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.

Navisworks 2012 Display Tips

New application releases sometimes change what we are used to seeing in our display windows.  Somewhere along the line we forgot that we changed what was originally the default, or something new in the software has been added, or maybe, we simply never used the feature before.  In Navisworks 2012, some new avatars have been added and the display, at least on all of our machines show the third-person avatar mode by default.  Certainly a little annoying if you do not use these much or at all.  Don’t forget about the Options dialog for we can turn this off as “our default” if we like.  Do so by opening the Options dialog from the Application drop-down menu.  Choose Viewpoint Defaults under Interface and select the Settings button under collision.  Here you can deselect Enable for Third Person so that he/she won’t appear when starting a new project.  Of course you can select which avatar to use when starting a project as well.


Another possible bother is the orbiting of your view.  If you’re like me – old school – I use the Shift+mouse wheel to orbit in my model views for all products.  When I do this in a fresh, new Navisworks project I get unwanted results.  Even though, again, there are Options dialog settings, I like to hit PgUp after loading the first file (Navisworks zoom extents) and then my orbit method works as desired.

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.