Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Ceiling Hatch Pattern Lineweights

My mind has just been blown. I just learnt that the line weight of ceiling hatch patterns is actually derived from Pen #2 on the Revit line weight table, not Pen #1!!
You can see this in the image below. I have deliberately changed Pen #2 to 0.70mm to demonstrate the change. 

My line weight table in my template has Pen #1 set to 0.10mm and Pen #2 is set to 0.15mm. They are very close in weight so I never actually noticed this in ceilings.
Whilst I don't see the need to immediately change my template, it is certainly interesting. 

If you didn't already know, all hatch patterns in model object surface & cut patterns default to Pen #1. You cannot change this, it is hard coded into Revit. So, I have always left Pen #1 alone and started my pen weights at Pen #2. However, now learning that ceiling patterns are also hard coded, perhaps it is better to start your pen weights at Pen #3?? Hmmmm...

Revit Groups - Everything You Should Know

There has been a thread going on at the RevitForum since 2012 titled 'Best Practices for Groups In High-rise Tower Models'
There is some really valuable information that can be found throughout the thread from some very skilled Revit users. 
It was updated a few weeks ago with a fairly lengthy summary (see page 3) of those best practice tips. It is certainly worth a read. Even if you aren't working on high-rise models, there are things in this list every Revit user should be aware of when using groups. 

I really hope Autodesk are paying attention to this thread as well, because moving forward with development, some of these issues in my opinion need to be high on the list to fix.

You can find more information on groups from Ceilidh Higgins who did a talk at RTC Aus 2014 titled 'Get Your Groupon'. Aaron Maller also did a session at the same RTC, which I attended titled 'Abusing Groups in Revit'. A lot of what is covered in these handouts is mentioned in the RevitForum thread.

I will update this post if I come across further information about groups in the future.  

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Room Volume Not Computed

I was working with room volumes today and in creating my room schedule I noticed the words 'Not Computed' in the volume cell. I hadn't seen this message before, so I did a quick search and realised I had not turned on volume calculations.

By default Revit has this turned off for performance reasons. It's an easy enough fix, simply go to the 'Area & Volume' Computations dialog. It can be found on the 'Architecture' Ribbon on the 'Room & Area' Panel. Click the drop down menu and select 'Area & Volume Computations'. 

Now switch on Volume calculations by clicking the radio button. 
Now the volume displays in the schedule.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Number of Revisions on Your Titleblock

There was a question on the community forum recently asking how to show only the last 3 revisions in a revision table on your titleblock. This is certainly a good one to know, so I thought I would demonstrate the steps here.

As the project moves through milestones, we ultimately need to issue drawings to the relevant consultants and various clients to seek approval and or comments for changes & coordination. Sometimes, the number of revisions can get lengthy. In Revit we mark sheets with revisions using the Revisions tool found under the 'View Ribbon' on the 'Sheet Composition' panel.

For the purpose of this example, I have created 6no. revisions for the project.

By default, when inserting a revision table into your titleblock, it is set to 'variable', meaning the size of the schedule will be controlled by how many revisions there are. In my mock example, we see the 6 revisions showing on my titleblock, A to F. 

If there were 10 revisions, it would show all 10. However, what if your limited for space on your titleblock? What if you only want to see for example, the last 3 revisions on the table?

Start by editing your titleblock family. Select the revision table in the family and edit the appearance. You are looking for 'Height' and by default it is set to 'Variable'. Change this to 'User defined' and click OK. 

Now, when you select the revision table in the family, you will have a control point you can move up and down. In this example, I have reduced the revision table to 3 rows high. Save & Load the titleblock back into your project. 

You will now notice in my example that the revision table on my titleblock is only showing the last 3 revisions D, E & F. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

What is Dynamo?

At the beginning of the year I mentioned that Revit Link was going to see some posts in 2016 on Dynamo! Well I am keeping my word and this will be my first post about Dynamo. 

What is Dynamo?
I have taken the following explanation from

"Dynamo is a visual programming tool that aims to be accessible to both non-programmers and programmers alike. It gives users the ability to visually script behaviour, define custom pieces of logic, and script using various textual programming languages".

This is the best bit about Dynamo, you don't have to be a programmer to use it because you don't deal with programming code as such, you are really just connecting 'nodes' together to create a visual program or algorithm. (You will hear a lot about the 'python' programming language, but you don't have to know this to use dynamo).

Dynamo programs can be used to do things like create geometry, manipulate data, & automate processes straight into Revit.

