Over the years I have posted a lot of workflows for PDF creation and management, including the use of CutePDF Writer and PDF Creator. I’m also a regular user of RTV Xporter Pro, as it is the quickest and easiest way to generate PDFs from Revit, and its pretty affordable too.
To automatically create PDFs with automatic naming from RTV Xporter, you need a PDF print driver that supports automatic naming. Adobe PDF can do this with the correct settings, but you can also do it with the correct version of the free PDF Creator print driver. CutePDF does not support automatic naming. You need a PDFCreator version equal to or older than 2.5.3.
What you need:
Below I will describe:
- How to install PDF Creator without the bloatware
- How to configure PDF Creator (thanks to Jason Howden at RTV for these slides)
- Some basic settings of RTV Xporter for batch PDF printing
Installing PDF Creator:
Screenshots below show some suggested options to avoid getting things installed that you don’t want.
Accessing the Settings:
- Launch PDF Creator
- Skip any update prompts
- Click Profile Settings
RTV Tools PDF Creator 2.2 Configuration/Profile Settings
Printing to PDF automatically from Autodesk Revit with RTV Tools (Xporter/Xporter PRO/Drawing Manager) and PDF Creator (versions 2.5.3 and prior) can be enabled with the below settings.
Document (Tab) Settings
No changes required (optional)
Save (Tab) Settings
- Tick Show progress during conversion
- Tick Skip print dialog (directly proceed to the save dialog)
- Add Token <InputFilename>
- Tick Set default output folder (else the last saved location will be opened)
- Add Token <InputFilePath>
Auto-Save (Tab) Settings
- Tick Enable automatic saving
- Un-Tick Ensure unique filenames (Do not overwrite existing files)
- Add Token <InputFilePath>
Actions (Tab) Settings
Image Formats (Tab) Settings
No changes required (optional)
PDF (Tab) Settings
No changes required (optional)
For more help and assistance with RTV Tools: http://help.rtvtools.com/
RTV Xporter Pro Settings:
The screenshot below shows the settings I use.
I previously posted about my large library of archived Revit blog posts. I then got a request from Mr Stewart to shed some light on how I automate the RSS to PDF process. It is a lengthy process, and I’m sure there are easier and better ways, but here is how I did it:
- Set up a dedicated Google alias, for Reader and Gmail
- Make a big RSS list in a specific folder in Reader. Mine is shared here. Share that feed folder from Reader.
- I then burnt this shared feed in Feedburner:
- Then, I subscribed to my own burnt feed via email (Gmail address from step 1), by using the Feedburner page here:
- I then installed and set up a portable Thunderbird profile, using my Gmail alias from step 1
- So now, Thunderbird was receiving daily email summaries of all Revit related blogs – I just had to get this info into a PDF somehow. I used PDFCreator, due to its autonaming functionality.
- Install PDFCreator
- In Thunderbird options (Tools – Options – Config Editor), set PDFCreator as the default printer using print.print_printer. Here are my printer settings in Thunderbird:
- Go into PDFCreator to set the Auto-save options:
- Now, back to Thunderbird. Set up a filter like this
- To auto-create the PDFs, just – Open Thunderbird, Get Mail, Tools – Run Filters on folder. Once it is set up, it is very easy to use.
Here is an example of the kind of PDF output I get – link here. The formatting is perhaps suboptimal, but most images are retained and the text can be indexed by a search program like Google Desktop.
Graham H Stewart BIM Associate at Ramboll UK
To: Luke Johnson
Date: July 11, 2012
Seen you blog regarding automation of rss feed via PDF
. Can you shed some light on this as I would like to know more
Sent from LinkedIn for iPad
Another request I received was about how I sort and organise all the info I collect. I will add some info on this later:
If you want to print all the .htm or .html files in a folder, you could use the function in Internet Explorer that allows you to ‘Print All Linked Documents’:
To use this, you need to have a HTML document that links to all of the .htm or .html files in the folder. To automatically generate such a document, you could use this script (you will need to copy the text to a .cmd file, and change the ‘target’ to the folder you want to make a list.htm for):
(click here for txt version)
This script was taken from the Google Cache of Experts Exchange:
Batch print HTML files : batch, print, html, files
Consider this – using the above tips, you could convert a folder of HTML files to PDFs using the automatic function in PDFCreator…
Let’s say you have printed a bunch of PDFs to a folder, hopefully using one of the techniques described in my previous two posts (links below), and now you want to rename them to match the data exported from a Revit schedule?
