Archive for the ‘How To’s’ Category


Shared Parameter – Aligning Older and Newer Content

June 14, 2014

Ever get that stubborn shared parameter that seems to have a dual personality. This is especially true if you’ve inadvertently used a shared parameter in some families, deleted it from your shared parameter list and then started using it again. It’s also common when you get a file with a shared parameter name that is the same as one you are already using. A common occurrence with manufacturer’s content or consultants content. Consequently you will probably have to reconfigure any incoming content parameters to your shared parameters to get your schedules to read them.

The problem is that Revit assigns the parameter a unique GUID (Global Unique ID?). So your schedule column is looking to match the GUID assignment it has with the various families you are bringing in, not the parameter name.

I believe the default shared parameter file is located at:
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2014\IFC Shared Parameters.txt

You can read this txt file by just double clicking on it and MS-Notepad should open it. You’ll notice the second line “# Do not edit manually” Good advice if you don’t know what you’re doing. For some of us this is like throwing down the gauntlet of a challenge. A challenge I was willing to take and was successful enough to write this post about.

I had a lot of complex content I didn’t want to reconstruct just for a single parameter so I wanted the version of the parameter that was in my shared parameter file to align with my older content’s GUID of the same parameter. The following procedure assumes you haven’t created a lot of content with the parameter that is currently in your shared parameter file. If you have then you will have to go back and delete this parameter and add the new version to that content.

> So let’s start with the schedule and use the GUID it is looking for as the baseline value we want.

> Now we need to find a family that has the parameter that is working in this specific parameter column of your schedule. That will assure us that the family has the corresponding GUID that the schedule is looking for.

> Once you find one, open the family and export the shared parameter to your share parameter file. Place it in the ‘Exported Parameters’ folder. If you need help on exporting a file try this,

> Now open the .txt file for the Exported Parameters folder and scroll down till you find the parameter name you just exported. To the left will be the good GUID you want.

> Now open the .txt file where you were originally pulling the shared parameter of the same name. Scroll down till you find the parameter and you should see that the GUID is different.

> Select copy the GUID from your shared parameter folder for this parameter and paste it into a Word document just in case you need to back out of this procedure. This way you can return the .txt file to its original value if necessary.

> Select copy the GUID from the ‘Exported Parameters’ folder and overwrite the GUID in the shared parameter folder. Save the .txt file.

This shared parameter will now be aligned to content the schedule could not read and you can use the new version of this shared parameter in your new content by deleting the parameter and adding the new version of the shared parameter.

In this image you can see the ‘Exported Parameters’ file has the older GUID for the ‘A’ parameter and the ‘Equipment Properties’ and another family which I exported its parameter of the same name to ‘General’ are using the newer version of the GUID for ‘A’. I over wrote the ‘Equipment Properties’ GUID with the ‘Exported Parameters’ GUID to align my content and schedule.


I typically keep my shared parameters in a folder with my Revit library content so if you are doing the same then the path I gave you earlier in this post will not be applicable. Just go to that location you are currently using for your shared parameters instead.

Hope this helps.


Globally Hide Specific Levels w/ Referencing Spot Elevations

May 5, 2013

The Need: 

When working on a large project I needed to create a level that allowed me to set a base level of 0’-0” for a stair tower that did not share the same level as the ground floor of the building.  I was then going to provide spot elevations from this 0-0 reference for each landing and level as a means to providing fabrication reference points for the overall 6 story stair assembly.

The Problem:

In a drawing set which contained 100’s of drawings that would inherit the new level (that no one wanted to see) let alone have to hide in every drawing where it appeared, I needed a way to control a single level’s visibility throughout the project.  In my case I had two separate stair towers so I needed to hide two independent levels.  I needed these levels to give my spot elevations for the towers a base reference.

The Caveat:

You only get to utilize this solution if you have created Worksets for a Central project file.  For those one man firms not using a central file approach it’s probably not such a big deal to hide the level in the few drawings where they will appear.

