Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Add Custom Context-Sensitive Tools to Revit's Modify Tab

One of the things that I really dislike about Revit add-ins is how they're segregated on the Add-Ins tab (or a custom tab created by the add-in). When I select a wall, if there are add-in tools available for modifying walls, I want them displayed on Revit's Modify tab, just like the native tools.

Over on his The Building Coder blog, Jeremy Tammik posted a conversation he had with Frode Tørresdal in which they arrived at an add-in that implements .NET UI Automation in a very interesting way to add context-sensitive buttons to the Modify tab.

Custom buttons added to the Modify tab

Jeremy has posted the source code for the ModifyTabButton project on GitHub here.

I'd love to see some third-party developers make use of this one for their own add-ins...

Free ArchiCAD Connection Add-In Updated for Autodesk Revit 2015 with New Features

From the Graphisoft website...

The GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD Connection is a free Add-In for Autodesk Revit softwares (including Revit Structure, Revit MEP and Revit Architecture). The Add-In improves the IFC model-based and bi-directional data exchange between GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD and Autodesk Revit applications.


The GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD Connection Add-In has two functions:
  • “Improved IFC Import” imports IFC models to Revit using extra features that improve the interpretation of architectural models
  • “Export to ArchiCAD” exports Revit model elements in IFC files that are specially enhanced for use in GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD.

For detailed information, see manual.

New in ArchiCAD Connection for Revit 2015 Add-In

The ArchiCAD Connection Add-In developed for Revit 2015 offers extra, optional functions to customize the IFC import/export settings of Revit:
  • Import of all Attributes, Properties and Classification Reference data of the IFC model elements as schedulable Revit parameters
  • Export of elements based on Revit's phase status
  • Export of 2D annotation elements
  • Export of element parts as standalone building elements
  • Schedule data export as IFC properties
  • Export of Family and Type name as Reference property
  • Both import and export support the compressed IFC format (IfcZIP) in addition to the normal IFC file format

Important: For best results, make sure you have installed the latest version of Autodesk®’s IFC 2015 import-export app for Revit.

There's more information available on the Graphisoft website.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

RevitWorks Releases Free LITE Version of Door Factory

I just finished a review of the PRO version of RevitWorks Door Factory.

RevitWorks recently released a free LITE version of their Door Factory for Revit 2015. The LITE version offers "the best single & double swing doors for free!"

There is an excellent series of tables at the bottom of the Door Factory product page that detail the differences between the PRO and LITE versions.

Product Review: RevitWorks Door Factory 2015 PRO

I first posted about the RevitWorks Door Factory add-in back in 2011. A lot's changed since then, and I wanted to do a full-on review of the product, and here it is.


"Create almost any door you want in seconds, without going into the family editor."

I would just add one word to this statement: "Create almost any door you want in seconds, consistently, without going into the family editor." I don't think it can be understated how helpful it is to have consistent content in one's Revit projects.


My setup was a little different than most in that Alex of Revit Works issued me a promo copy, which I downloaded from DropBox. Usually, one would purchase the product from the website.

An interesting aside is that there isn't a trial version of Door Factory 2015, per se. Instead, a free LITE version has been released, which includes "the best single and double swing doors," with the newly dubbed paid "PRO" version featuring more door types, door actions and features. There's an excellent chart about the differences between the LITE and PRO versions towards the bottom of the product page.

Once downloaded, the installation was smooth, and featured a professional-looking wizard.

Once Revit was launched, a new tool was available in the ribbon on the Add-ins tab. While not strictly following the Revit interface standard, the icon is attractive and unobtrusive.

The Door Factory tool in the Revit ribbon

When I launched the add-in, I was prompted for an activation key. Once I entered it, the key authenticated over the Internet and I was off to the races.

Setup grade: A


Upon launching the application, one is presented with a Start screen.

