Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. You can review some of these recent question and answers via our Ideate Software Support Series blog category.
Thousands of Revit users all around the world use Ideate Sticky every day to combine the ease and flexibility of Excel, Word, and PDF editing with the convenience of a sticky note. Ideate Sticky elegantly connects non-BIM data from an Excel, Word, or PDF document into Revit projects, enhancing cross-team workflows.
A recent customer contacted us to ask why the cell fill color and the colored text in Excel was displaying only black and white when they linked the Excel file into Revit as a Sticky schedule.
Several situations can prevent the desired colors from displaying within Revit.
Excel may have an override Black and White setting selected within the Sheet tab of the Page Setup dialog. This will cause any Excel file to be black and white within either a Schedule or Image for Ideate Sticky. It’s important to understand that this setting will override any color setting you may have selected within Ideate Sticky Images method shown below.
Access the Page Setup – Print Settings dialog within Excel to review Sheet settings to ensure the Black and White override is not selected.
If you are using the Images method within Ideate Sticky, there are additional settings to override the Excel, PDF, or Word document to Black and White or Grayscale. You can also make the background transparent which is extremely useful when you have multiple images on a view or sheet that are close to each other.
For Ideate Sticky Images method, there are additional color, greyscale, and transparent settings.
Conditional formatting is currently not supported within the Ideate Sticky Schedules method. Color fills, text overrides, etc., that are a result of conditional formatting will be ignored. The underlying cell formatting, which can be seen when you place your cursor within the cell, will be utilized instead. However, this conditional formatting is now supported within the Ideate Sticky Images method.
Here is an excellent blog post on color fills that was written before we introduced our Ideate Sticky images method. All the information within this blog is still valid for the Ideate Sticky Schedules method. If you want to see the conditional formatting, you should now use the Ideate Sticky Images method instead.
At the end of the day, this specific customer had the override Black and White checkbox selected within Excel. Unchecking that selection within Excel produced the desired colors within the Ideate Sticky schedule.
Keep those amazing questions coming to [email protected] and we will keep answering them!
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 20 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 and LinkedIn.
More and more companies across the architecture, engineering, construction, and building-owner community (AECO) are adopting building information modeling (BIM) to improve decisions, communications, win rates, and employee and client relations while at the same time reducing on-site changes and enhancing efficiency during building maintenance and updates. As they move to BIM, many choose Autodesk Revit software, one of the most popular BIM authoring tools in the industry. They use it to create high-quality buildings and infrastructure by:
Modeling shapes, structures, and systems in 3D
Simplifying documentation work
Enabling analysis on the digital model that would not be possible without BIM
Empowering multidisciplinary teams in varied locations
A single source of truth for every stage of a building project, Revit provides project teams with access to current information, which increases accuracy, reduces rework, and helps keep projects on time and on budget. Here are just a few of the many ways AECO firms use Revit software:
Architects optimize building performance during the design stage and run cost estimates
Structural engineers create more detailed documentation of steel and concrete designs
MEP engineers conduct simulations and interference detection early in the design process
Construction teams make better planning and preconstruction decisions earlier
Building owners locate components in walls before beginning remodel activities
As powerful as Revit is, it does have limitations. Many processes, like updating elements, styles, and data such as room numbers, are manual, and some processes, like search, warnings management, and spellcheck don’t dig as deep as users would like. While completing these tasks in Revit is possible, the processes can be incredibly time consuming and monotonous, which means that the people performing the tasks can easily miss items, make mistakes, or spend hours trying to find hidden elements or repairing model damage done inadvertently. This not only frustrates the users, it also delays the project, frustrating internal project team members, external project team members, customers, and ultimately the company’s reputation. Because time is money, slow manual work costs a company a significant amount of money, and rework is an additional hit to the bottom line.
Filling the Gaps with Top Revit Plugins
The popularity of Revit software and its limitations have created opportunities for individuals and companies to create plugin software to fill the gaps. Since there are so many to choose from, how does a BIM manager or Revit user know where to turn? Some start with free applications, thinking that they are getting a good deal, only to discover that the “solutions” don’t solve anything, and in fact, they sometimes even create more problems.
We recommend that you start with us. We are confident that you will find that our products, our people, and our company are just what you need to get the most out of your investment in Revit software. Here’s a link to a blog post with five questions to ask when evaluating Revit plug-ins and reasons Ideate Software rises to the top.
