Sunday, 29 January 2017

Installing Revit 2017, Service Packs & Insight 360

**Updated 1/02/2017
Teaching semester is going to start soon and students will be using Revit 2017. There have been a number of updates & hot fixes since 2017 was released in April last year so I thought I would consolidate what you need to do and where you need to go to get the latest.

Revit 2017
2. Select 'Free Education Software' 
3. Search for, download & install Revit 2017 using your student ID. 

Service Packs
There have been 2 service packs released. You will only need to install Service Pack 2 as this includes Service Pack 1 updates. 
1. Click Here to go directly to the Service Pack 2 web page. 
2. Scroll down the page and click the execution file as shown in the image below.

**So on the day this was posted Revit 2017.2 was released! Reading the release notes, 2017.2 "contains the fixes included in previous Autodesk Revit 2017 patches". Therefore, I have removed previously posted links for 2017.1 & the UK terminology hotfix now included in 2017.2. If you still require these links, visit previous posts here & here

Revit 2017.2
Direct download Link is HEREThis will automatically start downloading the update. 
The file is Approximately 475mb in size. 

More information on 2017.1 & 2017.2 including new features:
To confirm you have installed all service packs correctly, open Revit and check the version number. 
To do so, click the drop down arrow next to the help icon and select 'About Autodesk Revit 2017.2'. 
The release number should be: 20170118_1100

Insight 360 Plugin
Download the latest Insight 360 plugin HERE. For more information, visit my previous post

Content Libraries & Templates Missing
If after installation, you realise you are missing content libraries & default templates, visit this Autodesk Knowledge Network Link to install content. 

That's it, you're all done! 

As always, I encourage users to download Revit addins. For some recommendations visit my previous posts:
At the time of writing, the latest Dynamo update was version 1.2.1. To install the latest version visit the DynamoBIM website HERE.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Repost: Scaling Revit Families Nested in Curtain Panel Patterns

Great post at the Revit Cat by Tim Waldock going all the way back to 2013! It describes how to create a curtain panel that can be trimmed when used on irregular shapes. I wasn't aware of this little trick until recently. I am sure past students will see this and think "so that's how you do it!"

Visit the blog post here.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Revit User Interface: The Filters Dialog Box

I am not sure I could model without filters. How do Revit LT users work without them? (Revit LT doesn't have filters). As good as filters are, there is certainly room for improvement. For example, do we really need the 'Add Filters' dialog box you see when you access filters through the visibility graphics? To add a newly created filter to the visibility graphics, you click 'add', then you have to click Edit/New to actually create the new filter. So you create your filter, go back to the 'Add Filter' dialog box, find the new filter in the list and click 'add'. It's just not as simple as it could be. The separate Edit/New button in the visibility graphics dialog box is even more useless.

So, it got me thinking, why don't I come up with my own?? Did you notice anything different about the filters dialog box in the image above? 

My Proposed New Filters Dialog Box Explained

A good interface is an intuitive interface. Relevant tool, all at your finger tips.
Revit suffers from too many hidden settings, behind layers & layers of dialog boxes. (Yes, stairs & railings, I am thinking of you!)
I kept this in mind when creating this new filters dialog box interface. The intention was not to redesign the style of the interface, but to simply add more functionality & tools I felt are relevant when using filters.

My Proposed Filters Dialog Box

1. Add Filter: As mentioned earlier, I have proposed to delete the little 'Add Filters' dialog box we get when working through the visibility graphics. This new icon adds the selected filter/s to the visibility graphics. It is only active when you access the filters via the visibility graphics.

2. Save Graphic Overrides: We have all wished for it. There are add-ins to help us with it. The ability to save the graphic overrides with the filter so when we apply it to a view, we don't have to manually match overrides with previously setup filters.
Click this new icon to open the 'Global Filter Graphics' [3]. Assign your overrides and they will save to the filter. When you add the filter to the visibility graphics, if there are overrides applied they will automatically populate. To easily identify which filters have global graphics saved to them I have borrowed something from the family environment when using instance parameters. When we assign an instance parameter in a family, we see the word '(default)' in the type settings, so we can easily identify instance parameters whilst building a family. In this case, we get the word '(graphics)'. 