Pictures can be worth a thousand words, so here is a very simple example where I have created geometry in Dynamo, and that data has been passed into Revit to create the model line circle you see in the Revit environment.

In this second example, I have modified the 'Comments' parameter of this chair using Dynamo.

These examples are just to illustrate some basic function of Dynamo. If you are thinking, I don't really have a use for Dynamo, think again. For example, if you were to take the concept of the second example further, we used it to set all the parameters in our sheets prior to construction issue of our drawings. Instead of going sheet by sheet and ticking yes/no boxes for various drawing stamps to appear, we ran a dynamo program instead that modified all the parameters for over a 100 sheets in just a few seconds.
Have you ever wanted to delete all those 'IMPORT' line patterns that show up in Revit? There can be hundreds of them and it could take hours to delete them all. Well using Dynamo, you can delete them all with a single click! Does your office use an excel style drawing register/transmittal? How about transferring your Excel drawing register into Revit AND create all the sheets too?! No problem!
There are many practical uses for Dynamo to help us tackle the repetitive tasks we deal with on a daily basis. It is these practical uses that will be the focus of my learning.

Computational design is also something Dynamo does very well and you can visit the gallery at the dynamobim website to see how others have used it to facilitate their design outcomes.
Dynamo can also be run as standalone software known as Dynamo Studio. It is the plug-in version for Revit, I will be concentrating on for all my posts.

If you are getting started, then is your best place to visit. This website is dedicated to the software and is packed full of information for beginners as well as community forums so you can ask questions as you go. You can download the software here as well. There is also a twitter account #dynamoBIM & a Facebook account too! 

One last thought. As I write this post, the latest release of Dynamo is at version 0.9.1. Yes, you read that correctly, version 1.0 hasn't even been released yet!! So if this is what Dynamo can do now, imagine how powerful this tool will be in years to come. I started using AutoCAD at release 15.0 and I first learnt Revit at release 6.1, so I very much look forward to learning something that is still in the very early stages of its life.

I am only new to this, I would barely classify myself as a novice, but I am slowly getting there and I look forward to sharing what I learn! 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


This week I reached over 3000 site visits!! As I write this, we are currently at 3014!! 

A HUGE THANKS to all my readers and friends who support this blog! It's nice to know I am writing about things that users find helpful! I had to look it up when I wrote my first post, it dates back to June 2014, not that long ago. I started this blog because I wanted somewhere I could record everything I was learning about Revit & the technology that impacts our industry.

Before creating Revit Link, I took notes in a digital 'Revit Bible' (it was a word doc on dropbox) that had years worth of notes, troubleshooting explanations and thoughts I had about Revit & documentation workflows. It was a digital upgrade of my previous AutoCAD bible! (An A5 notepad I kept on my desk at work).

They were my go to references when training or just trying to remember something myself. Then as more and more of my friends started using Revit and I started teaching at University, I realised life would be much easier if it was all online for others to see! (I still have my Revit bible for bits and pieces, although now I use Evernote).

I didn't post often to begin with, old habits I guess, which makes this milestone even greater for me personally, as a massive 75% of those site visits have come in only the past 7 months! With many visits a month now, I will do my best to keep bringing you new discoveries & the basic fundamentals about Revit! 

Thanks again for reading!! 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Revit Updates Released

The Revit Clinic posted notice of updates available for Revit a few days ago. You should get a pop up from the Autodesk Application Manager, but if not, check it out in your windows notification bar (near the clock).

Revit 2015 Update Release 13 and Revit 2016 R2 Update 3 have both been released.

Just a reminder that any updates with 'R2' is referring to a subscription only update, & includes student licences.

As we pass the half way point of March we are also coming up to the release of Revit 2017!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Get Your Rooms On

I keep track of the rooms in the project regularly. They provide valuable information that contributes to the various room data schedules used for the project. Often, things like areas determine how we are going with budget & the client's brief, and so it is important they are correct. 

As the design evolves over time, sometimes we see these rooms can break, be doubled up or deleted. Keeping track of these changes in Revit is relatively straight forward if you turn on a few subcategories in the visibility graphics. They are often overlooked as they are never on by default. 

If you go to the visibility graphics, turn on subcategories 'Interior Fill' & 'Reference'. 

Now you will see the lines & colour display of the room extents. It also clearly highlights where rooms are missing & where spaces may be overlapping or double up of rooms being placed (indicated as darker shade of blue). 

I leave these subcategories on all the time in my working views and it helps a lot with quality control of the model data.  

