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Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010 & 2011 & 2013 Certified Professional, Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Certified Professional, Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2011 Certified Associate

Monday, October 24, 2011

Revit Structure 2012 Keyboard Shortcuts

I have created a keyboard shortcut list for Revit Structure 2012.  It is now available in my “Content” window on the left side of my blog.  There are a few differences between Architecture and Structure so I figured separate lists would be best for everyone.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Career Change

It’s been awhile since my last post and I apologize for that.  I have recently switched jobs and now find myself working for a Structural Engineering firm.  I’m very excited about being able to use Revit Structure.  I will be designing and creating new templates and custom content to help this office transition from AutoCAD into Revit.  As I work my way though this I hope to share anything useful with all of you. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Revit Toposurface

Working with Topo surfaces in Revit can sometimes be a bit challenging.  I have created a sample file “Topo” available on the left, which will help show you how to manipulate topo surfaces.  There are before and after examples of several situations.  You will be able to see the final example and then be allowed to try creating it on your own.
1.       Retaining Walls – Typically I try and hide all the contours within the wall itself.  This is achieved by placing point directly aligned with one another and on opposite faces of the wall.  Throughout these examples it is very important to keep point aligned with one another.  If they are not aligned properly you will most often get undesirable results.
2.       Swales – When creating swales or drainage ditches I typically find it easiest to keep my points aligned with one another (Grid layout is best) and just raise and lower the points to create the swale.  Sometimes the misconception is to start out with a known contour elevation and place lots of points along a path to create the contour.  This typically turns out to be more of a headache when modifying contours later.  My advice is to stick with grid layout and align the points as much as possible.
3.       Foundations – For creating a foundation I recommend using the building pad tool.  When using the building pad tool it will automatically cut out the topo surface.  Afterwards you can place a few points to grade the surface around the foundation walls.
4.       Sidewalks – Sidewalks can be created in one of two ways.  I prefer actually modeling the sidewalks in.  The other is sub regions which will get covered later.  The example provided shows that with a few simple points the topo surface can be modified to align with the sidewalk.  When modeling in the sidewalks, it’s always a good idea to try and keep the grades just slightly below the top of the concrete.  If you align the grade perfectly with the surface it becomes unclear which surface will actually show.  Sometimes this grass will show, others the concrete and sometimes both.  So avoid making them perfectly level.
5.       Split regions – When modifying existing grades the topo surface is constantly trying to interpolate between points.  In some cases (ie, property lines) you do not want to modify the grades beyond that point.  This is ideally when the split region comes into play.  If you split the topo surface right on the property line, any changes you make to the topo surface will not affect anything else beyond that point. 
6.       Subregion – The final example is subregions.  With subregions you can split the topo surface into different areas and apply different materials to each area.  Some examples might be; grass, water, earth, concrete, asphalt, etc..  You can also grade the topo surface however you wish and still maintain an uneven grade.  Parking lots and sidewalks can easily be created with subregions.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Updated Revit 2012 Keyboard Shortcut List

I have updated the keyboard shortcut list with Revit 2012.  It is now available in my "Content" window on the left side of my blog.  I should also mention that Revit 2012 now supports three charator shortcut enties. Very nice. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Display Issues

Display Issues
It seems to never fail that in every project there is something that is not showing properly.  I have created a checklist for users to follow.  It simply lists every spot you should check in order to get your object to show.  Some are more obvious than others, but should at least get you in the right spot.  I’m sure there are other hiding spots and if you know of any please let me know.  There is also a pdf file for download in my Content area on the left.
Visibility Check List
  Visibility/Graphics Overrides – VG (is it turned off or overridden)  Reveal hidden Elements – Light Bulb  Hidden by Element  Hidden by Category  Outside the view range  Outside the view range – Plan regions  Filter  Far Clip Offset – or view depth  Override Graphics in View – By Element  Painted Surface  Line weights overridden  Wrong workset  Workset turned off  Detail Level (Course, Medium or Fine)  Cropped View  Masking or filled region   Covered with another model object (Check with Hidden Line)  Has it been deleted

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Faced Based Model Text - Component

I have added my "face based model text" component that I talked about before, in the content download area on the left.  Enjoy!


