This article was submitted by Shanoc Halliday, a friend of Ideate Software and the author of the blog, Captain Bimcad. Captain Bimcad is a collection of Shanoc’s thoughts on building information modeling as well as great technical blog posts created by other parties. His goal is to give readers robust workflows to improve their ROI on BIM software while enhancing drawing and model quality.


Well, that’s something I have not done before.

An interesting project came across my COVID 19 lockdown work-from-home desk about a month ago. I had to translate a client's APAC (Asia Pacific region) sample drawings from Swedish to English. They were of an office building with seven levels. (Architectural, Structural and MEP plans, with a primary focus on Level 2.) I think I was a little naive to think with a translation guide I could smash this out in no time. 

Shanoc Halliday
I went through my options.

Option No. 1: I cracked open the file and started editing the text one at a time, but that was not quick at all. 

Option No. 2: I thought about creating a Revit Schedule, and let's be honest, until Revit can behave more like Excel and we can drag data down a column, this process takes way too long. 

Option No. 3: A better option could be to use Dynamo; I did teach Dynamo across Australia for over two years, but you know what?

  1. I could not be bothered creating a heap of graphs as one-offs.
  2. Then there is the, "Oh wait, that is a better Node, where is that again?"
  3. And the frustrating, "No, I don't want that data, what did I do wrong?"
  4. So I thought instead of the graph extracting and producing the update, "How about I send it to Excel," without the hassle to create the graphs.

No thanks, I was on an hourly rate, but not to experiment.

The battle of options in my head went on for a while; I can overthink things. Then, lo and behold, a Revit add-in found a gap in my deliberation and took over my train of thought… Ideate BIMLink! You see I live by the idea that I don't want to reinvent the wheel, I prefer to evolve it. All the smarts of exporting data from Revit to Excel via Ideate BIMLink hit this workflow for a 6! (cricket anyone?)  The trick is to recognize the array of Revit elements that represent “text” within a Revit Project. Text can appear within Views/Sheets, Text, Schedule Data and Annotation objects such as Rooms within a Revit project. Ideate BIMLink has access to all this text information.

I think that it is important that I put in a bit of a disclaimer in at this point; I am a big fan of Ideate Software tools. I started using them over six years ago on projects and I know from personal experience, Ideate BIMLink saves me hours and hours every month. So if I come across as a bit of a fan, well I am. And that's simply because I know how much my time is worth and I don’t have to learn new software or run complicated add-ins that are a little fragile. So if I can use a tool that saves me time, I go that route.

Step 1 - Everyone to the konferensrum

My first task was to update all the Room Names on all the floor plans for the entire building, which was an easy task with Ideate BIMLink. For example, I had to convert KONFERNSRUM to CONFERENCE ROOM. Ideate BIMLink allowed me to filter Revit's Categories, including Rooms, to pre-made Excel export configurations that are easy to tweak.

Shanoc Halliday - Ideate BIMLink Screenshot

Step 2 - Projeckt filter and sortering

Shanoc Halliday - Translation Screenshot

Ideate BIMLink ScreenshotMy next step was to customize some of the existing filters to suit my project. If I had built this Revit file, I could have quickly narrowed down to specific levels, back of house, floor plan areas, etc. If you have read my past blog posts, you know that I bang on about Naming Conventions; they are your best buddy when it comes to BIM. 

In this project, I did have a little play with Sorting. My thinking was that it would be easier for me to find problem areas if my data dump was in the same order as my Project Browser. I typically sort Views by Associated Level. I did blog post about that some time ago; here's a link.

I did something similar for the Door Schedule; the difference was that I based the export on the existing Revit Schedule that was used on the drawing sheets. This is such a simple, clever feature in that the Schedule parameters are narrowed down, filters have been set up to isolate elements take advantage of something already built. 

