Our Investment in Enhancing Room Data Features of Ideate BIMLink

This blog post is part of a series of blogs exploring the room data in Revit.

In this post, the second of four, I cover the newly enhanced information that Ideate Software is providing, specifically as it is accessible through Ideate BIMLink.

Ideate BIMLink is a powerful tool that exposes an expansive amount of data much more than is easily accessible from within Revit. Room data is an area that Ideate Software has made a significant investment in, allowing Ideate BIMLink to report on room data in a variety of situations beyond Revit capabilities.

New Room Data Features

For model elements in Revit, Ideate BIMLink finds room information in each of the following scenarios:

  • Rooms in different phases. Ideate BIMLink looks in the phase defined for the link first and then works backwards through the phases in which the element exists until it locates a room.
  • Rooms in design options. Ideate BIMLink looks in rooms in design options and the main model for elements that exist in either the main model or a design option.
  • Rooms in linked files. If Ideate BIMLink does not find an associated room in the same model as the element, it will look in the linked files. The cases covered include:
    • Elements located in the main file and rooms located in the linked file.
    • Rooms located in the main file and elements located in the linked file.
    • Rooms located in a linked file and elements located in a different linked file.

NOTE: Data from linked rooms for doors and windows is only supported for families that are using the ‘Room Calculation Point.’

In addition to reporting room data for a given element more completely, Ideate BIMLink expands the scope data available by reporting on a greater array of elements. Columns, structural elements, and interior elevations are just some of the categories that are not supported in Revit but are supported in Ideate BIMLink. We also have room data in our multi-category links to help provide a complete picture of the model in one place.

Lighting Fixture Schedule without Room Data




Missing data within a Revit schedule because the room exists within a linked file.

When lighting fixtures exist in a different file than the rooms, Revit will not report values for the room fields.

Workflows Supported by the Expanded Room Data

With this information, Ideate BIMLink can empower all participants of the design process to utilize room information, even when they do not have control over the rooms. Existing Revit schedules can easily be used as a template for creating links in Ideate BIMLink. Once created, the schedule and the Excel export of the link can be compared side by side, allowing you to see the additional data. Here are a few of the workflows supported by the expanded room data:

  • Match up spaces in the MEP file with rooms in the architecture file
  • Furniture layouts in design options can be reported together with their rooms
  • Furniture in an FF&E file can include room information from the architecture file
  • Interior elevations can be renamed to reflect the name of the room they display
  • Electrical and ventilation equipment can be identified by the room in which it is located
  • Complete project data can be exported from a campus file, including data spanning multiple files

 Ideate BIMLink Link Room Properties






Lighting Fixture data, including important data related to rooms within a linked file

When the same lighting fixtures data is viewed in Ideate BIMLink, the room data from the linked file is reported.

Once the data is exposed, Excel can be used to generate reports, which can then be brought back into Revit using Ideate Sticky. The room data can also be copied to a custom parameter on the element for reporting in Revit schedules.

The enhanced room data is just one of the new Ideate BIMLink features , recently released for Revit 2016, Revit 2017, and Revit 2018. Give Ideate BIMLink a try today, and feel free to contact us. We are always happy to discuss your workflow challenges.

For information on our Revit software add-ins that help our customers get the most out of their Revit software, visit the Ideate Software website or contact your authorized Ideate Software partner.

About the Author

Jesika DiGregorio - Software Team Lead Jesika received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon in Eugene where she also spent time studying advanced math. Her work experience includes Junior Designer at an award-winning firm specializing in architecture and land planning, and Intern Architect at a firm that provides services in planning, design, construction documents and construction administration for projects of all sizes. After working in architecture design for several years, Jesika decided to pursue her interest in programming and her love of efficient systems. She now serves as a Software Team Lead for Ideate Software.


Read More




San Francisco, CA, 05/17/2017 – Ideate Software, a veteran Autodesk Developer Network member, announced today that it has launched its spring 2017 updates for Ideate Sticky, which include the new 2018 version and enhanced features of the 2017 and 2016 versions. These solutions are designed to work with Autodesk® Revit® 2016, 2017, and 2018, and the timing of the updates aligns with the Autodesk launch of Revit 2018.

Ideate Sticky is a Revit add-on solution developed by Ideate Software to address the lack of a text editor in Revit, which makes it difficult for Revit users to organize and format essential non-BIM data. Ideate Sticky enables users to format non-BIM data, such as code schedules, design data, and general notes in Excel and display them on Revit project files.

“Many of the improvements included in our spring 2017 releases are the direct result of feedback from customers,” said Glynnis Patterson, director of software development, Ideate Software. “We at Ideate Software take pride in the fact that we remain up-to-date on industry trends, and one of the ways we do that is through frequent conversations with customers.”