I have added a new gadget on the left side of my blog called Content.  I thought it might be handy to post some of my handouts and/or training materials.  I'm starting off with a list of all the standard keyboard shortcuts available in Revit Architecture 2011.  I recommend printing this out and posting it in your cubical or office for quick reference.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


It's been a few weeks since my last post.  I have been pretty busy with a really large remodeling project.  Today I would like to briefly talk about keynoting.  Up to this point it has been something we have always been meaning to look into, just never have.  On this remodeling project we decided to look into keynoting for our finish plans.  I closely worked with our interiors department to find out all materials they were planning to use on the project.  I setup all the materials and started applying them to everything.  I then setup all the materials in the keynote text files and then linked them to the materials library.  This allowed us to keynote tag everything in the interior elevations and the floor finish plans.  Later we created a materials schedule to define all the materials.  Long story short, this took a little bit to setup, but proved to be a time saver.  If we saved this much time just on keynoting materials, keynoting by elements can only help to speed things up.  There is tons of information available everywhere about keynoting, too much information for me to even try and list here.  I did find the information available from Matt Dillon at the Autodesk University website and the chapter on keynoting in the "Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011" book to be the most helpful.  That's all for now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Face Based Model Text Component

Trying to place model text on a curved wall has always been something that has bothered me.  The idea of creating multiple reference planes and trying to make sense out off all of it when placing text is a real pain.  Awhile back I created a face based model component and then placed model text in that component.  I then tied all the parameters of the model text to type parameters within the component.  I can then just drop one letter on my wall and then polar array the rest.  I did make the letter an instance parameter to help save some time.  This seems to work very well for us. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Partial Demolition

It seems to never fail that in our remodeling projects we need to demolish part of an existing building.  Be it walls or roofs, part of something always needs to be demolished.  In the past we have just copied and split the roof or wall apart.  Today I built a Generic Model - Face Based component that is strictly a void.  I can then just snap this to the face of my object that I want to remove.  I can phase it then and everything appears or does not, as is should. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Key Plans

When trying to create key plans I find it extremely handy to reference a blog by Doug Bowers.  Here is a link to the article.  He provides step by step instructions on how to create a parametric key plan.  There is also an article by Paul Aubin in the summer 2010 issue of AEC EDGE, which can be found here on page 45.  Both are well written and easy to follow, but are slightly different from one another. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Component Library Searching

As our content library continues to grow at an astonishing rate, finding components seems to be getting more and more difficult.  Very rarely do I use the "Load Family" button anymore.  I have found it much simpler to use windows explorer and use "The search box."
Just navigate to the content root directory and type what you're looking for.  Windows will then search the entire folder structure for anything containing that name.  Then just simply drag and drop the components from the explorer window into Revit.  This will automatically load it in and you will be ready to place it.  You can also select multiple components and bring those in all at once.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Naming Conventions

Here are some typical naming conventions our office currently uses.  We try to follow this as much as possible.  The first letter of each word is generally capitalized.
Project Files:
Project Name - Current Phase - Central
Project Name - Current Phase - Central - User
Example: West Elem - WD - Central
Phases are as follows:
·         SD - Schematic Design
·         DD - Design Development
·         WD - Working Drawings
·         BN - Bidding and Negotiations
·         CA - Construction Administration
Family Name - Manufacturer - Model
Sizes & Materials should only be used for the types
Example: Desk - KI - Intellect
Material - Type of Material - Description - Manufacturer - Model
Example: Masonry - Brick - Running Bond - Glen Gery - Economy
Short informational descriptions are best.
Do not put symbols in names (Such as - or /)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Working with Consultants Revit Files

Step 1.  Open their files with the "detach from central" option checked.
Step 2.  File save as and place the file in the consultants folder on the project server.
Step 3.  Close out of everything
Step 4.  I recommend creating an additional workset and setting it to not visible in every view.
Step 5.  Open your Revit project and select "Link Revit" under the "Insert Tab"
Step 6.   Select the Revit file to be linked in.
Additional Notes:
1.       If shared coordinates is being used, be sure to select Auto - By Shared Coordinates.  Otherwise I recommend Manual - Base Point.  Manual - Base Point will require one additional step to actually place the model.
2.       If you only need to load specific worksets from the linked model, select the down arrow to the right of the Open button.  And then specify which worksets should be loaded. 
3.       Be sure to insert the link on the proper workset.  If you get a warning about it not being visible, be sure to check your VG settings and turn on that workset. 
4.       Keep in mind that you if want to see the consultant's model in any other view; you will have to turn on that workset within your current view.
5.       Warning!  Setting up the consultant's model as a central file on your server will allow users the ability to access/change things in that model.  I recommend NEVER syncing and always relinquish when you close out.  This is only in regards to the consultant's model and should not be confused with the model being linked into the Architectural model.  The linked model inside the architectural model cannot be changed. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Revit Wall Assemblies

Inevitability when a new user first learns Revit, one of the first challenges they will face is creating a wall type.  In most cases a good Revit template file will have all the wall types you should need, but when drawing an existing model, you're bound to run into some different ones.  Creating these different wall types can be a little challenging, but most seem to do quite will.  The one part that I think gets overlooked when creating new walls types is the fact that the top is Exterior and the bottom is Interior.
This is critical to pay attention too.
There's also is some confusion on which "Function" to use.  The following table describes each function.

