Around 5 years back (where did that time go?), I posted about a free right-click Explorer extension that gives you some useful information on Revit files at a glance. CTC continues to update and provide that extension for free as part of its “BIM Project Suite”. All you need to do is:
install CTC BIM Project Suite
right-click on any Revit file to view its version and properties
This works for family RFA files and RTE files as well, and will give you an option to open in the actual file Revit version, or in any newer version you have installed.
Download: You can get the latest version of CTC BIM Project Suite on the App Store at this link.
The plugin ribbon will be installed in Revit versions 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Note: Seems like the “Open In” function will offer you any versions of Revit installed on your system, that are same as or newer than the file itself:
Revit Users do a lot of funny (and sometimes quite terrible) things. BIM Managers have spent years trying to control the chaos, through training, documentation, standardisation, model auditing, Big Brother techniques, and a mixture of carrots and sticks. And that is why I really like the idea of Guardian.
Ultimately, people just can’t quite be trusted to comply with all the constraints you think are valuable. But if you have a ‘virtual firewall’ for Revit, it should take the human element out of the equation, right? The idea is that your Revit model is a secure and safe place – a lot of important work happens in there, so you don’t want it to get infected with junk. It is harder to remove the junk later, than it is to programmatically STOP the bad stuff from entering your model. Enter Guardian for Revit…
Have you ever wanted:
To restrict users from exploding CAD, modeling in-place, etc.?
To prevent users from creating duplicate properties?
To automatically clean content that users bring into projects?
A better ‘purge unused’ tool that cleans object styles, patterns, etc.?
To translate content to meet different requirements / standards as it enters projects?
To quickly align your library and details into complete conformity with your template?
I recently had the chance to interview Parley Burnett, the creator of Guardian. Parley has had a lot of experience with Revit and content management over the years, and he offers some great insight below as he describes the ‘journey to Guardian’.
LJ: What motivated you to create Guardian? PB:
Revit can be so fun to work with and… not so fun. We understand the issues that cause inconsistencies in data and graphics and believe we should tackle them on a fundamental level before we can REALLY benefit from all that BIM can offer. We need a ‘new class’ of cloud powered assistants in our BIM environments as the old approach of adding complication (most other add-ins) to solve complication isn’t working. I have also tired of “standards” discussions never materializing and have come to believe that we can do this in smarter ways than maintaining spreadsheets and documents.
LJ: What key problem does Guardian currently solve? PB:
Cluttered properties in projects!!
Without Guardian, anybody can do anything at any time in any Revit project anytime and, as a result, administrators are forced to react rather than anticipate the resulting damage. Without intense oversight, Revit projects can quickly become a quagmire of properties such as materials, patterns and parameters. This causes confusion and friction as projects progress and deliverables can be messy.
Revit offers little assistance as many of the property types cannot even be purged if they are unused. Worse yet, administrators have no way of knowing WHERE these properties are used so and if they did, the cleanup would take far too much time.
Guardian allows complete transparency into incoming properties including whether they are used or not used. It then allows properties to be mapped to existing properties or removed. These decisions can be saved as rules and enforced silently across an entire firm.
LJ: What is coming up on the Guardian feature roadmap?PB:
We have hit several releases already since launching late last summer and are only picking up the pace even more! We expect to add more ways that Guardian can be extended to existing projects and more flexibly across project teams and user roles.
Here are some new things in Guardian 1.4.0:
Ability to detect duplicate properties
New Suggestions Framework
User prompts when duplicates are made or modified
Below I have included some how-to guidance information in the following sections:
In the download package, you will get an MSI and current Release Notes:
Just double-click the MSI to install.
You can install for Current User or All Users:
And choose from supported Revit version:
License activation is achieved by entering your Company ID during installation:
When launching Revit, you can press ‘Always Load’ at the normal security prompt:
To manage your Revit content standards in Guardian, you use the ‘Admin Login’. Following this, you will see more features in the menu:
In Projects, you can define mapping files for each project, and you can create Project Templates:
The Mappings dialog provides the real ‘nuts and bolts’ of Guardian, you can individually configure constraints around the following items:
It basically works by taking some incoming data from whatever source, and mapping it to the ‘project template’ or standard Revit libraries that you have implemented in your firm.
There are some really interesting features in the ‘Company Settings’, and this is where it really starts to take control of the human element I mentioned earlier:
In ‘User Behaviours’ you can actually stop or restrain certain commands from executing. Evidently, Guardian makes a distinction between ‘normal users’ and admin-level users:
It will appear in your Add-Ins ribbon like this:
This is what happens when you load a new family:
And this is what happens if you select “Let me choose which properties to keep”:
As you can see, you then have the opportunity to enter the Mappings dialog.
“Suggestions” will dig deeper into the content and let you know if certain things are similar or identical (very cool, it feels a bit like AI):
We have come a long way at Virtual Built Technology through building our VirtualBuiltApp federated project-wide data platform in recent years, and Guardian is an excellent accompaniment to it. As a company-level control mechanism, it aims to prevent the problems that can be detected later through our analytical methods.
If you are in a situation where you would like to really improve the overall quality and consistency of the Revit modelling in your firm, I recommend that you check out Guardian.
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.
The Preview Image Generator (PIG) is a new Revit addin produced by Parley Burnett, a guy that has been in and around Revit and BIM for a long time.