Here’s What you get When you Team with Ideate Software
Revit plugins that solve real Revit challenges
All Ideate Software products and product enhancements start with Revit users. We follow Revit forums, we talk with Revit users, and we participate in AECO industry events to learn about Revit challenges. Then we develop products or enhance existing products to address those specific challenges. Before releasing our plugins to the market, we work with users to beta test the features, get their feedback, and make adjustments as needed. You can be confident that every Ideate Software product on the market performs as described.
Here's a recorded webinar that highlights 10 features of Ideate Software products that came directly from Revit user requests:
Highlights of our why our Revit plugins are so popular:
Ideate Explorer users spend less time on model management by quickly finding and deleting incorrect, obsolete, and hidden problem items—including imported or linked DWG drawings—as well as finding, refining, and revising elements, even if they are not included in the Revit project browser. Ideate Explorer users also appreciate these features included with the Revit plugin:
Warnings Manager – Used to audit and address Revit warnings that are ranked by importance and to fix problems using tools in Revit while the Warnings Manager dialog box is open
Navigate – Used to navigate through the view-based elements and find unused sheets and views; find and filter legends, schedules, sheets, or views by category and/or keyword; and to customize working environments without altering the project browser
Query – Used to search within set parameters for elements like unused annotations, design options, in-place usage, structure usage/area scheme, and revisions
Verifying and editing massive amounts of data in a Revit file can be difficult. Ideate BIMLink is on many people’s top Revit plugins list because it makes the process easy! Instead of working in Revit, Ideate BIMLink exports Revit data into Excel, where it can be viewed and manipulated, and then Ideate BIMLink imports the updated data back into Revit, and the model immediately updates. Users love that it saves them significant time and it improves the accuracy of their models.
All AECO project teams work with both BIM data and non-BIM data. Without Ideate Sticky, it is difficult to share nicely formatted non-BIM data with the team, and updates are not always communicated in a timely fashion. With Ideate Sticky, it’s easy. Ideate Sticky live-links Word, Excel, and PDF documents to the Revit file in what we call “Stickies.” They look nice, are easy to read, and any updates made to the original documents are automatically reflected in the Sticky. Whether it’s building codes, consultant data, abbreviation lists, general notes, or any of the many other non-BIM data critical to a project’s success, you can be sure your team has access to current information at all times.
Revit users know that using the “Paste” function to get existing data into a model can bring the styles associated with that data along with it. Removing that data can be a time-consuming process, and not removing the data is risky, because it can clog up the model and cause performance problems. Ideate StyleManager is a popular Revit plugin because it solves this problem. With it, users quickly and easily analyze, merge, or delete non-standard Revit styles. They also use it to see the view filters applied to views, and to clean up object and line styles and patterns, text, fonts, and anything else that might require such attention.
Manual, tedious tasks take time away from creative activities and can contribute to mistakes, rework, and employee burnout. By providing several tools that automate hundreds of common tasks, IdeateApps has become a top plugin with Revit users around the world. The names of the tools describe what they do. Here are just a few of them: Ideate SpellCheck, Ideate Align, Ideate Clone, Ideate ViewCreator, and Ideate SheetManager.
An experienced team committed to customer satisfaction
One of the reasons Ideate Software plugins for Revit are so popular is because people get to know our team and experience first-hand how every person takes great pride in helping them reach their goals. From the first contact, through webinars with Q&A sessions, questions about feature requests, and responsive support teams, customers know that each person brings experience within industry, with Revit software, and with Ideate Software tools. Read a bit about our team members’ impressive qualifications.
A company that considers itself successful when its customers succeed
Ideate Software is an Autodesk Authorized Developer and is a member of the Autodesk Developer Network. Since launching our first Revit plugin more than 14 years ago, we have worked tirelessly to develop software that helps our customers get the most out of Revit. We are driven by one thing: our customers’ success.
Browse 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.
San Francisco, CA, April 12, 2022 – Ideate Software, an Autodesk® AEC Industry Partner and Autodesk® Authorized Developer, is pleased to present its latest customer spotlight, which highlights how JGMA benefits from Ideate Software add-ins for Revit. JGMA is a Chicago-based architecture and design firm with projects across North America, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Its professionals look at each project as an opportunity to influence civic life and transform communities.
Bringing Ideate Software to JGMA
Esperanza Health Centers. JGMA designed this fully accessible building utilizing forward-thinking design to attract and unite the surrounding community.
When Darya Minosyants Stefanovic joined JGMA as the Director of Technology, she brought extensive experience with Ideate Software tools for Revit. “My last employer was a strong user and advocate of Ideate Software products,” said Darya. “I came to JGMA knowing their power, and after a few discussions and demonstrations of how we would spend less time on tedious Revit tasks, the team was sold.”
