April

29

2022

Microsoft Excel is the world’s most popular spreadsheet program. With an estimated 750 million users worldwide, it’s safe for us to assume that all readers of this blog post use it to organize, format, and calculate data, and that everyone knows how to use at least its basic functions of sorting, filling, and finding/replacing. Excel is a powerful part of our everyday professional and personal lives, completing tasks that would have taken hours in just seconds and eliminating the need to double or even triple check our work. 

Linking Excel to Revit

The Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit harnesses the powers of Excel and Revit, allowing users to export massive amounts of data from a Revit model to Excel for review, editing, and manipulation, and then import the Excel file into Revit. No longer do you need to go into Revit models to update hundreds of elements when one has been replaced with another, alter room numbers one at a time, change lower case letters to upper case, correct the spelling of a product, or any of the thousands of other tasks you perform, whether daily or infrequently. Instead, you can select elements you need to review/update, push their data to Excel, make any changes needed, and import from Excel into Revit. Viola! The Revit model immediately updates. 

Hundreds of Possibilities

Ideate BIMLink gives you access to all the data in your Revit model. To streamline the process of selecting the Revit items to import to Excel, Ideate BIMLink ships with more than 300 preconfigured links of common workflows for all AECO disciplines. And, each link is easily customizable, so you can add or remove parameters to meet your specific needs. 

Three Examples

There are hundreds of ways to manage Revit data with Ideate BIMLink. Here are descriptions of three popular workflows. These were presented along with three others at a webinar hosted by The Architect’s Newspaper. We will post information about the other three later. Review the recorded webinar

  1. Edit Model Data – Changes throughout a project are inevitable. New naming standards may be implemented, several small rooms or spaces may be converted into one large room or space, additional windows may be added, or hundreds of other changes can and will occur. Instead of manually editing the model data in Revit, you can use the Ideate BIMLink add-in to export the data to Excel, use the powerful features within Excel to edit the data, and then import the updated Excel data back to the Revit model. While this will save you time and increase accuracy even when just changing something as simple as sentence case to upper case, it can be used for much more interesting tasks as well.

    In this video (or skip right to the demo) you will see a demonstration on how to convert numerical View Orientation data in a Revit model into the words “North,” “South,” “East,” and “West,” (“Cardinal direction”) by exporting the elevation orientations into Excel, using a simple formula to convert the orientation numbers to the appropriate cardinal direction, performing the calculation in one cell, and using the Fill function in Excel to automatically convert all the numbers to the words. Then take it even further by concatenating three cells in Excel to combine the data into a new column that includes the room name, room number, and Cardinal direction, for example, “CORR 210 – EAST.” Once again, use the Fill function to fill the column down. Copy and paste all the data in the new column into the “Title on Sheet” column, save the spreadsheet, and close Excel. Then go back to Ideate BIMLink, open the spreadsheet, confirm everything that has been changed is correct, and hit “Import” to sync Excel to Revit. Immediately, all interior elevation room names in the Revit model are updated (click image to enlarge).   

    Ideate BIMLink - Edit Model Data
     
  2. Construction Quantity Takeoff – Knowing all the material quantities needed for construction is critical for keeping projects on time and on budget. Not ordering enough of just one item can slow the whole process, and overordering an item can negatively impact the bottom line. Considering the hundreds or even thousands of different materials needed for a project, it’s clear to see the importance of getting the information correct. Quantity take-offs, developed by estimators during the pre-construction phase, are the detailed lists of all materials and labor needed to complete a construction project. This process can be incredibly tedious, especially since project designs change often. 

    In this video (or skip right to the demo) you will see how Ideate Software makes the process simple by using a sample QTO Excel workbook that ships with Ideate BIMLink to export the Revit model data for QTO purposes. The workbook has two tabs:
     
    1. The QTO tab contains all the raw data that Ideate BIMLink exports from the Revit model to Excel
    2. The Summary tab has a spreadsheet that uses Excel pivot tables to convert that data into an easy-to-read QTO

QTO and Summary Tabs - Ideate BIMLink
 

With our Ideate BIMLink add-in, it’s easy to import data from Revit to Excel. While in your Revit model, launch Ideate BIMLink, and go to the preconfigured, multi-category “Construction QTO” link and select “Instance Link.” Ideate BIMLink will bring up all the data in alignment with the information in the Excel spreadsheet and the pivot table. If the out-of-the-box link doesn’t include all the information you need, you can easily add more parameters or Revit categories. Remember to edit the pivot table to accommodate any changes you make to the out of the box Construction QTO link.

Keep in mind that the Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit gives you access to A LOT of model data. We don’t just show you things that you see in the Properties pallete and in a schedule. We show you things that you don’t have access to within Revit, such as Coordinate and Host information.

