Recently, a customer was using our Ideate Automation script: “AUT-Export-Combined_PDF” and ran into a timeout error during the export process. Our timeout for this workflow was set to two hours. As a result, we changed the timeout to four hours for the latest release. 

This also sparked a conversation around the factors that impact the export to PDF time. Here is a short list to help you troubleshoot your model before exporting to PDF:

  1. Views Far Clipping and Depth Clipping Parameters Aren’t Managed
    Showing too much of what you don’t need in a view increases the time it renders it for the view, therefore impacting the time it takes to print, especially if the clipping setting is set to “No Clip,” which means that it’s infinite, and you are at risk of showing more than what you need.  

    Here are the settings you can manage to control this:
  • Depth Clipping: Plan Views and Plan Callouts 
  • Far Clipping: Elevations, Elevation Callouts, and Sections
    Note: Far Clip Settings for Elevation Callouts can either be independent or same as parent view, however, Sections and Elevations are inherently independent.  

To manage this, you can utilize Ideate BIMLink to audit your Views clipping options. Ideate BIMLink has a link definition named “Views” you can use as a starting point and add the necessary parameters. In this case we need “Depth Clipping” and “Far Clipping” 

You’ll notice that the clipping values are 0,1,2:

  • 0 = No clip
  • 1 = Clip with line
  • 2 = Clip without Line

“Far Clip Settings” is another parameter we can investigate. There are two options as indicated above, Same as Parent View or Independent. 

  • 0 = Independent
  • 1 = Same as parent view

When managing Views, it’s important to also understand the differences between Detail and Floor Plan Callout. Here is a knowledge-based article from Autodesk for your review: Understanding the differences between details and floor plan callouts in Revit LT

  1. Views Far Clip Offset Isn’t Managed
    To manage this parameter in BIMLink, you need the “Far Clip Offset.” You can go ahead and add it to your Link Definition. When far clipping is set to clip with or without a line, you can control the Far Clip Offset. You can audit your model by reviewing and editing the distance so that it’s not showing too much information for that view. 
  2. Depth Cueing is Enabled for the View
    This property can be managed with “Depth Cueing: Show Depth.” If this is enabled for a view, it will take longer to print and it rasterizes the image. 
  3. Views with Shadows Turned on
    If shadows are turned on for a view, it takes longer to print as it rasterizes it, much like Depth Cueing. Unfortunately, there is API limitations to access this data, but it’s on our roadmap once Revit makes it accessible. 
  4. Views Detail Level
    The rule of thumb for Views detail level is that the majority should be set to Coarse level of detail. Use Medium or fine level of details for detail only. To manage this, you can utilize the “Detail Level” parameter and add it to the “Views” BIMLink Link Definition. 
  5. Number of Views on Sheet
    Using the BIMLink Link Definition “Views,” you can use the property “Sheet Number” to investigate how many views are on the Sheet. Sheets that contain a lot of views take longer to print. 
  6. Views with CAD Links that aren’t clean
    A dense CAD file on a view increases printing time. Cleaning CAD links before linking them into the Revit model is a general rule, however, there comes times where you miss a few layers or want to do a quick merging or deleting layers. You can use Ideate Style Manager; Navigate to Object Styles and check Imported Styles. Scroll to the DWG file you’re looking to clean. You can analyze, merge, and delete certain layers.  

    You can also check if there are any CAD Links or imports in your project to begin with. You can utilize the Ideate BIMLink definition “HC-Imports” and go to the Filters tab and delete “Is Linked” filter to list all CAD Links and CAD Imports in the project.

As you see, there are many factors that impact the time it takes to export to PDF from Revit. With this short list and the proper tools, you can audit your model and find your Export to PDF from Revit culprit! 

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

Nivin Nabeel, Customer Success Manager, Americas

Nivin has a background in architecture, visual arts, and computer science and has extensive experience in managing and manipulating BIM data, developing and implementing BIM standards and workflows, and applying BIM workflows to ancillary project components for improved efficiency. Before joining Ideate Software, Nivin worked at several architecture and design firms where she learned about Ideate Software products, used them, advocated for them, implemented them, and trained others on how to use them. She earned her Bachelor of Architectural Science degree from Toronto Metropolitan University. Follow Nivin on LinkedIn.