JGMA subscribed to Ideate Software plugins for Revit ((Ideate Explorer, Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, and Ideate StyleManager), and within just a few weeks, the team was experiencing significant benefits:
Ideate StyleManager – Darya uses this Revit plug-in tool to streamline the process of managing templates and ensuring projects are set up with company standards.
Ideate BIMLink – The architects and designers are digging into the functions of Ideate BIMLink for Revit. They immediately appreciated the fact that it enables them to quickly change worksets throughout a project and rename families.
Ideate Sticky – JGMA works extensively in MS Excel. They benefit from live-linking Excel spreadsheets to Revit projects, so the Stickies automatically reflect changes made to the Excel document.
Ideate Explorer – JGMA’s Senior Project Designer Ted Hogan has been advocating for the use of Ideate Explorer. As the team delves into the many ways it can help keep their models clean, they are using it get a broader understanding by isolating and previewing elements in 3D.
IdeateApps – So far, JGMA’s favorite tools from the collection are Ideate SheetManager, which they use to quickly clone sheets with similar properties, place views on sheets, and align views between similar sheets and Ideate QuickSelect,which makes it easy to find out why elements are hidden and resolve problems.
Read more about Ideate Software’s collaboration with JGMA.
To learn more about how Ideate Software add-on products help Revit users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables, and elevate design, visit the website. You can give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to the Revit plugin solutions Ideate Explorer, Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, and Ideate StyleManager for six months.
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, and Ideate StyleManager were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.
Autodesk and Autodesk Revit are trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.
Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.
Autodesk Revit is a powerful piece of design software that has revolutionized the modeling of buildings and structures. One reason this innovative modeling tool is so useful is because it gives users the ability to customize workflows through the Revit API (Application Programming Interface).
Ideate Software brings additional capabilities to Revit with a range of tools developed to increase data accuracy while saving users’ time and reducing their effort.
Ideate Software’s Autodesk Revit add-ins can help you work smarter by giving you access to more Revit data, allowing you to verify, correct, and update data quickly. It is a set of Revit tools that offers numerous benefits, including preventing double handling of data, which vastly reduces the chance of manual errors, making error-related delays less likely and helping to keep projects on time and on budget.
Here are descriptions of the Ideate Software add-in tools that make Revit users more productive:
1. Ideate Explorer
Ideate Explorer is a dedicated model browser, as opposed to the project browser in Revit, carefully engineered to reduce the time users spend on model management while at the same time increasing model accuracy.
This Revit tool enables users to easily keep models clean, comply with standards, and develop a more complete view and understanding of all elements in the model by making it easy to find and delete incorrect, obsolete, and hidden problem items, including DWGs. Ideate Explorer also makes it easy to find, refine, and revise elements, even those excluded from the project browser.
In addition, the Ideate Explorer Revit tool can help users improve the accuracy of their models through these valuable features:
A Warnings Manager, which, as the name implies, allows the user to review and manage Revit warnings with ease. It ranks warnings based on importance, notifies users when high ranking warnings appear in the models, and enables users to fix problems using tools in Revit when the Warnings Manager dialog box is open.
A Navigate function that allows users to navigate their way through the view-based elements in an Autodesk Revit project and customize their browsing experience. Use it to find unused sheets and views; find and filter legends, schedules, sheets or views by category and/or keyword; and to customize working environments without altering the project browser.
A Query function that permits searching within set parameters for elements such as unused annotations, design options, in-place usage, structure usage/area scheme, and revisions as just a few examples.
2. Ideate BIMLink
Have you ever thought that controlling your Revit data would be faster and more precise if you had the capability to export the data to Microsoft Excel for editing and then import the updated data back into the Revit model for immediate updates? That is exactly what Ideate BIMLink allows users to do, which is why it is a favorite Revit tool of many professionals in the architecture, engineering, construction and building-owner industries. Whether you need to check to make sure naming conventions are used correctly throughout the model or update element numbering after adding or deleting some elements, or even create new Revit elements from a spreadsheet, Ideate BIMLink is the tool for you.
3. Ideate Sticky
Project teams working in Autodesk Revit often have non-BIM data they need to share with team members or include in Revit projects by linking, importing or integrating. Ideate Sticky is the tool that should be selected from our range of Autodesk Revit add-ins for this purpose. It is always possible to use Revit schedules to show the data that sits behind your Revit elements, but it is also the case that formatting and organizing non-BIM data can take up a great deal of time, because there is limited text editing functionality built into Revit.
