Using Revit in Viewer Mode as a Plotting Station


If you don’t know what this is you ain’t old enough

A question came up about the need for a self-standing Revit 2016 plotting station to generate PDFs. A firm did not want to tie up a standalone or network license when running off a batch of plots. I initially latched on the prospect of using the Autodesk’s Batch Plotting App, but realized right away its major limitations was that it was not a non-licensed self-standing product and worse did not print to PDF.

After a test, I concluded one possible solution for a plotting station that would not consume a license or require activation and keep production staff working would be to install a 30 day trail with the proper product key for your suite. After a 30 trail the seat will time out and using viewer mode will allow Revit to use plotting functionality. Since every install of Revit includes a Revit Viewer, any machine would give the production team the option to just view and plot the model without consuming a network license.

There are couple caveats to be aware of with this process.

  1. Every install of Revit has a Viewer mode launcher. Check in the Windows Application under Autodesk>Revit. On a non-Revit seat it’s possible to install a Revit seat with viewer mode setup that launches in a non-licensed viewer mode. See this link Installing Revit in Viewer mode. Installing “Free” Revit Viewer on any system.
  2. Printing to PDF is possible in viewer mode, but only if no editing of the project file has been performed prior to starting the plot.  In the event that a Revit project was edited and an attempt to plot after, a File Not Printed dialog will pop up and the printing/exporting capability of the Revit Viewer will not be available any longer.
  3. Setting up Plotting is best done from an activated licensed seat so that plot configurations are saved for subsequent plots on Revit in viewer mode.
  4. The hardware specifications of the printer system must match the rest of the production machines in the office to insure the printing process will work successfully.
  5. I’ll not recommend using the server to run plots from so not to tie up network or server hardware resources in a worksharing environment.

Attempt to keep project team workstation specifications equivalent to the rest of the production team. Per the Autodesk Revit Model Performance Note  page 31 Section on Worksharing; a significantly lower spec’d system used by any single team member can reduce overall project performance.