Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Using Save and Load Selection in the Revit Family Environment

In the Revit 2015 Project Environment, you can access the tools to Manage Selections from the Manage Ribbon:

However, this Ribbon Panel is not available on the default Manage Ribbon in the Family Environment  (Build 20141119_0715(x64) Update Release 5). What to do? Well, we can just add these tools to the QAT (Quick Access Toolbar), so then at least we can use them while building families. There are a couple of ways we can do this, but here is how you can do it while staying in the Family Editor:
  1. In the Family Environment, select more than one element
  2. Right-click on the Save Selection button that appears in the contextual ribbon (the green one) and "Add to Quick Access Toolbar"
  3. Save a Selection
  4. Select more than one thing
  5. Right-click on the Load Selection button that appears in the contextual ribbon (the green one) and "Add to Quick Access Toolbar"
You can also just add these items from the Project Environment, and as the QAT is shared with both environments, they will show when you edit a family.

However, while you can add the "Edit Selection" button to the QAT, it will not work in the Family Environment :-(

Monday, January 26, 2015

Introduction to Revit Macros (article by Troy Gates)

The next generation of successful designers will have one important thing in common - the ability to quickly build the tool they need to accomplish a given task. Revit macro coding is one way to do this (Dynamo is another, even powerful Excel spreadsheets can qualify as BIM tools). But if you have had limited involvement with Revit macros in the past, you might be wondering "So... What is a macro anyway?"

One good place to start would in this great little article by Troy Gates on AUGI. Here are three tips from the article to get you interested:
  • I highly suggest creating the macros in the application tab so you can reuse the macros in any Revit model. If you store the macro inside the model, then it is only available to that Revit model.
  • The Revit API also allows the use of Microsoft LINQ (Language Integrated Query) functions. LINQ allows you to use a database-like query system to filter the elements contained in a collection. It is much more powerful and easier to use, in my opinion, when working with collections of Revit elements.
  • your code needs to define objects that the Revit API will use to interface with these. These objects are called UIDocument and Document...
Read the whole article:
Introduction to Revit Macros | AUGI

Friday, January 23, 2015

Launch Navisworks Options Editor in Headless Mode to Fix Persistent Crash

Did you know that you can access Navisworks Options directly from the Start Menu? Just click on Start and type "Options Editor". Then, if you hover over the entries in that list you can pick the Options Editor for the right version of Navisworks by reading the tooltip.

Why would we want to do this? Well, if you have a Graphics Driver problem, it might cause Navisworks to continually crash when you start the program. If you head into the Options Editor, you can go to Interface - Display - Drivers and disable various options until Navisworks decides to load up again.

For example, try unticking everything except OpenGL - you might find that Navisworks can now load (this tip may particularly help if you are trying to run Navisworks in a virtual machine).

Another stable choice may be to select only the software-mode drivers:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tip for Working with Huge or Complicated Models or Families with Imports in Revit

Turn Snaps Off on the Manage ribbon, and then use the keyboard shortcuts to selectively turn "On" the snaps when needed. This stops Revit from continuously looking for snap points when you are trying to navigate the model or draw new geometry.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 2015 updates to BIM360 Revit 2015 Addin and Recap direct download links

BIM360 Revit 2015 Add-in link:   

Recap link:

If you forget to close Revit before trying to install the Glue update, you might get this error. Just close Revit, remove the BIM360 addin and then reinstall it.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Solution for Revit DB Link and Microsoft Access compatibility for 64 bit vs 32 bit systems

The incompatibility between 32 bit Microsoft Office database systems and 64 bit Revit program architecture have been causing headaches for a while, but this technical solution may provide the answer you have been looking for: how to get 64 bit database drivers running alongside 32 bit Office installation.

Support page:
How to install 64-bit Microsoft Database Drivers alongside 32-bit Microsoft Office | AutoCAD Civil 3D | Autodesk Knowledge Network

The Problem:
"You cannot install the 64-bit version of Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 because you currently have 32-bit products installed..."

User-added image

Quote and heads-up from LinkedIn:
... a way to get Revit 64 bit systems to export an Access 2010 DB link on a 32 bit version. Here is the link with step by step instructions: 

How to install 64-bit Microsoft Database Drivers alongside 32-bit Microsoft Office

Finally a solution for DB Link and Access compatibility for 64 bit vs 32 bit systems | LinkedIn

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Does your firm need an in-house BIM Manager? The answer may surprise you...

It is no secret that specialization is one key to remaining relevant and valuable. This applies in almost any industry. I would like to put forward the argument that the position description "BIM Manager" is becoming too generic, too non-descript to actually be useful in evaluating or determining what a BIM person actually does.

In fact, most BIM Managers are already jack-of-all-trades, in that they handle many different roles. In my opinion, this is less than ideal. On the other hand, specialization leads to people who can do one or a few things very well, not a bunch of things adequately.

