Success by 1,000 Fixes

Rumor has it that Autodesk software goes through two kinds of releases: a major build then a fix and finish, which leap frog ad infinitum. This may be why “even year” releases always seem better. That being said, the last two years of Autodesk® Revit® presents a different feeling. While it’s fruitless to predict where Autodesk plans to go with any granularity, here is a personal observation. Revit seems to be stuck in a continual foundational fix mode. The grand additions and game changers have given way to a very detailed fix mode. This is evidenced by a list of more than 250 improvements, corrections, and provisions on one side and a “count on one hand” list of new functionality on the other in the 2016 release. Even with the long list of upgrades, it is hard to be excited with the subtlety of most of the improvements and the fact that many were released as updates to the 2015 release. This leads one to wonder if Revit has passed the high point of its development, or if is this a “success by 1,000 fixes” strategy. In either case, there is quite a list of improvements to review, so best to get started.

In the release notes available at the time of writing, 125 items were listed as improves, 125 as corrects or updates, 9 as provides or adds, 4 as allows or enables, and 1 each as removes or restricts. They are not all listed as they have been filtered for the concerns of MEP users within this article.



  • The Project Browser and Properties palette stop disappearing after re-opening Revit
  • You can now scroll to the bottom of the Properties palette without it popping back to the top
  • More stability in the contextual tab when adding electrical devices
  • More stable when using a panel schedule template set to hide the third phase column
  • More stable when modifying the format of a panel schedule template
  • More stable when deleting an electrical element that is connected to a zero length wire
  • More stable when dragging cable tray or conduit
  • More stable when editing a conduit temporary dimension in elevation
  • More stable when generating a piping layout
  • More stable when deleting a pipe fitting in an invalid state
  • More stable when a family type is deleted on insertion
  • More stable when changing the type of a fitting
  • More stable when opening a file with corrupt dimensions
  • More stable when using Tag All in a workshared model that is owned by another user
  • More stable when assigning a new label to a dimension in the Family Editor
  • More stable when loading layer export settings from a file
  • More stable when multiple users try to load or modify the same family in a workshared model
  • More stable when opening a model that contains large obsolete elements
  • More stable when a user cancels an upgrade process
  • More stable when zooming in a 3D view
  • More stable when hardware acceleration is active
  • More stable in files corrupted by cross-document copy
  • More stable when editing a group from the Project Browser
  • More stable when zero-length geometry is contained in an imported DWG file
  • More stable when importing DWG files with warnings
  • More stable when binding a link that contains a host-based family that is also identified as workplane-based
  • More stable when the model is missing revision settings data
  • More stable when exporting schedules
  • More stable when filtering a schedule
  • More stable when double-click opening a project from Windows Explorer
  • More stable when family-related corruption is encountered in Revit 2015
  • More stable when editing a filter owned by another user
  • More stable when processing geometry in section and elevation
  • More stable while editing fields in the Worksets dialog
  • More stable when an undo removes a view that was opened as part of a reload latest
  • More stable when making edits in the Sun Settings dialog

Corrects Issues that Caused the Following

  • Deletion of ceiling hosted lights when ceiling is moved or copied
  • Incorrect fitting sizing based on content settings
  • Incorrect length of beveled tap when set by a formula
  • Disconnected duct transitions when changing duct size
  • Differing values in a tag and properties when using duct radius elbow/taps
  • Hidden lines and gaps for duct and pipe display differently than printed
  • Unavailable customizable drop-down when multi segments of cable tray or conduit is selected
  • Nested objects in cable tray families don’t display
  • Wrong circuited item displays in plan view when selected in the Project Browser or System Browser
  • Moved or edited circuit change lost after Save to Central
  • Electrical families not printing or exporting when the project base point is covered
  • Ducts misalign when level elevation is changed
  • An error dialog when arraying pipes
  • Incorrect default values when Creating Similar
  • Non-displaying pipe parameters in a schedule
  • Imported CAD files to not display
  • Generic tags to disappear after modifying a view control parameter
  • Duct color fill disappears when changing the system color scheme
  • Updated family fails to create a symbol in a project
  • File corruption in workshared file when saved with Revit LT
  • File name missing in file upgrade dialog
  • Missing preview images in Open dialog
  • Graphics in some views disappear when upgrading to 2015

So what is new? Here are some of my favorite new functionalities in no particular order.

