It has been a while since I made an I.T. specific post, so here is a little gem for you.

Do you find that your desktop gets cluttered and difficult to navigate, with heaps of icons, shortcuts and rubbish?

Well, give this a go. It is a little program that makes your desktop into a ‘List View’ – meaning it is far easier to find things. Here is a direct link to the zip file.

I also recommend you set your desktop to black or a dark image to improve visibility of the desktop font.

After you fire up Revit 2011 for the first time, I recommend you have a look at the new Options dialog.

The User Interface tab is new, but some of the options on it are old (moved from the General tab). The most interesting part is the Tab Display Behaviour options.


The options here are quite self explanatory. At least now we can make some decisions about how we want to work. Do you want the contextual tab to automatically become active, or would you prefer to go there yourself if you need it? Did you notice you can access the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog from this tab?

Also new in the Revit 2011 Options is the ability to control the appearance of temporary dimensions. This is on the Graphics tab.
While you are here, make sure you set your user name properly, add any custom Render paths and set up your Family and Template library locations.

So I see that the factory has posted about the Revit Options Bar duplicates or moves objects when selected error.

Greg Arkin also re-posted this on his blog.

What I find quite funny is that I already posted this fix in August 2009.

I may be crazy, but don’t you think it is a bit weird that a humble blogger and Revit user from Australia has posted a fix about 8 months in advance of Autodesk themselves?

Does “The Factory” have someone out there reading our blog posts? If they don’t, I think it might be a good idea 🙂 Particularly with 2011 just around the corner…

This is the first post in a new series for this blog, called RATAS Solutions. What is RATAS, and why should you make sure you read every one of these posts? Well, RATAS is what you say when ‘Revit Appears To Act Strangely’. Try it out, while you are sitting there…”RATAS” (pronounced rat-ass…feels good, doesn’t it? Now, whenever you are getting annoyed, and Revit seems to be acting strangely, what do you say? “RATAS”, that’s what!

RATAS Problem #1
File-A.rvt is linked into File-B.rvt. In File-A, you have created a new Phase Filter called ‘Custom Phase Filter 1’. You have mapped phases from File-A to File-B (using the Type properties of the link File-B). When you apply ‘Custom Phase Filter 1’ to a view in File-A, the File-B link does not obey the filter (for example, demolished items are still shown, even though they should not exist in this phase). You check and you have definitely set the File-B Visibility/Graphics to ‘By Host View’. So, you change the Phase Filter to ‘Show Complete’ and everything works! What is happening? RATAS!

RATAS Solution #1
Revit understands the Custom Phase Filter 1 for the Host View (in File-A). However, when Revit attempts to apply this Phase Filter to the File-B link, something breaks. File-B doesn’t have a definition for Custom Phase Filter 1 present. When you change to ‘Show Complete’, it works, because File-B DOES have a definition for this Phase Filter present.

The Solution? Open File-B, and create a new Phase Filter with the same name (Custom Phase Filter 1) and properties as the Phase Filter in File-A. Save and Reload…and the problem is fixed!

Now, I put a lot of thought into naming RATAS – because while Revit often ‘appears’ to act strangely, usually it has good reason to act the way it does. Thus, we get back to the same advice I have given before – you need to try to understand What Revit Wants, so that you can solve these kinds of problems yourself.

The existence of the Adaptive Component feature isn’t really a secret. But it is one of the coolest things about Revit 2011. Imagine a family that lets you push and pull points in 3D space…and imagine that those points then drive all the geometry inside the family.

It is very nearly cool. However, I say ‘nearly’ because there are definitely some serious limitations. Autodesk has come out and listed some of these limitations, such as:
adaptive components can only be placed in a conceptual mass family, an in-place mass, a curtain panel by pattern family, or another adaptive component family.

This is a real shame, because this is going to be one of the most powerful modelling tools in Revit 2011. If only we could use them in all categories!

Look out for some very cool forms in the next few weeks, as users start to get the hang of Adaptive Components. And look out for some very neat workarounds and tricks to get the most from this new feature.