Once you hit “Export,” Ideate BIMLink pushes the Revit model data into the existing Construction QTO worksheet in the QTO Excel file, overwriting its existing data, and the Summary tab automatically updates to reflect the latest model data. As your project continues to evolve and change, simply repeat the export process to the same QTO Excel file to overwrite the Construction QTO tab data. 

  1. Revisions – In Revit, there is no native way to schedule all sheets and revisions on those sheets, as Revit will only show you the most current revision and some very basic information about those revisions. Furthermore, when you want to issue out a drawing set in Revit, you must go to each sheet individually, select the “Revisions on Sheet,” button in the Properties palette, and select each Revision to display in the Titleblock. Since Revit will not allow users to bulk-select sheets and select Revisions in masse, you have to make these changes one-by-one and sheet-by-sheet. Imagine if you have hundreds of sheets to edit. What if you make a mistake? You literally have to go back to each sheet and click/unclick boxes in each one. This process could take hours, depending on the size of the project.

    Fortunately, with our Ideate BIMLink add-in for Revit you get an “Edit Revisions on Each Sheet” link that brings up all the sheets along with same boxes that are in Revit. In this video (or skip right to the demo) you will see how to export all the data to Excel and use simple True and False commands to select the information you need and import it back into your Revit project, easily creating or updating sheet lists with revisions.   

Watch the Recorded Webinar


 
See More Examples

You can visit our website to see many other examples. The Ideate BIMLink section of our blog has many articles, the How-to section of our Help pages details more advanced workflows, and our video library houses hundreds of short demonstration videos. See how easy it is to enhance Revit by importing Excel spreadsheets with updated model data. 

Contact us or visit our website to explore Ideate Software’s range of Revit tools and see how they can make your Revit projects faster, simpler, and more accurate.

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

April

26

2022

Recently, I was fortunate enough to work with one of our customers on a challenge they were facing managing revision issuances for a large project with several revision issuances. While they were using our Document Issue Record (DIR) Excel template, which enables users to push out Revision Sequences and Revision on Sheet data to generate a comprehensive sheet list with each revision listed for each sheet, they ran into some troubles with how to include consultant sheets in the same DIR template, since the consultant sheets were not in their Revit models.

Limitations in Revit

While Revit allows users to create a sheet list and include linked element sheets as part of the sheet list, there are limitations that can arise, especially if one team is in charge with managing a master sheet index for an entire project. For example, if each team uses different sheet parameters or revision sequence names (can be problematic with the DIR), including linked elements in the master index may yield unwanted results. Since Revit does not allow changes to linked model data, the team in charge of the master sheet index may have to constantly ask their consultants to manage the information in their models in a very specific manner so that when the models are aggregated in a federated model, the information comes in correctly via the Sheet List.

Because of these situations, many architects request that their consultants send them a sheet list, so that they can manually generate the consultant sheets (typically as placeholder sheets) in their models, for the purpose of generating the master sheet index.

Expedite the Process with Ideate BIMLink

To expedite the creation of the placeholder sheets, we can use the Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit. Depending on the situation, we have a couple of options to create the sheets:

  1. If the consultant models are linked into the project that will maintain the master sheet index, such as a federated model, then we can use Ideate BIMLink to report on the linked model sheets and use that sheet data to generate the new sheets using Excel. See below for detailed steps on how to create placeholder sheets using linked Revit models and Ideate BIMLink.
     
  2. If the consultant models are not linked into the project that will maintain the master sheet index, then we can use Ideate BIMLink to export the sheet parameter data we need (sheet name, number, appears in sheet list, etc.), and add the consultant sheet info to the exported Excel file and import the data back into the Revit model to create the placeholder sheets. For more information on this workflow, refer to this Help topic and this blog post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

The following steps outline how you can create consultant sheets from linked Revit models using Ideate BIMLink: 

  1. In Ideate BIMLink, start with a pre-configured link called 02 Sheets-Create_New:

    Start with a pre-configured link in Ideate BIMLink Revit Plugin
     
  2. By default, this link is designed to filter out any existing sheets that exist in the project. Since we need to display the sheets from the linked Revit models, we will need to remove this filter: 

    Remove the Filter
     
  3. To reveal the sheets from the linked Revit models (the consultant sheets), check the “Include linked elements” option under the Properties tab. After doing so, you will see the primary sheets from the main model (highlighted in red), which has editable information, such as Sheet Number, Sheet Name, and Appears in Sheet List, and the sheets from the linked Revit models (highlighted in blue), which has non-editable information. The element ID numbers (highlighted in green) look different here, since we are displaying the element ID for the linked Revit models, followed by the element IDs of the sheets from the linked models: 

