Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. 

I thought this was an interesting question about using Ideate BIMLink to rename Revit elements versus swapping one element for another. Ideate BIMLink is delivered with over 250 sample link definitions! These are available for use when you browse the library as you create a new link definition within your Revit model. 

This customer was using the “Project_Stds-Rename_Types” sample link. He had five different types of chairs, and he wanted to rename them all to “Chair Student-Medium,” because he ONLY wanted one type of chair within the project. However, when he tried to rename them all to “Chair Student-Medium,” he received error messages saying that Revit couldn’t make the change.

Rename or Swap Revit Elements

The reason he received these errors was because the sample link definition “Project_Stds-Rename_Types” is based on the Type of furniture chairs that are loaded into the project, and Revit requires the name to be unique. Let’s say that Revit would allow the change. He would have five different chair types with the SAME name! That is not what he wanted.

The proper solution in this required workflow would be to swap the five chair types placed within the model for the type he wanted. 

Ideate BIMLink can easily do this!

Instead of a Type Link, he created an instance link that would show the Family and Type of each chair placed within the model. We can easily convert the Project Standards Type link to an Instance link by right-clicking on the link name and choosing “Convert Link.” This little-known short-cut will convert a Type link to an Instance link or an Instance link to a Type link.

Rename or Swap Revit Elements

After converting the Ideate BIMLink link definition, I renamed it to “Swap Chairs.” The key is to make the sure the Ideate BIMLink link definition has the property “Family and Type” and not just “Family Name” or “Type Name.” This will allow Ideate BIMlink to swap one “Family and Type” for another “Family and Type” for every instance within the model.

So, instead of renaming the chairs to the SAME name, what the customer really wanted was to consolidate all the chairs to one single Family and Type for the entire model. This was easily accomplished with Ideate BIMLink. Of course, using Ideate BIMLink to rename all families to a standard project naming convention is also a great use, it just was not the correct way to consolidate all chairs to the same name and definition.

When the Family and Type was changed to “Chair Student-Medium-Chair Student-Medium” for every instance, Ideate BIMLink swapped the correct furniture component for EACH instance of the chair within the project, thus consolidating all the components to one single definition.

Rename or Swap Revit Elements

If you want to rename components or swap components from one definition to another, Ideate BIMLink has the necessary tools to make both happen with ease!

This is a slightly older video on Structural Type Swapping with Ideate BIMLink, but the workflow and concepts are still very much valid for all types of Revit components.

Please be sure to review this important online HELP topic for utilizing Type Swapping with Ideate BIMLink.

 Browse our website for more information on our Revit productivity tools. Give them a try with a free trial version, or subscribe today

About the Author

Richard W. Taylor, Associate AIA – Technical Evangelist 
Richard has more than 30 years of experience working for companies that develop architectural and engineering software solutions, such as Intergraph, Bentley, and Autodesk. He has over 20 years of Revit experience, and he was part of the original development of Revit while at Revit Technology Corporation. He worked for 12 years at Autodesk, where he presented, taught, and worked to improve features in Revit. Richard holds both a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. As Technical Evangelist, Richard works with AECO clients worldwide, developing and consulting on BIM solutions. Find Richard on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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San Francisco, CA, January 13, 2021 – Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner and Autodesk® Authorized Developer, is pleased to announce its collaboration with DIALOG, a Canadian firm that provides architecture, electrical engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, mechanical engineering, planning and urban design, and structural engineering services.  

To help their multi-disciplinary teams leverage their diverse perspectives to tackle complex challenges together, DIALOG uses top technology tools, including five Revit applications developed by Ideate Software.

When talking about Ideate Software products, Ross Salikhov, Technologist, Mechanical Engineering, DIALOG, said, “I mainly use Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Explorer, and both are a must for me as a serious Revit user.” He continued:

  • “Ideate BIMLink is irreplaceable for finding/reviewing/revising parameters. It has saved me days if not weeks of work.”
  • “I use Ideate Explorer as a more sophisticated Revit filter, because the native Revit filter is very limited.”

“Like DIALOG, many of our customers are realizing that subscribing to all our products puts solutions to common Revit challenges at their fingertips,” said Glynnis Patterson. “Streamlining workflows, even those performed only occasionally, means more time available for more valuable and more interesting activities.”  

Read more about this collaboration and see photos of two of the DIALOG projects that received Awards of Excellence in 2020 from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Visit DIALOG learn more about the firm.

To experience how Ideate Software tools can help you streamline your Revit processes, download trial versions or subscribe online.
About Ideate Software - Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner and Autodesk® Authorized Developer, empowers Revit users to gain unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, Ideate StyleManager, and Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk BIM 360 were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, and construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.

Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, ATC, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.