The Solution:


  1. Go to the Collaborate Tab and select Worksets to the far left to enable worksharing.
  2. At the Worksets Control Window create a new Workset, mine was named Hidden Levels.  It’s important to uncheck the “Visible in All Views” box where you enter the new Workset’s name.
  3. At the prompt to make the Workset Active select “No”



  1. It’s important to use the spot elevation type that is using a “relative” reference.
  2. Spot elevations are under the “Annotate” Tab
  3. Once you select the spot elevation make sure you are using the Target (Relative) type which shows up in the properties dialog at the top. If not selected go to the drop down arrow to the right and select it from the drop down list.
  4. Place the spot elevations as desired.  The spot elevations will reference to the “Current Level” by default.
  5. Select the spot elevation you want to reference to the   level you are going to hide.  In this case it will be the “stair base elev ref.” then go to the “Relative Base” drop down shown in the image below.  Note: I have spot elevations referenced to Level 1 and the Stair Base Elev. Ref. as well in the plan level 1 view.
  6. Revit-Relative Spot Elev
  7. You can hide the level at any time and without affecting the ability to select the hidden level in the Relative Base drop down.


  1. You need to assign the level to the “Hidden Levels” workset you’ve already created above. Select the level to be hidden and in the Properties dialog set the workset to “Hidden Levels”
  2. Revit-Hide Level Step 1
  3.  Now in the visibility graphics control interface (Key stroke “vg”) go to the Worksets tab and at the far right drop down for the “Hidden Levels” select hide.  As shown in the image below the level disappears globally throughout the project but the spot elevations retain their reference to the hidden level.
  4. Revit-Hide Level Step 2

Now all those team members won’t be screaming at you when you add that extra level.



AutoCAD in Revit – A Bizarre Linked File Approach

March 5, 2013

Sam Swegle and I recently worked through a problem he was having with linking an AutoCAD file into his Revit Project.  He specifically wanted to link the file rather than import it since the file was still being updated by the mechanical engineer.

The problem he was having was that the HVAC components needed to be located so that they appeared to be partially concealed by a lower ceiling as viewed in his (RCP-reflected ceiling plan) with a portion of the HVAC system being exposed and fully visible where there was no ceiling.

Our initial solution was to link the AutoCAD file into a separate Revit file that would then be linked into his active project.  We opened both the active project and the empty Revit file that would receive the AutoCAD file in the same instance of Revit and copied the ceiling and then pasted it into the empty file to get a registration component to which the AutoCAD file could be aligned to.  Once the AutoCAD file was linked in and registered we applied a masked region where the ceiling was and deleted the ceiling.

The hope was that the masked region would block out that portion of the ACAD file we didn’t want to see, leaving only the visible portion of the HVAC and the ceiling that was present in our active project file.

The results were that the masked region effectively covered our ceiling in the active project.  Not what we wanted.

Now I’ve done some counterintuitive things in Revit before with mixed results and thought I would test an off the wall approach.  I had Sam override the visibility setting for the masked region and make it transparent, in the linked file, and then update the link.  For some baffling reason the ceiling could now be seen and the ACAD file was properly masked where the ceiling was.

The only thing I can figure is that the override to transparency was carried through to the active project revealing the ceiling but the masked region was still seen as a masking element as it related to the ACAD file.

Go Figure.
Still Scratching my Head on This One


Using Dunn Edwards Colors in your Revit Project

March 6, 2012

Update 08-17-13:

I recorded a How To on getting Dunn Edwards paint colors into your Revit project materials browser, which is located on the web site.   Sam at D.E. sent me the spreadsheet which has the RGB values, which is also available.  There are two w-clips on this page.  The first shows how to create the materials in Revit. The other w-clip has two parts: one accessing the Excel spreadsheet, which is available through the Arch-Intel Dropbox. and the second on how to create a new Dunn Edwards paint materials directory in Revit with an adsklib file I’ve created and is also available through the Dropbox. ).

Happy Painting

Update 03-06-12: Other Paint Manufacturer’s RGB Listings

Sherwin Williams:


Update 03-07-12:
Luke Johnson over at the “What Revit Wants” Blog (link in our side bar) suggested an alternative to Photoshop. which is a free program that should give you similar capabilities to Photoshop.  You can find out more by checking out Luke’s blog at :

Much Thanks Luke!! (CK)……………………………………

I’ve also used Artweaver which is available at:
Make sure you download the free version.  (CK)


RCP Info in your Plan Views

October 28, 2011

How do I get the reflected ceiling plan to show up on my floor plan?

Patrick over at CADSoft did the heavy lifting on this tutorial so I’m going to differ to him and point you to his Blog Post at CADSoft.