Enhancements in these latest releases that save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design include:

  • Significant improvements to the File Open process
  • Addition of a progress bar on File Open
  • Bug fixes:
    • Images and hidden rows or columns within the same Excel file no longer cause the image to be misplaced
    • Conflicts between Ideate Sticky and custom or third-party applications have been addressed

“This new release of Ideate Sticky demonstrates once again the advantage Ideate Software has over the competition,” said Bob Palioca, president, Ideate Software. “We know what BIM managers and daily Revit users need, and the certified engineers and architects that make up our software development team create solutions to address those needs.”

Ideate Sticky for Revit carries a five-star rating on the Autodesk App Store and is available with a non-commercial free trial. Download Ideate Sticky trial today. For more information on Ideate Sticky for Revit 2018, call 888.662.7238 or contact [email protected]. For support, contact [email protected].

About Ideate Software

Ideate Software allows Revit users to have unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer for Revit, Ideate Sticky, and IdeateApps were all developed to solve persistent problems in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction 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.



Read More




As a developer of add-in solutions for Autodesk Revit software, our goal is to help our customers get the most out of their Revit software investment. One way we do this is by meeting with users of our software as well as Revit customers at Autodesk conferences. At last year’s Autodesk Revit Technology Conference (RTC), we spoke with Tim Ekstrom, the BIM/CAD department leader for SSG MEP. SSG MEP offers a wide range of support for designing electrical, lighting, and low voltage systems for medical, municipal, educational, commercial, and transit facilities, as well as highways, roadways, and streetscapes.

Tim told us about some BIM line style standards that were not supported by our Revit add-in solution Ideate Sticky. Ideate Sticky lets Revit users “stick” Microsoft Excel files containing non-BIM data, such as code checklists, design data, and general notes, onto Revit project files, which are not able to manage or format non-BIM data.

Based on knowledge gained from further conversations with Tim, we realized that we had a great opportunity to increase the value of our software to SSG MEP and many other users who must comply with those standards. Our software development team went to work, and in December of 2015 we added three new features to Ideate Sticky:

1.    Support for hidden rows and columns
2.    Support for additional line weights
3.    Support for images

We didn’t stop there. We asked Tim for his thoughts on the updates, and he provided additional comments that led to further line refinements.

We appreciate Tim’s comments and welcome yours as well. You are deep into Revit software and Ideate Software products. If you are experiencing a challenge, chances are others are too. Please reach out to us at [email protected]  

Read More






On August 1, 2016, Autodesk released a fix in Revit 2016/2017 software that eliminates a file-corruption problem we reported in late May. The problem occurred when both Ideate Sticky and UNIFI Content Management were installed on Revit 2016 or 2017. The Revit fix combined with the updated version of Ideate Sticky released in May solved the problem.

To ensure that your Revit projects continue to run smoothly, we’re providing an overview of the issue and links to the Autodesk Revit and Ideate Sticky update releases. We encourage all Ideate Sticky users to download both at the links provided below.

Overview of the Issue

In May, 2016, Guy Messick, Nancy McClure, and others from Interior Architects told us that that certain workflows involving particular versions of Revit, Ideate Sticky, and UNIFI Content Management were causing Revit projects to become permanently corrupted.

Ideate Software and UNIFI Labs worked together to find the root cause: a change introduced in Revit 2016 FCS allowed Ideate Sticky to interact with UNIFI events in ways that corrupt Revit projects. We discovered that the situation and actions outlined below caused the corruption to occur:

  1. Have Ideate Sticky and UNIFI installed on Revit 2016 or 2017. These exact combinations of versions are required:
    Versions to be installed
  2. Using Unifi Content Manager, add a new wall or other system family to the Revit project
  3. Close the Revit project
  4. Reopen the Revit project

At this point, Revit stopped on File Open and displayed the error message, “Data in project <project_name>.rvt is corrupt and needs to be manually recovered.”

Scope of Risk

It’s important to understand that this issue could affect any combination of two Revit add-ins or custom programming. (Geeky details: Revit threw an exception when one add-in registered for the Idle event inside the Document Open event triggered by another add-in).

Problem Solved

Ideate Software released a new version of Ideate Sticky (2016.4 /2017.1) on May 20 that avoided the add-in interaction. We then documented and reported the issue to Autodesk. As mentioned earlier in this post, Autodesk released a fix that avoids the corruption (even if the latest version of Sticky is not installed) on August 1 in Revit 2016/2017.

A big shout-out to Mikako Harada of Autodesk Developer Technical Services for taking a personal interest and driving the quick turnaround at the factory to address this issue.

Get the Fix

  1. Update to the latest release of Revit (2016 R2 Update 6 -or- 2017 Service Pack 2):
    Autodesk Revit Update Releases
  2. Update to the latest release of Ideate Sticky (2016.4  - or- 2017.1):
    Ideate Sticky Update Releases

More questions?

Please contact Ideate Software if you are an Ideate Software user and have any questions. Also contact us if you are a third-party Revit add-in developer and think this issue might be affecting your software. We’d be happy to share what we know.

