Linking Excel Data Into Navisworks – Part 2 Exporting Data

The first article in this series got us through the potentially confusing steps of selecting items in our Navisworks file based on Revit criteria. Now that we have our items selected (either from the Set we made or just because we have them selected) we are ready to move on to the next step; selecting the data to export and exporting it.

Confirming that you have the correct items selected in your Selection Tree, we need to now open up the Selection Inspector. You can right-click on a selected item in the Selection Tree and click “Selection Inspector…” or go to the Home tab and click the little button for it on the Select & Search panel.

There it is! Tiny little button...
There it is! Tiny little button…

Opening the Selection Inspector shows me a preview list of the data I am going to export. By default, Navisworks lists out the Item Name and the Item Type. That’s good information to have, but to be able to correctly export data and attach it to specific individual items, I need a piece of information that is unique to each element. And looking over this list it’s clear there is a lot of overlap in the data.

Nothing unique about each row
Nothing unique about each row

I have a couple options here to find something unique. I can get the Revit Element ID which is a unique number that Revit uses to keep track of these things, or I can use the unique number that Navisworks assigns to each element, the GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier). In this case, I am going to export both so you can see how they get added. I only need one ultimately to be able to match the updated data in my Excel with the original item in my Navisworks file.

Clicking the “Quick Properties Definition…” takes me to the Options page that lists out what properties the Selection Inspector refers to. The defaults are Item / Name and Item / Type. Remember that the Navisworks category is essentially the name of the property tab for the item, so if I need to double check the category and the property, I can just select one of the items I am going to export, and look at the tab name and the property name.

For the Navisworks GUID, that’s under Item, and the property is GUID. The Revit Element ID is on the Element tab and the property is ID. So in the dialog box, I click the green plus sign twice to add two more rows and then change the dropdowns as necessary. As soon as I do this I can see the Selection Inspector updating it’s preview to show me the new data.

Since I am working with doors in this example, I probably want the door number as well, to make it easier for me to reference the right door when I am adding the hardware and locking information. That is also Revit information, and it is stored in the Mark property. So I add another row and set the Category and Property to match those.

The new Quick Properties Definitions list
The new Quick Properties Definitions list

And then clicking OK commits those changes to the data listed in the table.

Selection inspector with unique identifiers
Selection inspector with unique identifiers

I can repeat the process and add more columns of data. What I need to remember, however, that once I export this data, I cannot change it in Excel and then re-import. This information “lives” in the appended model, not in the Navisworks file. This process can only be used to add more properties to my items, not change information in them. For that I need to go back to the original authoring tool, in this case Revit.

Now that everything looks good I click the Export button (in the upper right) and select Export CSV… and then save my .CSV file where I need it. I called mine “hardware.csv”. The name is not that critical but common sense rules should apply.

Export CSV
Export CSV

This is the file we will be adding our new data to in the next post. You need to keep in mind that once I exported the .CSV file, the information in that file is now completely detached from the data in my Navisworks model: it is a snapshot in time. SO any updates that are made to the data in the Navisworks model after this export will not be reflected in this .CSV file. I will need to generate another one whenever any changes are made to the appended files.

Stay tuned for Part 3! We will crack open the new .CSV file, add some data and talk about some good tweaks to make to what’s in there already.

Advertisements