Structure (priority 1)
Supports the remainder of the wall, floor, or roof.
Substrate (priority 2)
Consists of materials such as plywood or gypsum board, which act as a foundation for another layer.
Thermal/Air layer (priority 3)
Provides insulation and prevents air penetration.
Membrane Layer
Prevents water vapor penetration.  The membrane layer should have zero thickness.
Finish 1 (priority 4)
Used as the exterior layer.
Finish 2 (priority 5)
Used as the interior layer.

Copied from Learning Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010
Following these simples rules should help anyone create new wall types with ease. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Filter Name
Show All
By Category
Show Complete
By Category
By Category
Not Displayed
Not Displayed
Show Demo + New
By Category
Not Displayed
Show New
By Category
Not Displayed
Not Displayed
Not Displayed
Show Previous + Demo
Not Displayed
Not Displayed
Show Previous + New
By Category
Not Displayed
Not Displayed
Show Previous Phase
Not Displayed
Not Displayed
Not Displayed

Generally it's not a good idea to mess around with these.  Set them for the view and then leave them alone.  If you need to adjust your Filter Name you would be better off creating a separate view.  Ideally there would be first floor plan (set to Show Previous + New).  If you would need to switch the filter, then it would be best to create another view, such as first floor demo plan (set to Show Previous + Demo).  Or First Floor Plan - Existing (set to Show Previous Phase).  Changing the phasing on the fly back and forth usually ends up with someone leaving something set wrong.  My recommendation is to setup separate views in the beginning and then never mess with them. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Duplicating Views

Options for Duplicating View

Creates a view that is a copy of the primary view.  A duplicate view displays model elements but not annotation elements from the original view.
Duplicate with Detailing
Create a view that inherits all details of the primary view.  A duplicate with detailing view displays both model and annotation elements from the original view.
Duplicate as a Dependent
Creates a view that inherits view properties and view-specific elements from the primary view.  In a dependent view, you should only show a specific area of the view.  You can insert Matchlines to indicate where the view is split, and view references to link views.  This option helps to create views that show portions of a plan when the entire plan is too large to fit on a drawing sheet.

 Chart copied from "Learning Revit Architecture 2010"
Creating separate views (Duplicate or Duplicate with Detailing) for a different area of a view is not recommended.  Please use the Duplicate as a Dependent for all views that will be broken out with match lines.
General naming conventions are:
                FIRST FLOOR PLAN
                                FIRST FLOOR PLAN - AREA A
                                FIRST FLOOR PLAN - AREA B
                                FIRST FLOOR PLAN - AREA C

Friday, February 4, 2011

View Templates

Simple put a collection of visual settings for a specific view.  For instance, if you have several section views that need changes done to the view scale, discipline, detail level, specific filter applied and/or visibility settings, a view template will be very handy.  Simply go into one section, change the scale, update the detail level and turn on/off whatever you want.  You can now create a view template with all of those settings preset.  Then apply that view template to your other sections and everything will update at once.  This will help with overall consistency throughout your project.  View templates work very well for all views.  If you spend a lot of time in "Visibility Graphics" adjusting things, you may want to consider view templates. 
                View templates are available as a split-button under the "View Tab", "Graphics" panel.  There are four options here.  "Apply View Template", "Apply Default Template to Current View", "Create View Template from View" and "View Template Settings".  I think the first three options are self explanatory.  The last option "View Template Settings" is for making changes to existing view templates or manually creating new ones without being in an actual view.  For whatever reason, it seems that making changes to an existing view template does not update any view that has already had that template applied.  In this case you will need to reapply that view template to all of the views again, even though it is still listed as the default view template. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quick and easy reception desks!

