July

16

2019

Software. It is a huge part of how we get through our days, and its usage continues to grow at an exponential rate. Processes that now take minutes or hours once took days or weeks. The future of software continues to be big, and it continues to radically change our landscape.

Third-Party Software Defined

Third-party software is a major industry within the software development market. It typically runs inside or side-by-side software from the first party (the OEM software developer). In many cases, the first party opens its Application Programming Interface (API) up to third-party developers, so they can develop additional software that enhances the original.

Ideate Software’s Third-Party Software

Ideate Software focuses on improvements and workflow enhancements to Autodesk Revit software. We currently offer five Revit plug-in products that helps users simplify their Revit data challenges. As we like to say, we focus on the “I” in BIM, since we do a deep dive into the Revit API to expose important features and new workflows for customers to use on their Revit-based projects.

Charting a Business Case for Third-Party Software

Deciding to procure software such as ours requires thoughtful analysis, both from a usability perspective and an acquisition perspective. For example, when analyzing your current software, you need to understand:

  • Your current needs
  • The tasks you perform to meet current needs
  • How you complete those tasks
  • The amount of daily and weekly effort (hours and cost) it takes to complete those tasks
  • The time and cost savings will result if you acquire third-party tools
  • Who will use the third-party software 

One of the best ways to complete this analysis is by charting a business case in a format that is easy for everyone to understand, from end users to the decision makers. With everything laid out in this form, proposing solutions for buy-in will be easy, because the ROI on cost and time will be apparent. 

Getting Buy-in from End Users and Decision Makers – An Example

One great example comes from Gautam Shenoy at Steinberg-Hart. After the Ideate Software team demonstrated IdeateApps to him and his Revit users, Gautam went to work putting together a needs analysis of each of the nine tools that come with IdeateApps. Once completed, the results were compelling, and the ROI potential was immediately apparent.

Gautam presented his analysis to the decision-makers in his firm and got instant approval to add IdeateApps to their Ideate Software collection. Here is an example of the business case analysis that Gautam created for IdeateApps (click on the image):

Making the Case for Plugin Software

Although a cost for manual time vs. app-driven time was not identified in his analysis, the difference in effort between the two was drastic enough that anyone reading the chart would understand that the ROI is huge. Also, information in the Notes column explained the issues in more detail, making the case for the procurement of IdeateApps even stronger.

If you are looking for solutions to workflow challenges and are in the market to purchase third-party software such as Ideate Software solutions, leveraging a chart like this will help you understand the value and validate your claims, as you will easily be able to identify the cost and time savings.

Contact Us

If you have any ideas to share, such as how your office goes about procuring software solutions, we would love to hear from you. We always welcome comments, suggestions, and feedback.

Related Topics

Surveyed Ideate BIMLink users report an average of 20 hours per project in saved time. Learn more.


Visit 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

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP, BCI, BCC - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional, and a Bluebeam Certified Instructor. 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.

 

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June

4

2019

Recently, a few customers asked me how to bypass color fills when a Sticky is linked into Revit. Some customers prefer color fills in their Excel files, but when color isn’t preferred in the final documentation, they need the fills omitted when the files are linked into Revit. 

By default, if a cell is filled with a color, Ideate Sticky will carryforward that color along with text that is formatted with a color, except when a text string has a hybrid of colors. But there are two ways to have that fill color omitted:

  • Option 1: Use an Excel fill that has a stipple pattern or hatch to it, such horizontal or vertical lines. Once Ideate Sticky recognizes a pattern other than blank, it will drop the pattern upon linking.
     
  • Option 2: Use Conditional Formatting in your cells. For example, let’s say you have some highlighted cells that are intended to be visible when there is no text in that cell. Perhaps it serves as a reminder to the editor to fill in the cell. Rather than filling the cell with the fill tool, you can use a Conditional Format in that cell that says to format cells that contain blanks and then apply a fill color for that. Once that conditional format is applied to the desired cells, they will fill with the desired color until the user inputs any text string. If there are no values in that cell and it fills with a color, Ideate Sticky will omit that color, because the cell has the conditional formatting in it.

    Conditional formatting doesn’t only apply to blanks. You can have a conditional format highlight a certain color when a value meets a certain criteria and highlight another color when it does not. Either way, since the conditional formatting was applied to that cell or grouping of cells, Ideate Sticky will omit that formatting because of the conditional formatting.

Give conditional formatting or cell pattern overrides a try and see if it works for your situation. If it does not, let us know, and we will have a look for you.

Examples

Shown here is a Plumbing Fixture Schedule in Excel (this file ships standard with Ideate Sticky) that was manually highlighted to show all the values that are zero. In this example, the cells were filled with a red stipple pattern.

Color Fills 1
  
Shown here is the Format Cells dialog box and the application of the red fill color and the stipple pattern style. The application of the fill pattern is a manual process, which means if a condition is met, you may want to change the fill pattern color and style back to white, if applicable.

Color Fills 2
 
Shown here is the resulting Sticky once it is linked into Revit. You can see there is no red stipple. Because the pattern style is a stipple, it is not recognized by Revit once it is linked via Ideate Sticky. The result is an omission of both the color and the pattern, which is what we wanted to achieve.

Color Fills 3
  
Shown here is a Plumbing Fixture Schedule in Excel (this file ships standard with Ideate Sticky) that was highlighted solid red to show all values that are zero, by using Conditional Formatting. If the condition no longer applies, Excel will automatically remove the fill color, because the conditional formatting is no longer met.

