Thank you Laura Kay Smith - BIM Manager Lead, Buildings and Facilities Western Canada, SNC Lavalin, for contributing the following post.

I want to thank Ideate Software for giving me the opportunity to write a blog post, so I can share how BIM is simplified by good tools. My main tool pallet has always involved Ideate Software, and I would like to share with you some of my processes and tips for successful implementation and usage.

I have previously discussed how BIM failure is due to complexity and lack of education (see my article, BIM is Simple), suggesting that BIM is most successful in companies that understand the value it provides. In this article, I provide some tips and tricks to get your firm’s BIM implementation and usage on the right track.

You will need buy-in from your whole team to keep the BIM process simple. The buy-in starts by making things easy to use. Here are some useful workflows that incorporate quality BIM tools I found to be useful:

Ideate BIMLink

My first major success in moving BIM forward in a firm came in 2013 when I stumbled  across Ideate BIMLink (Kasian Sets a New Facilities Planning Standard Using Ideate BIMLink). This is where I had an epiphany on the importance of BIM tools paving the way to success in BIM processes.

Ideate BIMLink allows everyone on a project to be involved with the data input of Revit. It’s a tool that allows the push and pull of data between Excel and Revit.

My main workflow for this tool is in health care. Because health care requirements are strict, it’s important to minimize the places that information must be corrected when projects change: if you ignore this, your project can spiral into endless rework cycles.

For example, each room in a hospital has a specific purpose and needs, size, equipment, location and finishes. You can track and update this information without manual entry by using Ideate BIMLink:

  1. Set up your template file for health care with standard parameters used for operations and requiring checks.
  2. Create an Ideate BIMLink link with those parameters.
  3. Transition the received requirements onto the Ideate BIMlink Excel export and import into your project.
  4. Pull the room sizes and requirements back into your Excel requirement check. Here you can set formulas to verify and check the numbers. You can also set up a parameter to color your rooms to make the requirements visual.
  5. Organize your Ideate BIMLink data to produce Room Data Sheets.

Laura Kay Smith
Snapshot of Excel worksheet showing data extracted from Revit

Laura Kay Smith
Snapshot of Excel worksheet showing data extracted from Revit with color-coding added to emphasize variances

Ideate Sticky

The Ideate BIMLink tool is very powerful, but it only helps you manipulate information that is already in your model. If you need information on your pages that is not part of your file, you can use Ideate Sticky to ‘stick’ the data on a sheet.

Ideate Sticky allows users to show Excel in Revit without the additional parameter inputs. For example, your project may need you to include electrical conduit schedules. To add these to a page using Ideate Sticky, you can select the print area of a sheet and place it directly into your Revit sheet. This can be a live link, meaning any changes to the spreadsheet will also update in the BIM model. All the information in the original sheet, including equations, graphics, layout and coloring will translate to the print sheet. You can use this setup for those engineers that do not work inside the model.

If the project needs both the push and pull of data and the simple sticking of information on a sheet, both Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Sticky can be used in the same document.

Ideate Explorer

One of the most important parts of BIM management on a project is model maintenance and verifications. Ideate Explorer is a simple checkup tool for your model.

Ideate Explorer allows the model coordinator to accurately fill out the required Model Review checklist. Component and Subcomponent checks on Naming, Level Naming, Proper Dimension and Text styles used. The Warning checks inside of Ideate Explorer are also easier to understand and help you find the offending components.

Using BIM tools that are simple and allow the team to focus on the actual BIM data rather than model maintenance will help in the simplification of BIM. Ideate Software offers a great tool base for that step into 3D modeling. 

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I’m constantly reminded of the importance of playing an active role in the success of software development. This role is not limited to the work that we do at Ideate Software; it extends far beyond. For me personally, I am all about the experience and usability of software. It needs to be intuitive. It must have a clean look, great feel, and be easy to navigate. When a user generates an error, the software should clearly define what the error is and suggest ways to resolve the error. If software is lacking features, I log feature requests to improve the software, otherwise I move on to something else that works better.

We can all probably agree that no software is perfect. While software may meet most of our needs, there will certainly be features and workflows that are missing or underdeveloped. Whenever I see the opportunity to speak up and log a feature request, I do so. Not only do I log feature requests internally for our own products, I also log feature requests to Autodesk via the forums and to mobile app developers, either directly through their website or from the feedback section in the app store. The goal in doing so is to help the developers understand the needs of the consumer, rather than just assume they know what the consumers’ needs are.

A feature request that I logged with Autodesk a few years back was recently implemented into Revit (starting in Revit 2020.2). This feature request involved showing a marker for Revit’s Internal Origin point (I love the Revit coordinate system!) and markers for linked files Internal Origin, Survey, and Project Base points as well. Instead of just requesting this feature, I took a few extra moments and explained why this feature would be beneficial. Here is the feature request itself and the notation that it was implemented by Autodesk:

The Importance of Feature Requests

Feature requests like these are important to log with software developers, as they typically address pain points and ways that they can improve the users experience.

Ideate Software customers should log feature requests through the Help menu as shown below.

