April

29

2022

Microsoft Excel is the world’s most popular spreadsheet program. With an estimated 750 million users worldwide, it’s safe for us to assume that all readers of this blog post use it to organize, format, and calculate data, and that everyone knows how to use at least its basic functions of sorting, filling, and finding/replacing. Excel is a powerful part of our everyday professional and personal lives, completing tasks that would have taken hours in just seconds and eliminating the need to double or even triple check our work. 

Linking Excel to Revit

The Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit harnesses the powers of Excel and Revit, allowing users to export massive amounts of data from a Revit model to Excel for review, editing, and manipulation, and then import the Excel file into Revit. No longer do you need to go into Revit models to update hundreds of elements when one has been replaced with another, alter room numbers one at a time, change lower case letters to upper case, correct the spelling of a product, or any of the thousands of other tasks you perform, whether daily or infrequently. Instead, you can select elements you need to review/update, push their data to Excel, make any changes needed, and import from Excel into Revit. Viola! The Revit model immediately updates. 

Hundreds of Possibilities

Ideate BIMLink gives you access to all the data in your Revit model. To streamline the process of selecting the Revit items to import to Excel, Ideate BIMLink ships with more than 300 preconfigured links of common workflows for all AECO disciplines. And, each link is easily customizable, so you can add or remove parameters to meet your specific needs. 

Three Examples

There are hundreds of ways to manage Revit data with Ideate BIMLink. Here are descriptions of three popular workflows. These were presented along with three others at a webinar hosted by The Architect’s Newspaper. We will post information about the other three later. Review the recorded webinar

  1. Edit Model Data – Changes throughout a project are inevitable. New naming standards may be implemented, several small rooms or spaces may be converted into one large room or space, additional windows may be added, or hundreds of other changes can and will occur. Instead of manually editing the model data in Revit, you can use the Ideate BIMLink add-in to export the data to Excel, use the powerful features within Excel to edit the data, and then import the updated Excel data back to the Revit model. While this will save you time and increase accuracy even when just changing something as simple as sentence case to upper case, it can be used for much more interesting tasks as well.

    In this video (or skip right to the demo) you will see a demonstration on how to convert numerical View Orientation data in a Revit model into the words “North,” “South,” “East,” and “West,” (“Cardinal direction”) by exporting the elevation orientations into Excel, using a simple formula to convert the orientation numbers to the appropriate cardinal direction, performing the calculation in one cell, and using the Fill function in Excel to automatically convert all the numbers to the words. Then take it even further by concatenating three cells in Excel to combine the data into a new column that includes the room name, room number, and Cardinal direction, for example, “CORR 210 – EAST.” Once again, use the Fill function to fill the column down. Copy and paste all the data in the new column into the “Title on Sheet” column, save the spreadsheet, and close Excel. Then go back to Ideate BIMLink, open the spreadsheet, confirm everything that has been changed is correct, and hit “Import” to sync Excel to Revit. Immediately, all interior elevation room names in the Revit model are updated (click image to enlarge).   

    Ideate BIMLink - Edit Model Data
     
  2. Construction Quantity Takeoff – Knowing all the material quantities needed for construction is critical for keeping projects on time and on budget. Not ordering enough of just one item can slow the whole process, and overordering an item can negatively impact the bottom line. Considering the hundreds or even thousands of different materials needed for a project, it’s clear to see the importance of getting the information correct. Quantity take-offs, developed by estimators during the pre-construction phase, are the detailed lists of all materials and labor needed to complete a construction project. This process can be incredibly tedious, especially since project designs change often. 

    In this video (or skip right to the demo) you will see how Ideate Software makes the process simple by using a sample QTO Excel workbook that ships with Ideate BIMLink to export the Revit model data for QTO purposes. The workbook has two tabs:
     
    1. The QTO tab contains all the raw data that Ideate BIMLink exports from the Revit model to Excel
    2. The Summary tab has a spreadsheet that uses Excel pivot tables to convert that data into an easy-to-read QTO

QTO and Summary Tabs - Ideate BIMLink
 

With our Ideate BIMLink add-in, it’s easy to import data from Revit to Excel. While in your Revit model, launch Ideate BIMLink, and go to the preconfigured, multi-category “Construction QTO” link and select “Instance Link.” Ideate BIMLink will bring up all the data in alignment with the information in the Excel spreadsheet and the pivot table. If the out-of-the-box link doesn’t include all the information you need, you can easily add more parameters or Revit categories. Remember to edit the pivot table to accommodate any changes you make to the out of the box Construction QTO link.