The Door Factory Start screen

On first blush, the Start screen may seem a little overwhelming, but I equate this to how some use the starting view in Revit to present useful project information to team members. Here there are links for an overview video on the RevitWorks website, a "New Features in 2015" PDF, feedback, a product FAQ, online Help, and several "Technical Data Sheet" PDFs, including "Door Factory Family Specifications" and how to create custom panels, handles, trims and user components.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Roundup: New and Updated Revit Add-ins on Autodesk Exchange Apps for the Week of 9/21/2014


Cost-It Automatic take-off and estimating
SOFT S.A. Los autores de Presto | Win32 and 64 | 9/23/2014 | Free

Automatically extracts the estimate from the Autodesk® Revit® model, including work items, organized in chapters and levels, take-off by elements, list of parameters and plans

Meta Data Exporter
3DA Systems Inc. | Win32 and 64 | 9/24/2014 | Trial

MDX- Metadata Exporter from Autodesk® Revit® Models to MS Excel


Bimframe Connect
Bimframe | Win32 and 64 | 9/23/2014 | Trial

Sync your Autodesk® Revit® models with the cloud using Google Drive™.

INVIEW labs | Win32 and 64 | 9/26/2014 | Trial

Discover a better way to optimize your BIM content library!

BIM Helper Tools
VV-Software | Win32 and 64 | 9/26/2014 | Trial

Batch print, batch parameter actions, batch subcategory definitions, element selection manager (import and export), sheets generation and duplication and library browser.

Related: Other roundups.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dynamo 0.7.2 Released + Dynamo Now Pre-Installed with Revit as of Revit 2015 R2

By Zach Kron, excerpted from the Dynamo website...

It’s exciting times out here in Dynamo-land, lots of work on the guts of the machine and finishing off some back-office refactoring that will allow for faster/more stable growth.  But the really big news is we've gone out into a much larger world.  For those of you on Revit’s subscription program, you may have already received the latest update which has Dynamo 0.7.1 pre-installed [with Revit 2015 R2].  This represents a stronger commitment between the two teams to support and nurture a tighter interoperability moving forward, even as Dynamo and Revit develop and release at different speeds. In support of this newly expanded audience, we’re releasing 0.7.2 which we very much recommend to upgrade to. We suggest a nice clean uninstall of 0.7.1 through Add/Remove programs before running 0.7.2.

Our hope in this wider distribution is to open up the world of design computation to a new audience, and to help unlock many of the tools that are available in Revit through it’s API.  Now, we understand that Computation is not necessarily for everyone.  However, when you open Dynamo, please see that you are not alone!  Along with several gentle “Getting Started” videos, and sample sets of various ranges of skills, there is a forum for questions, and a whole community of very nice people who love to answer questions.

Dynamo opens up a whole world of awesome, and it can be a big world.  Dynamo is not like a new feature functionality, it’s not a button that automatically makes a more awesome stair, or solves your save-to-central issues.  It is an environment; some even call it a whole language.  It is a powerful harness for driving all sorts of Revit interactions, not just with Revit, but also with other applications.  For instance, check out the samples data sets to see how it can move around data between Revit and Excel.  For people who are new to computation, ideas around how to define and articulate rules and processes can be eye opening, and we have samples and video tutorials to help with this.  You won’t master it in one sitting, but you can make some pretty kick-ass stuff in your first session.

If you are an old hand at computation and parametric design, but new to Revit, a similar word of caution/encouragement.  Revit is a parametric change engine in it’s own right, and when Dynamo is running in the Revit process, it needs to play by the Revit rules.  For instance, Revit doesn’t make “stuff,” or something Roof-ish-Wall-ish-I’ll-figure-it-out-later.  Revit thrives on well defined categories and relationships and generally requires you to define them up-front.  Dynamo allows you to work in pure data and geometry, extract and abstract information from Revit, and create and control Revit elements, but you need to define what those things are before interacting.  Check out the Revit specific samples included in the application for a peak at what kinds of things you can do with Revit models.

