Revit Switchback in Navisworks 2012

I wanted to create a written post for this topic since I had posted a video regarding the new Switchback functionality in the Revit products.  Here is the video link;  This is found on our 2012 Learning Videos page which can be accessed from the Media pull down on our website.

With the Revit 2012 products we now have a new add-in supporting workflows with Navisworks Manage.  Here, we see selections to create a Navisworks cache file (NWC) and the new setting of  Navisworks Switchback.

This tool functionality previously existed only with AutoCAD and Microstation-based products.  Switchback allows us to work side-by-side using Navisworks Manage and an authoring application like Revit or AutoCAD MEP, to open, navigate to a component in the model, make alterations, save a new export, and refresh the review model in Navisworks to update the review process.  This can happen from two places; a right-click selection menu from a model element, or using the Switchback button inside of the Clash Detective tool.

This process requires certain steps be followed:

  1. Both Navisworks and the authoring application be open.
  2. The Navisworks fileset created from the source file, i.e., nwc file, be open in Navisworks.  The project file is not required to be open in Revit or AutoCAD.
  3. The Switchback funtionality is enabled in the authoring application before performing the function, i.e., type NWLOAD on the AutoCAD command line or select the Navisworks Switchback button from the Add-Ins tab in Revit.

Also of importance is one more selection from the Options dialog inside Navisworks.  The refresh process will not work with this selection disabled, and you may find it is so in your default installation.  In the Navisworks Options dialog, select Performance, beneath Model.  Be sure to checkmark the box for “Close NWC/NWD files on load”.  This allows the authoring application to export a new file and overwrite the previous one, allowing the Refresh button to work in Navisworks.  If not, you will receive a message saying unable to write the file.

With many users taking advantage of Autodesk’s new Design Suite offerings, working side-by-side with multiple applications provides advantages to design and contruction entities to better insure designs are coordinated before and during construction processes.

Revit 2012 New Features part 1

Revit Architecture 2012 boxWell, one of our favorite times of the year is finally here… The Autodesk 2012 software lineup, including Revit Architecture 2012, Revit Structure 2012, and Revit MEP 2012, has hit the streets and we’re eager to help all of our  users get up to speed as quickly as possible on all the great new features and improvements. All of us here at CADsoft Consulting have some great educational events planned to teach these new features and get you productive in a hurry.

As with any release, there are usually a few big changes or new functionality, along with a lot of little tweaks and improvements that often go unnoticed. The fact that some things go unnoticed is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s just evidence that a tool now works the way you always wanted or expected it to. It may not get a lot of fanfare, but you may still find yourself smiling when you use it and think smugly to yourself, “Hey, Autodesk listened to me. That’s just what I asked for!”

Well with Revit 2012, I certainly found some of those features. Some of my specific wants have been met and some things I didn’t even know I wanted are now included and I can’t imagine going back to the old way. As usual, I’ve been part of the beta team, so I’ve been able to put Revit 2012 through its paces for a few months, and while there is always room to grow (and still some of those things I’ve wanted that haven’t been built yet), this release has a lot to offer.

Here are a few of my favorite Revit 2012 new features

In today’s post, I’ll focus on the topic of Collaboration, with more posts to follow throughout the week.

Enjoy! I think you’ll find some great new features of Revit 2012 that will make your day.

Revit 2012 Worksharing Enhancements

Revit Architecture 2012 Worksharing

The display in Revit has been modified to allow us to easily color code elements based on the Workset they belong to or the user they are editable by. This alone is an amazing timesaver that lets you see how your worksets are organized at a glance, as well as understanding who is working on what.

Best of all, however, is the addition of … drumroll… pop up Editing Requests!

Pop Up Editing Request Window

Revit 2012 worksharing editing request

At long last, we have the feature users have been begging for since worksets were introduced — a request that users will actually see! Now, when you need to work on an element that is owned by someone else, you can put in an Editing Request, as before, but now, on that user’s machine, in the lower right corner, they will get a message that pops up that allows them to accept the request. Brilliant! No more lonely nights spent pining away at your Revit system, hoping and praying that someone would grant your unnoticed editing request.

