We send a sincere thank you to Paul Aubin, from Paul F. Aubin Consulting Services, for reviewing our Revit productivity solutions. With 30+ years of experience, Paul is an independent architectural consultant providing Revit software training and implementation services. He has authored many books, including Renaissance Revit, and has posted dozens of Revit courses and tips and tricks videos to LinkedIn Learning.
Ideate Software Tools Have Enhanced my Revit Workflows
I have recently added Ideate Software solutions to my Revit installation and workflow. I find myself going to the Ideate Software tab on an increasingly regular basis. In these articles, I will share just a few of my favorite “go-to” tools. But first, if you are not familiar with them, Ideate Software makes Revit productivity solutions that are available individually or in bundles. They work directly inside of Revit and are accessed from their own Ideate Software tab on the ribbon.
While I focus on Ideate QuickSelect and Ideate Explorer in this article, the complete suite of Revit solutions offered by Ideate Software is worth your taking the time to fully explore.
Let’s start with Ideate QuickSelect. This is a very simple but highly useful tool. Whenever I deliver beginner level Revit training, element selection is one of the first things we discuss. Editing in Revit (like any graphical software package) begins with a selection of elements onscreen. The software offers many ways to do this directly with your mouse and various modifier keys on the keyboard. Such methods are fine for simple selections. However, when you need to make a more complex selection, it can sometimes be challenging and/or time consuming using the native tools. For example, let’s say you have a large plan and want a selection containing only doors and windows. You can box select (with a window or crossing selection), and then filter out all categories except Doors and Windows in the Filter dialog. This is effective, but it limits you to selecting by category only. For example, if you only want some of the doors, you must be much more strategic about your initial selection (to avoid the ones you don’t want) and then filter from there. The other out-of-the-box method that is quite handy is the right-click option to select all instances. This is effectively “select by type.” Right-click an element and then using this method, select other element of the same type as the one selected.
But what if you want to select two types, but not a third? And what if getting that initial selection just right to avoid the ones you don’t want is too tricky? Or what if you want to add to or remove from the selection later without manually CTRL and SHIFT clicking? These are the times when Ideate QuickSelect comes in.
Ideate QuickSelect combines the best of the filter and right-click methods into a single modeless dialog. It lets you make selections from the active view, your entire project or even from an existing selection (like Filter). Best of all, it lists all elements in their familiar hierarchical tree starting at Category and progressing through Family, Type and even Instance. You simply expand your way down the tree and check the boxes at any level to select.
Figure 1 - Select items by checking the boxes next to categories, families, types or even instances
Additionally, as you expand each branch you will see the quantity of elements at that level (even before they are selected). If you expand the branch all the way, you will see each instance listed. If you double-click on an instance shown, the active view will zoom to that element.
If you choose the “Entire Project” option from the Display drop-down at the top, and then double-click an element, an appropriate view will be found and opened to display the element (if it is not visible in the current view). Furthermore, changing the Display options at the top will not drop the selection! So, any elements already selected in the list will remain selected. Naturally, this could be a little risky when using the “Entire Project” option, so I recommend caution or sticking with the “active View” display option most of the time.
Want even more control over your selection? Try Ideate Explorer. Ideate Explorer has all the features of Ideate QuickSelect plus other tools useful for auditing the project. I won’t dig into all its nuances in this article and will instead remain focused on selection. (However, there are excellent videos on the Ideate Software website that cover the complete functionality of Ideate Explorer and all the other Ideate Software tools). Ideate Explorer adds sorting and filtering to the selection. This means that you can choose from several other sorting schemes rather than the default of Category.
But what I like best is that you can use Filters. Now these are Revit View Filters that we are talking about here. So, if you have configured Filters to use in your Visibility/Graphics Overrides, they can be used in Ideate Explorer to assist in selection!
For example, in the next figure I have a project with many elements in the Site category. The left side shows that there are 1,510 such elements in the project. However, I have added information to the properties of many of these elements and a corresponding filter that lets me customize their visibility in certain views using that information. Using that same Filter in Ideate Explorer (shown on the right), you can see that it limits the selection to only 473 elements. This makes it very easy to select exactly the elements needed and leverage all those carefully crafted Filters you may have in your projects. By far one of my favorite selection tricks available in the Ideate Software tools.
Figure 2 - Using Ideate Explorer, you can use your Revit display Filters to assist in selection
That is all I have for you in this article. I hope you found those features exciting and worth a look. Ideate Software offers a free trial of their solutions. Browse this website to learn more and download them. You can also subscribe to them online.
Keep an eye out for the second half of my article where I will talk about Ideate StyleManager.
Disclosure: I have been granted a license to the Ideate Software solutions in exchange for my honest review of the software. The views in this article are my own.