    Reveal Sheets from Linked Revit Model
     
  4. Before exporting this data to Excel, if you are interested in exporting only the linked model sheets (highlighted in blue), then return to the Filters tab and set the values to be Sheet Number is not editable. This will filter out all the sheets from the primary model and leave you with only the sheets from the linked models. If you will need to edit the sheet data from the primary model, while creating new sheets, then you can skip this step:

    To export only the linked Revit model sheets
     
  5. Once complete, export the information to Excel and open the Excel file to reveal the results: 

    Export to Excel and open Excel File
     
  6. Since we are interested in creating placeholder sheets in the federated model by using the Sheet Name and Sheet Numbers from the consultant links, all we need to do is erase the element ID numbers (column A) and replace them with the word NEW. For the Title Blocks (column B), you have a few options:
     
    • Leave the values blank, which will generate placeholder sheets. This is a typical workflow.
       
    • Use the value: <None>, which will add the sheets to the Project Browser, without titleblocks. This is not a typical workflow, since views will not be placed on these sheets.
       
    • Assign a loaded titleblock (family:type format, as seen in above image), which will add the sheets to the Project Browser, with titleblocks. This is not a typical workflow for consultant sheets, but a very typical workflow for creating new sheets in a primary model in which views will be placed.

Because we are interested in creating placeholder sheets for the consultant sheets, we will clear the existing values in the Title Blocks column. Finally, since we want these sheets to appear in the sheet index, we will ensure that the Appears in Sheet List value is set to TRUE for each sheet:  

Make edits in Excel

  1. Once the data has been edited, save the Excel file and import the changes back into the Revit model using Ideate BIMLink:


     
  2. Verify that the new placeholder sheets have been created by either using the new sheet function (blue arrow) or by going to a Sheet List schedule and selecting the Isolate function under the Filter Placeholder Sheet panel in the Revit ribbon: 

    Verify the updates

After your placeholder sheets are created, you can then modify any of the sheet information, such as Revisions on Sheets, and even use these placeholder sheets as part of your Document Issue Record (DIR).

More Training Tips

For additional training tips, check out our Training blog post series.

Send us an email with questions or visit our website to explore Ideate Software’s range of Revit tools and see how they can make your Revit projects faster, simpler and more accurate.

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

April

25

2022

Ideate Software is hiring!

We are seeking a Revit designer, engineer, or architect to join our team in the role of Customer Success Manager. The primary responsibility is to expand the Ideate Software business through the cultivation and management of strategic AEC companies. This position is full time and will require occasional travel for tradeshows and to customer locations.  

The ideal candidate will be based in the US Pacific Time Zone, but all US candidates are encouraged to apply. This position involves significant customer interaction as well as Building Information Model expertise. 

Interested parties can read the full job description

Read More

April

22

2022

We recently showed how to find unused Legend or Schedule views using the Query function within Ideate Explorer in this blog post

Finding unused Legend or Schedule Views
Ideate Query finds where legends have been placed or not.

But how can you find which sheets the legend or schedule views are placed on? 

While Ideate Explorer and Query can identify the number of sheets with legends and schedules, it can’t identify the sheet names or numbers, as this is information is not yet accessible.

However, using Ideate SheetManager, one of the tools in the IdeateApps collection, you can easily find which sheets have legends or schedules placed on them by using the Search function.

Use the Search function to find which sheets have legends or scheduled
You can also use the Search to find other view types.

Using Ideate SheetManager can help make preparing your drawings sets an easy and efficient process.

For additional training tips, check out our Training blog series.

Visit 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 all the Revit plugin solutions 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.

 

 

Read More

April

18

2022

We are pleased to once again have the opportunity to connect with people who design, build, operate, and maintain our built environment at the BILT Americas conference. Attendees of this three-day event held June 14 - 16 in Anaheim, California, will choose from more than 90 sessions, all focused on the use of best-in-class tools, processes and workflows, behaviors, and leadership. 

When registering, be sure to sign up for “Are Your Revit Templates and Standards a Little Old and Crusty?” and “Demystifying Datums and Scope Boxes Within Revit,” by our Technical Evangelist Richard Taylor. 

While at the conference, stop by booth #716 to meet the Ideate Software team, discuss your Revit challenges, and learn about our plugins that solve persistent Revit challenges.

Session Summaries

Are Your Revit Templates and Standards a Little Old and Crusty? 