Submit Feature Requests

At Ideate, Inc., we are continually looking for ways in which we can improve our software, whether it be improvements to our current software products or new product ideas. Each feature request that we receive, whether from our website, through our technical support system, or from our Beta program, is logged into our system and carefully reviewed. I always tell our customers and prospects that our software is great because of the wants and needs of our customers, not the wants and needs of ourselves. If you ever feel like your requests to others are never heard, you can take comfort in knowing that we log all requests and discuss them in full detail. 

On behalf of our entire team, thank you so much for being an active part of what we do. We are very proud of the quality and service that we provide to all our current and future customers. Keep those feature requests coming!

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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Great ideas to address Revit challenges often stem from discussions with other users. To facilitate these discussions, we are hosting two in-person meetings in San Francisco on February 4, 2020. The morning session is for existing customers, and the afternoon session is for prospective customers: 

  • Existing customers will learn about Ideate Software updates and tools and future product development plans
  • Prospective customers will get a high-level technical overview of how to use our five Revit applications to save time, enhance quality control, ease model management and increase collaboration

Both sessions include a networking lunch with peers and Ideate Software team members. 


  • Date: February 4, 2020
  • Place: Autodesk Office, Steuart Tower, 2nd Floor, One Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
  • Time: 
    • Customers: 9:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    • Prospective Customers: 12:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Seating is limited, so reserve your spot today!



San Francisco Sessions

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When quickly describing Ideate BIMLink, we say that it’s a BIM data management tool that lets you move data from a Revit model to an Excel spreadsheet for easy editing, and then push the updated data back into the model with speed, ease, and accuracy. 

It is so much more than that.

Below is a list of ways you can use Ideate BIMLink to leverage the data in your Revit model as well as links to the related Help files that have more details and step-by-step instructions:

You can also check out our Instructional Videos that demonstrate some of the many uses of Ideate BIMLink for Revit. A recent addition to our video library explains some of the new Project Setup tasks that are easily automated by Ideate BIMLink. You can review it here:

Have any questions about how to use Ideate BIMLink? Let us know. We are here to help you get the most out of our Revit productivity applications. 

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

Richard W. Taylor, Associate AIA – Technical Evangelist 
Richard has more than 30 years of experience working for companies that develop architectural and engineering software solutions, such as Intergraph, Bentley, and Autodesk. He has over 18 years of Revit experience, and he was part of the original development of Revit while at Revit Technology Corporation. He worked for 12 years at Autodesk, where he presented, taught, and worked to improve features in Revit. Richard holds both a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. As Technical Evangelist, Richard works with AECO clients worldwide, developing and consulting on BIM solutions. Find Richard on Twitter.

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The Ideate Software team was thrilled to be invited to show off a prototype web project we’ve been working on at the Forge DevCon Village Expo and Autodesk University 2019 in Las Vegas.

Overview of our Project 

The web project is our internal Beta Forge Integration solution, which allows BIM 360 subscribers to easily assess the warnings in their models by adding model health Key Performance Indicator (KPI) cards to their Project Home or Insight dashboard from the BIM 360 platform’s Card Library. 

We started with the count of Revit warnings as a key metric for assessing a model’s risk and paired it with the ranking organization from Ideate Software’s Warnings Manager to present “Stoplight” KPI cards and “Top 5 Worst Offenders” bar charts. Warnings Manager is a component of Ideate Explorer, our application for fast Revit data discovery.

Revit Warnings
On the Top 5 cards, users can get additional data about the BIM 360 projects and files upon hover and drill-down, and on the Stoplight card they can easily send emails pre-populated with project-identifying information to alert co-workers that a file needs fixing. 

Feedback from Potential Users

In showing off our work-in-progress at the Forge DevCon Village Expo and Autodesk University, we aimed to get conversations started about the potential value of this tool and the direction users would like to see it go. We were not disappointed. 

We were gratified to hear interest in areas that align with our current plans for this project, including: 

  • Exporting data and visualizations to Power BI
  • Closing the loop by connecting cards on the BIM 360 platform back to the desktop version of those Revit files
  • Providing notifications to make insights from these data visualizations more immediately actionable

Most of all, people expressed interest in seeing this prototype expand to become a full Ideate Software product or add-on to one of our existing products with a complete catalog of cards that can make up a model health dashboard. One visitor told us that something like this would have saved him considerable time and effort on a recently finished project by helping him locate files with problems and notify the “fixers” easily.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide feedback and suggestions on this prototype work! We are encouraged by the responses and will continue our investigation into how it can best serve our customers’ needs.

Your Thoughts?

If you weren’t able to make it to Forge DevCon or Autodesk University 2019 and have an idea you would like to share, as always, we would be delighted to hear it. 

About the Author

Stephanie FitzgeraldStephanie Fitzgerald – Software Developer
Stephanie earned her Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from University of Oregon. She also gained a certificate in Advanced Full-Stack JavaScript from Alchemy Code Lab in Portland, OR. In past roles, Stephanie wrote C# and web design curriculum for Zaniac, where she was also the project manager for development, managed a research study of student motivation to learn math for Harvard University, and redesigned the website for a Tufts University library. As a student, she built a social network site for athletes, a back-end security package, and a tablet game app for the California Science Center. 


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