3. Global Filter Graphics: You will recognise these tools from 'View-specific element graphics', We want consistency with familiar interfaces. This panel is a fly out panel, similar in operation to the view range or editing wall assembly dialog boxes. This fly out opens (if closed) when you press [2] Save Graphic Overides.

4. Reset: This is not a new button, but Reset will not only reset the overrides, but prompt you with a warning asking if you wish to 'reset' the overrides globally. If you click No, the overrides already applied in other views will remain, but no longer be controlled globally throughout the model.

5. Show / Hide Graphics Panel: A simple button to open or close the Global Filter Graphics.

6. Add Filter to selected View Templates: Sometimes we have to create a new filter that we would like to apply to multiple view templates. After creating the filter, this icon opens the View Templates dialog box, allowing you to select one or multiple view templates to apply the new filter to. 

7. Find views with the selected filter:  Click this icon to get a simple panel listing all the views your filter belongs too. The panel looks exactly the same as the 'Go To View' panel we get when using the 'Find Referring Views' tool. The same function is also available, select a view and click 'Open View'. 

8. Show All Categories. In my opinion, when you open the filters dialog and select a filter, you want to see everything that makes up that filter. At the moment Revit requires you to select 'Hide un-checked categories' if you want to see which categories the filter applies too. To me, this is backwards, I want to see the categories that apply to the filter first. If I want to choose additional ones I select 'Show all categories'. When creating a new filter, Show all categories is automatically ticked.

9. Help: You may have noticed I have removed the text at the top of this section of the palette. I think the first time I read that sentence of text was when I wrote this blog! So whilst I think it is important, it is only relevant to beginners, once you know it, you never read it again. I have therefore removed it and in its place added what I think should be in many areas of Revit, a help icon for users. It will provide a short-cut to the knowledge network page on creating filters. 

10. Width of the categories window: This has been increased to remove the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom. I don't like horizontal scroll bars in dialog boxes. Just make it wider so we can see everything. Thank you. 

11. Invert button. Consistency, it's one thing that lacks a little in Revit in my opinion. For example, visibility graphics and object styles have 'Check All' & 'Check None' buttons, next to these is an 'Invert' button, so why not in filters? Added.  

12. Discipline Filter Checkboxes: We want quick and easy tools that aren't hidden. A drop down menu hides items. In my dialog, I want to easily see and filter my categories list. So I have brought them to the front so we can quickly use them. 

13. Select all categories with parameter: Sometimes we want to create a filter that applies to all categories. The problem is you can't just select all categories in the list because then the parameter you want, won't display due to some categories not containing that parameter. The work around has been to select one category, then select the parameter you want, then check remaining categories. Every time you check a category without the parameter, you get this warning:

This subtly indicates the category doesn't hold the selected parameter, so you skip it.
I want to make this process more intuitive. So I have created a check box for 'Select all categories with parameter'. This allows you to select a parameter you wish to filter by, then if you tick 'Select all categories with parameter' it will automatically search the categories in the list and select them for you if the parameter is available. Simple & fast.

14. And / Or function: This needs little explanation, we all know what it does and we all want it. It is probably the longest unanswered wish list item of all time. Finally with the Revit Ideas forum Autodesk have listened and we will hopefully get an 'Or' function in the near future. 

So that's it, that is my proposed filters dialog box. What do you think? Did I miss something you would like to add? Feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments! 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

'Cuttable & Non-cuttable' Families in Revit

The issue of 'cuttable' families came up again today. It's often a confusing topic of discussion and trying to explain why some categories are different to others is never a convincing argument. I posted an idea about it at the Autodesk 'Revit Ideas' Forum recently. 

The purpose of this post though, was to link you to a number of blog posts Luke Johnson from 'What Revit Wants' has written about cuttable vs non-cuttable families and expected behaviour. It may help you troubleshoot problems on the subject. Luke has also prepared an open source google spreadsheet capturing the unique properties of all the categories. 

