Managing the myriad of materials within a Revit project can be a daunting and time-consuming task. This task is made easier and more efficient using Ideate BIMLink.
We always recommend using one of the many sample link definitions that ship with Ideate BIMLink. In this example I’m using the Column_Types link definition, open the properties and add the Material Parameter.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the simple things, like using the search function within Ideate BIMLink to search for the parameter that you want to add to the link definition:
Search for the key word in the Search box e.g., Material
Material Parameter has been added to the link.
Edit the materials as required, either within the Ideate BIMLink interface or for quick bulk editing export to Excel.
Edit the Material as required.
It’s as simple as that!
In the May 2023 release of Ideate Software, you are now able to edit and manage the material types and thicknesses within compound Wall, Floor, Roof and ceiling elements using Ideate BIMLink. There is a new folder of link definitions specifically for managing materials.
Check out this short video to learn more about editing the material layers within Walls.
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.
Revit Schedules look similar to spreadsheets made up of columns and rows with cells containing data related to the Revit elements. They are usually created when there is a need to quantify various elements in a Revit model.
There are six types of schedules in Revit:
Schedule/Quantities – Using Revit schedules can save time validating model data. In Revit, simply select the Category, such as Doors, Curtain Panels, or Duct Accessories, and then select the parameters, such as Type, Height, and Width. Revit will pull all the data into a single Schedule that you can easily view.
Graphical Column Schedule – This schedule graphically shows you all the columns in the model as well as related information such as connection, size, and material. To create the schedule, open the Schedules menu on the View tab and select the Graphical Column Schedule tool. Modify the schedules attributes by using the Properties palette.
Material Takeoff – These schedules are used to calculate the quantities of material. They have the functionality and characteristics of other schedule views, and they can show more detail about the assembly of a component. For example, if creating a material takeoff schedule for walls, in addition to picking out wall parameters to include, you can also select material parameters, such as paint, area, and manufacturer.
Sheet List – This schedule pulls in all the sheets in a model along with all the fields in those sheets, such as Designed by, Approved By, Assembly: Manufacturer, Count, Sheet Name, and Sheet Issue Date. Simply select the fields you want in the schedule to get a quick view of all the information.
Note Block – Notes on a Revit model can be difficult to see. This is not a problem with the Note Block schedule, which pulls note numbers and text into a single document.
View List – A view list displays all the views in a Revit project, such as plans, sections, elevations, drafting views, and 3D views, in one place. It is sortable, making it easy to keep track of what’s going on in your model and how many views are there. The data is easily sortable, so users can quickly review the specific information they need to check.
Exporting Data to Excel with Ideate BIMLink
Revit schedules are a great way to pull all the information you need to see into one document, however they don’t allow you to manipulate that data. Manipulation is needed in both large and small projects because things change. Whether it’s the manufacturer of door hardware, the sizes of windows, the number of stalls in a bathroom, or any of hundreds of other changes possible, you know that data will need to be updated several times during a project. Within Revit, these updates need to be done one at a time, which can take hours or even days to do, check to make sure everything was done correctly, and then re-do any that were missed or done incorrectly. That’s where Ideate BIMLink comes in.
With Ideate BIMLink, you can export data from Revit to Excel and use the powerful manipulation tools in Excel to edit the data. Then you can simply import the updated data back into your Revit model, and the model will update automatically. What once was incredibly time consuming is now fast and error free.
It’s easy to export from Revit to Excel with Ideate BIMLink. Start by clicking the Export button, then select the spreadsheet to receive the exported Revit properties.
Want to see how easy it is to use Ideate BIMLink? We have many resources available on our website, including Help files, recorded webinars, and blog posts. You can access all our Ideate BIMLink videos from our Video Library. We have also categorized the videos into different playlists to make it easier for people to find the right videos:
Model Management – Videos on this playlist highlight how Ideate BIMLink can be used to manage sheets, views, and other common concerns for project engineers and architects.