Consider this recent article on LinkedIn:

It rightly describes some of the abilities of a good BIM Manager, such as:
  • the BIM Manager must be an expert in that software, have the ability to train well, and have a refined sense of patience to ensure the trainees never feel intimidated, insecure or less than capable.
  • BIM Manager must be, or work with, the firm's IT support performing tasks which range from server maintenance and software licensing to computer builds
  • generating content for the firm to use
  • standards enforcement
  • R&D
  • etc etc
I agree that these qualities are great, and if they all reside in one person, that person can be extremely valuable to a business. But some of those tasks are not 24x7 (for example, specifying and deploying new hardware). Or, there simply isn't time to do justice to other tasks, like continual R&D. Why am I saying this?

1) If you are a BIM Manager, I think its time for you to pick a few core strengths and really work on them. Make yourself the best-of-the-best at... something.

2) If you are a Director or Manager, you need to consider that there may be gains in the divide-and-conquer rationale. Split up the position description of your BIM Manager and start giving it to specific people or outside-hires who can devote more time and attention at getting things perfect. Look for a company who has taken the role of BIM Manager and made it their core business, in effect, specializing in most of the things that good BIM people can do and offering these as individual services (like Virtual Built).

One other disadvantage to having a BIM Manager who can 'do it all' is that he or she becomes almost irreplaceable, or at least extremely difficult to separate from the company proper. I have been in exactly that position, wearing so many hats that I almost had to count them all to make sure I gave them all back when I moved interstate to a different employer.

I realize this post may be somewhat controversial, but I think it stands on solid ground. Specialized companies and individuals almost always create a niche that only they can occupy, meaning that continuity of work is assured.

What do you think? Feel free to comment... especially if you disagree :-)

Experiment: Freely Available Shared OneNote, Linux, Windows 10, Revit and Blogging Resource

and its offline-accessible (if you have OneNote). Check it out:!26709&authkey=!AK-aGRlHgL_QKE4&ithint=onenote%2c

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Custom Property Mapping in Navisworks for QTO (video)

Uploaded by youtube user BIMcoach:
"When working with Autodesk Navisworks you may run into mapping errors or omissions. This is due to the limitations of property mapping in Navisworks 2014. This video provides a solution to workaround this issue by creating a new property mapping definition."

Also, remember this if you want to import MasterFormat catalog: at the very end of the Quantification Workbook tab there's the import/export catalog icon (on top).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Navisworks Export - Collapse on Convert export setting for added geometry separation

Also, did you know that holding Shift and clicking settings on the Exporter will bring up Advanced Settings related to the Exporter?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Import IGES Files to Revit

Here's how:
  1. Use IGESIMPORT command in AutoCAD 2015
  2. Save DWG
  3. Import the DWG to a Revit family
  4. Copy and Paste Aligned to Same Place
  5. Explode one of the instances

Related reading:
Import IGES Files | Autodesk Exchange AutoCAD Architecture

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Revit 2015 with R2 and Update 5 crashing when every file is closed? It could be one of your ApplicationPlugins ...

Here is the persistent crash - it was happening when any RVT file was closed:
View Revit 2015 Update 5 crashes when closing any file 

Here's what fixed the problem:
Renaming "C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins" folder (this disables certain integrations)

Upon further investigation, I had to move the AutodeskSiteDesignerForRevit2015.bundle out of the ApplicationPlugins folder (in other words, delete it) to correct the issue. Then, I installed R2 (Autodesk_Revit_2015_R2.sfx.exe , Autodesk Site Designer (AutodeskSiteDesignerForRevit.msi), and UR5 for R2 (Autodesk_Revit_2015_R2_UR5.sfx.exe).

Here's what didn't work:
  • renaming uistate.dat
  • renaming revit.ini
  • renaming  "C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\"
  • reinstalling Revit 2015 using steps below
  • applying RVT2015UR4.msp
  • uninstalling Dynamo
  • running Revit as Administrator
  • uninstalling Sundial and other Citrix Revit versions
  • renaming Revit program folder and Addins folder and reinstalling
  • making a new user profile

Reinstall steps:
  1. Uninstall Revit 2015 from Programs and Features in Windows
  2. Start Setup from your Suite media (in my case, Building Design Suite Ultimate 2015)
  3. You will need to input your serial number
  4. Ensure only Revit 2015 is ticked (gray tick), and do not install Service Packs
  5. Also untick BIM360 addin under Revit 2015 (if it finds a newer one the setup may fail)
  6. Untick BIM360 addin under Navisworks 2015 (if it finds a newer one the setup may fail)
  7. After Revit 2015 is installed, start it up to ensure activation is ok
  8. Install R2 (Autodesk_Revit_2015_R2.sfx.exe)
  9. Install UR5 for R2 (Autodesk_Revit_2015_R2_UR5.sfx.exe)
  10. Start Revit and test closing a file
How did this bug happen? I'm not entirely sure, but I think the number of  updates and the confusion around which UR5 update is for which Revit version may have resulted in Revit 2015 getting sad. But, its happy again now... and its a good lesson to remember the ApplicationPlugins folder when diagnosing Revit problems.