Creating reception desks have proven to be quite time consuming.  More recently I have found that creating a couple different profiles of some standard desks has been very handy.  Simply starting an in place family and creating a couple sweep extrusions, will help you build a reception desk in a few minutes.  Straight and even curved countertops can be created with one simple sweep.  You can also get creative with void forms and cut in some reveals or even an ADA counter approach. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Central Files

Step one.
                Any project started with a template file IS NOT a central file.  A standard project file acts the same as any other file.  Only one person may access this file type at a time.  And it can be saved anywhere, preferable in a project folder on the server, but not in all cases.  Some mobile users may wish to save it on their desktop, thumb drive or external hard drive.  Just keep in mind that these locations are not backed up by the server.  So save in those locations at your own risk.
Step two.
                When it comes time for multiple people to work on the project, it must be converted to a central file.  To do this, select the "Collaborate" tab.  Look in the "Worksets" panel and select the "Worksets" button.  After you do this, a "Worksharing" dialog box will pop up.  Just go ahead and select "ok".  After that another "Worksets" dialog box will appear.  You can either select ok, or if you want to make additional worksets, now would be the perfect time.  When you are finished making your worksets, click "ok".  At this point the file is a Central file, but it has not been saved.  Next open the application menu (The big R in the upper left), and select save as.  (Note: The first time you do this after making it a central file, the "Make this a Central File after save" under the options button will be checked by default.)   Save this central file on the server in the proper folder.  After the save has finished, it is critical to note that you are still in the Central file.  (I recommend NEVER working in the central file!)  At this point you have two options.  The option I recommend is to close out of the central file.  Click the Applications Menu and select open.  Navigate to the Central file.  Select it and make sure the Check box at the bottom is checked to "Create New Local".  After the file has loaded you are ready to begin working.  The second option is to select the Applications menu and select "Save As".  Navigate to your local Revit files folder and save the project.  (Note: Using this option it is critical to note that we did not open the "Options" dialog box and check to "Make this a Central File after save".  By not checking that box all you're doing is creating local files.  This is where most of the confusion comes from.) 
                1.  It's a good idea to actually put the word "CENTRAL" in the central files name.  (Note: Putting the word central in the name does not actually make it a central file.)
                2.  By default is a good idea to put your name after the local file.  If you use option 1 from above, this is done by default.  If you use option 2, you must manually enter your name yourself.
                3.  NEVER and I mean NEVER work in the central file.
                4.  NEVER save a local file on the server.
                5.  NEVER move a central file.  If the file is moved or the folder is renamed, the central file and all locals attached to it will have to be recreated.
                6.  Depending on how much the central file is being updated or changed, it's a good idea to try and recreate your local files once a week.  If you have more than 10 users on a single project, recreating your local file daily is not out of the question.  If you are the only one working on a project you may never need to recreate your local.
Trouble Shooting:
                1.  When you navigate to a project on the server and select a "Central File" to begin work on it, there are a couple things to look for.  When you select the Central file the "Create New Local" box should automatically check itself.  If it does not, there is a problem.
                A.  This is NOT a central file at all.
                B.  This is a Central File in a previous version of Revit (ie Revit 2010 or 2009, etc...)
                C.  This is a local file save saved in the wrong spot.
                2.  In the event of one of the above problems, the Central file will need to be recreated.  You have a few options here.  This is the procedure I recommend.  First locate the proper file you wish to create a new central file from (This will be the most up to date file).  This file can be either a central file or a local file.  Before opening the file, be sure to select the "Detach from Central" option.  (Note: This will remove connections from other central files and remove connections from other users.)  After the file is open, click the application menu and select save as.  By default again, the "Make this a Central File after save" will already be enabled.  So after the save is complete, close out and recreate your local file.  (Note:  If you open the file (local or central) without selecting the "Detach from Central,"  then you will have to manually open the "options" menu and select "Make this a Central File after save")
If you need to create another copy of your central file (ie... another scheme), please follow the steps above under Trouble Shooting 2. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Warnings, Warnings & More Warnings

As our office continues to make the transition to Revit some of our projects can end up with some very lengthy warnings logs.  At first most users are unsure what the problem is or even where to begin to fix it.  I have even read lots of posts about warnings being unavoidable.  I personally believe this to not be true.  If you really want to learn Revit fast, fix ALL the warnings in all of your past projects.  I will warn you though that this will take you a great deal of time.  But you will learn very quickly what and what not to do.  Most warnings should be pretty simple to fix, others not so much. 
Sometimes just finding the problem can be tricky.  If clicking "show" in the warnings dialog box, says that it could not find a view,  I recommend writing down the object id number, switch to a 3d view and then wireframe mode.  Then under the manage tab, inquiry panel, click "select by id". Enter the id number from before and then it should highlight within the model.  Once you know where the actual problem is, you can then navigate to the appropriate view to adjust the object accordingly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I would first like to welcome everyone to my blog.  This blog is intended to outline all of the troubles and work arounds we face with our Autodesk software on a regular basis.  I will also cover tips and tricks we learn along the way.  I will be focusing primarily on Autodesk Revit Architecture, but will also cover some 3ds Max Design and AutoCAD as necessary.