Thanks Patrick


Symbolic Lines in Nested Families

October 27, 2011

I ran into an interesting glitch in Revit 2011 while I was creating a nested family.  The primary family was categorized as Specialty Equipment which was then nested into a Specialty Equipment Wall based family.  This piece of equipment typically is mounted above the plan cut  elevation so I wanted some symbolic lines to represent the family as hidden above.

For some reason none of the symbolic lines would show up in my project, so after some head scratching I decided to throw in some model lines.  All of a sudden I could see both model and symbolic lines.  I then took out the model lines and all the symbolic lines disappeared, go figure.  Consequently I had to leave a very small model line discretely hidden in the family to get my symbolics to activate.

Also if you are interested in how to develop a nested family, Patrick at CADsoft posted a nice how to at this link.



3D PDF’s from Revit?

September 27, 2011

One of our Project Architects waved an RFP in front of me today and asked can we do this?  He pointed to the highlighted verbage which read deliver interactive 3D PDF’s.  I said of course as I quickly did a web search to back up my hasty response.  Well the consensus out there seem to also be yes.

I’ve included some of the links I discovered for your reference.  I’ll test the freebie method tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

A special thanks goes out to Luke Johnson at “What Revit Wants” who posted the most informative links / info.


9-27-2011 Update

Thanks Kirk for the additional link, which you will find in the comment for this topic.

Here are the results of the Revit-2-Bentley-2-PDF conversion process. The following image shows the final pdf on the left and the original Open GL Revit 3D view in Revit that was screen captured.  The Bentley capture process takes about 1-2 minutes.  Aspects of color, shadows and ambient occlusion are not captured.  Only basic geometry.  Visually the results are disappointing. It’s a time consuming process to download and install the Bentley products.

Double Click Image to Enlarge

Adobe Acrobat Pro as it’s now called (not Acrobat Extended 9 or 10) may give better results but our version of Pro doesn’t have the 3d Capture attribute so I’m unable to check the quality. We did find out that the upgrade path is around $200.

Scott Davis over on the AUGI forum (via the Link Kirk provided in the comment) recommended the export to DWFx in Revit.  The resuts were much better, see below.  If you have Design Review, double clicking the resulting DWFx file you create from your 3D view will prompt Design Review to open (shown in the image to the right).  But you can force the file to open in IE by right clicking on the file and selecting “Open With” and selecting IE which is shown in the image on the left.  The familar navigation cube works in IE which is nice.

Export to DWFx has my vote right now.

I need to go and uninstall the Bentley products, maybe the Corp should do the same 😉



Revit Hatch Patterns

September 24, 2011

This seems to be a hot topic as the majority of the hits on this blog regularly access the one post we have on hatch patterns that Kirk posted in 2010.

(update 08-17-13)

“Revit Masters,

Below is a nice hatch creation tool for Revit that I was able to use to accurately draw an abnormal brick pattern.

Download the 3 files and place in your C:/ProgramData/Autodesk/Revit/Addins folder and it’ll show up in your Addins ribbon.
Follow the instructions below and its pretty self explanatory. ” Tim K.

Much Thanks to Tim Kauffman (Architect at GLHN) for providing the link to this handy tool.

(end update)

Here’s a methodolgy descriptive I posted back in 2008 on AUGI that involves creating a ceiling demolition pattern.

The text file that needs to be edited to receive the code below is found at:
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2011\Data

It has a “PAT” icon and is titled “revit” and is a “DWG TrueView Hatch Pattern Definition” file type.

In explorer go to the file but don’t’ open it. You need to change it’s properties to turn off the ‘read only’ protection by right clicking on the ‘revit’ file, go to properties, and uncheck ‘ read only’

Then open the file and paste the following code into it. I revised the initial name to get it to order itself next to the ceiling patterns and added the 24 x 48 Tiles text to match the other entries. Not sure if it was necessary but I wanted to cover all the bases just to be sure. So the text reads as follows:

*Ceiling-Demo 24×48, 24 x 48 Tiles
0, 0, 0, 0, 24, 2, -2
90, 0, 0, 0, 24, 2, -2

Save out this file once you are done.  I save my patterns to a Master Library File under a folder structure called Support>Patterns this creates a location where all updates are located and prevents the updates from being associated with a particular Revit install, which may get removed or you may make updates to later Revit version pat files and wind up having your patterns spread across various version installs.