Ideate Sticky overcomes this issue by mixing the familiar flexibility of Word, Excel and PDF editing with the effortless convenience of a sticky note. Ideate Sticky is an elegantly straightforward way to link non-BIM data into a Revit project, whether that data is coming from a Microsoft source such as Excel or Word, or from an Adobe PDF document. And when the source document is updated, the linked “sticky” automatically updates as well. This easy-to-use effective tool can lead to immense improvement in workflows, saving time and improving project efficiency.
4. Ideate StyleManager
Pasting data from one model to another can save time, but it can also create issues, because the style information associated with that data can automatically transfer as well. It is important for Revit users to manage styles in their models to present designs that accurately reflect their brand and to reduce end-user confusion caused by publishing errors. Ideate StyleManager gives users the capability to analyze, merge or delete non-standard Revit styles more reliably, more quickly and more accurately than is possible with the built-in Revit style management system.
Ideate StyleManager is a user-friendly and reliable Revit tool that gives users the ability to see clearly which view filters are being applied to which views, and then clean up object and line styles and patterns, text, fonts, and anything else that might require such attention. Users can also merge non-standard styles into standard styles and analyze forensically how all styles are used, an ability that can provide some extremely useful insight into the real effect of any deletions on the model.
IdeateApps is a comprehensive set of Revit tools that offers more functionality than Revit. We created and continue to enhance the collection to allow Autodesk Revit users to access and manipulate the data in their models with greater ease. Purposefully designed to take on common challenges identified by people who use Revit daily, these sophisticated MEP, architecture and structure Autodesk Revit add-ins automate repetitive tasks and streamline workflows, freeing time for more interesting and valuable activities.
This suite of intuitive and easy-to-use apps can help Autodesk Revit keep their projects on budget and on time by speeding the process of numerous tasks, including checking spelling, solving element visibility issues, identifying elements that will be deleted with a selected element, batch-creating multiple Revit views while complying with BIM standards, copying sheets with views, renumbering or renaming elements, and so much more.
About Ideate Software
Ideate Software is a leading Autodesk Authorized Developer producing Autodesk Revit add-ins intended to solve persistent issues experienced by AECO companies. All the additional capabilities described above can be added to your Autodesk Revit software quickly and easily directly from our website. Whether you subscribe to one of the tools to address a certain issue or all of them to increase the overall productivity of your entire team, you will experience faster and simpler model creation, your models will contain more accurate data, and your models will function more smoothly.
Hear from some of our customers as they talk about how they use Ideate Software tools for Revit:
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.
Everyone at Ideate Software is obsessed with building information modeling (BIM). The ability to create and manage a digital model of a building and all its elements, from large complex HVAC systems to the direction a door swings is not only fascinating, but BIM has also transformed the building design and construction industries. We love being a part of that transformation.
With a staff of designers, builders, engineers, architects, and others who have hands-on experience in the field, we know the incredible benefits of being able to work together to make sure everything in the building fits together, provides easy access to parts that require manual manipulation (e.g., electrical panels, gas valves, water valves), efficiently heats and cools, meets codes and regulatory requirements, is aesthetically pleasing, etc., etc., etc. … BEFORE the building is ever built!
Benefits of BIM
BIM is a process that supports the creation and management of information across the lifecycle of a building or structure.
When people think of BIM, they often think of the design and preconstruction phases, but BIM is beneficial at every stage of a building’s life. At Ideate Software, we talk about providing leading Revit BIM tools to the architecture, engineering, construction and building-owner (AECO) community, because like those involved in the early stage of a building’s lifecycle, building owners and managers with digital models reap significant benefits.
Some of the benefits achieved by AECO companies that leverage BIM are:
Better collaboration. People in disciplines that once mainly worked independently now collaborate regularly, providing insights based on their experiences, sharing model updates, coordinating activities, verifying accuracy, and more. With everyone working together toward the same goal, many problems are avoided, and projects run more smoothly.
Improved win rates. By providing an impressive visual experience during the proposal stage, companies demonstrate their understanding of the project, how they plan to help the prospective client achieve their goals, and their ability to accurately estimate timing and costs.
Enhanced client relations. Using BIM throughout the building process keeps clients informed of how the building will look, how it fits into the existing environment, and how employees and visitors will interact with it. Design changes can be implemented quickly and communicated efficiently to all involved, reducing the chance of miscommunications and errors.