Step 3 – Keeping everything in order

Once I exported the data to Excel, I wanted to make sure that it stayed in order. An easy way to do that is to make the data-dump into a Table. To do this, select anywhere inside the dataset and hit Ctrl-T to turn your data into a Table. Make sure that you let Excel know that your data has headings or it will add in its own, which will continue throughout Ideate BIMLink when you load the edited data back in. Here is a link to Leila Gharani's YouTube video on Excel shortcut keys you SHOULD know. She is my Excel mentor.

Shanoc Halliday
Tip #1

By using Excel’s Sort and Filter options, it was straightforward to isolate the Swedish words, copy and paste them into Google Translate and copy the answer back again. And unlike Revit, it's so easy to copy data to the bottom of a column. 

Shanoc Halliday - Sort and Filter
Tip #2

Bringing back the data is a click away, and the dialog box shows transparency in what is about to change, what its value was and will be. When all the elements in a drawing need to be 100% correct and our drawings are now data-driven, workflows like this create more trust in what's going on in the "background."

Tip #3

Lastly, whenever you edit any of the cells in Excel, there is nothing worse than strange things happening back in Revit when you send the data back in, so I always turn an edited cell green to know where I have been, or more importantly, what I messed up.

Which is not to say that you can’t by existing Schedules in the project, because you have spent the time creating, ordering and filtering them for drawing production, they are perfect for sending out to Excel.

Summary – Ideate Software tools make data management easier.

In summary, with Ideate BIMLink, I was able to knock out the project so much quicker than if I had used any of the methods I mentioned at the start of this post. Globally as regions reopen and thinking to when we are all back in the office again, these are tools that you can put in the hands the masses and know with confidence that they are stable, quick to learn, and can be easily edited to suit different needs. With the AEC industry improving due to BIM and its adoption becoming more the norm every day, look for tools that make data management easier.

Another shout out, this time to Ryan Lenihan for setting up a Revit Server at his home, to share this model on the cloud. Catch him on his blog

This post is an abbreviated version of the post on Shanoc Halliday’s post on Captain Bimcad.

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San Francisco, CA, September 22, 2020 – Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner, announced that it is giving its customers a new option of using a floating network licensing system that does not require a dedicated on-premise license server. The new licensing method will make it easier to deploy and use Ideate Software applications, which streamline workflows for Autodesk® Revit® software users who design, build, operate and maintain built environments. 

“We refer to this new technology as ‘cloud network’ to distinguish it from the ‘network server’ or FlexLM technology we’ve sold until now,” said Glynnis Patterson, Director of Software Development. “Through user surveys, we determined that most customers prefer this new technology, but realize that some may still continue to use the original. We will continue to offer both, giving customers the option to choose the licensing arrangement that works best for them.”  

The new cloud network licensing option will have the same pricing and usage model as the existing network server option. It does not operate on a named-user basis therefore being a more cost-effective option for BIM managers and Revit users worldwide.

For more information about Ideate Software applications, visit their website.

About Ideate Software - Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner and Autodesk® Authorized Developer, empowers Revit users to gain unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, Ideate StyleManager and Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk BIM 360 were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, and construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.

Autodesk, BIM 360, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.


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This year has been like no other, at least in recent history. Community and community engagements have been redefined and many of us had to adapt to a new way of networking, making new connections and working.

Here at Ideate Software, we decided to see these challenges as opportunities. As a community of BIM professionals, marketing and IT specialists spread across two lands (Americas and the United Kingdom), we have practiced the ‘art and science’ of working remotely for a good number of years. However, in 2020, meeting face-to-face was no longer an option even for staff in close proximity. So we decided to hop online.

Having a Coffee and a Chat 4,000 Miles Apart

Each Friday, we have online informal calls with all staff members that want to join. Some of them are an ocean away. Thanks to online meeting programs, distance is no issue and neither is talking face to face.
These calls are our way of staying in contact and learning more about each other. We actually got to know each other better during these few months than before.

Coffee Meetings

The topics we address range from childhood memories, favourite shows/movies, best pieces of advice received and so on. Nothing work-related but that’s the whole point. Sometimes, we need these times so we can work better throughout the week.