Now open Revit. You will need to create a new material “Ceiling Demo 24 x 48” and then edit its surface pattern.

1.  Select the model component in the RCP, in this case it would be a ceiling.

2.  Then in the properties dialog select “Edit Type” then for the row entitled “Finish”

3.  Under the material column select that cell and you’ll see a drop down button appear to the right.

4.  Select it to open the materials dialog.

5.  Then go to the material entitled “Finishes-Interior-Acoustic Ceiling 24×48”

6.  Select duplicate in the lower left corner and amend the offered title to add “Demolished” (note 48 changes to 49)

7.  At the Surface Pattern  to the right select the drop down button to the right.

8.  The “Fill Patterns” interface should then appear.

9.  Select “new” then ‘custom’ then ‘import’ then import the file at this path
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2011\Data
(Note this will change if you relocated the file to a master library or as you receive Revit upgrades Revit will want to point to the PAT file of the latest version you are using.)

You will then have a number of patterns to select from, one of which will contain the new demolished ceiling pattern.

Select it and you are done.

There is a descriptive at the beginning of the PAT file which tells you how each of your numerical inputs in the pattern code influence the pattern.

If you are into coding you’ll feel right at home here.  Not a place I like to go though.


SARUG Similat Link (Revit Addon)
SARUG Similar Link 001
SARUG Similar Link 002


Blog Inquiry – Referencing Details With — Linked Buildings

September 14, 2011

We had an inquiry from Glenn as follows:

“Message: When working on a project that has multiple buildings on one site (each building is its own file), how do you reference details to each building if you have standard details that each building will reference? Do you have to use symbols and “draft” the detail call outs?”

I would create the details in the site project or import them into the site project from my library where I have various master detail .rvt files.

Then create the desired section cut or area call out via the View Tab.   

 Click on Image to Enhance Resolution

After selecting the task note the Options bar gives you a check box for “Reference Other View” Once you check this box you’ll note a drop down to the right which will let you access all your drafting views as well as some other view references.  Once you select the appropriate detail the call out will make the appropriate associative link to the detail # and sheet # where it’s placed.


If you need to build the details in the specific building project file because of unique geometry, go ahead and construct it there.  You can then import the detail into the site project and follow the procedure above to reference it.

To import the detail from the building project file (while in your Site Project file) just go to the Insert tab then select “Insert from File” and at the drop down “Insert Views from File”  this will open a browser window.  Navigate to the building project file or your master detail .rvt file, wherever the detail(s) reside that you want to import.

Once you open the .rvt file you’ll get a detail selection list as follows,  Immediately check the “Check None” box to avoid getting the initial checked item.  Then navigate to the details you want and check them all.  You’ll notice each detail becomes visible to the right as you click on it to highlight it. 

That’s it.  The details will populate into your Site Project file and you can then reference them.
Hope that answers your question Glenn.



Interrupting a Wall Sweep

September 2, 2011

Ever wanted a wall sweep to break to let another wall pattern to continue through?  My first thought was to select the wall sweep and use the split tool.  The problem with that approach was that it split the wall not the sweep and caused the wall pattern to break.  While this may be the intuitive approach you may remember a previous post where I indicated Revit was anything but intuitive.  So here’s the non-intuitive long way around this procedure.

Once you’ve placed your sweep, which runs the entire length of the wall, select the sweep and you will see the blue drag points.  Adjust the sweep to the desired length.

Now you have to copy the sweep.  Select the sweep and depress/hold the CTRL key then drag the new sweep.  You’ll notice that Revit wants to place the new sweep above or below the old one and the sweep has to be within the same wall plane.

Next you will use the blue drag dots to adjust the sweep over the adjacent opening.  Notice that when you get a dot over a vertical plane the plane highlights indicating your relative position in the 3D view.

Now look at your properties dialog for the new sweep.  In my case my sweeps were set to a specific level I had created in my project which resulted in a 0′-0″ level reference.  The image below shows the sweep is 1′-11″ and some above that level.

By typing the 0′-0″ height into this field I can drive the new sweep into perfect position.

Beware the day Revit becomes SELF AWARE!

(Still waiting to become self aware)