Four Ways IdeateApps Improves BIM Productivity Workflow With Revit



IdeateApps is the newest application by IdeateSoftware, known for their innovative Revit plugins for BIM and Revit Model data. Like Ideate’s other applications–Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, and Ideate Sticky–IdeateApps is designed to make the lives of Autodesk Revit users easier, but IdeateApps focuses on productivity more than anything else. How does it help? Let’s take a look.

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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.

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Exporting High Quality Views from Revit for Reports

Wanting to save a view as an image for reports?

While I typically use a premium screen capture and image annotation tool on a daily basis. I’ll suggest anyone to try this tip to take higher quality image shots within Revit as a Render image. It will store the image in the Revit Project Browser, after which the image view in Revit is exported to a standalone file for creating reports.

First select a view; be it plan, section, 3D or whichever you need. Set the view as needed to optimize how it is to be presented in the report. Shading and Sun settings can be set for best presentation. In my case, using a 3D view with a section box, I want to zoom to a portion of the model to illustrate a point in my report to the project’s stakeholders. From the image below, after I have spun the oriented the view as needed, I am ready to save the view as an Image.


Do a right-click on the view name in the project browser and right-click on the name to open the context based tools. Select the Save to Project as Image.

Context menu Save to Project as Image

This will then bring up a setting dialog box.

Create Image Output Settings

Just follow the setup as per the image above, giving consideration on how the SAVE Image to Project would need to be optimized for your report.

After the image is saved, look in the Project Browser for the saved image under the Rendering Category, be mindful custom browser organization might not display the Renders category.

Rendering image in Project Browser

Before beginning to export the freshly created view(s), save the project in order that the saved view be visible in the list of views to export. Go to the Revit Start Icon at upper left corner of the Revit session. Just be aware that there are many export options and it’s necessary to scroll down to near the bottom to find the Export as Image option.

Export as Image

Just note though that the Export Image dialog box does offer a way to directly export the current view as opposed to the steps we went through to create the Render views beforehand. The process I showed lets us set up several views to save to the Renders category and be exported in one step.

Export Image Settings

After exporting browse to the folder the Project is in and find the files that were created in the Export procedure.

rme_advanced_sample_project_DSM - Rendering - Image for Report

rme_advanced_sample_project_DSM - Rendering - Opposite view

The quality might be a little better than that of a screen grab. Try and share with your colleagues on the project teams.


I have to share this little gem.

We all know when placing a family component to the model that the spacebar option rotates the family along a 90 degree segments? Right?

Well try this option: When the non-hosted family must be rotated in respect to a previously placed line or reference plane of some unknown angle in the model. What most will do is place the family and then rotate it. A few more steps than this option presented.

Begin to place the component family and then hover the family over the angled reference (or arc), highlighting the reference (line, wall, etc). c. Click on the spacebar—the preview placements will flip between perpendicular or parallel to the reference object.

Rotating a Section Annotation

Snaps are great in Revit and assist us with aligning many objects, but sometimes get in the way or inadvertently cause us to make an error.  Let’s say for this example we have placed a Section Annotation (Building or Wall) and didn’t quite make it perpendicular to the wall we want to section.  If the view created is not normal to the object being cut, we cannot utilize our tools, such as dimensions, with it.

Non-aligned Section Annotation

One Works, One Doesn't

What do we usually do?  Delete and redraw.  Nothing wrong with that, but it is possible to rotate these objects and “align” them properly when the case calls for it.

Annotation End Points

Annotation End Points

The Section Annotation actually has a couple end points we can utilize, and it is good to note that the annotation can snap to Reference Planes and Structural Grids when first creating them.  I’ll describe the use of a reference plane and those end points to make the rotation dependable.

I use a reference plane because I can specify a snap override to make it perpendicular to a wall (SP shortcut).  I then can “trace” another reference plane over the section annotation by snapping to each of the endpoints found at the tail and head of the section.

Draw Ref Plane Over Annotation

I then move the section and ref plane together snapping nearest to the already created ref plane.

Move To Good Ref Plane

Once there and the two objects selected I can use the Rotate tool and definitely snap the rotation to the “good” ref plane, ensuring its alignment.

Rotate Annotation

It is possible to just use the Rotate tool on the Section Annotation itself and snap to one of the endpoints on the annotation.  You don’t really get a snap alignment with the annotation, but if you pick an arbitrary position near the annotation, you can perceive the automatic snapping perpendicular to the wall as you rotate.  I find that this doesn’t always happen though, based on what, I’m not exactly sure.  So, if I need to do this I prefer the ref planes method.  But at times in Revit, we just need to draw a line, or in this case maybe just delete and redraw the section.