My Revit Confession

I have a terrible confession to make.

I have never used the Revit Keynotes tool.

Maybe that wasn’t so “terrible”.

When we first started looking at Revit, it was strongly recommended that we AVOID the Keynotes. And after reading the workflow, we decided that was good advice.

But I never tried it out myself. I’m kind of scared at this point.

And now, years later, I still have never used it. I understand they have made some improvements over the years, and have decided it is now time to dive in and try it out for myself.

There are many things that I have trouble doing (touching my toes, for instance) and forcing myself out of my fear-based practices is one of them.

We have been told that it is a MUCH better experience when you get a keynote manager add-in. Although a 10 second Google search shows there is mainly only one player in that space. Oh! Maybe it’s time to dust off the old API and write something! Nah. Probably not.

So, wish me luck! I might come out the other side with a new found appreciation of an unused tool, or I might just get angry because I wasted two hours on something that still sucks!

Level and View Renaming

In your Revit model, the level is the key starting point. Everything, ultimately, relies on the level.

Floor plans and RCPs are directly associated with a specific level. You cannot have a plan without a level. And once a plan is tied to a level, it cannot be associated with any other level.

This tight integration between level and view also can cause the NAMES to be tightly integrated. By default, the name of the plan or RCP view for a level is the same as the actual level name. Renaming one can change the other. And this is precisely where you need to pay attention.

We all have gotten somewhat lax about reading the warnings that any software pops up, usually clicking YES or OK without thinking. In Revit, we need to read the pop ups. It is trying to tell us something and quite often, it is trying to tell us something important.

Would you like to rename corresponding views dialog box

When you rename a level, Revit will ask you if you want to rename the associated views. Likewise, when you rename a plan/RCP view, Revit will ask you if you want to rename the level. There is no set rule about clicking yes or no, the only rule is that you need to read what Revit is going to do and figure it out.

Example 1: you start a new model, and you rename the default “Level 1″ to “FIRST FLOOR”. Revit asks if you want to rename the associated views. Well, yeah, you probably do. It wouldn’t make sense for you to have your level be “FIRST FLOOR” but the associated plans be “Level 1″. So let Revit rename away.

Example 2: you have a model that you have been working on and you create a new floor plan to show the existing phase of FIRST FLOOR. You go to rename the view to “EXISTING FIRST FLOOR” and Revit asks you if you want to rename the level. In this case, no, because it would change the level name from “FIRST FLOOR” to “EXISTING FIRST FLOOR”, which in this model makes no sense for the levels.

So, the big rule is to read what Revit is telling you, and make a proper decision from that.

Revit RVA Presentation Last Night

Last night I was fortunate enough to do another presentation for our local Revit user group, Revit RVA. It was a quick 15 walk through of the day in the life of a Revit support guy. I hope folks got something out of it. Thought I would share one of the slides that shows a critical factor to getting through the day.


Quick Tip – Group Origin

So, you’ve created your group, and you are about to place an instance of it. You want to nudge it into the corner of the room, but the origin of the group is smack center in the group. So you place, then align, then align again. And you have to do this in each room. Too many clicks.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could move the origin of your group? Wouldn’t this be a bizarre article if you couldn’t?

So, to “slide” the origin, selec the group. You’ll see a half compass with X and Y on it. Just click and drag the “center” grip and move it to the new origin. That’s it. Your group has been updated and any new instance of that group you place will use that origin point.

Group origin

Uninstall All Autodesk Software

The instructions found on this blog saved me about 57 mouse clicks the other day. Maybe not 57 precisely, but a LOT OF CLICKING.

Basically you get into Windows WMIC and tell it to find all the software from the vendor “Autodesk” and remove it.

One tiny snag I hit was that it forced a reboot after one of the uninstalls. Just logged back in, ran the command again and voila! A ton of Autodesk software was gone!

Kudos and big thanks to the original author over at Prosoft.

Quick Tip – Align to Circle Center

Let’s say you need to align something to the center of a circle or arc or ellipse, or vice-versa, you need to align the center of a circle or arc or ellipse to something. When you are in the ALIGN tool and try mousing around the center, nothing shows up. You also cannot override your snaps to find it!

Calm down! It’s gonna be OK. Select that circle (or arc or ellipse) and check out its Properties. See that parameter? CENTER MARK VISIBLE.

Center Mark Visible parameter

Check that box!

Turn that guy on, and then you can align to it!

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.