April

28

2023

Although Revit is the leading BIM software in the world, it simply was not designed to enable users to edit large amounts of data quickly and easily. Because complex Revit models have massive amounts of data, using Revit to verify, manipulate, and update that data can be incredibly time consuming and error prone. It’s not uncommon for architects, engineers, designers, and contractors to spend hundreds of hours on data entry tasks, double handing data, and fixing work done incorrectly. Spending time on these tasks can frustrate the users, who generally prefer to spend their time on more innovative and creative activities. It can also lead to missed deadlines or incorrect deliverables, which can frustrate customers and can damage a business’s reputation. 

Ideate BIMLink eliminates the need for time to be spent on manual, repetitive tasks by enabling users to export Revit data to Excel, use the powerful tools in Excel to easily manage, manipulate, and edit the data, and then push the updated data back into the Revit model, saving hours of manual data editing. Excel doesn’t even need to be installed for Ideate BIMLink to read and write Excel files.

Ideate BIMLink supports the following file formats for both import and export for Revit projects:

  • Excel 2007 - 2013 Workbook (*.xlsx)
  • Excel 2007 - 2013 Macro-Enabled Workbook (*.xlsm)
  • Excel 97 - 2003 Workbook (*.xls)

Excel is the ideal choice for these workflows because it is the most popular spreadsheet software in the world. More than 750 million people around the world use it, and the vast majority of business use it for data entry, data management, accounting, financial analysis, charting and graphing, and more. Most people already know how to use the software, and those who aren’t familiar with it can gain a basic understanding of its interface and core functions in just a few hours, and most people can fully learn the application and master its more complex capabilities in just 18 – 20 hours.  

Using Ideate BIMLink

Like all Ideate Software products, Ideate BIMLink is easy to learn and use. Below are a few examples of how to export/import data from Revit to Excel. You can get step-by-step workflow instructions, information on troubleshooting, and details on  customizations from our website in the Ideate BIMLink Help files.  

Example One: Excel Naming Conventions: Associate an Excel Spreadsheet with a Link Saved in a Revit Project 

  1. The Excel worksheet tab and the link must be named the exact same thing
     
  2. The Excel column headings must match the corresponding link property name
     
  3. In most examples, the first column in the Excel sheet has to contain a valid Revit element id assigned by Revit. It will be used to identify an element within the Revit model

NOTE:  If any of the above information changes, Ideate BIMLink won’t be able to associate the Excel spreadsheet with the link used to create that spreadsheet. Learn more here: Import Messages when importing Revit to Excel

Tip: The name of the Excel file is arbitrary; it can be changed to identify different spreadsheet tabs created by the same link.

Excel to Revit with Ideate BIMLink 
Example Two: Export from Revit to Excel

To export elements from Revit to Excel, open Ideate BIMLink and:

  • Excel to Revit with Ideate BIMLinkPublish the data specified within the selected link definition to Excel, by clicking “Export…” 
     
  • Select an Excel spreadsheet file (new or existing) to receive the exported Revit properties.
     
    • New File: Ideate BIMLink will create a new Excel file with one new worksheet that will have the same name as the link
       
    • Existing File: You can insert a new worksheet or overwrite an existing worksheet.  Learn more here: Exporting to an Existing File

Example Three: Editing Revit Property and Cell Units in Microsoft Excel

  • Default Units - Ideate BIMLink will export numeric property values from Revit to Excel by using the default units defined in Revit.
     
    • If the default unit is set to feet and fractional inches, Ideate BIMLink will export the values as decimal values with three places 
       
    • Numerical values imported from Excel to Revit are interpreted as having the default units defined in Revit

      NOTE:  The Properties palette in Revit does not use the unit format specified within Project Units; it has its own, hard-wired format
       
  • Imperial Units - Fractional Inches - Microsoft Excel doesn’t support imperial format for length values in the same way as Revit with both the feet and inches syntax. Instead, when working with imperial length units:
     
    • Feet and fractional inches are displayed as decimal feet
       
    • Fraction inches are displayed as decimal inches

      Even though the values are exported using numerical values, these number formats are acceptable for importing purposes:  6'1 or 73" or 6'-1"
       