Keeping Close to Customers and the Wider Community

We apply the same principle to our customers, prospects and the wider global BIM community. Staying in touch with our industry peers and supporting the industry during these difficult times is important to us.

As a result of our commitment to our community, we have become a Supporting Partner of Data Day and DTS, a DBEI Insight Knowledge Partner and an Autodesk University Gold Sponsor. We have also co-hosted webinars with BIM consultant Brian Mackey and the Design Technology Team at ZGF Architects. 

All these interactions enrich us and we’ll continue to stay connected though apart.

May we encourage you to do the same and stay in contact with us, your colleagues and the BIM community at large. We look forward to hearing from you at [email protected]. Best wishes!

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San Francisco, CA, September 15, 2020 – Ideate Software, a veteran Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner, announces the launch of Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk® BIM 360®, a data visualization service that uses proprietary technology to provide information related to Revit warnings within the Autodesk BIM 360 environment. Autodesk’s BIM 360 software connects project teams and data from design through construction. Ideate Dashboard pulls design information from Revit models stored within BIM 360 projects in order to identify and flag design warnings, so teams can immediately address the issues, reducing mistakes and rework and keeping projects on time and within budget. 

“We created this cloud-based application to support the design and construction community as it increases its use of Autodesk BIM 360 for collaboration,” said David Haynes, Director, Ideate Software. “BIM 360 users had to open each individual Revit project to manage Revit warnings. With Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk BIM 360, users get real-time information without leaving BIM 360, saving time and enhancing their ability to maintain Revit model health.” 

Ideate Dashboard benefits:

  • Project executives who need instant access to the status of all projects in their portfolio
  • BIM and VDC managers who need to understand and address any potential design issues in Revit models
  • Revit users who need to see where their project stands at a particular moment

The Ideate Dashboard cards shown on the BIM 360 Dashboard home page, powered by the technology behind the Revit model browser Ideate Explorer, display valuable model health information, including:

  • Relevant, curated, actionable data on Revit warnings:
    • Revit warnings information for all BIM 360 Revit files through a key performance indicator (KPI)
    • A stacked ranking of the top five design files with the most issues identified 

“Quality construction relies on precise and accurate design files,” said James Cook, head of integrations, Autodesk Construction Solutions. “Design and construction teams must continuously collaborate throughout projects to ensure mistakes are not made during on-site building. Our integration with Ideate will help customers stay ahead of design and construction issues so they are able to deliver quality construction more easily.” Like all Ideate Software applications, Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk BIM 360 is compatible with Revit version 2018 through Revit version 2021.

To learn more about this product, please visit  

About Ideate Software - Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner and Autodesk® Authorized Developer, empowers Revit users to gain unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, Ideate StyleManager and Ideate Dashboard for Autodesk BIM 360 were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, and construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.

Autodesk, BIM 360, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.


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Many architecture, engineering, construction, or building-owner companies come to Ideate Software for immediate help with specific Revit challenges. Whether it’s to edit a massive amount of data quickly; confidently audit a large project; merge non-standard styles that always creep into a model; or link Excel, Word and PDF documents to a Revit project, they find an application that helps. Then, when experiencing the time savings and financial payback possible with Ideate Software solutions, they explore our other Revit applications.

Whether you are a one-person shop, a small firm, or a large organization, you will save money as your Revit users and BIM managers gain an unprecedented ability to access, manage, control, find, and filter Revit data. 

Bundle Details

All bundle subscriptions include:

  • Software that works with the current and previous three versions of Revit
  • Bi-annual product updates that offer enhanced functionalities
  • Licensing choices. Select a standalone or floating network (server) license. A third licensing option is in development; soon you can choose a cloud floating network for easier remote access
  • International license use (network; no additional fees) 

“We started with Ideate Explorer and found it provided so much additional functionality to our Revit users that we decided to go with the entire line of Ideate [Software] products. People are amazed at how the Ideate tools streamline so many aspects of their work in Revit.” 

~Mark Schmieding, Director, Digital Practice, Goettsch Partners

For more information, visit the Bundles page on our website or contact us at [email protected].

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