Reduced on-site changes. By verifying design efficacy in the model and performing clash detections, fewer changes are needed at the construction site. This brings projects to a close faster and for less cost. Also, BIM can greatly reduce the chance of rework caused by teams working with different versions of the plans, ordering the wrong material, or incorrectly scheduling deliveries or work crews.
Efficient building maintenance and updates. An accurate model of a building streamlines the process of handling emergencies, such as clogged drains or stalled elevators, or long-term projects such as reorganizing workstations, conference rooms and touchdown sites to accommodate more or fewer employees.
Better choices, not guesses. An accurate digital model allows the designer to test different layouts for optimum energy consumption, review code compliance, and explore multiple design schemes or scenarios, and be able to know the building design is the best solution for the specified input criteria. It’s no longer a guess at which design is the best for the thousands of input specifications. Instead, designers can say with confidence that the building meets the design criteria and choices were made based on empirical data.
What are BIM tools?
Several BIM tools have been built to help companies capitalize on the advantages of BIM through design, simulation, visualization and collaboration.
Autodesk is a leading developer of BIM tools, including:
Revit – One of the most popular BIM authoring tools in the industry. It is used by architects, designers, MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) specialists, contractors and more.
Navisworks – The main difference between the Navisworks BIM tool and Revit is that Navisworks is more of a project review solution for AEC professionals rather than an authoring tool such as the Revit BIM tool. It also works with other Autodesk 3D solutions to open, combine, review and navigate through models.
BIM 360/Autodesk Construction Cloud – This cloud-based software unifies different processes of design, project and construction into one single process, avoiding delays by providing disparate teams access to relevant data.
Civil 3D – Focused on developing civil engineering more accurately, this software also offers some BIM-related features and workflows.
Ideate Software’s BIM Tools for Revit
While Autodesk Revit software is a powerful tool, some of its workflows are a bit unrefined, time consuming, or maybe even non-existent. Ideate Software was founded to address these workflow gaps and increase Revit productivity. Our experienced software engineers develop BIM tools for Revit workflows for companies in building design, engineering, construction and facilities management industries. By automating workflows that they perform over and over again as well as creating tools that fill gaps in Revit software workflows, our Revit BIM tools help users at large and small companies around the world get the most out of the software.
Why do we develop Revit BIM Tools?
We love BIM, we love Revit and we love making them better!
How do we do it?
Businesses and industries are constantly changing. To ensure we develop BIM tools that Revit users from across the AECO spectrum will find valuable, we stay connected to the Revit community throughout the world. We attend conferences, lead breakout sessions, serve as keynote speakers, survey users, track support requests, monitor Revit discussion boards, and talk with users in groups and individually.
Another critical way we stay connected to the Revit community is through our beta testing program. By asking people who use Revit and our Revit BIM tools for feature requests, running our early ideas by them, and involving them in rigorous testing, we ensure our solutions, whether new or enhancements, are wanted and work as expected.
Ideate Software’s BIM Tools for Revit Users
In 2008, we launched our first BIM tool for Revit, Ideate Explorer. Since that time, we have made significant enhancements to Ideate Explorer and launched/improved four more tools that solve persistent problems in Revit workflows. Here’s a quick overview of each of our five tools:
Ideate BIMLink – Verifying or updating massive amounts of data in Revit is tedious, time consuming and frustrating. Every time you think you’re done, you realize that you missed something! Ideate BIMLink eliminates this problem by enabling you to move data from Revit into Excel, where you can use its powerful functions to quickly check, correct or change data. When you move the data back to Revit, your model automatically updates and everything is correct. Tasks that used to take hours now take just minutes.
Ideate Explorer – We developed Ideate Explorer to improve the browser within Revit, which is simply a project browser. Ideate Explorer is a model browser, which means you can easily search for and find hidden problem items including DWG imports or links, navigate through view-based elements within Revit, search on parameters such as elements assigned a certain size, and even review and manage Revit warnings.
Ideate Sticky – How can you elegantly share non-BIM data associated with Revit projects with the entire team? Use Ideate Sticky! Use it to link data from Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and PDF documents into your Revit projects, ensuring everyone has the correct information at their fingertips at all times.
Ideate StyleManager – Copying/pasting data is a fast way to reuse information, but the process comes with challenges. Style information associated with the data often tags along, creating a mess that can cause publishing errors and end-user confusion. With Ideate StyleManager, this is never a problem, because it’s easy to analyze, delete or merge non-standard styles.
IdeateApps – This collection of nine tools streamlines tasks identified by Revit users as tedious, time consuming and error prone. By automating these common tasks, IdeateApps improves the quality of Revit models and frees the users’ time to do more interesting and valuable activities.