Out-of-the-box Revit has been producing family preview images of varying degrees of quality for some time now. I think you would agree that a good preview image can assist in selecting the right family, right? Also, the preview image shows up with ‘vanilla’ Revit right in the Load Family dialog, so it can be immediately useful for your team – if the image is good. This app aims to automate that process and give you better preview images everytime.
Through this new free app, you can not only save your family with a better image in a single click, but control the appearance settings automatically by category every time. You can get the free version here: Preview Image Generator (P.I.G.) Free Version
There is also a paid version called PIG Batch that allows you to batch process your entire library with a single click and it runs automatically every time you save a family. Preview Image Generator (P.I.G.) Batch
Here is a link to download the current version of P.I.G. Batch. You will need a purchased license key to activate.
You can create some custom rules for how you want each category to look:
And you can batch process using those rules:
Feature Overview and Comparison:
With one click, P.I.G. Free will create a consistent & clear preview image for your open Revit family. This free version offers limited functionality compared to the more fully featured app. See below for a comparison.
Free Version Features:
Choose your own default appearance settings & Revit category specific settings.
Options to hide connectors, host elements, reference planes and more!
Your settings are automatically synchronized with your cloud account. Activate on up to two computers.
**All users at your company can be set up to use the same settings.
**Automatically regenerates the preview image every time families are saved!
Batch process new preview images for thousands of families at a time!
Upgrade files from previous versions of Revit in the process.
If you would like P.I.G. to silently run on every workstation at your firm, virtually eliminating the future need to monitor or batch through files, a site license is available. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Here are some of the changes in a recent update:
Your settings will now be stored in the cloud and appear on any machine you have activated with your Batch account.
We can group users together by ‘Company’. Users of the same company share the same settings automatically.
Added a new license type called ‘Desktop’. Desktop users can’t change company settings (only Batch users can). These users can run pig on individual families – either by clicking the button, or automatically when saving the family if that is enabled.
Improved the ‘Folder Picker’ dialog for choosing which folders of families to run P.I.G. Batch on.
You may also have heard about MoveBackup. This tool was created by Maxence Delannoy and has now been renamed to Wormhole for Revit. It comes as a 30 day trial and it can move your Revit backup files to a directory that you choose.
Massive free time saver for changing or swapping fonts in a Revit project!
Unfortunately, its not quite ‘everywhere’ – Generic Annotations need to be manually fixed. You can copy a text type to a Generic Annotation by first placing an instance of that text type on a Sheet in the Project.
RTV Xporter Pro is one of those addins that I can safely recommend to every Revit user. If you ever need to print more than one sheet, or export a model multiple times, or to multiple formats, this tool is going to save you time. In fact, I think a large percentage of Revit users probably already have it! So, what’s the latest?
As you probably realise, Collaboration for Revit (C4R), Autodesk’s ‘Revit Server in the Cloud’ solution, is gaining popularity globally. It is genuinely a good way to get a team of people in different places to work together in real-time on a Revit project… provided you have good internet that is! So, it is great to see that RTV have now supported batch exporting from C4R projects using the local desktop application. Nice work!
Another interesting feature is that you can now reference additional Revit projects to the current Document Issue / Transmittal record, which is pretty cool.
The latest build for Revit 2017 is 1.0.740.
Oh, and one final thought… if you haven’t tried RTV Xporter in a while (perhaps you recall the days of working with SQL Server and so on), I recommend you give the latest version a try. On almost every project I do, we do not need to use a SQL server because the addin just integrates so well with the information you already have in you Revit model.
How to Batch Upgrade Any Revit File Type
A while back, I posted about an admittedly circuitous method to upgrade Revit files for free using eTransmit.
However, this is a much quicker and easier way, and its pretty affordable too… using RTV Xporter Pro. It supports batch upgrading of every Revit file type: rvt, rte, rfa, rft
To use it, just click the File Upgrader button and fill out the dialog. Easy!
Here is the full list of the latest updates, from the newsletter:
We have been busy working hard to integrate Collaborate for Revit (C4R) with our RTV Xporter PRO App for Revit. It is our pleasure that we are now able to provide C4R access via the desktop application (only). At this time our Remote Processing (Server) doesn’t support C4R but we are working hard to get this functionality added as soon as possible.
The following is a list of new features, updates and fixes included in the above software updates.
1. Scanning for PDF printers will only be performed on Export start up, if no registry printer or xml printer list is empty;
2. Multi-line parameter used for the export filename, New Line replaced with a Space;
3. Separate group for Title block Revision schedules in Views list;
1. Fixed DWG layer mapping file selection dialog displaying twice and multiple mapping files added to drop-down list;
2. Fixed Remote GUI when the root shared folder is defined as the watch folder;
1. Checkbox option to Reset Adobe PDF print queue prior to export;
2. Delete button added to Export Folder and Export Filename template drop-down lists;
3. Issue, Reference Projects option now added. Users now have the option to reference additional Revit projects to the current Document Issue/Transmittal record. User can browse to select the project or used an existing (loaded) linked Revit project;
Note: Issue Reference Projects support linked models including C4R and Revit Server.
4. New registry key added to disable check for updates by the users (restricted to system administrators);
5. C4R Support added – limited to current model, not available with the Remote (Server) function;
This is a very useful addin coded by Matt Mason during a recent Hackathon. Basically, it lets you take a Snapshot of a Revit file at a point in time and save that info to a small database file. It is not saving pure geometry, but a lightweight set of all the useful information about the model, including parameters. Then, when you get a new file, you run the Compare function to compare that snapshot against the current model. Very cool.