Streamlining Sheet Lists with a Custom Application

December 2nd, 2013

In this article we take a brief look a simple add-in for Autodesk® Revit® named X-Sheets, which provides tools for incorporating sheets from an AutoCAD® sheet set in a Revit sheet list. Typically this is handled by manually adding placeholder sheets to the Revit sheet list. This can be problematic because the sheet list becomes disconnected from the source and must be updated manually. With X-Sheets, sheet set data is exported directly from AutoCAD, linked to a Revit project, and included in the sheet list by automatically adding/updating placeholder sheets. For this example, all structural schedules, plans, elevations, and section sheets are in Revit Structure. All detail sheets will be pulled from an external AutoCAD sheet set.

X-Sheets Ribbon Panel

Figure 1: Revit X-Sheets ribbon panel 

The first command on our ribbon panel is Discipline. This command is used to establish the Revit project parameter to which the AutoCAD sheet subsets will be mapped. For this example we have created a project parameter named My Discipline Parameter. Each Revit Structural sheet has been assigned a value of STRUCTURAL—the same as the subset name for the AutoCAD detail sheets. The sheet list is grouped and sorted by this parameter.

Figure 2: Discipline command dialog

The next command on the ribbon panel is Links. This command is used to establish a link between the Revit project and XML file(s) containing sheet information exported from AutoCAD. You can create as many links as needed, and use relative paths if required.

The next two commands, Sheets and Update, do the work of adding/updating placeholder sheets to the sheet list. While the Sheets command allows you to select individual sheets from links to include in the sheet list, the Update command includes all sheets from all links.

Export Sheets from AutoCAD

Figure 3: AutoCAD X-Sheets ribbon panel and sample sheet set

Figure 3 shows the AutoCAD X-Sheets ribbon panel and a sample sheet set containing structural detail sheets. Notice the detail sheets are grouped under a subset named STRUCTURAL. This subset name can be exported with each sheet and mapped to the My Discipline Parameter in Revit. Figure 3 shows the Export Sheets dialog with an option to include subset information and the ability to exclude individual sheets. Selecting the Export button prompts us with a dialog to save an XML file to be linked into our Revit project.

Figure 4: Export sheets dialog

Figure 5: Export complete!

Establish Link to XML File in Revit Project

Figure 6: Manage Links dialog

Figure 6 shows the Manage Links dialog. A link has been added to the XML file we generated when exporting sheets from AutoCAD. Notice there is an option to make the link path relative to our Revit Project location.
 

Import Sheets from XML Link

Figure 7: Sheet list before import

Figure 7 shows the Revit Structure sheet list before any sheets have been imported from AutoCAD. After selecting the Sheets command we are prompted with a Manage Sheets dialog.

Figure 8: Manage Sheets dialog

For this example we have selected all sheets from the XML link to include in our sheet list. After confirming the dialog, new placeholder sheets are immediately added to the sheet list and grouped according to the Subset/Discipline mapping. The new placeholder sheets are identified behind the scenes as being related to the X-Sheets XML link for later updating.

Figure 9: Sheet list after import

Update Sheets

Figure 10: Export Sheets dialog after sheet renumber

Figure 10 shows the Export Sheets dialog in AutoCAD after detail sheets have been renumbered to include “-A.” When changes are made to AutoCAD sheets, the original export steps must be followed to replace the XML file linked to our Revit project. Once the XML has been replaced, simply run the Update command in Revit to update the sheet list.

Figure 11: Update complete!

Figure 12: Sheet list after update

Summary

The X-Sheets add-in is a great tool for incorporating AutoCAD sheets into a Revit sheet list. The add-in saves time by automatically adding placeholder sheets, eliminates room for error in manual translation, and helps to keep your sheet list up to date with minimal effort.

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About the Authors

Jonathan Albert

Jonathan Albert is co-founder of BIMpulse Technologies, LLC & Senior Applications Developer at Lindeman Bentzon Bojack Engineering in Clermont, Florida. He has worked more than 15 years implementing and using BIM Technology for some of the nation’s leading production home builders. Most recently he has developed BIMpulse, an Options Management and Material Takeoff Add-In for AutoCAD Architecture, Revit, and Autodesk Design Review. Jonathan can be reached at jona@lbbe.com

 

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