as Drafting View?  That would be SO easy and SO cool.

And more importantly, it would be one less thing I have to do in Autocrap.  I barely even know how to open that software anymore.  It’s dead to me.  Like Crocs.

God, I hate Crocs.

Hide Element In Linked File

You know how you have that linked model, and there’s that one pesky element that you don’t want to see.  Ever?  Just like you can hide individual elements in your model, you can do the same to elements in a linked model.  Mostly.


The trick is getting it.  This is where you good friend TAB comes in.  Just TAB down to highlight the element, click to select it, then do the usual right-click to hide element in view.

What is that?  The option is grayed out?  Well, here comes the aforementioned “mostly”.

If you have done any overrides to the model’s appearance on the Revit Links tab of Visbility Graphics, you lose the ability to hide individual elements.  It all has to be “By Host View” to allow that.

Revit Keyplans – Can I Make This Any More Difficult?

Keyplans are one of those functions that I hope and hope and hope one day will have an easy way to get working in my project.

Right now, we have an 8 step procedure that we try to teach people how to use.  “8 steps,” I hear you saying, “That’s not bad.”  Except that each steps seems crazier than the last, and it involves multiple pieces of software, and the ability to edit families and understand parameters.  These are not easy Revit tasks, and the more I can keep our typical user away from them, the happier I am, but if I don’t show them how to make keyplans, then I have to make them, and that would mean less napping and looking at cats on the Internet!

Basically, our mess involves exporting the plan to DWG, tracing it to get the simple shapes, importing those shapes into a new Revit family, adding filled regions and text, making parameters to control the visibilty of the filled regions and text, putting THAT family into the border family, making parameters in the border family to talk to the plan family, then re-importing the border back into the project.

Still with me?

There are plenty of stops along that wild ride that you could do something different, but ultimately, to get the flexibility we need, the number of steps stays pretty consistent.

I don’t even know how a better tool would work.  Maybe some kind of Area Plan that can live on multiple sheets.  Maybe a view that has a designated area on the border.  Who knows.  All I know is, whenever someone asks me how to make a keyplan for their project, I hit the MUTE button on the phone, let out a deep sigh, and then tell them how to do it.

Then I get angry because I forgot to UNMUTE the phone first.

If someone has a nice easy way of Keyplans, I would love to hear it.


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