Thank you Autodesk!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on new tools for sustainable design.

Have fun with Revit 2012.

Autodesk Revit MEP 2012 New Features

I can count greater than three dozen enhancements in the 2012 release of Revit MEP, not beginning to count the platform-based enhancements for all three Revit products.  Here are just a few:


Sloped Piping

New tools assist in laying out pipe slopes with automatic calculation, read-out for invert elevations and on-screen tooltips.


Duct and Pipe Placeholders

Placeholder design has always been an early design stage recommendation, but at times can be difficult without the ability for system assignment and other engineering information.  With the new placeholder objects early stage layout can focus on design more than fitting choices and other modeling concerns.  Placeholders can be tagged and checked for interferences.  When ready, a tool to convert placeholders to more detailed objects is available.

Insulation and Lining for Ducts and Pipes

Easily and quickly add insulation and lining to entire runs and utilize interference checking with these elements.  Ducts will also adjust sizes when using the sizing tool of duct segments that include lining.  Many more features have been added or enhanced such as Revit Server for multi-site, multi-user collaboration, point cloud support for visualizing scans, systems and system browser improvements, parallel pipe and conduit runs, and much, much more.


We’ll be looking at more of the specifics as we get to explore them.


Please join us April 20th, for our Virtual Launch showing many of the Autodesk 2012 product releases.  Just click the link provided below.  Hope to see you there.


Navisworks Manage 2012 New Features

This year, I’ve seen the greatest number of additions and improvements across all of the AEC products compared to past releases.


Clash Detection Enhancements

The tool that may be valued the most in Navisworks Manage sees great improvement to support our project review cycle process.  No longer do we have to create a separate Excel spreadsheet and update it
manually to track each clash and record its responsible party.  We now have an effective and editable HTML report that can be loaded in Excel and shared with the team quickly.  Assignments can be made
immediately for each clash while performing the review to populate this spreadsheet report.


Improved Revit Interoperability

The Switchback function now operates with Revit products to allow a more immediate review cycle with in-process review model updates.  New construction modeling capability in the revit products will also
come across in Navisworks, as well as, properties of areas and volumes, and linked files.


New Appearance Profiler

This new tool allows custom overrides for color and transparency to better differentiate systems and components in your models.


Multisheet 2D DWF support and Project Browser

2D documentation can be loaded into a new project browser to aid easier navigation and wayfinding.


Navisworks Freedom Adds Measuring Tools

Are you having team members who don’t own Navisworks Manage participate by using Navisworks Freedom?  Freedom now adds the capability for dimensioning and gathering area calculations, not just model
navigation and review.


There will be more to come as we explore other new features and enhancements with this great review and management tool.


Please join us April 20th, for our Virtual Launch showing many of the Autodesk 2012 product releases.  Just click the link provided below.  Hope to see you there.


Don’t Take Away My Turntable – Navisworks 2011

Finally, the old interface is gone and we can now use the Ribbon in Navisworks!  I’m sure there are some of you who can’t stand the Ribbon, but I haven’t met anyone, yet, who does not welcome the face lift of Navisworks 2011 with open arms.  It takes some getting used to, but once you’ve been able to find all your favorite tools in their new home you can see how much easier it is to get to them.  One tool I use religiously is the Turntable tool.  For 2011 they put all of the navigation tools in a transparent bar on the right of the screen, but when I looked for the Turntable, I couldn’t find it, it’s not there.  It’s not even in the Ribbon.  I started to think they got rid of the tool altogether.  Then I found the answer I was looking for.  The Turntable functionality is disabled by default in 2011, or rather replaced with the AutoCAD-like Constrained Orbit.  To enable Turntable:

  1. Click the Application Button (Big ‘N’) > Options
  2. In the Options Editor dialog box expand Interface and click Navigation Bar
  3. In the Navigation Bar settings check the box next to “Use classic Constrained Orbit (Turntable)”

Now when you use the Constrained Orbit tool it will act like the Turntable.

Bob Eardley
Applications Engineer
CADsoft Consulting
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