revit in plain english

Friday, August 12, 2016

10 Years of Revit in Plain English

Wow, just realized I've been writing this blog for 10 years. I honestly thought we would be moved on to the 'next' BIM software by now. Revit has certainly taken over the AEC industry but not nearly as fast as I thought it would 10 years ago. In fact, I thought I was way behind the curve at that time.

At that time there was a small but very helpful Revit community. I was so inspired by Steve Stafford's blog I copied it. So, thank you to Steve, Phil Read, Richard Ziegler and the countless others who unselfishly have answered my Revit and BIM questions. I should also thank Autodesk who have been prudent caretakers of Revit and Navisworks.

What's next? Dynamo certainly extends the possibilities of Revit over the next few years. I'm certain that the Minecraft generation is going to come up with something revolutionary. Some words spring to mind;  Online, Multiplayer, VR, Open Database, Simple, Automated, we'll see.

The purpose of this blog stays the same; a way to remember and share Revit (Dynamo and related) workarounds, fixes and best practices, always in plain English I hope.


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Useful, Free Revit Plugin: Apply Revisions to All Sheets

In Revit 2017 you can't apply Revisions to all Sheets in one dialog box. You have to manually pick sheet by sheet and turn on the applicable Revision-very time consuming. The free Up Rev App by Xrev fixes exactly this. Get it here on the Autodesk App Exchange.

Revit 2017 Content Not Installed Correctly

Problem: Your Revit 2017 installed old content. Revit now upgrades all Templates and Files every time you open or load. Some 2017 features like Structural Connections are not working.

Possible Solution from Autodesk Support:

A.Open Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > and if you see Revit 2017 content library listed there, please uninstall it.

B.Download Revit 2017 installer from Autodesk Virtual Agent as follows:

  • Download AutoCAD 2017 installer from virtual agent.
  • click on Download Links
  • click on Revit Products
  • then on Autodesk Revit
  • select the appropriate product and click the link to download. 
  • Note: you need to save both parts of Revit 2017 installer in the same folder (e.g. C:\Autodesk).  Then double-click on the first file (the file that has 001 in its name) to start the product installers extraction process. 
C. Install Revit Content Library 2017 as follows

  • Logon as an Administrator. 
  • Empty your TEMP folder.  To open the TEMP folder, type %TEMP% in the address bar of Windows Explorer and hit Enter.
  • Disable your Antivirus software.
  • Disable UAC.
  • Start Revit 2017 installer and install Revit Content Library.
  • If the installation fails, please provide the installation install logs created in your TEMP folder during this product installation attempt

Friday, July 22, 2016

Convert AutoCAD Points into XYZ Points for Revit Toposurface

You can't directly convert AutoCAD 'Points' into a Revit surface. But you can convert the AutoCAD 'Points' into a csv with XYZ coordinates. Seems that contours come out a little smoother but if this is all you got it's better than nothing. Here's how...

Open AutoCAD file which contains 'points' 
Create New, next
Give Name, next
Select current file, next
Filter only Points, next
Clear Show count and name, next
Output Data to external file, choose name and csv, next

Open csv
Delete header rows
Move all data rows up
Save (as CSV) and close

Open Revit
Create from Import, Points
Select CSV

Select Unit


Monday, April 25, 2016

Dynamo Simple, Practical Examples: Write Family Type to Type Comments

When writing one instance parameter to another you use the 'get and set' method. This does not work for Type Parameters (wish it did). The best way to explain in this case is to show the image of my Dynamo Graph:

Why might you use this? You can't filter a Schedule by Type (wish you could) but you can filter by Comments.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Disable Optimized View Navigation in Revit 2017

When you orbit your Revit model the outlines and hatches disappear. I find this effect very ugly and defeats the purpose of examining your model in 3D using Orbit. Revit used to have a simple checkbox in the Options-Graphics dialog to disable or enable, but not any more. Now we need to edit the Revit.ini...sigh.


Add text OptimizedViewNavigation=0 under the [Graphics] heading in the Revit.ini

The Revit.ini can be found here:


Add the text here:

Discalimer: Read this Revit help before editing the ini...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dynamo Simple, Practical Examples: Export Coordinate info to Excel

Dynamo Simple, Practical Examples: Draw a Revit Floor

Dynamo Simple, Practical Examples: Draw a Revit Wall

Learning Dynamo is hard. Is it worth it? Yes, it offers great potential in a number of areas. Here are a few things that Dynamo can help you with:

  • Importing and Exporting Excel data very easily. Beside being able to use this data in Excel, this provides a bridge to other software like Inventor, Solidworks and more. For example you could export points from a curtain wall in Revit to Inventor or vice versa. 
  • Automating the placement of Families. Good example is auditorium and stadium seating. 
  • You can connect parameters from one Family to another. For example connect the floor thickness to the wall top offset.

Because it's hard to learn I would like to provide a few simple (practical?) Dynamo examples. Here's my first...a Dynamo Graph which shows you a way to draw a wall in Revit using Dynamo.