  • Formatting Dates – Microsoft Excel will convert certain types of text string data into a Date format when an edit is made. E.g., “3-03-12” will change the cell format from "General" to "Date," and it will change the underlying cell value. This also alters how the information is imported back into Revit via Ideate BIMLink. If you don’t want this to happen, we have two workaround options:  
  1. Type this character ' in front of the date to force the cell to retain its "General" text string format and read exactly as written. E.g., Type:  '31-05-22 to signify May 31, 2022, and the value will read into Revit as expected
     
  2. Use the dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy syntax and Excel won’t convert it to a text string.

Example Four: Automating Document Issue and Revision Records using Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Sticky

Using Ideate BIMLink along with Ideate Sticky, our application that enables users to place non-BIM data within Revit files, you can easily automate document issue and revision records. This workflow addresses the challenge of dealing with revision information in the Revit model when there is a need to schedule all of the sheets and all the revisions that exist on that sheet. Revit only displays the current revision in a sheet list, and it does not have a built-in solution to schedule every revision on each sheet. Here’s a recording of a webinar in which we ran through the entire process. 


 

Learn About all Ideate Software Solutions for Revit Users 

Visit our website to learn more about Ideate BIMLink for Revit as well as our other Revit data management tools. When you’re ready to take the next step, contact us, get 30-day trial versions, or choose the subscription option that best meets your needs. 

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 add-ins for Revit

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April

20

2023

San Francisco, CA, April 20, 2023 – Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner and Autodesk® Authorized Developer, presents its latest customer spotlight. This story is about HPP Architects, one of Europe’s leading architectural partnerships. HPP comprises a global team of more than 480 architects, engineers, urban designers, and specialists in 13 offices, including eight regional offices in Germany and five international branches in Turkey, China, and the Netherlands.

One project of HPP’s portfolio “The Cradle”: Düsseldorf's first hybrid timber construction office building. Completion 2023. Credit: INTERBODEN Gruppe/HPP Architects; Visualization: Bloomimages

Sandra Bethke, BIM Manager/IT, HPP, said, “HPP has been successfully using Ideate Software tools for many years. We use Ideate BIMLink the most, and it saves us a lot of time by enabling us to export data to Excel where people who don’t know Revit can audit data, enter new data, and update existing data.” 

When providing an example, Sandra shared how HPP uses Ideate BIMLink to export component lists from Autodesk Revit® models into Microsoft Excel files and then makes them available to specialist planners who quickly and easily fill in parameter values using familiar Excel tools. When the data is imported back into Revit, the completed parameter data is automatically assigned to the respective components. “This way of working saves a lot of time, especially in very large component lists, such as doors,” said Sandra.

Read Spotlight on HPP for more. 

Visit www.ideatesoftware.com to learn how Ideate Software add-ins for Revit help users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables, and elevate design. Give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, and Ideate StyleManager 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. They developed Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, and Ideate StyleManager to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, and construction, and owner-operator (AECO) workflows. They developed Ideate Automation to boost the power of their Revit plugins by running time-intensive activities in the background.

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

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March

31

2023

Whether you are an urban designer, industrial architect, commercial architect, residential architect, or interior designer, chances are that you chose your field so you can be integrally involved in designing the look of structures and ensuring that they are both attractive and functional. The ability to express your creativity, be a part of new trends, see the fruits of your labor, and make an impact on your community probably contributed to your career path as well. 

Like many careers, the most desirable activities are often rounded out with some activities that are less interesting. For example, many architects at both large and small firms around the world get to work with Revit software, which allows them to create realistic 3D models, iterate and optimize designs, collaborate with people in other disciplines involved in the projects, “walk through” their designs with customers, and deliver constructable plans to construction crews. However, some Revit workflows interrupt the creative process because they are time consuming and tedious. Because time-consuming and tedious activities can cause the mind to wander, they often need to be done over and over again, frustrating the engineers, project teams, project managers, and customers.

Ideate Software Add-Ins for Revit

Fortunately, Revit users don’t need to spend their time and energy on repetitive activities. Instead, they can turn to Ideate Software. Since launching our first Autodesk Revit addin in 2008, we have focused our efforts on listening to Revit users, understanding their challenges, and developing products that address those challenges. Today, our suite of products includes Ideate Explorer, Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, Ideate StyleManager, and Ideate Automation.