The Section Box. The Section Box tool is located on the View panel of the contextual ribbon when elements are selected. It opens the default 3D view with just the selected elements isolated. It’s a throwback to the Object Viewer in AutoCAD MEP and is just a useful. Key in BX to get there quick—you are going to use it a lot.

Search faster. Search in drop-down lists and ribbon combo boxes. If you liked it in the AutoCAD command line, you will love it in Revit 2016. It will not take long to become addicted to finding just what you are looking for quickly and easily.

Performance in Calculations. A performance setting for calculations in duct and pipe has been added. Oddly, setting the systems’ Calculations to “Performance” makes things faster than setting them to None. The None setting still maintains the logical sections in the system, and the Performance performs no system-level calculations at all.

Allow navigation during redraw. Pan, zoom, and orbit in a view without waiting for the software to finish drawing elements. Enabled by default—you will never go back to waiting.

Schedule improvements. Change cells in a schedule with the TAB and arrow keys. Using the Home and End keys inside a cell will move the cursor to the beginning and end of text. The Insert Row tool is now in the Rows panel of the ribbon and not buried in the Insert pop-out.

File upgrades. When opening a file in a previous release, users now get a dialog that allows them to cancel the open and upgrade.

Edit/load a family. There is now a Load into Project and Close tool in the Family Editor.

Import/link position. The default positioning when linking Revit files is now Auto - Origin to Origin. If changed, the selected positioning becomes the default. Revit keeps a default value for Revit models and another for CAD files. 

Revit link in a closed workset. The status of Closed Workset now displays for a Revit link that is in a closed workset.

Piping flow units. Project units for piping can now be specified in liters per minute (L/min).

Improved snapping behavior. Remote snaps include only objects in view, rather than the view extents and snap filters related to the zoom level. Revit also remembers snaps at the application level, so set it and forget it.

MEP fabrication detailing. LOD 400 for detailers can be achieved with content from Autodesk Fabrication products (CADmep, ESTmep, and CAMduct).

Revisions. Multiple rows can now be selected in the Revisions dialog and the starting number for a numeric sequence may now be zero or any positive number. Alphabetic sequence is now "alphanumeric." It accepts custom sequences of characters.

Saved zoom states. Revit now remembers the zoom states of each view after the model is closed. When reopened, each view opens to the remembered zoom state.

Thin Lines. The Thin Lines tool setting is now stored in the Revit.ini file and spans sessions.

Wishes Granted

How did the AUGI Revit MEP Wish List containing the top 30 wishes of MEP Revit users around the world fare? This year saw the granting of just two wishes. First is what I consider to be the very first Revit wish: defaulting to “origin to origin” when linking files. Second is the nearly as long awaited wish: the option to cancel an upgrade on open.  It’s bittersweet that more wish list items were not addressed. Listed below are some of the unanswered wishes. If they look like a good list, please login to AUGI and add your voice.

  • Add a footer/notes section to schedules
  • Text editing (make it better)
  • Plan regions should apply to pipe, duct, conduit, etc.
  • Tell us why a system is not well connected
  • Multiple monitor views
  • Any shape call out boundaries
  • The ability to create schematic diagrams of systems from the model
  • Making connections in linked files
  • Freeze schedule headers
  • Fix pipe up and down single line symbology
  • Calculate length thru pipe, duct conduit cable tray, etc.
  • Single/double line in the same view
  • Use all cores of multi-core processors
  • Highlighter clouds
  • Spaces to cope with vertically irregular spaces better
  • Duplicate sheets

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