Weird Walls: Depth, Height, and Function

Put this in the category of “The Missing Revit Manual” in the same chapter as “View Discipline“.

Turns out, Wall Function isn’t just an extra parameter to filter by. We just came across this one. When you change the Wall Function to FOUNDATION, it forces the placement of those wall types to be “Depth” and not “Height”.

Did you even know that was a thing? I would say that 99.99% of the time when a wall is placed, it is assumed to go in the positive Z direction, or in other terms, “up”. The good old Options Bar lets you change the placement from “Height” to “Depth” meaning you can make your wall go “down”. Who changes this? Does anyone ever change this?

You didn't even know it was there, did you?

You didn’t even know it was there, did you?

Anyway, if you change your Wall Function to “Foundation”, you can ONLY use “Depth” which can cause some hilarious errors as you place a wall.

I am confident some of you knew this already, but it’s news to me and it was news to everyone who I talked to in real life (or “offline” as the kids say… they don’t really say that).

The HELP file has nothing that lays out what specifically happens when you change the Wall Function. I guess it’s time to dive in and see what else might change when we adjust that previously-thought-innocuous parameter.

Revit RVA Presentation

Had a great time presenting at Revit RVA last night. Gave a quick chat on Plug-Ins 101. Despite going over my time, I think it went OK.

Got a few chuckles at the below slide, warning folks that I could sometimes dial the Nerd Level up to 11, but would try to avoid to. I think we only hit 6 or 7.

Nerd Level 11

Revit 2015 Update 2 – This Isn’t Confusing At All

Autodesk recently released Revit 2015 “R2″ for subscription customers (sorry people who don’t like to write a check every year!) and while it has some nice features that I am looking forward to, the versioning of Revit 2015 to this point has become almost labyrinthine.

In the beginning…

First, there was Revit 2015. Makes sense, easy to remember.

Then we had Update Release 1. OK, I’m with you. Then Update Release 2, which was the “Security Update” because of Heartbleed.

It’s usually around this time that I start looking at creating my deployment. Hooray! Update Release 3! But when I add it to the deployment under Service Packs, it’s called “Revit 2015 Version 4″ there. Um, OK. I’ll play along.

And now we have R2 (their words). And when I apply that to the deployment, it’s called “Revit 2015 Version 5″ and after it gets installed, if you look at HELP > ABOUT, the version says “Update Release 4″.

Nice and consistent.

Don’t Forget – Schedule Text Styles Cheat

When is a Text Type not really a Type?

Sorry, bad riddle. This is one of those stupid seemingly insignificant inconsistencies within Revit that I 1) forget about after a few weeks and 2) when I remember I scratch my head and say “Really?”

I love View Templates. The new ones that actually do what they should do. Not the old passive ones. It helps keeps documents in line and looking sharp.

Did you know you can assign a View Template to a Schedule?  You can. Pretty smart that you can set some line weight and gridline and text settings. Well, mostly.


Turns out the Text Type that you assign to Title Text and Header Text and Body Text gets about 90% of the settings pushed through.

For some reason, the schedules have decided to ignore the Width Factor from the Type. It just leaves it at 1.

I know a lot of firms that like to squeeze info on there and have dialed their width factor down to .9. I know a couple that like to play with fire and have set it at .8! The maniacs!

Below is a screen grab showing simple annotation text on the top and to the right and the same word from a schedule; all three are using the same Text Type.

But... but... it's the same thing!

Whatever your level of text shrinkage, the schedules don’t care. This frustrates me. It poo-poos all over the idea of a View Template and leads to head scratching. I am already losing my hair, I don’t need bizarre incongruities like this leading to more hair loss.

Be the Miracle Worker

I want to preface this by saying that I never lie to end users. But here’s some advice that I’ve picked up over my almost two decades of doing this: sometimes you have to keep the magic alive.

If you are general IT support, or if you are specifically BIM support, it often helps when folks pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. This might seem deceitful, and a good argument could be made that it is, but on a practical level you often have a fix for something that on the surface seems really easy, but you know from experience that there’s that one step that people always miss and then they are just going to call you anyway, doubling the time it would have taken to fix it.

So, sometimes, I don’t offer up the information about how I did something. If they ask I would tell them, but I try to be a little obtuse. And this is a tricky line to know when you need to hang onto certain tasks and what tasks you can safely give away. And it might vary per user too, it’s your tricky job to be able to know what to dole out to whom.

As an example, I had a user today ask me about a particularly slow model. The file was tiny (Revit speaking) and there was no reason for it to be so slow. I made a detached copy and did a couple first run fixes, figuring out that a simple Save As made the darn thing pretty zippy. So, I had my fix.

Saving a new copy of a Central File successfully has a lot of steps, and I wasn’t sure about the experience level of some of the users involved. So, instead of simply saying “Go ahead and just save as a new copy,” I said, “let me try a few things.” Innocent, true, and implies that this is a tricky IT task that requires a hydro-spanner and possibly a flux capacitor.

In the “First Word of STAR” universes, I fall way more in the camp of “Wars” than “Trek”, but I am often reminded of a quote from Mr. Spock in The Wrath of Khan:

Saavik: You lied.

Spock: I exaggerated.

And that’s how it goes. I took the numerous steps to make sure everyone had synced, verified no one was accessing the central file on the server via Windows management, opened a detached copy while maintaining worksets, renamed the original’s extension (just in case), moved the backup folder for the “old” central file, saved the “new” model in the same place with the same name as the old one, then did one last sync to relinquish everything. Then I told everyone to get a new local.

Simple, easy steps, but enough little steps that someone could easily miss. Especially that last sync. That seems to be the one that throws people off.

And guess what? The file opened way faster after that.

So just keep in mind that another part of your job, one that isn’t written down anywhere, is to know when to let someone in on the secret and when to keep the secret to yourself.


Don’t Forget You Can Search!

Another one slips through the cracks or user’s minds. Again, funny what gets forgotten or overlooked through the years. It’s critical for trainers to not only teach new features and procedures, but also remind folks of lesser used but critical functions.. and sometimes it’s not a reminder at all.

You probably have a HUGE model with a TON of stuff in it (or even a TONNE of stuff, depending if you work in metric) and sometimes you load in a family or have a view and you just can’t find it.

Do you remember what it’s called, or even part of its name? You’re in luck!

Right-click on anything in the project browser and you get an option at the bottom of the context window to Search…


Type in part of the name of what you are looking for and it will go thru the entire model and find views, schedules, families, etc that match up with that phrase. It will NOT start over at the top, so start your search as high up as you need to.

More Workspace Fun

Thought I would drop an update on my growing collection of Lego Architecture sets. Added a couple more over the last few years and had to spread out the space. It’s kind of meditative for me to dive into a model. And they ALWAYS have all the pieces. Sometimes I think it’s not there, but it is.