For system administrators and BIM support folks, part of the preparation to integrate with Revit involved an overhaul of the Dynamo installation process, resulting in much smaller download with more flexibility for installation and updating.  BIM system administrators should find that pushing out new deployments with Dynamo should be a lot easier with the ability to run silently.  Individuals who are upgrading from 0.7.1 should make sure that they do a nice clean uninstall from the control panel and reinstall to get up-to-date with the current builds. Moving forward, keep an eye out for the friendly little green cloud in the upper right corner of the application to let you know when there is a new release.

So, there is still a lot to do.  We are currently focusing on further improvements to Revit element creation and manipulation, clarity around error and warning messages, and new tools for analysis.  In the development builds, new tools are on the way for exchanging work flows and expanding the capabilities of Dynamo through the Package Manager and Code Block Nodes.  Thanks to everyone in the community for their support. Dynamo is and will remain an Open Source tool, depending on and built by the people who use it.

There's more information available on the Dynamo website.


New Type Swapper Tool Added to CTC's BIM Manager Suite for Revit

From the CAD Technology Center website...

Swapping types, and even families, is no longer a time-consuming process when using Type Swapper. Discover the simplicity of identifying and deleting duplicates

Key Features
  • Swap duplicate families resulting from copying content from project to project
  • Remove duplicate families after swapping types
  • Quickly identify and swap line types, text styles & dimension styles.

There's more information available on the CAD Technology Center website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meta Data Exporter Add-in for Revit

From the Autodesk Exchange Apps website...

Collaboration and Data Management - Meta Data Exporter software helps organize, manage, and track data creation, simulation, and documentation processes for design and engineering workgroups. Get more control over design data with revision management capabilities and quickly find and reuse design data. This allows for easier management of your design and engineering information directly from the 3D model. Parametric Components from Revit help calculate detailed material quantities and track material quantities for cost estimates. The MDX engine helps support more accurate material takeoffs.

Free Trial offers FULL functionality for 15 executions, so you can experience all the power and features MDX for Autodesk® Revit® has to offer.

MDX-Screen shot MDX Easy Export

MDX- Export to MS Excel

MDX- Export 3D Model Metadata

The ribbon

There's more information available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps website.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Free Cost-It Automatic Take-Off and Estimating Add-in for Revit

From the Autodesk Exchange Apps website...


Get the full bidding documentation from the Autodesk® Revit® model.

Cost-It, the Presto plug-in for Revit, generates the bill of quantities and the priced estimate from the information contained in the BIM model, with all the data and specifications required to assign unit prices, prepare tender documents and check the project without delivering the model itself.

From the model to the bid and the estimate.

WBS categories and types 

The elements in the Bill of Quantities are classified by Revit categories, families and types, in approximate order of execution. Any international standard classification system may be used, as Uniformat, MasterFormat, UniClass and OmniClass. The thumbnail image is attached to every type for easy identification.

Elements take-off

Each element has its geometric dimensions attached, as needed to calculate the quantity, as well as other useful values to complete the information. Quantities of work items not built into the model, such as forms or finishes, may be deducted from existing work items quantities using the exclusive Presto cross reference system. Holes appear next to its walls, allowing to dynamically substract the area, according to its size.

Materials and parts

Types may be optionally split in materials, all of them or only those formed by layers, getting their specific quantities, instead of the type global amounts.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Roundup: New and Updated Revit Add-ins on Autodesk Exchange Apps for the Week of 9/14/2014

It was a fairly busy week on the Revit subsection of the Autodesk Exchange Apps website. A few new apps debuted, and several add-ins received updates.

I don't usually post about updates to add-ins on Autodesk Exchange Apps because change release notes typically aren't included with the updates. However, one of the apps that was updated this week was Autodesk's free Lighting Analysis add-in.

