We were given the ‘Slanted Column’ ability when some of the Structural tools were recently incorporated into Revit Architecture. If you have been pulling your hair out trying to place one of these slanted columns in a Plan view (where the tool is greyed out), the answer is simple. Go to a Section, Elevation or 3D View to place them!

You will likely need to set an appropriate workplane to ‘draw’ these slanted columns on.

The Brace tool is also quite cool – have a go at the ‘3D snapping’ capability in the Options bar (try it in a 3D view, obviously).

If you are interested in reading further, check out:



Revit is a very acceptable OOTB (out of the box) tool. If you are using Revit OOTB, there are really only two variables that determine your productivity. Assuming you have zero customised content, these variables are:

  • your own skill and ability
  • the performance of your computer

We are all working to try and keep our skills on the cutting edge. But is your hardware keeping up its end of the bargain? Our company made a significant investment into some middle to top-of-the-line workstations a few months ago, for which I am very grateful. If you are looking to purchase a new system, or upgrade an existing one, you should definitely review the
Model Performance Technical Note (you may have accessed this via Subscription, but this is a direct link to the PDF).

The following AUGI forum links may also be of assistance to you:

Revit 2010 – Graphics Cards that work (and those that don’t)

Happy with your hardware?

Video card D3D compatibility – Revit 2010 on Vista / Win7

Revit Running on Intel Mac

Non-Mac hardware benchmarks using the 2009 benchmark journal

Rendering speed in Windows 7 64 & Revit 2010 64bit

Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or recommendations.

Revit makes it very easy to produce a LOT of drawings. This can result in a large deliverable. In one recent case, our Tender Issue of drawings consisted of 132 A1 sheets. Using CutePDF (with a couple of handy tweaks), we printed these to a PDF file of around 48 MB.

Depending on your email size policy, a file of this size would take anywhere from 5 to 16 emails to transmit.

To avoid this eventuality, I have explored various options for uploading large files and making them available to our colleagues. FTP seemed to be the answer, but one of our Clients is behind a proxy or firewall system that doesn’t allow FTP access – even with an anonymous account! So it was back to the drawing board…

Therefore, I decided to setup a HTTP server for file access. I downloaded Apache 2.2 (for Windows, without SSL). I took the following steps:

  1. Allowed a port through our firewall and directed it to the PC running Apache. We have a static IP, so I could now access Apache by typing in xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:portnumber.
  2. Ensured that the opened port setting matched the Apache port in the httpd.conf file
  3. Disabled the ‘Indexes’ feature for a subfolder of the Apache ‘root’ folder (in my case this was C:Program FilesApache Software FoundationApache2.2htdocsFILES).
  4. Created a password for this folder using htpasswd.exe
  5. Enabled password access to the same folder using the following text in httpd.conf

    Options FollowSymLinks
    AuthType Basic
    AuthName “Restricted Files”
    # (Following line optional)
    # AuthBasicProvider file
    AuthUserFile “C:/Program Files/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/password/.htpasswd”
    Require valid-user

Now I can login to the PC running Apache, copy any file I want to serve via HTTP to the password protected folder, and then send a link to any of our colleagues that I want to gain access to this file.I also setup Filezilla FTP Server on another PC in our network, and forwarded port 21 through our router to this PC. I setup a user for a folder on this PC, and disabled all rights apart from ‘read’.I can now send an email that contains two hyperlinks to any large file we wish to transmit, one for FTP and one for HTTP. Both of these links are password protected.And all of this is done using free, open source software!

No doubt you would agree that our ‘attitude’ can have a big effect on our lives. If we look at things with the right outlook and viewpoint, we are more likely to feel successful and satisfied. So how does this relate to Revit?

There are a number of ways to approach Revit as a software platform. Consider some examples:

  1. “Revit is a modeling tool, and I want it to be able to easily model any form I can conceive.”
  2. “Revit is a drafting tool, and I want it to be able to draft quickly and easily, and I demand absolute graphic control over every single visible 2D element.”
  3. “I believe Revit should be intuitive and easy to use. It should be able to guess what I want and deliver the result that I seek.”
  4. “I have to use Revit because it is becoming the industry standard. I don’t have to like it or understand how it works.
  5. “I want to understand What Revit Wants, so that I can use it in a productive and appropriate manner.”

I would say that the first 3 are basically impossible, for any software tool. However, in some ways Revit can deliver the results that you seek when approaching it with the attitudes of 1, 2, or 3. It is capable of many things, but it does have limitations. Attitude Number 4 is a problem though. Why? Because you MUST understand, at least to some degree, how Revit works. Otherwise you will never succeed, and you will face a lot of frustration.

Yes, you must grasp What Revit Wants. You must try to think in the same way that Revit thinks.

  • Why is it trying to join the walls this way?
  • Why is object A masking object B?
  • What is causing Revit to show this line dashed instead of solid?

Instead of getting frustrated and angry, and instead of uttering unrepeatable phrases directed at ‘Autodesk’, just try and understand WHY. It is a little bit like meeting someone you don’t know for the first time. You may choose to judge them from first impressions. Or you may try to understand them, and why they act the way they do. If you come to understand them, you may be able to have a rewarding relationship with that person.In conclusion, give Revit a chance. Try to understand. Try not to judge or lose your patience. Don’t be afraid to find out What Revit Wants.

I have created a list of Revit Blogs using Google Sites. Have a look at:

Please feel free to comment. If you would like your blog to be added (and it isn’t on the list), please send me your details.

This may be useful for you if you are travelling and don’t have easy access to your normal RSS reader – you can easily use this webpage to read the latest posts from these popular Revit, CAD and BIM related blogs.

There is some very handy BIM resources located on the Indiana University website at http://www.indiana.edu/~uao/iubim.html

Among other things, you can download the IU BIM Guidelines and Standards for Architects, Engineers, & Contractors document.

There are also some very handy links to other BIM resources.

Thanks to James Van of ArchTech for posting this one.

If you are having problems with the ‘Copy Spreadsheet’ utility, it is likely because you are running 64 bit Revit or you have recently updated Revit. If you haven’t heard of this tool, it is a simple program made in Autohotkey, and it automates the ‘copying’ of data from a spreadsheet into a Revit schedule. The Revit schedule will need to be a key schedule, and you will need to add the columns and rows before starting the utility.

Head over to http://forums.augi.com/showpost.php?p=950435&postcount=1 for the updated version.

Direct link http://www.nichitecture.com/downloads/Copy%20Spreadsheet%20for%20Revit%202010.zip

You may need to login to AUGI to access the above.

Okay, I may be WAY behind everyone else, but I didn’t know about the Autodesk Youtube Channel until today!

It appears that I may have been stuck in some kind of inanimate stasis for the last, well, I don’t know how long.

In any case, if you too were confined in the 1950’s jazz holodeck program while the Bynars stole your spaceship, head on over to:
The Autodesk Youtube Channel