Something from the journal:
ExceptionCode=0xc0000005 ExceptionFlags=0x00000000 ExceptionAddress=000007FEFCDE940D 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Using Revit for MEP and Duct Fabrication? What are you using to make that happen?

There are lots of design tools out there that can be used to generate MEP or HVAC fabrication drawings, including spooling and integration with Vulcan or CAMduct. Some are FABmep, CADmep, ESTmep, and Sysque.

There is an interesting discussion going over on LinkedIn regarding Revit and duct fabrication. The overall message seems to be this: if you want to use Revit as an integral piece in your MEP fabrication process, you should probably be looking seriously at SysQue:

How to make a Radial Array with a value of 2 in Revit

Here comes a cool tip from Brad Strauss... He describes how you can use an Integer parameter to get Revit to allow you to apply a value of 2 to a Radial Array:

Thanks for the tip Brad!

This tip is somewhat similar to using a Repeater to allow you to have an Array of 1.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Edit Revit Shared Parameters in the Cloud using Google Sheets Add-On

I have posted about SP.Writer before, but this is the next iteration: BIMsets Cloud Writer.

UPDATE: if you want to update to the latest version of the add-in, in Google Sheets you may need to go to Add-on > Manage Add-Ons and then remove it, and then search for it and install again.

If you just want to build a new parameter file from scratch:
  1. Go to
  2. Press the Free+ button to install
  3. Say yes to all the prompts  
  4. In the new Spreadsheet, go to Add-ons, BIMsets Cloud Writer, and press Start
  5. Start filling in the form and pressing Add for each new parameter
  6. Parameters are created and you can choose to Export to a TXT file

If it keeps failing to Import for you, this will probably be the reason:
Can I use custom groups with this add-on? No. The add-on uses a specific set of parameter groups designed to be compatible with the Autodesk Seek Style Guide. If you have a parameter file that uses the same groups as the Style Guide it should be compatible. If you are starting brand new there should be no issues. If you have used the old SP.Writer Excel tool in the past, those files will also be compatible.
BIMsets – BIM Source

If you have any other issues you can contact the developer.

v2 of the Style Guide is here
and 2.1 here

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to make a New Default Notebook in OneNote to Fix problems like "We couldn't save your email, please try again."

This is an extreme measure, but it will get everything fixed up and create a new Default Notebook for you. If you have some corruption or severe sync problems, it may break the system for your account. Here's how to fix it:
  1. Make sure you have copied or moved or backed up everything from your entire Default Notebook (the one where me@onenote emails usually go)
  2. Close the Notebook in the desktop app and close OneNote 2013. I would also recommend closing this notebook on any other devices that may have it open.
  3. Open OneDrive and navigate to your Documents folder
  4. Select the Default Notebook (usually "YourName's Notebook"), rename it, and then delete it
  5. On you PC, go to the OneNote backup folder (something like C:\Users\Luke Johnson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneNote\15.0\Backup) and move the folder relating to your now deleted Default Notebook somewhere else
  6. Everything is basically nice and clean now. How do we get a new Default Notebook?
  7. Go to your primary email alias for Microsoft (the one you just deleted the default notebook in) and send a test email to - the content doesn't really matter
  8. At this point, OneNote will create a new Default notebook for you, it will make a Quick Notes section, and it will place the email in as a new page. Everything should now be 'back to normal'.
  9. Restart the desktop app and re-open the Notebook
  10. Open the Notebook on any other devices
 Here is the full message you might get if your OneNote to email service is broken:
"We couldn't save your email, please try again."
Oops! Something went wrong.

It looks like you tried to send an email with the subject line '..............' to your notebook, but we were unable to save it. Please send the message again and we'll do our best to make sure the email gets into your notebook this time.

Still having problems? Go to our help forum to report a problem.

The OneNote Team

Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052
Related question:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Struggling with Lights in Navisworks?

Sometimes it can be difficult to get Autodesk Rendering lights in Navisworks to work properly. When doing services coordination, you don't really want to have to deal with placing new lights just so you can see things in the federated model. In this situation, you could try using these 'Baseline' settings:
  1. Options - Interface - Display - Autodesk - Shader Style, set to Basic
  2. Viewpoint set to Shaded
  3. Viewpoint lighting set to Headlight

These Headlight sliders seem to work pretty well:

Personally, I prefer using Gooch and Rendered with some nice lights if I can, but this can occasionally cause problems (depending on your Graphics Card and other material settings). That is when I fall back to the baseline settings above.