Architects & Designers – Watch these videos to learn how to eliminate time-consuming, manual room management and door management workflows.
Engineers & Designers – See how you can use Ideate BIMLink to easily increase the speed for data management within engineering designs.
VDC Managers & Estimators – Learn how to access data within the model is critical; use the high-powered data queries in Ideate BIMLink to manage construction sequencing.
Content & Family Management– Here are several demo videos that will show you how to bring clarity to your project browser, clean-up and manage your Revit Family content, rename families and types, or populate large volumes of parameter values with Ideate BIMLink.
Learn About all Ideate Software Solutions for Revit Users
Like us, others are exploring the many improvements included in Revit version 2024. One enhancement getting a lot of attention is the new project templates. Autodesk is touting it as a key improvement, and Nicolas Catellier ranked the change #3 in his RevitPure blog post, Top 20 Best New Features in Revit 2024, and he said, “The templates have been reworked to include more ‘best practice’ features. Instead of 1 template per discipline, they have been merged into one super multi-discipline template.”
We agree that the new templates are a very nice improvement, and we are proud to see that Ideate BIMLink played a role!
If you have Ideate BIMLink installed, and you want to test drive the new Revit template with embedded link definitions:
Start Revit 2024
Pick one of the two new templates
Select Ideate Software>BIMLink
The five pre-loaded templates, shown in yellow in the image, are the ones included with the Autodesk out-of-the-box template.
A good template is built with clean and accurate standards. Ideate BIMLink is a Revit add-in that makes the process fast and easy. We are thrilled that Autodesk trusted it when updating the templates to make starting projects and developing templates easier than ever. We recommend reviewing your own custom templates and consider adding your own must-have link definitions.
Did you know that you can use Ideate Automation to export views and sheets to PDF and DWG files without worrying about editing the Revit Views/Sheets sets? This feature streamlines the sheet set creation and management because the Revit sheet sets are static lists, while the list of views and sheets that need to be exported is constantly changing.
When you select the desired model to be exported to PDF or DWG, you must select the desired sheet sets, which are static and exist within the Revit model. To address this challenge, we enhanced our PDF and DWG scripts within Ideate Automation to include a dynamic list that is setup through an Ideate BIMLink link definition to prescribe the sheet set. This Ideate BIMLink definition (.link) file can be saved outside of the Revit model so that it can be used across models.
As a result of this implementation, the task name in Ideate Automation is now called: “IBL-Export_Combined_PDF_Dynamic” and “IBL-Export_Individual_PDF_Dynamic,” and same goes for the DWG export tasks. If you aren’t already aware, you can save Link definition from Ideate BIMLink and use it externally. The idea with this script is to use one Ideate BIMLink definition that’s managed by a filter and can be applied to multiple models.
Tips for setting up the Ideate BIMLink definition filters for Dynamic sheet sets:
Set placeholder property to False. This will ignore all placeholder sheets because they don’t have Titleblocks and will interrupt the printing process. You want to avoid that.
Use a parameter that can be used parametrically across models.
Once you set all your properties conditions, check “Elements Must Pass All Filters” making this an AND condition.
Watch this short video to see an example of Ideate Automation exporting a combined set of PDFs using the desired sheet set from an Ideate BIMLink definition that’s dynamic. For exporting individual PDFs, refer to the good naming standards tips found within Steve Deadman’s blog post on Exporting PDFs from Revit.
This blog post is part of our Training Series. Access more here. You can learn more in the related Ideate Automation Help Topic: How to Export to PDF.
Browse our website to learn more about how Ideate Software’s Revit add-ins 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 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.
Although Revit is the leading BIM software in the world, it simply was not designed to enable users to edit large amounts of data quickly and easily. Because complex Revit models have massive amounts of data, using Revit to verify, manipulate, and update that data can be incredibly time consuming and error prone. It’s not uncommon for architects, engineers, designers, and contractors to spend hundreds of hours on data entry tasks, double handing data, and fixing work done incorrectly. Spending time on these tasks can frustrate the users, who generally prefer to spend their time on more innovative and creative activities. It can also lead to missed deadlines or incorrect deliverables, which can frustrate customers and can damage a business’s reputation.
