CASE’s Top 10 Revit Tricks

In an ongoing effort to improve the building industry, CASE and HP have gotten together again—and this time it’s to bring you a monthly column focused on getting the best from your Autodesk software. This month you will hear from CASE’s most adept Revit experts—the people other AECO companies call upon when they are having a problem with Revit, when they need Revit training, or when they need a custom Revit plugin built. We have asked these experts to share their best tips for using Revit.

One: Keyboard shortcuts

Caity Jimenez spends a lot of time teaching and using Revit in her role as a building information specialist. She says that setting up, learning, and using keyboard shortcuts saves her an immense amount of time and clicks. One of her most heavily used shortcuts activates and deactivates viewports, a task she does often when laying out sheets. In Revit 2014, viewports can be activated by double-clicking, but there is no fast way to deactivate them. The keyboard shortcut preferences can be accessed by typing KS. Search for “viewport” and assign a shortcut. Caity uses XX and XC because they are normally the closest keys to her hands, but you can assign whatever works for you.

Two: Prevent accidental clicks

Seth Edwards is moments away from leaving New York to work in our London office, but before he departed he left this tip for those who accidentally and consistently double-click on component families (especially room and ceiling tags) only to have it open up the family. You can change the double-click behavior by going to the Options menu, selecting User Interface, and under the Configure menu changing the double-click options. For “family” set it to “do nothing” on double-click.

Three: Learn a new workflow

The workflow section on AEC-Apps has been getting some serious action. Jump over there to see recommended workflows for updating Revit models or linking Revit to Grasshopper. You also can add your own workflow to the mix if you have a process you would like to share with the community.

Four: Temporarily making text dimensions bigger

Temporary text dimensions can appear unworkably small—and they appear to get smaller as you zoom in on them. If these tiny dimensions are taunting you, there is a setting to enlarge the text globally throughout Revit. Caity Jimenez explains that from the Application menu, choose Options and then the Graphics tab. In the Temporary Dimension Text Appearance area at the bottom, choose the font size you prefer. The default is 8, but something like 12 is much easier to work with.

Five: Revit plugins

Don Rudder, Revit API expert and associate director of desktop applications, has built a library of 24 plugins for Revit. They do everything from quickly changing line styles to linking Revit with Excel. Don is constantly adding to this library based on user requests. So if there is some important functionality missing from Revit, Don can probably add it for you. Hop on over and pick up one of the free Revit plugins.

Six: Locking geometry faces

Tim Dumatrait is a building information specialist providing BIM support to clients. In the search for ever more efficient and robust families, Tim recommends locking geometry faces to work-planes when creating families rather than locking them to their profile sketches.

Seven: BIM Collaboration Format

The BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) is a new XML schema currently making its way towards official adoption by buildingSMART. The schema enables other software packages to mark the locations of problems within a model. Typically these problems would be identified by sending a model to an analysis package that would then return a series of images (or perhaps the entire model) with the clashes identified. Now the analysis software can return a lightweight file transporting users to the problem and describing the issue within their preferred software. Matteo Cominett, CASE’s resident BCF expert, is working hard to develop a BCF plugin for Revit, and Navisworks. Try it out the next time you are analyzing your model in Solibri, Tekla, or the like.

Eight: Beware of the free lunch

Jose Torres recently joined CASE as a senior software engineer. He told us of a time when he downloaded a model of a toilet and tried to link it to the plumbing system of his model. After many failed attempts at connecting a pipe to the tank, he realized the toilet had a slightly skewed connection going into the tank when Revit would only make connections between parallel objects. Based on this experience and others, Jose thinks it’s best to tread carefully when downloading free content, particularly for MEP systems.

Nine: Check your room heights

Rooms are essential for scheduling, especially in a multi-discipline team. Unfortunately rooms created in Revit often don’t go full height. Make sure they are the correct height by turning on a cut section and looking for the room fill. Otherwise you can click on the room and set its height in the properties. This ensures all fixtures are correctly assigned to the room and that the room is the right size for MEP calculations.

Ten: A properly configured and certified workstation

A certified workstation is one of the most important Revit investments you can make. Hardware that is not Autodesk certified may not adequately support advanced product features, and in some cases, may result in problems. Autodesk and HP work closely together to proactively identify and resolve compatibility and performance issues, and certify HP Z Workstations with Intel® Xeon® processors for Autodesk software. HP and Autodesk publish a list of certified workstations, and HP and AUGI have collaborated on special Revit configurations and pricing for AUGI members.

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