No, not aeroplanes: we are talking about Reference Planes. So, the tip is:

Always name reference planes that you intend to keep and use.

Reference Planes lie at the very core of What Revit Wants. Revit is a program, so it needs parameters. In order for understand objects in 3D space, it needs to establish a ‘plane’ to work from. Obviously, Reference Planes are the basic, garden variety type of Revit plane – there are also Grids and Levels. These are just planes that do some special things, like host a view.

If you want to quickly see what planes exist in your project, open a 3D view and then start the ‘Set Work Plane’ command. This dialog shows all the NAMED planes, including grids and levels. Can you start to see why you should name Reference Planes you intend to keep and use? That way, you can quickly make them ‘current’ by using this command.

This also allows you to clean up your drawing. If you adopt this tip, let’s say you come back to a drawing a few months later and it is absolutely cluttered with Reference Planes. Which ones can you safely delete? Well, you have named all the important ones, so you can delete the rest!

Over the past few years using Revit, a few tips just keep coming up. These are things that Revit consistently wants you to do, in order to have a pain free modeling experience. I call these ‘SuperTips’ and I will progressively reveal these on this blog.

SuperTip #1 – Don’t make too many levels

It may seem like a basic thing to say, but many amateurs will get in and create levels for everything little thing, which results in a huge mess as the project progresses. Try to make the minimum amount of levels possible. These should always coincide with the major structural floor levels of your building. An excess amount of levels will make the project difficult to work on and difficult to work in. Please refer to this previous post for some tips on how to deal with this issue.

If you create heaps of levels, it will be very difficult to track which level elements are created on. For assistance with this, please refer to this previous post.

Instead of creating unnecessary levels, consider using reference planes in areas where you would normally put a superfluous level.

In February, I responded to the call from the guys at Arch|Tech to submit my best tips.

Well, I am not the ‘official’ winner of the Best Revit Tip, but I did get a mention! Quote:
So, I said there were two winners. Luke Johnson, from Australia pounded me with so many worthwhile tips that I felt compelled to disqualify him from the running just to make things fair to everyone else. So, in lieu of awarding him best tip, we’ll still send him a copy of the book and we’ve added a link to his blog in the book so you can go hit all those tips yourselves.

His blog is named What Revit Wants which, reminds me of a Wham! video, but maybe I’m just dating myself.

From http://www.architecture-tech.com/2010/04/and-real-winner-is.html

And here is a summary of the tips that I sent to them:

tip on Impression workflow that many have read
Direct readers to http://www.revitprofessionals.com/, where I have created a list of Revit bloggers3D views – shaded vs rendered
also http://wrw.is/2009/10/how-to-use-new-keyboard-shortcuts.html
Thanks for the mention guys, and I look forward to checking out the book!

You would likely agree that the Text tool in Revit still leaves a lot to be desired, not least of which would be some decent bullets and numbering features. No doubt most of you are using Key Schedules to get around some of these limitations when creating note blocks (as described in this PDF from an AU class).

However, are you aware that you can put symbols into Revit schedules? The easiest way to described how this works is to use the Character Map. To access the Character Map, go to Start-All Programs-Accessories-System Tools and open Character Map. I have created a link to the Character Map in my Quick Launch toolbar.

So how does this thing work? Well, let’s say you are using the Arial font in Revit. Select Arial in the Character Map. Now, have a look through all these different symbols. When you find one that you like, click on it, click ‘Select’ and then click ‘Copy’. Now, go into a Revit schedule or text box that is formatted with the SAME FONT (ie. Arial) and Paste (using Ctrl+V is easiest). There you go, you have a nice symbol to play with!!

The quicker and easier way is to use the inbuilt hotkeys. For instance, to add a ‘squared’ (little superscript 2) symbol, just hold down Alt and press the keys 0 1 7 8 (just type the numbers one after the other while holding Alt). You can find out which keystroke to use by looking in the bottom right corner of the the Character Map (see below).


There are quite a few things you can do once you know how to use this. See below for a Key Schedule I made with a ‘column’ containing a rightways arrow symbol.