About the Author

Ben Bishoff, Senior Software Developer
Ben has been a software engineer for over 25 years. With a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, he has worked at several software companies developing applications for the AEC industry including Sage Timberline (construction accounting and estimating) and ArchT (architectural drafting for AutoCAD). He also worked at Microsoft creating AEC and other diagramming solutions for Office Visio. Ben has been with Ideate Software for over 8 years developing add-ins for Revit including Ideate Explorer and Ideate BIMLink.


Read More




If you are not familiar with key schedules within Revit, you might want to first read What is a Key Schedule? I think of key schedule data as a collection of data that is applied to a Building Information Model object by a “Post-it Note”. Key schedules are most commonly used as a way of managing large volumes of related properties for Rooms (room styles) and Doors (hardware) but have also been used to great effect as a way to create pseudo-type properties to circumvent manufacturing data.

key schedule, Revit, hardware, ironmongery

For a long time, I’ve been extolling the virtues of the key schedule. Which is why I was initially surprised to hear from an early adopter of Ideate Sticky, that they had decided to use Ideate Sticky as a substitute for key schedule data. For reference, Ideate Sticky links an Excel table into your Revit project, with the source data residing in Excel. Using this method to circumvent key schedules seemed a bit of BIM heresy, but I decided to let it slide as a crazy idea from a crazy architect. However, a chorus soon gathered of those who wanted to do the same thing; perhaps it was an idea worth further consideration.

So, after giving it much thought, here are my top (3) reasons to consider dumping your key schedules, in favor of using Ideate Sticky, and (1) reason to keep the key schedule. We’ll use this Door Hardware / Ironmongery Schedule as an example.

key schedule, Revit, hardware, Ironmongery

Benefits of the Key Schedule

Let’s start with the benefits of using the key schedule over using Ideate Sticky + Excel. With the conventional key schedule approach the data properties that relate to the key are connected to the Revit element. Meaning that if you selected a door, in the example above, you would see all the key properties (Location, Handle & Lock, Closers, Panic Bar), and their values, within the Properties palette, along with the key value itself (Hardware Group). You can also choose to include these same properties in the Door Schedule.

For some projects, this may be a requirement of the deliverable, particularly if your handover document is the Revit file. If you don’t need to handover the Revit file and you only include the ‘key’ in your main schedule, then consider the top three reasons for dumping your key schedule in favor of Ideate Sticky.

#3 No Support for Linked Files

Unlike regular schedule, key schedules are not designed to work across linked files, meaning that you cannot have a single key schedule be referenced by schedules that exist within multiple files. It is primarily for this reason that we’ve had customers starting to use Ideate Sticky as a solution to this problem. With Ideate Sticky, a single Excel file can be used for the ‘key’ data and then it can be linked into as many Revit files as needed. With Ideate Sticky, a change to the Excel file will then be automatically reflected within each Revit file – no need to open up each Revit file to make a change! This also means that the person in charge of this data does not need to own Revit, or no how to use it.

#2 Deleting the Key Schedule – Yikes!

Sad but true… if you delete a key schedule, the key parameter (Hardware Group in this example) will disappear, which is logical, but the related values will also become unassigned, which stinks. In the example above this means that the data already assigned for Location, Handle & Lock, Panic Bar and Closers would be deleted though the parameters would remain. I first ran into this problem when a customer called in a panic after having experienced a massive loss of data. The good news is that we were able to restore that data by using Ideate BIMLink, but it was a distressing problem to have, none the less. Keeping this ‘key’ data in Excel and using Ideate Sticky to display the data means no accidental loss of data.

#1 No Support for Shared Parameters

Probably the most vexing aspect of key schedules within Revit is that they do not support shared parameters. This means that you are limited in your ability to standardize the data across multiple Revit files. You also will not able to report the key value itself within a tag. When I checked last, this was high up on the Revit Ideas Forum and was under review, but until that day, you might just want to use Ideate Sticky to liberate your data. In our door hardware /ironmongery example, instead of creating a Revit key schedule for Hardware group, we can create Hardware Group as a shared parameter and then assign the values as needed. The rest of the data is identified within the Excel worksheet as desired.

Deciding how to best structure your Revit data is an important task that should be integrated into your BIM execution plan and office standards. Proper data structure can mean the difference between mind-numbing data entering and painless, user-friendly data decisions. For other posts related to this topic, you may want to review how to decide whether a Revit parameter should be shared or not, and also how to handle multiple shared Revit parameter files.  

About the Author

Glynnis Patterson, Revit expertGlynnis Patterson, NCARB — Director of Software Development
Glynnis is a Registered Architect and has worked within the BIM industry since 1998. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, she has worked as an architect, educator and construction site manager. Glynnis is currently the Director of Software Development Services at Ideate, Inc. and continues to work with AEC clients worldwide, developing, and consulting on solutions to Building Information Modeling challenges. In her spare time Glynnis does volunteer work for ECLC of NJ and Grow it Green Morristown. Follow Glynnis on Twitter.

Read More