Keep in mind that the Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit gives you access to A LOT of model data. We don’t just show you things that you see in the Properties pallete and in a schedule. We show you things that you don’t have access to within Revit, such as Coordinate and Host information.

Once you hit “Export,” Ideate BIMLink pushes the Revit model data into the existing Construction QTO worksheet in the QTO Excel file, overwriting its existing data, and the Summary tab automatically updates to reflect the latest model data. As your project continues to evolve and change, simply repeat the export process to the same QTO Excel file to overwrite the Construction QTO tab data. 

  1. Revisions – In Revit, there is no native way to schedule all sheets and revisions on those sheets, as Revit will only show you the most current revision and some very basic information about those revisions. Furthermore, when you want to issue out a drawing set in Revit, you must go to each sheet individually, select the “Revisions on Sheet,” button in the Properties palette, and select each Revision to display in the Titleblock. Since Revit will not allow users to bulk-select sheets and select Revisions in masse, you have to make these changes one-by-one and sheet-by-sheet. Imagine if you have hundreds of sheets to edit. What if you make a mistake? You literally have to go back to each sheet and click/unclick boxes in each one. This process could take hours, depending on the size of the project.

    Fortunately, with our Ideate BIMLink add-in for Revit you get an “Edit Revisions on Each Sheet” link that brings up all the sheets along with same boxes that are in Revit. In this video (or skip right to the demo) you will see how to export all the data to Excel and use simple True and False commands to select the information you need and import it back into your Revit project, easily creating or updating sheet lists with revisions.   

Watch the Recorded Webinar


 
See More Examples

You can visit our website to see many other examples. The Ideate BIMLink section of our blog has many articles, the How-to section of our Help pages details more advanced workflows, and our video library houses hundreds of short demonstration videos. See how easy it is to enhance Revit by importing Excel spreadsheets with updated model data. 

Contact us or visit our website to explore Ideate Software’s range of Revit tools and see how they can make your Revit projects faster, simpler, and more accurate.

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are here to help you understand and use our Revit plugin solutions. 
 

Read More

April

26

2022

Recently, I was fortunate enough to work with one of our customers on a challenge they were facing managing revision issuances for a large project with several revision issuances. While they were using our Document Issue Record (DIR) Excel template, which enables users to push out Revision Sequences and Revision on Sheet data to generate a comprehensive sheet list with each revision listed for each sheet, they ran into some troubles with how to include consultant sheets in the same DIR template, since the consultant sheets were not in their Revit models.

Limitations in Revit

While Revit allows users to create a sheet list and include linked element sheets as part of the sheet list, there are limitations that can arise, especially if one team is in charge with managing a master sheet index for an entire project. For example, if each team uses different sheet parameters or revision sequence names (can be problematic with the DIR), including linked elements in the master index may yield unwanted results. Since Revit does not allow changes to linked model data, the team in charge of the master sheet index may have to constantly ask their consultants to manage the information in their models in a very specific manner so that when the models are aggregated in a federated model, the information comes in correctly via the Sheet List.

Because of these situations, many architects request that their consultants send them a sheet list, so that they can manually generate the consultant sheets (typically as placeholder sheets) in their models, for the purpose of generating the master sheet index.

Expedite the Process with Ideate BIMLink

To expedite the creation of the placeholder sheets, we can use the Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit. Depending on the situation, we have a couple of options to create the sheets:

  1. If the consultant models are linked into the project that will maintain the master sheet index, such as a federated model, then we can use Ideate BIMLink to report on the linked model sheets and use that sheet data to generate the new sheets using Excel. See below for detailed steps on how to create placeholder sheets using linked Revit models and Ideate BIMLink.
     