We can also set-up a room schedules to identify suspect rooms. In the example below, we can see 3 things going on that need our attention. Room 2.16 is now redundant and may need to be deleted. Therefore room 2.17 should be renumbered. We can also see room 2.17 is 'Not Enclosed' meaning its boundary walls need our attention. 
We can see that room 2.09 has been created, but has not yet been placed within the project. This may have happened because a room list was created by the model manager prior to the rooms being placed by the team. More often though, this is the result of a room being placed and then subsequently deleted during redesign, but was never reassigned to a space.

Finally, its important to remember, that you cannot delete a room from the model floor plans. Rooms can only be deleted from the project via schedules. Revit reminds us of this when we delete rooms from the plans via a pop-up warning...

To delete a room from the project, simply select the room in the schedule and from the ribbon, click Delete.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Revit Text Leader Not Displaying

The other day my text leaders weren't showing up while I was typing my notes. I could type the text note, but the leader and text would only appear after I finished placing the text object.

At first I thought it was a graphical glitch. So I closed Revit and Re-opened. Same problem. So I restarted my computer. Same problem. Opened the project on another computer, same problem!

I was intrigued! This was my kind of puzzle. 

After a little searching and a whole lot of head scratching, it turned out to be a 'face palm' moment, when I realised the workset I was working on, was set to not be 'visible in all views' (it wasn't supposed to be!)

What puzzled me about this problem was that, whilst I knew text objects were automatically given a 'view' workset in Revit, I never noticed that initially, those text objects & the leader seem to respect the current 'user' created workset settings while they are being made. Interesting? I thought so. 

Once the text is finally placed, it takes on the uneditable 'view' workset that Revit automatically assigns.

This eventually led to a team members guilty confession and highlights the importance of communicating with your team, especially when it comes to global changes in the model.

If you do need to temporarily hide worksets in views, use the Temporary View Properties. You can read more about it here

Finally, it is worth mentioning that, despite the 'visible in all views' being unticked in the worksets dialog, if you have another Visibility Graphics settings showing the workset, then you will not encounter this problem.

Revit Level Heads

Among the many annotation families that we update from the out of the box settings in Revit, one of the first is the Level Head for our elevation & section views.
Those changes may include a prefix in front of the level, we may make the text or triangle smaller, or change the symbol entirely. 

One common mistake I see with the editing of this family, is the placement of text objects in front of the level elevation. That prefix may be R.L., (Relative Level), S.S.L, (Structural Slab Level), F.F.L (Finished Floor Level) or here in Australia, sometimes A.H.D (Australian Height Datum).

The problem with placing a text object is that when the level head is used on the right side or left side of the drawing, the text you placed swaps sides! So then you end up creating a “left” & “right” level head to address the problem. This creates problems of its own though when setting up levels in views throughout the project. There is an easier way.

The solution is to use the PREFIX field for your elevation label. Here’s how:
1. Go to your project browser, under families find the name of your level head family, right click and Edit. (Note: You can identify the name of the family being used by selecting a level in the project and clicking Edit Type for your level head, look under the Type Properties for 'Symbol')
2. Select the Elevation label in the family
Type your desired prefix & include a [SPACE] (In this example we will use 'R.L.')

4. Set the units. Click the little # icon with the hand, then untick ‘Use Project Settings’ 
(I always set units to Meters, with rounding set to 3 decimal places)

5. Click OK, and make any other text style & justification changes you wish.
To change the size of the triangle, go to the Family Types Properties or change the symbol entirely

Load the family back into the project.
Test it! Create a level and click both left & right symbol boxes.

You're done! Isn’t it pretty!?

After Loading your Level Head Family (Configure Type Properties):

1. Select the Level & edit the Type Properties  
2. Select the Project Base Level: Project Base Point or Survey Point. See Below for more information.
(As a general rule of thumb, I typically have only one type in a project).

3. You can also change your line pattern, colour and line weight here.
4. Work out if you prefer “symbol at End 1 or 2”.
(Test this on screen. It determines if you see the level head on the first click, or second click when placing your levels. I typically go with End 2 only, you may want both, the choice is yours! Careful! This setting will change existing levels already in the project.)

Project Base Level vs Survey Point Level

I have previously posted about understanding the coordinate system in Revit here. It can be a bit confusing at first, but the Autodesk University video in this post, I think does a good job of clearly explaining it all. I find in most projects I work on, we are using shared coordinates & survey points. The exception may be on smaller projects.

You can also see these Autodesk knowledge explanations