I take a keen interest in apps in the field of energy analysis. Then I thought, maybe you readers take special interest in this or other add-ins too, and why not post a weekly roundup of the changes to be found on Autodesk Exchange Apps? Here's the inaugural one. I hope that you find these weekly roundups useful.

In addition to the roundups, I'll continue to publish more detailed posts about new add-ins as they're posted to Autodesk Exchange Apps.


Knovel Quick Search
Knovel | Win32 and 64 | 9/16/2014 | Free

Find best practices, trusted technical references, and material properties data all in one place. With our plugin you can quickly find answers to help you solve critical business challenges.

Rename Elements
Ellumus | Win32 and 64 | 9/16/2014 | Free

Tools for automated renaming of Autodesk® Revit® elements.

Site Designer
Autodesk, Inc. | Win64 only | 9/17/2014 | Subscription App

Autodesk Site Designer Extension for Revit software provides site planning tools to shape the terrain for building sites within the Revit environment.


Files Upgrader 2015
Architecture for Humanity | Win64 only | 9/15/2014 | USD 5.00

This application will help you to upgrade all your files to Autodesk® Revit® 2015.

Trelligence Affinity
Trelligence Inc | Win32 and 64 | 9/15/2014 | Trial

Trelligence Affinity Programming Tool for Autodesk® Revit®

WebGL-Publisher Export
CADMAI Software GmbH | Win32 and 64 | 9/16/2014 | Trial

WebGL-Publisher Export for Autodesk® Revit® is an plug-in for Revit Software which is used to export architecture models into a 3D environment for the Web.

SOFiSTiK Reinforcement Detailing 2015
SOFiSTiK AG | Win64 only | 9/16/2014 | Trial

Using “SOFiSTiK Reinforcement Detailing 2015” enables user to directly extract 2D reinforcement sheets from 3D model in Autodesk® Revit®.

Lighting Analysis
Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Team | Win32 and 64 | 9/16/2014 | Trial

Lighting Analysis for Autodesk® Revit® is a fast cloud service that uses Autodesk® 360 Rendering to expose electric and solar lighting results directly on the Revit model.

Shanghai ESoo Software Co., Ltd. | Win32 and 64 | 9/17/2014 | Free

EasyDimension tool could help you add dimensions for all visible elements in a view for several different categories.

AsiaSW | Win32 and 64 | 9/19/2014 | USD 19.00

PowerSheets provides a tool for management sheets, duplicate and creates new sheets by selected base sheet (template) and adds new views according to the selected view position in your template.

Related: Other roundups.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Autodesk Revit 2015 R2: A Mid-Model Year Revit Release for Autodesk Subscription Customers!

I thought Revit Sundial might go this way. From the Autodesk Subscription website...

Release Date: 2014-09-17

With Autodesk® Revit® 2015 R2, Autodesk Maintenance and Desktop Subscription customers get access now to new features that add powerful capabilities, make Revit perform faster, and can improve modeling productivity. Fully compatible with Revit 2015 releases, Revit 2015 R2 installs without disrupting ongoing work in Revit 2015.

Power: Revit 2015 R2 includes new features that enable you to do more with Revit.
  • Share more accurately predicted energy performance information in custom dashboards with Project Solon integrated into Revit.
  • Use existing geometry in a linked IFC model as a reference for dimensions, alignment, snapping, and hosting of some families in a Revit model.
  • Troubleshoot models better with the Reveal Constraints mode making all dimension alignment constraints in a view visible.
  • Explore visual programming with the Dynamo interface for computational design which now installs with Revit so you can more easily enhance and extend the power of the Revit API. 

: Autodesk Revit R2 meets requests for faster software performance with the goal of making your work easier.
  • Edit and regenerate complex toposurfaces, subregions, and building pads.
  • Get better performance of the energy analytical model in Revit, with Revit R2 using less memory when analyzing large models.
  • Experience faster updates to views that contain multiple instances of families.
  • See faster display of Revit links within views.

