Starting at this tweet, Konrad Sobon triggered quite a discussion around Revit addins and how to manage users, deploy addins, and track their usage. He has worked on coding a tool called Mission Control for HOK that has a MongoDB backend and evidently harvests data from Revit sessions across the company. This is just one of many tools we are seeing recently related to project data, project intelligence, and similar analytics.

Based on this little exchange with @gschleusner , @arch_laboratory is hard at work making sure we will all have access to this soon 🙂

Back in March 2015, I posted a script that I had created to disable all Revit addins. That was put together in Powershell and was a pretty severe and somewhat ugly method to use. Happily, earlier this year Robert Manna developed and posted about a more refined tool that Stantec calls the Add-in Manager.

It requires no installation and allows you to selectively switch Revit addins on and off prior to launching Revit. Obviously, this is easier than manually renaming .addin files, and quicker than uninstalling / re-installing addins all the time 🙂

Interestingly, the Bitbucket site is under BoostYourBIM, so it looks like Harry Mattison (probably the best Revit API coder in the world) was involved in building this helpful little tool.

Here are the steps to install (copied from the original post):

  1. Download the tool from Bitbucket here.
  2. Find where you downloaded the zip file and unzip it.
  3. When unzipped, there will be a BIN folder; browse into the BIN folder then the Debug sub-folder.
  4. Run the tool by double-clicking on the exe file.
  5. In the window that opens, pick your version of Revit (or go with all if you like).
  6. The data grid will update to display all of the machine wide and the logged in user specific add-ins installed. You can pick and choose, invert, select all, then simply click on the “Enable/Disable” button to either enable or disable the selected add-ins.
  7. Once you’ve made your choices, start Revit in the normal manner. Simple and easy.

 Thanks for sharing Robert!

When reviewing any Revit addin suite, I’m often interested in the unique tools that you just can’t get anywhere else. CGS Revit Tools has quite a few of these… and in this post I will describe just a couple of examples.

Also, in some very good news for What Revit Wants readers, for three months CGS are offering an exclusive, limited-time, 30% off of retail discount (yes!) offer if you email and specifically mention What Revit Wants. You can also just click on the CGS banner in the left sidebar. I think you will find that this is a very comprehensive suite, and with this generous discount it is very good value indeed.

Now, on with the review..

CGS Revit Tools comes with a built in spreadsheet editor called BIM Query. So, unlike some other Revit addins, you don’t actually need to open Excel and deal with input/output files – you can modify the data directly in a special editing canvas and then ‘Apply’ it directly to your model. It is quite fast at extracting the data to the spreadsheet (depending on size of model and number of categories selected).

Resize Section Box is a very useful addition to the suite, as it allows you to quickly match a Section Box to a Room, Space or View. This is a pretty powerful and unique implementation, as other Section box tools often only deal with model elements:

The BIM Manager panel provides a very comprehensive set of cleanup tools, very useful for detailed model review and audit:

There is also a tabular Type Editor, which allows quick and easy navigation, duplication and modification of family type information:

There are various tools provided to easily align text and labels. Here is a quick demo:

The Legend by Category tool helps automate the creation of Legends for an entire category at once!

And CGS Revit Tools offers a lot more, including:

  • ability to create finish floors based on rooms
  • automate assembly view creation
  • visibility automation / toggle switches
  • a ‘Zoom To…’ tool
  • Sheet view automation
  • Create views for rooms automatically
  • Tool to give your elevations that nice ‘depth’ effect

Additionally, a Content Admin Kit is included for free:

Among other things, this allows you to easily create a calculated value and then Execute to update that formula or relationship as needed. The Update Category tool will update a selected Category for a given folder to the current Revit version in a batch process.

As you can see, this suite covers a lot of ground and can save you time by automating repetitive tasks. Quick cost analysis: if it saves you 6min / day, that is one hour per fortnight, saving you almost 25 hours per working year. Let’s say you make about $25 / hr… The suite will have paid for itself at least 4 times over in the first year alone. So, yeah, it might be worth a look 🙂

Reviewer’s Note: I tested version 2015.2.250.0

Special pricing* (if you email in the next three months and specifically mention What Revit Wants, you can take an additional 5% off the already discounted web prices below, meaning the total discount is 30% off retail):

# of Licenses
 Current Web Pricing
What Revit Wants discounted price

*Note: For pricing in Australia and New Zealand, please contact Cadgroup.

Check out this blog for some real-world applications and workflows for using this suite:

Help can be viewed online at this link.

Some related screenshots: 

You can use the “Require” option. Any item that is set to “Required” will show as red, while normal unrequired items will remain black. This allows you to quickly, visually review two sets of models for differences, without having to check the Properties – Source File Name constantly:

Obviously, the Required function isn’t really meant for this – Navisworks will try to always keep those items drawn in the scene, so keep that in mind if you are having performance problems after making many items Required.

Also, don’t forget about Properties+… I have also shared my JSON property set for this Navisworks addin over here. You can put it into your UsersUsername folder to get started quickly:

This great tip comes via Kate Buckle, one of my colleagues here on the nRAH. Basically, when using the Properties pane in Navisworks, you often have to switch between many Tabs to find the Property that you want to view. This addin (or app) allows you to create a custom Properties view that can be docked and used instead of the built-in Navisworks properties pane.

Once installed, you can copy values, and even convert straight to a Search Set via the Find Items option:

Download at:
Properties+ | Autodesk Navisworks | Autodesk Exchange Apps

Help at:
Properties+ | Autodesk Navisworks | Autodesk Exchange Apps

Screencast at:

While you are at it, get the Navisworks App Manager, so you can easily check for updates to Navisworks plugins:

And for historical purposes, there are only 10 apps currently on the Navisworks App store – this is certain to change!