  2. If the consultant models are not linked into the project that will maintain the master sheet index, then we can use Ideate BIMLink to export the sheet parameter data we need (sheet name, number, appears in sheet list, etc.), and add the consultant sheet info to the exported Excel file and import the data back into the Revit model to create the placeholder sheets. For more information on this workflow, refer to this Help topic and this blog post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

The following steps outline how you can create consultant sheets from linked Revit models using Ideate BIMLink: 

  1. In Ideate BIMLink, start with a pre-configured link called 02 Sheets-Create_New:

    Start with a pre-configured link in Ideate BIMLink Revit Plugin
     
  2. By default, this link is designed to filter out any existing sheets that exist in the project. Since we need to display the sheets from the linked Revit models, we will need to remove this filter: 

    Remove the Filter
     
  3. To reveal the sheets from the linked Revit models (the consultant sheets), check the “Include linked elements” option under the Properties tab. After doing so, you will see the primary sheets from the main model (highlighted in red), which has editable information, such as Sheet Number, Sheet Name, and Appears in Sheet List, and the sheets from the linked Revit models (highlighted in blue), which has non-editable information. The element ID numbers (highlighted in green) look different here, since we are displaying the element ID for the linked Revit models, followed by the element IDs of the sheets from the linked models: 

    Reveal Sheets from Linked Revit Model
     
  4. Before exporting this data to Excel, if you are interested in exporting only the linked model sheets (highlighted in blue), then return to the Filters tab and set the values to be Sheet Number is not editable. This will filter out all the sheets from the primary model and leave you with only the sheets from the linked models. If you will need to edit the sheet data from the primary model, while creating new sheets, then you can skip this step:

    To export only the linked Revit model sheets
     
  5. Once complete, export the information to Excel and open the Excel file to reveal the results: 

    Export to Excel and open Excel File
     
  6. Since we are interested in creating placeholder sheets in the federated model by using the Sheet Name and Sheet Numbers from the consultant links, all we need to do is erase the element ID numbers (column A) and replace them with the word NEW. For the Title Blocks (column B), you have a few options:
     
    • Leave the values blank, which will generate placeholder sheets. This is a typical workflow.
       
    • Use the value: <None>, which will add the sheets to the Project Browser, without titleblocks. This is not a typical workflow, since views will not be placed on these sheets.
       
    • Assign a loaded titleblock (family:type format, as seen in above image), which will add the sheets to the Project Browser, with titleblocks. This is not a typical workflow for consultant sheets, but a very typical workflow for creating new sheets in a primary model in which views will be placed.

Because we are interested in creating placeholder sheets for the consultant sheets, we will clear the existing values in the Title Blocks column. Finally, since we want these sheets to appear in the sheet index, we will ensure that the Appears in Sheet List value is set to TRUE for each sheet:  

Make edits in Excel

  1. Once the data has been edited, save the Excel file and import the changes back into the Revit model using Ideate BIMLink:


     
  2. Verify that the new placeholder sheets have been created by either using the new sheet function (blue arrow) or by going to a Sheet List schedule and selecting the Isolate function under the Filter Placeholder Sheet panel in the Revit ribbon: 

    Verify the updates

After your placeholder sheets are created, you can then modify any of the sheet information, such as Revisions on Sheets, and even use these placeholder sheets as part of your Document Issue Record (DIR).

More Training Tips

For additional training tips, check out our Training blog post series.

Send us an email with questions or visit our website to explore Ideate Software’s range of Revit tools and see how they can make your Revit projects faster, simpler and more accurate.

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are here to help you understand and use our Revit plugin solutions. 

Read More

April

13

2022

Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. You can review some of these recent question and answers via our Ideate Software Support Series blog category.

A nice question that came into our team concerned the ability to quality control dimensions within the Revit model. A customer asked if we could find all the overridden dimensions with one of our Ideate Software plugin solutions for Revit. In fact, we can review overridden dimensions in both Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Explorer.