Color Fills 4
 
Shown here is the Edit Formatting Rule dialog box and the application of the red fill color. For this example, we want to highlight cells that have values less than or equal to zero. The application of the fill pattern is an automatic process if the condition is met. If the condition is not met, the cell will remain as is. Conditional formatting may be a better option, since the cell formatting becomes an automated process.

Color Fills 5

Shown here is the resulting Sticky once it is linked into Revit. You can see there is no red solid fill. Because the pattern style is defined with a Conditional Format, the conditional formatting formula is not recognized by Revit once it linked in via Ideate Sticky. The result is an omission of the color and fill, which is what we wanted to achieve.

Color Fills 6

Visit 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

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP, BCI, BCC - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional, and a Bluebeam Certified Instructor. 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.

 

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May

15

2019

San Francisco, CA, May 15, 2019 – Ideate Software, a veteran Autodesk Developer Network member, announced enhancements to its Revit software applications.

“Shortly after Autodesk released Revit version 2020 in April 2019, we launched updates to our applications that streamline Revit workflows,” said Glynnis Patterson, director of software development. “Those who subscribe to Ideate Software solutions have access to the current Revit-compatible version (2020) plus three earlier versions (2019-2017), as well as access to point release improvements we make during the subscription period.”

Revit users who design, build, operate, and maintain built environments can streamline workflows with Ideate Software applications. You can trust your building information model is accurate when using these products, now enhanced with new functionalities that will further improve your Revit data management.

The improvements apply to version 2020 as well as 2017-2019. Please see below the highlights of the updates and click on the links for more details: 

  • Ideate BIMLink 
    • Greater control and management of View Template information
    • Enhanced access to more Revit properties plus increased access to more MEP Fabrication properties and data
    • Greater flexibility for team members working in the same project


       
  • Ideate Explorer 
    • Ability to export all project warning details to Microsoft Excel
    • Ability to fix common warnings from the Ideate Explorer dialog
    • Keynotes now organized by Element, Material, or User
    • Added support for new Revit element types, like Path of Travel Lines
    • Access to more Revit information, including MEP fabrication parts  


       
  • Ideate Sticky  
    • Performance improvement impacts those who use print regions and multi-worksheet Excel files; the way the print region data in those files is read has been modified, leading to a significantly faster open and update process


       
  • IdeateApps  
    • Ideate ReNumber supports rules for MEP fabrication parts
    • Ideate QuickSelect expands keynote tags by subdividing the category into the three keynote types
    • Ideate QuickSelect supports structural connections and the new Path of Travel feature 
    • Ideate Clone has improved naming control in addition to the ability to clone multiple sheets in the same operation


       

“We are committed to helping customers get the most out of their investments in Revit software,” said Bob Palioca, president, Ideate Software. “One of the ways we do that is by consistently releasing our updates soon after Autodesk releases its new versions.” 
 


About Ideate Software

Ideate Software empowers Revit users to gain unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, and IdeateApps 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, 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.

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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April

23

2019

The Ideate Software team is pleased to announce the release of Ideate Sticky for Revit versions 2017-2020.

The biggest update to this release is a performance improvement we made for those who use named regions within their Excel files. We’ve modified how we read the print region data in such files for a significantly faster open and update process. The improvement can be up to 9x faster, so if you are using these kinds of Excel files, be sure to update to this release.

Quote from Mead & Hunt
 

ACTION ITEMS FOR OUR CUSTOMERS:

  1. Take three minutes to learn about improvements to both the May 2019 and November 2018 releases – What’s New in Ideate Sticky
  2. If you are using Revit 2016, make sure you have the latest version of Ideate Sticky for 2016 installed. We are no longer developing improvements for version 2016.
  3. Need access? DOWNLOAD 2017-2020
    • Standalone subscription customers – The 2020 version will just work. No action required.
    • Network subscription customers – If your network license file was issued after 14 Feb 2019, the 2020 licensing will just work. If not, you should contact support@ideatesoftware.com when you are ready to migrate to Revit 2020.

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April

12

2019

Ideate Software is pleased to be associated with Noll & Tam Architects, an interesting company with a mission to create “Uncommon Spaces for the Common Good.” It achieves this mission by having its atypical multidisciplinary group of architectural professionals leap into the unknown, take the known and make it strange again, work in unexpected ways, and stay devoted to sustainable design.

The architects at Noll & Tam use Autodesk Revit software to bring visions to life, and they use Ideate Software tools to streamline Revit processes. 

“Our team uses all four Ideate Software tools,” said Jason Barish, Senior AJason Parishssociate, Design Technology Director, Noll & Tam Architects.

“They are easy to learn and use, and they allow us to focus on creative designs instead of the technology that supports those designs.”

Here are some of the ways in which Noll & Tam Architects uses the Ideate Software tools:

  • Ideate Sticky – Used to place tabular data like LEED data, code information, and equipment schedules in the Revit file
  • Ideate BIMLink – Used to mass-edit room program data
  • Ideate Explorer – Used to troubleshoot problem items
  • IdeateApps:
    • Clone – Used to speed up the creation of sequences of drawings, especially detail sheets
    • ReNumber – Used to number doors and details

 

Photographs: 

  1. Jason Barish, Senior Associate, Design Technology Director, Noll and Tam Architects. Source:Anthony Lindsey Photography
  2. University of Stanford David Rumsey Map Center, where Jason Barish was the Project Manager. Source: David Wakely Photography

Interested in seeing how Ideate Software tools can help you achieve your goals? Visit our website for more information, explore the tools with a free trial version, or subscribe today.
 

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