Tip of the Day

Revit TotD – 3.26.09: “Inconsistent Units”!!!!!

Be honest, how many of you have received this error when working on parameter formulas?¬† Yeah… wait.¬† I only see my hand up.¬† Be honest, it’s ok.¬† I’d be willing to bet that anyone that has dealt in complex parameter formulas have received this error at one point in time.

Well, here’s the solution.¬† Remember back in physics when they taught you about unit conversion?¬† Remember how you had to cancel out units by using (ft/ft = 1) or something similar to that?¬† Well that’s exactly how this work.¬† All you have to do is either multiply or divide by 1.¬† Sometimes it’s not as simple as that if the conversion is a bit more difficult.¬† The point is that if you work out the unit conversion before you do the formula you’re good to go.¬† Simple as that.¬† Here’s a video of how it works.

Example of how some corrected formulas would look.

It is important to notice that Revit auto fills the units in most formulas that you correct this way.¬† Angle parameters are one formula type that it will not auto-correct if the formula is too complicated.¬† This means it will be necessary to add the unit symbol or abbreviation when Revit does not auto correct this. Keep playing, it’ll work… I promise!

Enjoy and see you tomorrow!


Revit TotD – 3.25.09: What did I have selected?

Today’s TotD is the epitome of TotD.¬† Short, sweet and everything a tip should be: not a full lesson!

Ever accidentally lost your selection because your coworker destracted you or your boss’ cat sat on your keyboard while you were trying to select all those little detail lines?¬† Well, there is an easy way to reselect everything you just had selected.¬† If you find yourself in this situation, simply hit Ctrl+<left arrow> to reselect your last group of selected items, as shown here.

That’s it.. simple, sweet, short… tip of the day! 🙂



Revit TotD – 3.23.09: Cataloguing your Families

Hope everyone had a good weekend!¬† I’m back with a quick tip on helping you manage those family files.

Ever notice how some of the families that come out of the box with revit have multiple options to select from before you load the family in?¬† For instance the Structural Column families give you a “Catalog” to choose from before you.¬† There is way to do that with your own families and there are only a few things you need to do to accomplish this.

Video of cataloged family loading into revit.

  1. The text file must be formatted correctly.
  2. The text file must be named EXACTLY the same as the family.
  3. The text file must be placed in the same folder as the family.

1. The correct format for the file is as follows:


The first line must always be the following:

<intentional space before first comma, this space is reserved for the Type Name parameter>,<<parameter name1>##<parameter1 type>##<parameter1 units>>,<<parameter name2>##<parameter2 type>##<parameter2 units>>

The lines following that follow this format:

<Type name>,<parameter1 value>,<parameter2 value>

I’m not clear about the units portion of the formating on what happens if the parameter type doesn’t require a unit (like angles or text) as to what to do.¬† I’m guessing that you will just end the parameter group after the <parameter type> entry and then move on to the next parameter group.

2.  If your family file is named MyCrazyCatalogedFamily.rfa then your catalogue file HAS to be named MyCrazyCatalogedFamily.txt

3.  If your family file is in C:\my\family\file\location then your text file should be in C:\my\family\file\location

Some things to note about the catalogues, you have to use File > Load from Library to get the catalogue option.¬† If you drag the file into the project from a file explorer, it’s not goign to ask you which types you want to load.¬† You can select multiple types to load at once using the Ctrl select technique (shown in the video above).

Hope this helped, and see you later!


Revit TotD – 3.20.09 | Important File Locations

So today’s is going to be a simple one.¬† Weekend is coming up and I have a lot of studio work to do plus an abstract for my term paper (*gleee*).¬† So here I hope to point out some important file locations for you to play with (at your own risk).¬† Some of these are obvious to some of you, some of you just knew how to get to them inside of revit.¬† Well here’s how you can have some real fun!

Keyboard Shortcuts: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Program\KeyboardShortcuts.txt
-Create your own keyboard shortcuts for any tool in Revit. If it has a Menu position then it can have a keyboard shortcut.
Revit.ini: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\ProgramRevit.ini
-Program configurations.  You can add paths to plugin and 3rd party tools here if the plugin does not have an installer that does so.  TINKER LIGHTLY, BACKUP IF YOU MODIFY IT!!!

Journals: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Journals
-These are essentially a log of every activity that happens in your revit sessions.  They are VERY powerful and can even be used to recover lost projects if you know what you are doing.

Material Mapping: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Program\materialmapping.txt
-Contains a list of Accurender -> Mental Ray mapping translations.  If you have a lot of Accurender materials from 2008, this may be something you want to look at.