The tool you choose might be dependent on the ultimate action you would like to take concerning the overridden dimension:

  • Included within Ideate BIMLink, we have a delivered a library link called QC-Dimensions. This link is setup to allow auditing for dimension overrides - this applies to single-segment dimensions only. You can also review and modify the Prefix, Suffix, and Value Override to make changes to a whole series of overridden dimensions.

    override dimensions - Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit
    The QC-Dimensions library link, located under Quality Control, allows you to manipulate the Value Override, Prefix, and Suffix via Ideate BIMLink.
     
  • If you are looking to completely remove the dimension override, then Ideate Explorer might be the better tool. You can use Ideate Query to first find the overridden dimensions, and then you can double click on each overridden dimension to modify or remove the condition.

    Override Dimensions - Ideate Explorer plugin for Revit
    Select on the Dimension Category within Ideate Explorer and then use Ideate Query to select those dimensions that have been overridden within the model.

    Override Dimensions in Revit
    You can double-click on each Overridden Dimension and then use Revit to toggle back to the actual value.

Please review this online Help topic for the specific steps for using Ideate Query to discover overridden dimensions as well as additional Ideate Query workflow examples.

You can also review this 1-minute video on Cleaning up Text and Dimensions with Ideate Explorer. It’s tip #8 within a detailed list of 10 auditing tips for Ideate Explorer.

Now, overridden dimensions don’t need to be a source of frustration within your Revit model.

Do you have a support question?

Just send an email.

Learn More

Browse our website to learn more. Download a free trial or subscribe today

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.
 


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.

 

 

Read More

April

12

2022

San Francisco, CA, April 12, 2022 – Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner and Autodesk® Authorized Developer, is pleased to present its latest customer spotlight, which highlights how JGMA benefits from Ideate Software add-ins for Revit. JGMA is a Chicago-based architecture and design firm with projects across North America, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Its professionals look at each project as an opportunity to influence civic life and transform communities.

Bringing Ideate Software to JGMA

Esperanza Health Centers designed by JGMA
Esperanza Health Centers. JGMA designed this fully accessible building utilizing forward-thinking design to attract and unite the surrounding community.

When Darya Minosyants Stefanovic joined JGMA as the Director of Technology, she brought extensive experience with Ideate Software tools for Revit. “My last employer was a strong user and advocate of Ideate Software products,” said Darya. “I came to JGMA knowing their power, and after a few discussions and demonstrations of how we would spend less time on tedious Revit tasks, the team was sold.”

JGMA subscribed to all Ideate Software products, and within just a few weeks, the team was experiencing significant benefits:

  • Ideate StyleManager – Darya uses this Revit plug-in tool to streamline the process of managing templates and ensuring projects are set up with company standards. 
     
  • Ideate BIMLink – The architects and designers are digging into the functions of Ideate BIMLink for Revit. They immediately appreciated the fact that it enables them to quickly change worksets throughout a project and rename families.
     
  • Ideate Sticky – JGMA works extensively in MS Excel. They benefit from live-linking Excel spreadsheets to Revit projects, so the Stickies automatically reflect changes made to the Excel document.
     
  • Ideate Explorer – JGMA’s Senior Project Designer Ted Hogan has been advocating for the use of Ideate Explorer. As the team delves into the many ways it can help keep their models clean, they are using it get a broader understanding by isolating and previewing elements in 3D. 
     
  • IdeateApps – So far, JGMA’s favorite tools from the collection are Ideate SheetManager, which they use to quickly clone sheets with similar properties, place views on sheets, and align views between similar sheets and Ideate QuickSelect,which makes it easy to find out why elements are hidden and resolve problems. 

Read more about Ideate Software’s collaboration with JGMA. 

To learn more about how Ideate Software add-on products help Revit users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables, and elevate design, visit the website. You can give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to all the Revit plugin solutions for six months.


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, and Ideate StyleManager were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.

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

Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

###

Read More

March

31

2022

There are HUNDREDS of ways to manage Revit data with Ideate BIMLink, and we really appreciate The Architect’s Newspaper giving us the opportunity to spend some time discussing a few of them during a webinar in their CE Strong series of AIA-approved courses on an online platform. 