With our products, architects around the world have more time to focus on interesting activities while they create high-quality models that accurately reflect their design ideas. Their customers are happy because the models look good, perform well, meet regulatory requirements, adhere to style guidelines, and are delivered on time. The construction teams are happy because they get clear and accurate instructions they can follow to get to work quickly and keep the projects moving smoothly without having to stop for clarifications, deal with clashes, or correct mistakes. Building operators are happy because they get accurate as-built information they can use for maintenance and more. 

See Some Examples

In addition to developing top Revit add-ins, we are also known for providing outstanding support through numerous methods, including how-to videos and webinars, both live and recorded. These resources also serve as ways for prospective customers to see our products in action before they determine that they are well worth the investment. 

Here is a quick summary of each of our products as well as a link to a related video, so you can see the products in action. You can access hundreds more videos from our website.  

  • Ideate BIMLink – Export data from a Revit file to Microsoft Excel for fast and easy auditing and updating, then import the data back into the Revit model, which will update automatically.

    Three-Minute Demo Video:  Push "To and From Room" data into Door Tags
    Need to schedule and tag the “To: Room” and “From: Room” parameters? This can create challenges in Revit because it does not list system parameters for tagging. This video shows you how to easily do it with Ideate BIMLink. 

  • Ideate Explorer - Revit comes with a project browser. Ideate Explorer is a model browser that lets users get a full view of all elements in the model, find and delete incorrect items, revise elements, and deal with Revit warnings. 

    Nine-Minute Video – Top 10 Revit Model Auditing Workflows Using Ideate Explorer

    Large Revit models can be difficult to understand and manage, but not with Ideate Explorer, which has an easy to use interface that provides many tools to display, sort, filter, search, query, review Revit warnings, and fully understand the complex relationships of your Revit model. This video delivers 10 tips for everyone who uses Revit, and are especially important for BIM managers or project managers. 

  • Ideate Sticky – Elegantly connect non-BIM data from an Excel, Word or PDF document into Revit projects.

    Eight-Minute Introduction Video – Introduction to Ideate Sticky 

    The lack of a text editor in Revit makes organizing and formatting essential non-BIM data frustrating and time consuming. Watch this video to see how easy it is to use Ideate Sticky to manage the look and feel of text and other tabular data.


     
  • IdeateApps – This collection of 10 tools streamlines the tasks that Revit users perform most often. 

    Five-Minute Demo Video - Numbering Revit Sheet Sets with IdeateApps

    Watch this video to how to meet a common permitting checklist to include in the title block the sheet number relative to the total number of sheets in the permit set. 

  • Ideate Automation – This scripting solution runs time-intensive BIM tasks in the background while your staff does more meaningful work.

    Five-Minute Demo Video - Publishing to PDF with Ideate Automation 

    Learn how to use Ideate Automation to set up and schedule publishing to PDF from a single Revit model or many Revit models located on a computer or the Autodesk Construction Cloud. 

Read About How Architects use Ideate Software Add-Ins for Revit

We are proud that many of our customers share their experiences with Ideate Software addins. Revit users discuss how they benefit from our tools in the stories linked to below:

Ready to Learn More?

Browse our website to learn more about how Ideate Software’s Autodesk Revit addins help Revit users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables and elevate design. You can give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to our addins for Revit, which includes Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, Ideate StyleManager, and IdeateApps for six months.

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 add-ins for Revit

Read More

March

15

2023

View templates are a key and vital part of any Revit project. View templates control the ‘look and feel’ of your printed (exported) output as well as 2D documentation. 2D pdfs are still very much the accepted contract documents. So, you want to make sure that all your drawings are consistent and look identical. View templates manage this very well. But what about managing the view templates themselves? There is no way to do this easily within Revit.

Within Ideate BIMLink are many pre-defined link definitions that look after standards and model health within models, including links that manage views. You can assign view templates to views using the Views link definition that ships with Ideate BIMLink:

Bulk Assign View Templates to Views
Bulk Assign View Templates to Views using Ideate BIMLink

There are also a number of links that deal with view templates themselves:

Link Definitions for View Templates
Link Definitions for View Templates  

Using our Project_Stds-View_Templates link definition, it’s possible to review the properties of each view template and make edits to multiple templates at once such as turning on and off the properties included within each template. 