Productivity: You’ll welcome multiple enhancements in Revit R2 designed to improve your modeling and work productivity.
  • Work in perspective views, making quick adjustments without having to change views with some modeling capabilities now available in perspective views.
  • Save more time by editing multiple wall joins together
  • Find content more quickly with Search capabilities in the Type Selector and all drop-down lists.
  • Navigate PDFs exported from Revit more quickly with hyperlinked views.
  • Experience easier interaction with structural elements through user interface improvements.
  • Improve productivity with more streamlined Rebar modeling and shop drawings creation.

For a complete list of enhancements to your product, refer to the Autodesk Revit 2015 Update Enhancements List or Autodesk Revit LT 2015 Update Enhancements List.

Subscription customers can download Revit 2015 R2 from the Autodesk Subscription website.

Site Designer: A New Autodesk Subscription Add-in for Revit!

From Autodesk comes the new subscription add-in Site Designer for Revit. It's based on Autodesk's recent acquisition of the Eagle Point Revit site add-ins SiteWorks and LandCADD

From the Autodesk Exchange Apps website...

Autodesk® Site Designer Extension for Revit® software helps architects, designers, and planners convey building site planning concepts to engineers. Site Designer runs inside Revit software and uses native families, components, and toposurfaces, so site designs become part of the overall model.  You can model alternatives for mass grading, building pads, streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and retaining walls all within the Revit environment.  More easily convert a sketched line into a street, sidewalk, curb and gutter, retaining wall or parking lot in the model.  You can manipulate Site Designer components using editing tools to change their location, elevation, grade or geometry, and Site Designer automatically updates and maintains the underlying toposurface.

  • Report and schedule areas, volumes, and cut and fill volumes to better understand the impact of site design changes on requirements to move or add fill.
  • Iterate conceptual designs and create more realistic visuals of the building site by incorporating grading features directly into the Revit model.   
  • Better communicate conceptual design ideas about the building site to engineers  who can then complete the detailed site design using professional civil engineering tools like Autodesk® AutoCAD® Civil 3D® software. 
  • Share the appearance of site plan designs for better communication with everyone involved in the project, including owners, architects, designers, planners and civil engineering firms.
  • Share a site model between Revit and Civil 3D through Land XML files, improving collaboration between architects and engineers working on a project.
  • More quickly add design elements to your site such as berms and drainage swales, minimizing the time required to mass grade a site and to try alternatives at the design development stage.
  • Special terrain families within Site Designer provide you with parameters that control widths, cut and fill slopes and other projection settings.
  • Locate hardscape components such as streets, intersections, sidewalks, curbs and walls that can follow the existing terrain and have controlled elevations and slopes - all while the toposurface is automatically maintained.

The ribbon tab

Street settings

A sample site

There's more information available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps website.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Free Rename Elements Add-in for Revit

From the Autodesk Exchange Apps website...

This is an addin for Autodesk® Revit® that provides commands for batch renaming elements such as levels and gridlines.

  • The shift command allows you to select the elements that you want to rename and shift the sequence by a given amount. For example, say you have a 100 story tower and you eliminate a few levels. All the levels above will need to be shifted down. It is a time consuming task made quick and simple by this command. 
  • The resequence command allows you to rename the selected elements to the format (base name) + (number incremented by 1 for each level). For example, you move around the levels in a 100 story tower, such that the levels are mix up and not in sequence. Or you have a 100 story tower with the levels named Level 1, 2, 3, etc. but you need to rename level 1-8 as Retail Level 1, 2, 3 – 8, level 9-45 as Office Level 1 – 37, and the rest as Hotel Level 1, 2, 3, etc. In both of these cases, the resequence tool allows you to quickly rename the levels as needed. 
  • The replace command allows you to find and replace all or part of element names. For example, find Level B1, B2 etc. and rename them to Basement 1, Basement 2, etc.

There's more information available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps website.