Here is one method:
- Create a Revit schedule with all the data you need.
- Export the schedule, such that you have a file like this one (view the sample)
- Now, open the cool excel spreadsheet that I’m providing here for download. This file works for 3 columns of data. Basically, it just joins the data from the 3 columns into one cell (and adds some hyphens and brackets).
- Open the exported Revit schedule in Excel. You will need to choose file type – ‘All files’ and go through the steps to convert to the schedule to a spreadsheet.
- Copy all the cells from the Revit schedule spreadsheet and paste into the cell in the Rename-files-using-schedule-data.xls file
- You will notice that the 3 columns have been joined into one in Column A.
- Copy the data from Column A and go to a new blank worksheet (can be in the same file).
- Paste the data using the ‘Paste Special’ command and choose ‘values’. This data is now ‘clean’ and can be used for renaming purposes.
- Copy this ‘clean’ data into a Notepad txt file and save as whatever you like. Sample file for download here.
- This TXT file is now used in the Advanced Renamer program. Install it if you haven’t already.
- Open Advanced Renamer.
- Add – Method – List
- Then click ‘Load List’ and select the TXT file that you made.
- Also, under the ‘Rename Files’ box, choose ‘Add – Directory’ and choose the location where your PDFs are located.
- You should now see the previous filenames along with the ‘proposed’ filenames.
- If you are happy, click ‘Start Batch’
As I said, this technique is really not for the fainthearted. But it sure has saved me a lot of time! I hope you find it useful.
I hope that you found my previous post on batch printing with automatic naming helpful.
But what if you want to add a prefix or a suffix to all PDFs in a set? Some firms like to add the current revision or issue date as a suffix to each individual sheet. This can be accomplished easily with the freeware program Advanced Renamer. It is available in both portable and installable versions.
Here is a few simple steps to add a suffix to all PDFs in a specified directory:
- Install and run Advanced Renamer.
- Click Add – Directory. Select Directory and click OK.
- Click Add method – Add (this will obviously ‘add’ something to the filename of resulting files.)
- Set the options for the Add method: Type the text you would like to add, select index 1, ‘backwards’ and Apply to Name. This will add the specified text to the end of all filenames in the directory.
- Click ‘Start Batch’ and you are done.
You can experiment with other ‘methods’ to do some more advanced renaming tasks.
Sometimes you will want to produce a large set of PDFs where each drawing sheet is in its own PDF file. You also want the PDFs to be automatically named and created. There are a number of ways to accomplish this – here is the simple way that I use.
- Download and install PDFCreator ( if you don’t have it already)
- Download the following ini file: pdfcreator settings
- Open the PDFCreator application
- Go to Printer – Options, and then ‘load’ the settings from the ini file you downloaded (use the little folder at the top of the window to load settings), then hit ‘Save’ at the bottom of the window.
- Now, when you print from Revit, be sure to choose the options to ‘Create separate files…’
- When you click ‘Print’ in Revit, each sheet will be sent individually to PDFCreator. PDFCreator will then use the View or Sheet name (as per the REDMON_DOCNAME_FILE setting) to Autosave the PDFs to a specified folder – the above ini file uses C:TEMP_PLOT by default.
You can tweak these settings to your own individual taste – you may want to change the Autosave folder, for example.
Revit wants you to work efficiently, and it wants you to maximise the value of the data inherent to the BIM model. In this case, we leverage the View/Sheet name to automatically name the PDF files.
But what if you want to modify the filenames – perhaps adding a prefix or suffix to all PDF filenames? Well, you will just have to subscribe and wait for the next post…
Go to Part 2
Autodesk is getting very, very serious about DWFs. They will not replace PDFs overnight, but it is looking like DWF will become the exchange format of choice in the future. Particularly in the BIM / building delivery industry anyway.
Revit wants you to adopt this technology. Well, Autodesk does 🙂
So, why not try the DWF printer driver from Autodesk? Check it out at:
Without breaching confidentiality, I can’t tell you much…but…there are some very exciting developments in the PDF vs DWF war coming up soon!
Thanks to Shaan Hurley