Category: Revit Rant

Me blowing off some steam about software that I promise I actually do like.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Seriously, Phases?

The subscription prices may seem pretty high, but I do find real change with each release of Revit.  I may not like the priority they are giving to some thing, but I can honestly say that work does get done every year on the software, and they make strides.  Even if some of those strides are confusing and weird (I’m looking at you, Materials).

Now, I have been using the software for over half a decade now.  For as long as I remember, Phases and more specifically, Phase Overrides have always been handled the same way.  You want phased elements to look different?  Use the Override.  You want them to look different in a different view?  Tough.  Every override is the same in each view.

My friends, it is time for Phase Filters and the Phase Graphic Overrides to get some well deserved attention.

Why in the world can I not control the appearance of elements based on their phase in my usual View Filter?  It makes so much sense there!  But you can’t even access the parameters associated with phases.  It’s like they… don’t exist…

I’m not even saying to change the entire phase system.  The idea is sound and works about as well as it can, except for those stupid filters and overrides.  Phase appearance should be controllable just like any other parameter through my View Filters.  I think in the past, Revit was trying to be helpful and force some consistency, but now that I can lock down my View Templates, it’s time to let go.

And it only makes sense that the VG/VV window is your one stop shop for how this view looks different from the other view.  Let me control phase appearance there as well.  Don’t make me have to try to explain to someone how it works again.  I need a flowchart.  And it inevitably comes to blows (we are very passionate about our design software around here).

Granted, it’s not every view that needs to look different in terms of phases… demo is dashed… existing is light… new work is dark… MOST OF THE TIME.  On each project there are one or two views, especially with more than one discipline, that needs to have the appearance of existing elements look just a little different, or maybe the scale is so small that the override line weight makes the lines get lost, so for this one view I would like to use a heavier line but the same line style, I don’t want to change the lineweight for all the views, but with the current implementation, I am forced to.

All I’m saying is, open up those parameters to the View Filters.  Set them free!!

View Template and Schedule Hiccup

I think we might have stumbled across an issue in 2013 with the (much improved*) View Templates.  Can’t find anything else on it, so I thought I would throw it out here and see who else has seen this or can replicate it.

It goes down like this:  You create a schedule.  You tweak that schedule’s appearance.  You decide that you want to create a View Template based on this schedule’s appearance.  Later on, you and that schedule have had a disagreement, so you decide to delete it.  Hey, remember those View Templates we made based on that schedule?  When you go to delete it, Revit tells you that it is going to delete them.  And then it does.  Poof.  Gone.  Any schedule that had that View Template assigned is now set to NONE.  On top of that, any View Template that was copied from the prior ones are “linked” as well, so this could be pretty disruptive to your schedule View Templates.

Wait.  I didn't want to delete you!
Wait. I didn’t want to delete you!

I tried this out with a couple other view types, and did not have this problem at all.  I tried it in our Project Template and the “none” Project Template and had the same issue.  I think it’s a bug, but am curious if anyone else has seen it or could reproduce it.  At any rate, heads up.

*You thought I was going to be sarcastic down here, didn’t you?  Seriously.  I love the new View Templates and how they work.  I know there are some haters out there, but this is how they should have worked all along.