This link can be used to edit all the properties shown in yellow below (with any of your view-specific custom parameters) but cannot be used to dig into any property that has an Edit… button within the dialog. This means that you cannot, for example, edit the settings within the V/G Overrides RVT Link. You can control whether the V/G Overrides RVT Link settings are applicable for the given view template.

Editable Properties within Ideate BIMLink
Editable Properties within Ideate BIMLink Shown in Yellow

Managing View Template Properties with Ideate BIMLink
Managing View Template Properties with Ideate BIMLink

For a more in-depth analysis, Ideate StyleManager can provide information on where the view templates are being used. You can also delete and merge view templates using Ideate StyleManager

Refer to our Ideate BIMLink ‘how to’ guide for more information.

For additional training tips, check out our Training blog series

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


About the Author

Steve Deadman - Customer Success Manager - EMEA
Steve provides support to customers and helps them get a strong return on their software investment. He has a B.Eng (Hons) degree in Mechanical Engineering and various certifications in engineering. Before joining Ideate Software, he worked at several top architectural firm in the United Kingdom where he specialized in the implementation and management of BIM processes and technology. Find Steve on LinkedIn.

 

 

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February

28

2023

About Autodesk Revit Software

Revit software is the most popular BIM software used by architects; structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers; designers; and contractors to create, edit, and review 3D models. It’s used to:

  • Model 3D shapes, structures, and systems
    • Start from scratch or convert 2D models to 3D
    • Create photo-like representations of structures or systems
    • Identify clashes early in the design stage
  • Streamline documentation work
    • All model data is kept in a single database
    • Changes made in one place automatically update throughout the model
    • Monitor, review, and share information on changes 
  • Unite multidisciplinary teams in a unified project environment with specialty toolset that empower:
    • Architectural designers to focus more on creativity and innovative designs by using Revit to easily iterate design ideas and then document, coordinate, manage, and deliver architecture projects
    • Structural engineers to save time, reduce risk, and minimize errors by using Revit to design, detail, analyze, and document structural systems through all stages, from pre-planning through maintenance
    • MEP engineers to reduce headaches down the road by using Revit to model, analyze, and iterate system designs that support better performance and sustainability
    • Construction teams to increase productivity by working from accurate drawings of constructable structures

Feature Requests from Revit Users

Autodesk’s mission is to “empower innovators with design and make technology so they can achieve the new possible.” To do this, they must listen to the users of their technology, and they do. One way they listen is through Autodesk Community, a place for software users to connect, find answers to questions, share knowledge, build networks, and more. The Autodesk Community offers many ways to connect, including community-led webinars, a Community Voices vlog, and Community Challenges. The Community places for people to ask questions, get help, and share knowledge are the Community Forums, or product discussion boards. To make it easy to find topics of interest, Autodesk has separate forums for each of its products. Revit users can go to: 

  • Revit Architecture Forum
  • Revit MEP Forum
  • Revit Structure Forum
  • Revit API Forum
  • Revit Ideas Forum

The Revit Ideas Forum is where users can go to share ideas for future product features directly with the Revit team and collaborate on existing suggestions with peers. At the time this blog post was written, there were more than 43,000 posts in the Revit Ideas Forum. To simplify the process of contributing to and finding posts, Autodesk has three main tabs on the page: Hot Ideas, Top Voted, and Latest Ideas, and they have all posts sorted into more than 30 categories, including Architecture, BIM Management, Collaboration, Construction, Documentation, Mechanical, Modeling, Multi-Discipline, and Visualization.  

Ideate Software – Essential Revit Plugins List

We at Ideate Software know that we create essential plugins for Revit because we actually address challenges expressed by Revit users. The Revit Ideas Forum is one of the ways to learn about what’s important to Revit users. We monitor the site regularly, paying attention to the ideas that get the most “votes,” which are ways for Revit users to express their agreement with the original post. Armed with that information as well as information we get from discussions with Revit users from around the world, we decide which ones to focus on, and then determine if we can add functionality to an existing product or develop a new product.

