Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Revit Deployments

Preparing and installing another Revit deployment today reminded me just how much easier it is rolling out a Revit version update over an AutoCAD version update.

I always liked to rebuild the CUIx files for AutoCAD. Each new release always had something new and the office I worked for had there own custom toolbars, settings, Autolisp routines & menus. The major issue with AutoCAD was the unknown instability of the CUIx files which made it more difficult to upgrade, sometimes packing it in and not upgrading at all. Yes, I am thinking of you A2009!  

Revit though has no complicated menu system. Majority of the time setting up a Revit.ini file is all you need. Include a custom 'ini' file as part of your deployment plus a few of your favourite add-ins and your good to go. 

If you haven't setup a deployment before, take a look into it, it will be worth the time. To setup a deployment run the installation as per usual but when prompted to install, look to the left of the splash page and you will have an option to create a deployment. Select this and follow the prompts. When choosing your software, click the drop arrow under 'Revit' and scroll down to find 'custom Revit.ini file'. 
Navigate to a shared location where you have saved the file and select this. When Revit deploys onto a computer, it will use the custom Revit.ini file as a start point. Users can then manipulate the Revit options; such as graphic display to their own tastes later. 

For more information on the Revit.ini file visit the following links..
If messing with the Revit.ini file sounds a bit daunting, keep it simple. Rather than editing the notepad file directly, install the software on a computer then open Revit and go to options. Now simply configure the settings how you would like them, including typical folder paths, places etc. Once your finished, close Revit and navigate to the following directory:

C:\Users\<YOUR USER NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2015

Copy the Revit.ini file located here, to a new location and your set to go. 

Choose a silent deployment and select to create a log file in case anything goes wrong, it will help you diagnose the problem. Nominate the custom Revit.Ini file you created & also check to include latest updates. Revit will download these and include them as part of the deployment file. Ensure you nominate to save the deployment file in a shared location that all computers in the office can access. There is also an additional software section where you can nominate any add-ins you may use such a Revit E-transmit. (If you are on subscription, you can download Revit E-transmit from the subscription centre). 

Once the deployment is created and saved in a shared location, simply go to each computer and run the deployment. You have already entered the serial & key when creating the deployment initially (and setup network licencing if any) so you won't be prompted for any of this again. 

Good luck and if you get stuck, there are plenty of resources on the web to assist you. Enquire with your reseller too as they may even be able to talk you through setting up your deployment. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Categories - Structural Columns

Today I came across a problem with an elevation view. A colleague of mine had an in-place family representative of a series of existing walls. (Not how I would recommend normally doing it, but beside the point). They then created a joinery family (aka casework) and placed it within the perimeter of those existing walls. So far so good. An elevation was created to look at the front of the joinery but instead of seeing joinery, we only saw walls.  

(Note: I created a very simple example recreating the problem)
The elevation shown in front of the joinery, surrounded by an in-place family of walls.

The resulting elevation above. No joinery can be seen here.

So I started my usual process of elimination, starting with checking where the elevation line was, view extents, visibility graphics, filters, etc etc. 

I finally noticed when selecting the in-place family (representative of the existing walls), the category assigned wasn't in-fact 'Walls'. It was 'Structural Columns'. Ah huh! So we updated the category to walls and there appeared our joinery in the view! 
The view with the in-place family category set to 'Walls'.

Just another thing to add to our list of things to check when troubleshooting. Worth noting this difference in behaviour between the categories too.

Family Party Trick

I discovered a little party trick the other day reading through some forum posts. You may have come across a warning message about not being able to copy in-place families into family files. The warning says something along the lines of; you cannot copy project elements into a family environment. 

Well, if you edit the in-place family in the project and now copy the in-place family, you will be allowed to paste this into a family file. Nice. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Selection Toggles

In Revit 2014 we were introduced to a number of new buttons in the lower right corner of the Revit interface. In order from left to right they are; Select links, select underlay elements, select pinned elements, select elements by face, drag elements on selection. (This last one was in previous versions)

I personally love these new tools as they give us more control in cleaning up what we can and can’t select whilst working, in what can sometimes be a complex and busy environment. 

So cross the ‘select elements by face’ and you will no longer be inadvertently selecting those floors in the middle of the plan. Have some pinned objects you don’t want to be able to select? Cross ‘select pinned elements’. In Revit, when underlays are turned on, they can be edited, which has its positive, but most of the time we use to gauge what is happening above and below. So cross ‘select underlay elements’ and they will no longer be part of your selections. Now it is a true ghost without the ability to select it.

I would recommend crossing all of these and toggling them on as you need them.

Quick tip....  I ALWAYS recommend every user (experienced or not) have ‘drag elements on selection’ crossed. In our haste movement of cursor selection, accidently clicking and dragging (in one motion) a wall a short distance when you don’t want to, then waiting for Revit to throw you a bunch of warnings about how bad this was and how this results in clashes, unjoining, joining, rooms breaking etc etc, it’s a simpler life to have this ability simply turned off at all times. 
The resulting behaviour of this is you must select the object first, then move it.
(I wish windows explorer had this feature! Accidently dragging folders into others is so annoying isn’t it!)

So introduce your team to these new tools, they really do make life that little bit easier and clearer.