Last year was a very big change for Revit. With the advent of the Ribbon centric interface, the Revit community was very polarized in their view towards this monumental change in GUI. A year later, we’ve seen the Ribbon become very much a part of the Revit experience, and after a bit of hesitance (or kicking and screaming), most users are faster than they ever were.
So what does the 2011 release hold in store for you? Well, you can relax and breathe a sigh of relief… There are no disruptive changes that you are going to have to get used to. From what I’ve seen as a member of the Revit Beta team, the developers have really focused on ‘fit and finish’ features for Revit Architecture 2011. This is a term Autodesk likes to use for changes that are refinements of existing tools that make them easier to use, more intuitive, and more functional. This new release is full of these types of improvements. They may not always make you say “Wow!”, but you’ll find yourself smiling and nodding a lot as you say “Now, that’s how that tool always should have worked!”
While by no means an exhaustive list of new features, here are a few of my favorites.
Revit now remembers edits to temporary dimension witness lines per session. For instance, if you click a window, the default dimension witness lines may connect to the center of the window. If you click the witness line glyph to set it to the edge of the window, this change used to be temporary. The next time you selected the door, it’s dimension goes back to the default. In 2011, this change stays! (Well, at least for the current session.)
If you’re like most Revit users, you found the text size for temporary dimensions to be very small. A few years back, we learned how to bump this up by adjusting the TempDimFontSizeInPoints setting in the Revit.ini file. Well, you’ll be happy to know that this is easily done in 2011 just by going into Options.
Select All Instances can now be set to just select all instances in the current view, instead of the default of the entire project (an often overlooked fact until a user has single handedly deleted all the walls in an entire project!) This little change should help BIM Managers the world over sleep a bit better at night!
Repeat Last Commands
Revit 2011 makes it easy to repeat the command that was last used, or select from a list of recently used
commands. For all of you AutoCAD expats, you’ll be thrilled to know that ‘Enter’ repeats the last command as well! There’s no stopping progress.
Modeless Element Properties
Finally, my favorite fit and finish feature: The Element Properties dialog is now modeless! What does this mean? Well, it greatly speeds up the process of making a change to a property and seeing the result. Currently, you have to close the dialog box to see the change. A modeless dialog box can be floating, always open, always ready for input and tweaking. As soon as you make a change to an element, you will see the model update. This is a huge timesaver! You’ll love it.
Have fun exploring the many other great features of Revit Architecture 2011. You’ll find some great improvements in massing, 3d modeling, panel rationalization, and text tools. Enjoy!