Site Lat/Long: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Program\sitename.txt
-List of Lat/Long locations for the sites available in the Project Location dialogue in the render settings.

Uniformat Classification: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Program\UniformatClassicifcations.txt
-This is the Uniformat list that ships with revit that is used by default for keynoting.  Use this file format to create your own office keynoting file.

Plugin Folder: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Program\PlugIns
-Plugins you add to revit will go here if they do not autoinstall to another location.  This folder is referenced by the revit.ini file for plugin locations.

Pattern Definitions: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Data\revit.pat (or ‘revit metric.pat’)
-Contains all of the pattern definitions that ship with revit as well as instruction on how to build your own fill patterns, model and drafting.

C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Data: Data folder
-There’s just too many good things in this folder to list them individually.¬† Specifically you can find shx font mapping, lineweight import and export configuration and some fun rendering files.

Imperial Library: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\RAC 2009\Imperial Library
-All your family files are here.  I suggest keeping these seperate from your custom family files in case you update or reinstall.

Project History: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\RAC 2009\Recent
-I’m not sure if this wipes when you close Revit or reboot, but revit basically puts a temporary copy of your files here.

IES Files: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\RAC 2009\IES
-IES calculation files are located here.

I think that’s going to do it for today.¬† I will hopefully have another one for you come Monday!¬† As usual, enjoy, comment and have a great weekend!


Revit TotD – 3.18.09 : Temporary Witness Line Toggle

So this one is a short one but a hidden gem as no one seems to teach this in training and most people don’t find it until they accidentally click the little blue square grip on the temporary dimensions witness lines.¬† You can toggle between center of wall and face of core/finish (depending on how you have the temporary dimensions setup) by clicking — instead of dragging — the small blue square grips on temporary dimensions.

Also demonstrated in this video.

You can also drag these grips to other reference within that wall or to another reference point (this is where weak and strong references in your families come into play!).  As always, hope this helps.  Leave comments and have a great day!


Revit TotD – 3.17.09 | Visibility Control with Yes/No Parameters

Another TotD courtesy of the RevitCity chatroom.  This one is something I hear asked a lot almost anywhere I go.  It delves into the family editor, which if the sound of that scares you, it’s just how us reviteers say “Open a family file (.rfa) with revit.”  The goal of this tip is to show you how to make a parameter in a family which contorls the visibility of an object in the family.

For this example I’m going to show a very crude window… cut me some slack, I’m doing this around reading and design work for school.   So in this window, there is a mullion that I don’t know if I need in all the windows.   Maybe some windows want 2 lites, while others only want a single lite.   So I want to control whether or not that mullion is there.   Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go to the Family Types dialogue.
  2. Add a new parameter
  3. 1) Name your parameter, i called mine Mullion On.   Be appropriate with your parameter names so that someone knows what the parameter is for when you are not there to explain it.
    2) Up to you, there are only a few appropriate parameter categories.   I usually use Identity Data, Construction, or Graphics for this type of parameter.
    3) Select “Yes/No” from the Parameter type.   Otherwise this will not work AT ALL.
    4) Whether this is an Instance or Type parameter is up to you and is the scope of another TotD.   Basically, do you want to have to change family types in order for this parameter to be used?   If No, then use instance.
  4. Hit OK a couple of times till your back to the canvas.   Select your object (in this case, my mullion) and go to the properties.
  5. You will see a parameter called “Visible.”   To the right there is a blank button under the “=” column.   Click it to link the Visible parameter tot he Yes/No Parameter.
  6. Select your parameter from the list of parameters to choose from.   Note that this dialogue knows that the “Yes/No parameter type is the only parameter type that is compatible with the Visible parameter.
  7. Hit OK
  8. You’re DONE!   You can test if it works by going back into the Family Types dialogue and toggling the Mullion On parameter.   If the object greys out, then you are in business!   The video demonstrates this working in a project.

Well there you have it.   Once again I hope this helps you in some form or fashion.   I made my parameter as an instance parameter so you don’t have to change the family type to control the visibility, but you can make it a type parameter to fit the needs fo the family you are working on.



Revit TotD – 3.16.09 | Visibility Control, Filters and You!

This one come courtesy of Steel2Steel on RevitCity.com chat room.  It relates to his post here.  He was wanting to make his revit model look like a CAD drawing.  This blunder aside, I decided this wul dbe a nice little tip for my TotD readers.  Enjoy!