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Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk® BIM 360® is a new web-based product from Ideate Software that displays Autodesk Revit Warnings visualizations as cards on a customer’s BIM 360 Project Home page. For the dashboard to access Revit models published on BIM 360, a “custom integration” must be set up for Ideate Dashboard by the BIM 360 Account Administrator. 

If this step is skipped and a customer tries to log into an Ideate Dashboard card before the custom integration is active, this message will display: “No valid projects were found. A BIM 360 subscription and Ideate Software custom integration are required. Contact [email protected].” 

In the case of a missing or inactive custom integration, the card will show this alert message, the dropdowns on the card will be empty, and no data visualization will display:


While a nonexistent or inactive custom integration is the most likely reason to see this message, if you are sure this step has been followed correctly, there are other reasons this message could show:

  • You are logging into Ideate Dashboard with a valid Autodesk account, but that account does not have a BIM 360 subscription.
  • No Revit projects exist yet in your BIM 360 account or you have not yet been granted permissions to view any the projects in the account.
  • There was an error setting up the custom integration and it needs to be deleted and made again (this happens infrequently).

If you are a current customer and see this message upon logging into Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk BIM 360, you will not be able to create a card or see data visualizations for your projects until the setup or permissions issue is addressed. Please contact [email protected] for speedy help getting your Ideate Dashboard up and running when you see this message.

If you are interested in purchasing Ideate Dashboard, the first step is to fill out the access form on Ideate Software’s website. A representative from Ideate Software will then contact you to start the process, and then an Administrator for your BIM 360 Account will be able to set up the custom integration by following the Custom Integration steps on the Getting Started instructions for Ideate Dashboard.

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The first-ever online Ideate Software user group meetings took place in December. We were delighted to meet online with our customers from the UK, APAC and Americas regions and get creative about BIM data management together. 

The sessions featured BIM professionals that talked about how they have incorporated our Revit solutions into their workflows. 

  • Michael Hartley - RambollMichael Hartley, Technical BIM Manager at Ramboll UK, leads the roll-out and implementation of Ideate Software solutions within his company. “We’ve noticed a huge difference since using Ideate [Software] tools over the past year. We’re only going to get more efficient. The more we learn from them, the more we use them.” Michael presented a Navisworks clash workflow
  • Robert Bell - StantecRobert Bell, BIM Manager at Stantec, manages numerous BIM projects across multiple offices. One problem he encountered was “How can we generate dependent views for all our required discipline-specific views? We need each view to have the proper box and naming.” Hear Robert talk about the solution he found. 
  • Steve Deadman - Pollard Thomas EdwardsSteve Deadman is the Head of BIM at Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects. “We’ve been using Revit and Ideate [Software] for a long time. I’ve been using Ideate tools for many years, so I’m a big fan.” Steve presented tips and tricks on three of our solutions – Ideate SmartDelete, Ideate Clone and Ideate SheetManager (part of the IdeateApps collection) and Ideate Explorer. Watch his presentation.
  • Yong Tan - DES Architects and EngineersYong Tan, Senior Associate at DES Architects and Engineers, shared how Ideate BIMLink enables him and his colleagues to coordinate structural analysis data from RAM into Revit Structure. Watch Yong’s presentation.

The User Groups’ discussions also included topics such as:

  • New solutions from Ideate Software
  • Ideate StyleManager enhancements
  • Images vs. Schedules for Ideate Sticky
  • Feedback and Q&A

Many thanks to all those who attended our inaugural user groups meetings. 2021 will see an increased number of such events, as we seek to become increasingly connected with our customers all over the world.

To receive future user group notifications, please complete our registration form. We look forward to hearing and learning from you.

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This was an interesting year, to say the least. When the stay-at-home orders were issued, we got all our office-based employees set up to work from home and ensured everyone had the time needed to take care of new, unexpected, and potential challenges that came from living during a pandemic. Fortunately for us, we have practiced the ‘art and science’ of working remotely for a good number of years. 

Once the work-at-home aspect was sorted, we decided to intensify our efforts of developing, delivering and supporting products and services that simplify the work of Revit users around the world, all the while keeping our team connected and motivated through activities such as virtual coffee chats.

We are grateful for what we achieved together this year. We connected with existing customers, welcomed new customers and met with potential customers – all virtually. We documented it on our website. Check out our blog posts, recorded webinars and short how-to videos for details. Here are some highlights: 

Developed New Products and Services

Implemented Feature Requests into Existing Products 

Gathered and Shared User Feedback

Participated in Industry Activities and Events

Published Thought Leadership Pieces

Like most people, we are happy to put 2020 behind us, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that we are incredibly grateful to our team, customers and BIM community members that added positive light to this year. 


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