Ideate BIMLink eliminates the need for time to be spent on manual, repetitive tasks by enabling users to export Revit data to Excel, use the powerful tools in Excel to easily manage, manipulate, and edit the data, and then push the updated data back into the Revit model, saving hours of manual data editing. Excel doesn’t even need to be installed for Ideate BIMLink to read and write Excel files.
Ideate BIMLink supports the following file formats for both import and export for Revit projects:
Excel 2007 - 2013 Workbook (*.xlsx)
Excel 2007 - 2013 Macro-Enabled Workbook (*.xlsm)
Excel 97 - 2003 Workbook (*.xls)
Excel is the ideal choice for these workflows because it is the most popular spreadsheet software in the world. More than 750 million people around the world use it, and the vast majority of business use it for data entry, data management, accounting, financial analysis, charting and graphing, and more. Most people already know how to use the software, and those who aren’t familiar with it can gain a basic understanding of its interface and core functions in just a few hours, and most people can fully learn the application and master its more complex capabilities in just 18 – 20 hours.
Using Ideate BIMLink
Like all Ideate Software products, Ideate BIMLink is easy to learn and use. Below are a few examples of how to export/import data from Revit to Excel. You can get step-by-step workflow instructions, information on troubleshooting, and details on customizations from our website in the Ideate BIMLink Help files.
Example One: Excel Naming Conventions: Associate an Excel Spreadsheet with a Link Saved in a Revit Project
The Excel worksheet tab and the link must be named the exact same thing
The Excel column headings must match the corresponding link property name
In most examples, the first column in the Excel sheet has to contain a valid Revit element id assigned by Revit. It will be used to identify an element within the Revit model
Example Three: Editing Revit Property and Cell Units in Microsoft Excel
Default Units - Ideate BIMLink will export numeric property values from Revit to Excel by using the default units defined in Revit.
If the default unit is set to feet and fractional inches, Ideate BIMLink will export the values as decimal values with three places
Numerical values imported from Excel to Revit are interpreted as having the default units defined in Revit
NOTE: The Properties palette in Revit does not use the unit format specified within Project Units; it has its own, hard-wired format
Imperial Units - Fractional Inches - Microsoft Excel doesn’t support imperial format for length values in the same way as Revit with both the feet and inches syntax. Instead, when working with imperial length units:
Feet and fractional inches are displayed as decimal feet
Fraction inches are displayed as decimal inches
Even though the values are exported using numerical values, these number formats are acceptable for importing purposes: 6'1 or 73" or 6'-1"
Formatting Dates – Microsoft Excel will convert certain types of text string data into a Date format when an edit is made. E.g., “3-03-12” will change the cell format from "General" to "Date," and it will change the underlying cell value. This also alters how the information is imported back into Revit via Ideate BIMLink. If you don’t want this to happen, we have two workaround options:
Type this character ' in front of the date to force the cell to retain its "General" text string format and read exactly as written. E.g., Type: '31-05-22 to signify May 31, 2022, and the value will read into Revit as expected
Use the dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy syntax and Excel won’t convert it to a text string.
Example Four: Automating Document Issue and Revision Records using Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Sticky
Using Ideate BIMLink along with Ideate Sticky, our application that enables users to place non-BIM data within Revit files, you can easily automate document issue and revision records. This workflow addresses the challenge of dealing with revision information in the Revit model when there is a need to schedule all of the sheets and all the revisions that exist on that sheet. Revit only displays the current revision in a sheet list, and it does not have a built-in solution to schedule every revision on each sheet. Here’s a recording of a webinar in which we ran through the entire process.
Learn About all Ideate Software Solutions for Revit Users