It can all be found HERE.

Thanks Luke!!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Revit Callouts - 'Far Clip Setting'

Do you ever adjust the callout view depth? Did know you could? 
When you create a section, we can adjust the view extents, that is, how far the section or elevation view looks into the model. When the 'Far Clipping' parameter is set to 'Clip with line' or 'Clip without line', we can pull the visible arrows to adjust this depth. In the section below, the 'Far Clipping Offset' parameter indicates 8000mm

When you create a callout in one of these sections, the callout uses the same clip offset as the parent view by default. In the properties of the view, the 'Clip Offset Settings' indicates 'Same as parent view'.

The problem is sometimes your callout will look at elements you do not wish to see in your detail, model components in the foreground that are not relevant.
If you change the 'Far Clip Settings' to 'Independent', you can change the 'Far Clip Offset' value. In our plan, the door is 3000mm from our section marker, so anything less than this will ensure we don't see our door in the foreground.

In this example, the callout 'Far Clip Offset' is set to 1000mm. As you can see the view difference is clear (no pun intended), clearer views, less linework, no need to hide unnecessary model elements, better documentation. Enjoy easy detailing! 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Autodesk Health Dashboard

Having trouble with Autodesk cloud services? You may not know Autodesk has a "health" dashboard for its cloud services. The site reports any known issues with its services and any scheduled maintenance.
If you subscribe, you can get notifications too.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Learning Dynamo - Online Handouts & Video Courses

There are plenty of places to start learning Dynamo. Early last year I posted about the Dynamo training course I completed at by Ian Siegel and just last month spoke of 'Dynamo thoughts' by Bill Devevc & Ian Siegel on YouTube. 

Well, if you are starting off 2017 keen on learning Dynamo, there are a few more places you can visit. 
Paul F. Aubin created a great handout for his Autodesk University 2016 presentation. 'Code Blocks Not Required - Dynamo for the Rest of Us'. It's aimed at beginners and starts with a break down of the interface and the basics of nodes & wires. The online class at Autodesk University can be seen here along with class materials to go with the handout.

Late last year new video courses became available at 'Pluralsight' an online training platform. Some regular contributors at the DynamoBIM forum at the Revit Forum have published some videos for beginners to intermediates. 
I haven't had a chance to go through all of these yet, but the support these guys provide on the forums is really good, so I have no doubt the videos will be helpful for beginners & intermediates. 

The Dynamo Primer introduction at is also a good place to start. You will find more resources here too. 

I regularly visit the forum & Revit Forum where everyone is always keen to help you solve any problems you may be having with your graphs!

Disable Revit Addins - Safe Mode

Late last year, Luke Johnson at What Revit Wants posted an update on a tool Stantec has developed. The tool is an addin manager effectively allowing you to start Revit in 'safe mode'. The addin manager allows you to select which addins to disable to assist in diagnosing problems.
Visit the 'What Revit Wants' post here to learn more. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Insight 360 Plugin Update

The insight team at Autodesk snuck in one more update before the holidays last year. 
If you are having problems with solar analysis and that all too familiar "solar analysis has expired..." message then you can access the latest update HERE

You will now notice, when you click on the lighting tool, the drop down for 'New' no longer displays. Instead, the lighting icon is now a single button that will open a dialog to start a new analysis. 

In the 'Lighting Analysis in the Cloud' dialog, the bottom left will indicate a version number. As of today, it should say v3.0.0.0.

Stephanie Egger who writes blogs at Insight 360 has written two posts that go through step by step using the new tools. Visit to read the latest. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year, Welcome 2017!

Happy New Year! Yes, the Revit Link blog has received a face lift! Something new and fresh! I hope you like it, I know I really do! The small form to the right of the header you may recognise from a previous blog post; 'Curved Forms in Revit'.  

Hope you all had a great new year! I have been writing a little over the break and I am getting excited for the new teaching semester too, lots of work is going on behind the scenes to prepare. 

Looking forward to the new year! First posts for 2017 are coming soon!