To appeal to a broad audience, we selected six workflows that apply to Revit users in all industries:

  1. Manage Revit revision data with ease 
  2. Create new Revit elements from information added to Microsoft Excel files
  3. Perform comprehensive Revit model health checks
  4. Edit Revit schedule data with ease and efficiency using Microsoft Excel
  5. Easily review Revit project standards to keep data consistent
  6. Create a quantity take-off report of your Revit project

Watch the recorded webinar to see demonstrations of these six workflows and for more information about how Ideate BIMLink allows users to access the huge amounts of data in their Revit models, push it out to Microsoft Excel for review/editing, and then pull the updated data back into Revit to update the model. Companies in the architecture, engineering, construction, and building-owner communities around the world use Ideate BIMLink daily to:

  • Access large amounts of data including from linked files
  • Edit parameter data quickly
  • Manage data beyond schedules
  • Manage Revit model coordinate data
  • Create new model and data content

 

Visit our website to learn more. Download a free trial or subscribe today. 


About the Author

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional. He has extensive experience in project management; BIM management; design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon; and leading classroom and online BIM training. He provides consulting, sales, support, and training solutions to AECO customers around the globe. Find Sash on LinkedIn.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Learn More About the Power of Ideate BIMLink

As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, there are hundreds of ways to use our Ideate BIMLink Revit plugin to streamline Revit workflows. For more examples, check out our Ideate BIMLink blog posts. Here are links and summaries of some of the most recent posts: 

Copy Room Data to Other Phases and Models – This blog post shows how we helped two customers with similar challenges.

  • One customer needed to copy Room data from hundreds of rooms in one phase to the same location in another phase where the rooms already existed. The customer hesitated to delete the new rooms and replace them with copy/pasted rooms, because they were worried that they would orphan hundreds of room tags in consultant models that already referenced the new rooms.
  • The other customer needed to copy room data from a linked architectural model into the rooms of an interiors model; the architectural model contained a lot of room data and the interiors consultant needed to match that data in their rooms to add additional room finish information to the rooms in their models. 

In addition to providing step-by-step instructions and screenshots that help convey the workflow, the post includes a tip on when a manual review may be needed.

Place Viewports on Sheets – Ideate BIMLink for Revit comes with more than 300 pre-loaded link definitions to help users transfer data from their Revit models to Microsoft Excel for easy reviewing and editing. In this blog post, we show how to use one of those links to place viewports on a sheet. The link definition contains data such as the view name, sheet number, coordinate point, and viewport title data. The coordinate and viewport title data is especially important as it allows users to accurately place the viewports and view titles on the sheets. The blog post describes and shows screenshots of the next steps, which are filling out the information in Excel and then importing the data back into Revit. 

Create New Revit Views – When people think of our Ideate BIMLink Revit addin tool, they generally think about its ability to move data from a Revit model to Excel for easy editing and then push the updated data back into the model. This blog post features another benefit of Ideate BIMLink: Easily creating new data. Read the post to see how to create new plan views using link definitions that come pre-loaded in the software. You’ll see an example with screenshots showing how easy it is to customize the properties by using Excel to enter the data about the new plan views you wish to create and then using Ideate BIMLink to import the data back into Revit.

Swap Revit Families While Preserving Instance Parameter Data – We have heard from some customers who have had trouble type swapping some of their older Revit families with new ones because some of the parameter data from the older families did not transfer. They then had to edit the data manually, which is very time consuming and prone to errors. We were pleased to tell them that they can the Ideate BIMLink addin for Revit. We show the steps in this blog post, which uses an example of a series of details using the out-of-the-box break line detail component and type swapping the detail components with a newer break line with more appropriate jag and a heavier line weight.  

Learn More about Ideate Software’s Full Suite of Revit Plugin Solutions

Contact us or visit our website to explore Ideate Software’s range of Revit tools and see how they can make your Revit projects faster, simpler, and more accurate.

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are here to help you understand and use our Revit plugin solutions. 

Read More