Here's a recording of a one-hour webinar in which Richard Taylor, Ideate Software’s Technical Evangelist, highlighted feature requests addressed by Ideate Software

Here are links to the blog posts referenced in the video. Within each blog post, in addition to providing step-by-step workflow instructions, we link to the related feature requests on the Revit Ideas Forum, so you can see how our features granted a “wish” made by Revit users that Autodesk has not addressed:

  1. Duplicate a Revit sheet while creating new views or swapping existing views of the sheet 
  2. Control the view title alignment when aligning or swapping views on a sheet 
  3. Ease the documentation process with the help of the sheet and view tools 
  4. Easily find elements that may be hidden in the Revit model 
  5. Renumber almost any Revit element with intelligent rules and various methods for selection 
  6. Implement a fully functional Revit spell checker that checks all sheets and views plus schedules 
  7. Audit Revit models and select elements more easily 
  8. Quickly review and fix Revit warnings to ensure a well performing model 
  9. Manage, analyze, merge, and purge complicated Revit styles  
  10. Live link Excel, PDF, and Word documents into your Revit project

An Overview of Ideate Software Revit Plugins

Below is the top Revit plugins list of tools developed by Ideate Software:

  • Ideate Explorer – Revit users want to spend more time on interesting design activities. Ideate Explorer helps them do this by dramatically decreasing the amount of time they have to spend on model management. They use it to quickly find and delete incorrect, obsolete, and hidden problem items—including imported or linked DWG drawings—as well as to find, refine, and revise elements, even those not included in the Revit project browser.

    The following three features that are included with Ideate Explorer add additional value to the Revit plugin: 
     
    • Ideate Warnings Manager – Audit warnings that are ranked by importance and fix the problems using Revit tools while the Warnings Manager dialog box is open
    • Ideate Query – Search in parameters for elements like unused annotations, design options, in-place usage, structure usage/area scheme, and revisions
    • Ideate Navigate – Navigate view-based elements; find unused sheets and views; find and filter legends, schedules, sheets, or views by category and/or keyword; customize work environments without changing the project browser 
       
  • Ideate BIMLink – You can use Ideate BIMLink instead of working in Revit to verify and/or edit data one element at a time. Export data to Excel where you can easily view and manipulate large amounts of data easily. Once the data is updated, you can then use Ideate BIMLink for Revit to import data back into Revit, and the model will immediately update.  
     
  • Ideate Sticky – Revit users appreciate the ability to share accurate and nicely formatted non-BIM data with Revit teams by live-linking Excel, Word, and PDF documents into a Revit model with Ideate Sticky. These “stickies” look nice, are easy to read, and can be updated easily when changes are made to the original source documents.     
     
  • Ideate StyleManager – Pasting data from one Revit model to another often causes problems because information associated with the original files get copied along with the data. This clogs models with incorrect information that can take a long time to remove if working in Revit. Not removing the information is risky because it can cause model performance problems and documentation errors. With Ideate StyleManager, it’s easy to analyze, merge, or delete non-standard Revit styles. You can also use Ideate StyleManager to see the view filters applied to views and clean object and line styles and patterns, text, fonts, parameters, and more.
     
  • IdeateApps – Reduce the change of mistakes, rework, and frustrations by eliminating the need to perform repetitive Revit tasks on large complex models with the 10 tools that come in the IdeateApps collection:  Ideate SpellCheck, Ideate Align, Ideate Clone, Ideate ViewCreator, Ideate SheetManager, Ideate Annotate, Ideate XRay, Ideate ReNumber, Ideate SmartDelete, and Ideate QuickSelect
     
  • Ideate Automation – Do more meaningful work as Ideate Automation runs time-intensive BIM tasks silently in the background. You can start the script manually or schedule it to run at a convenient time, even during non-working hours. Our customers add Ideate Automation to their toolbox to increase productivity, eliminate the need to train staff on repetitive tasks, and ensure task outcomes are highly predictable, free of user errors, and standardized. 

Learn More

Browse our website to learn more about how Ideate Software’s top Revit plugins help Revit users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables and elevate design. You can give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to our addins for Revit, which includes Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, Ideate StyleManager, and IdeateApps for six months.

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