BIM managers, project managers, BIM standards committee members, and end users in charge of creating and maintaining Revit project and template standards will appreciate the lessons on strategies and tactics for managing Revit standards without giving up the control needed to maintain quality. You’ll learn about: 

  • The importance of quality standards
  • Content and settings that should be part of Revit templates and families
  • How styles, such as object style subcategories, fill patterns, viewports, etc. can find their way into projects
  • Dangers of brute-force cleaning and purging
  • Revit template cleaning techniques 

Richard Taylor - Ideate SoftwareDemystifying Datums and Scope Boxes Within Revit

Grids, levels, and reference planes are the backbone of a good building information model.  As designers, we use a whole series of annotative elements that help us understand and navigate through a complex web of 2D and 3D element connections. Datums such as grid lines and reference planes can seriously impact Revit geometry and Revit views and are often driven by scope boxes and other non-intuitive elements. After completing the session, you will have a better understanding of: 

  • How datums such as grid lines and reference planes can impact geometry and elements in 2D and 3D views
  • How scope boxes within Revit can control specific view information as well as datum information
  • View references and data that can be constructed within the family environment that may impact datum information
  • How to clean up, quality control, and review datum information

We hope to see you at the BILT Americas conference this June!


------------------------------------------------------

Ideate Software Around the World

If you will not be in California during the BILT Americas conference but want to connect with Ideate Software, you will have plenty of other opportunities over the next several months. Come see us virtually or in person to experience first-hand how our plugins for Revit streamline workflows, improve collaboration, and help Revit users around the world deliver better designs faster.

Below is some information about some upcoming conferences where we will be exhibiting and presenting. More events will be added to our schedule, so keep an eye on the Events page on our website.

  • Event: London Revit User Group Meeting
    Date: April 19, 2022
    Location: Live and Online
    Description: The London Revit User Group (LRUG) meets every other month to promote peer-to-peer support and networking for Revit users, both current and potential.

    Steve Deadman, our UK/EMEA Customer Success Manager, will be a presenter at the April meeting. He will discuss Revit parameters, including how and when to use shared and project parameters as well as some of the new features in Revit related to parameters, such as global parameters, project-shared and family-shared parameters in key schedules, and new parameters unit types.
     
  • Event: Advanced Revit Model Health Checks Webinar – UK/EMEA
    Date: June 14, 2022
    Location: Online
    Description: Revit model health is important. As models grow, they get more complex. As deadlines approach and more people are added to the design team, it can be tempting to let a focus on modelling and drafting standards slip to the wayside. Unfortunately, this practice can lead to unhealthy, bloated models that become difficult to work with and full of warnings and unused or improperly used data.

    This webinar, which will be led by Steve Deadman, our UK/EMEA Customer Success Manager, and Nick Johns, our UK/EMEA Territory Lead, is scheduled at a time convenient for those in the UK/EMEA region and will be recorded. The link to the recording will be included in a related blog post about a week after the event, so those that can’t attend the webinar can benefit as well. Attend it to learn how to use Ideate Software plugins for Revit to:
     
    • Perform QA and QC on various categories of Revit models
    • Review and address Revit warnings
    • Review, merge or eliminate unwanted styles
    • Ensure models are organized
       
  • Event: BIM Coordinators Summit 
    Date: September 8, 2022
    Location: Dublin, Ireland and Virtual
    Description: We are the Gold Sponsors of the 2022 BIM Coordinators Summit, which celebrates BIM Coordinators, BIM Managers, Information Managers, and AEC professionals responsible for producing, managing, and coordinating information about buildings and infrastructure. 

    Our UK/EMEA Customer Success Manager, Steve Deadman, will present “Advanced Revit Model Health Checks and Warnings Management” on the Data Governance Stage. This presentation, designed for BIM managers, BIM coordinators, and end users in charge of Revit models, will feature strategies and tactics for ensuring models are kept lean and in good health, including: 
     
    • The importance of addressing health concerns and performing regular health checks
    • Key areas to include in Revit model health checks
    • Features that can lead to poor model health
    • Warnings that can be critical to project projects and those that can be ignored
    • Visualizing health check data in Power BI
       
  • Event: BIM World Munich 2022
    Date: November 22 - 23, 2022
    Location: Munich, Germany
    Description: People from the D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) region that work in the construction, real estate, and urban development industries attend this leading annual networking conference. Started in 2016, this year’s conference is expected to attract 8,000+ people who will have access to more than 200 exhibitors and 150 presentations. While at the event, be sure to stop by the Ideate Software booth to discuss your Revit challenges and Ideate Software solutions with Nick Johns, our UK/EMEA Territory Lead and Steve Deadman, our UK/EMEA Customer Success Manager.

Stay Informed

Ideate Software hosts frequent webinars and participates in webinars, events, user group meetings, and conferences at various locations around the world. To stay informed of our activities, please check out the Events section of our website. We update it regularly as we add new webinars hosted by us, by other companies that feature our Revit add-in solutions, virtual events, and in-person conferences.  

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.


 


 

Read More