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How Ongoing Innovations Have Made Revit More Automated Than Ever

Amie Vaccaro

Today’s Revit is more automated than ever. In adding and refining features in every release over the past few years, the Revit product development team’s goal has been simple: “We’re always looking for opportunities to automate functionality and to reduce the effort that people have to go through to achieve better results,” says Autodesk senior product manager Sasha Crotty.

In general, the result of automation is reduced picks and clicks required by users to model in Revit. It’s all about achieving a more optimized experience for users. Along with “create” and “connect,” “optimize” is a core pillar driving the Revit product team development roadmap. The latest version, Revit 2020, demonstrates powerful advancements in each category.

Here, we take a look at automation features and enhancements in Revit that help teams improve productivity and optimize their deliverables.

Automated Paths of Travel

The Path of Travel tool automatically identifies the shortest path between two points, creates a Revit path element, and recognizes and incorporates obstacles such as chairs into calculations. The design tool helps users quickly and easily understand how occupants navigate a space. It can also help to identify whether a particular design is meeting building codes, Crotty says.

As you change the path of travel, Revit renders time and distance calculations automatically. This reveals useful insights that lead to smart space planning.

Increased Dynamo Capabilities

Revit 2020 includes the latest edition of Dynamo for Revit. Dynamo is a visual scripting tool that enables teams to automate their workflows by creating their own custom scripts.

“It opens up the power of development to people who are not developers,” says Crotty. “Because it’s visual scripting, they can accomplish a lot of things that would otherwise have been challenging.” Revit 2020 includes an updated Dynamo with more capability and a consistent install experience. The Dynamo Player extends the power of Dynamo by letting anyone easily run a script, even if they don’t know how to use Dynamo.

One of the features that have been updated for Dynamo is Steel Connections for Dynamo. This automatically identifies similar geometrical conditions for placing standard and custom connections, which streamlines the modeling of steel buildings.

Copy-and-paste Automation

Revit 2020 allows you to copy and paste legends automatically across sheets, a feature that many users requested. “Previously you had to recreate the legends from scratch because you couldn’t copy and paste them from one construction document to another,” Crotty says. “This feature essentially automates a lot of that documentation workload.”

Global Parameters

Global parameters have been in Revit since the 2017 release. Global parameters are a parameter you create inside a Project that can be used to assign or report a value across the entire project. Enhancements to the feature since then have let users embed design intent with projectwide parameters that work with radial and diameter dimensions and equality constraints.

Multistory Stair Tool

Added to Revit with the 2018 release, the multistory stair tool lets users quickly create and modify multistory buildings by connecting stairs to the levels in your project. You can create a multistory stair from a stair by selecting the building levels. The multistory stairs will automatically adjust if level heights change, which greatly reduces computational headaches as you test out model variations.

Improved OR in View Filters

Filters are a way to control what you can see in your view and also to color-code or customize the visualization. It’s important to make sure filters understand exactly what you want to see, so the more specific the rules, the better.

Improved OR in View Filters enables that with an optimized “or” filter rule option, for which any rule may be true, as opposed to “and,” which creates a view where all rules must be true. Previously, if you wanted to see tables of one size and chairs of another, you had to create separate filters for each. Now users can quickly and easily create one filter that specifies everything they want to see, exactly where it should be.

Change Service in One Click

When swapping out multiple pipe types—from rectangular to round, for example—you still need to maintain size restrictions as dictated by the model. That’s what the improvements to Change Service do for you. With just one click—versus multiple steps — you can maintain or retain duct shapes, and group filters can include couplings, adapters, and equipment.

Revit Automates Tasks So You Can Create Great Design

The list of ways Revit has made work more automated goes on—including using background processes to carry out tasks while you continue working to optimize the modeling process. Revit has delivered these automation updates over a number of releases in the past several years. This continuing effort aims to deliver consistent value to subscribers by reducing the number of picks, clicks, and other rote tasks. While today’s Revit doesn’t automate the entire design experience—that creative and strategic work is best left to AEC pros—it automates tedious tasks so customers can focus on what they do best.

After all, as Crotty says: “We’re making sure we deliver on quality so customers optimize their processes. It’s all about automation in the service of optimization.”

Don’t just take our word for it. Try Revit free for 30 days. Already running Revit? Make sure to update to the latest software version.

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Amie Vaccaro

Product marketing manager for Autodesk building design products

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  1. AvatarYarUnderoaker

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    Half of feature is not automation just regular enhancements with a lot of manual adjustments. Other is Dynamo scripts which is need to develop for self.

  2. Avatarlionel.kai@camara.us

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    Sorry, that first quote from Sasha Crotty had me rolling (“We’re always looking for opportunities to automate functionality and to reduce the effort that people have to go through…”), so I just had to reply…

    The Revit Ideas forum is FULL of small ideas that would save a few clicks here and there. For example, this one would save 3-13+ clicks for nearly EVERY Beam System we create:
    https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/revit-ideas/beam-system-quot-minimize-number-quot-layout-rule/idi-p/7415394
    (and save us from having to manually edit the Beam Systems every time support elements move).

    Copying Legends? That’s not a major new feature, but just a minor addition. We’ve been using an add-in for that for years. The only thing Autodesk did was (finally) make it a built-in feature. Bonus is that you can copy between projects now, but since we have our Legends in our project template anyway, that’s not as major as it would have been many years ago…

    Improved “OR” Filters? Yes, it’s nice that you tweaked it a little, but you haven’t yet applied it to all the other places it’s needed, and there are so many parameters that you CAN’T use in Filters that you STILL have to jump through hoops sometimes.

    Even more discouraging are all of the other areas that haven’t been touched in this release, such as Text and View Tabs…