Filters are your friend.  When it comes to Visibility Control in Revit, you can do a LOT of fun things with filters.  Have a look at this video on how I made the walls in this model appear different from the others.

Wall Filters for Visibility Control

  1. In you View graphics (type ‘VG’) dialogue, go to the Filters Tab
  2. Create a new Filter by clicking “Edit/New” near the bottom of the dialogue box
  3. If you already have a filter to add, you can add it, or you can create and remove filters from your projects.¬† You can transfer filters from other projects using the “Transfer Project Standards” tool.
  4. Assuming you need to create a filter, click the add filter button
    • Name the filter
    • Choose the categories you want the filter to affect.
    • Choose the parameters that will set the conditions for the filter to be active on individual elements
    • When you have added all filters, hit OK
  5. Select the filter you want to add to the View Graphics dialogue (unfortunately you can not add multiple filters at once.  Hopefully someone from Autodesk noticed this and will fix it with the next release.)
  6. Select how you want the filter to override the graphics for that view.  The nice thing here is that you can change how it overrides the view for each view.
  7. Hit ok, make sure the elements you wan tto be affected have their parameters set correctly et voila!

Hopefully this opened a whole new door for you revit users to venture down.  You can create any type of parameter to control these filters.  Good luck, and as always, leave comments!


Revit TotD – 3.14.09 (Render Exposure)

Yeah, so my tip of the day turned into a tip of the week.¬† So sue me for false advertising (please don’t, I have enough problems as it is and very little for you to win in an actual lawsuit).¬† It just so happened that I decided to start tip of the day, 2 days before spring break started.¬† And… well… let’s just say that it was a much needed spring break.¬† Anyhow, onto the reason you’re here.

I tend to get my TotD ideas from questions asked from fellow reviteers and from things that make me laugh as I am working when I think of how many people have asked me how to do the seemingly mundane tasks in Revit.¬† Today I had a good friend of mine (@ghogsed) mention something about renders turning out to be too dark.¬† I mentioned the Adjust Exposure tool and realized that a lot of people ask about this so I’m guessing it’s often overlooked like a majority of the tools available to a Revit user.¬† So here we go!¬† The “Adjust Exposure” tool is available after Rendering your scene in Revit Architecture 2009.

Adjust Exposure Tool located int he Render Dialogue

Adjust Exposure Tool located int he Render Dialogue

You will most likely notice that interior renders often turn out too dark.  This is because our default friendly Autodesk setup was calibrated to exterior renders, and hopefully the sun is brighter than your interior lights.  Demonstrated in this video.

Hope this helps someone!¬† Please feel free to leave me feedback!¬† Have a great St. Patty’s day!


Revit TotD – 3.4.09 | Wall Multi Tip

While watching Will Harris’ Rockstar Hour today, I recalled how many people I’ve come across that did not know how walls worked in Revit.¬† While the TotD is not designed to be a full blown lesson, I have prepared a couple tips for placing walls.

1) Making a box of walls in a clockwise motion will result in the exterior layer of the wall being on the OUTSIDE of the box.  Making a box of walls in a counter-clockwise motion will result in the exterior layer of the wall being on the INSIDE of the box.  Use this knowledge to make sure you are placing a wall with the exterior layer in the correct orientation to avoid problems later in your project.  This is demonstrated in the video below.

Wall Exterior control

2) The double control arrows ALWAYS appear on the exterior of the wall you have constructed as demonstrated here:

Double Control Arrow on Ext. of wall.

Double Control Arrow on Ext. of wall.

As always, I hope this helps and I hope you join me for the next TotD!


Revit tip of the Day (TotD) – 03.03.09

Revit TotD – Material Physical Properties.

This issue was brought to my attention by a fellow RevitCity.com chatter.  He noted that when trying to change the properties on the physical properties tab of a material, everything goes back to default when you try to save the parameter subset.  After playing with it a bit, I found a workaround to get the subset to save:

Here is what I did:
1) Change the behavior to Orthotropic
2) Change the parameters you want to change
3) Hit Apply at the bottom
4) Change the bahvior back to Isotropis (assuming that’s what you need)
5) Make sure the parameters are how you want them (you may need to just go in and enter the parameters again if the next step resets the parameters)
6) Hit Apply
7) Save As

Here is a short video demonstrating this:
Creating a Material Physical Properties Subset

You’ll notice that there is still some odd behavior in that trying to change the subset on another similar material causes the other material to change as well.¬† I think the key here is applying the changes before moving on to another material.

Hope this helps, and happy reviteering!


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