Revit Tip – Back to basics, changing the sketch colour

Sometimes it’s a good thing to rewind back to basics and look at some of the things that really matter when using Revit on a day to day basis. Obviously, the interface and colours that are used and presented can make a huge difference. Below you can see the Revit 2020 Options dialog. Here you will probably notice the recent additions of ‘calculating’ and ‘Rebar Editing’.

Revit 2020 Options Dialog

The ‘calculating’ colour is used when working with structural connections, especially when propagate connection is used. Revit will background process the connections and display the elements with, by default, Cyan.

The Rebar Editing colour is used when editing rebar constraints, see my previous post for details on this new feature!

Anyway, back to the basics. When sketching elements such as floors or perhaps editing wall profiles we are used to seeing magenta lines as shown in the image below.

Revit Floor Sketch

You can change this default by editing the line styles. To do this select the Manage ribbon, click Additional Settings and then Line Styles as shown in the image below.

Revit Line Styles

You are then presented with the Line Styles dialog. Here you can change the Sketch colour to anything you like.

Edit Line Styles - Revit

In the example below I have changed the Sketch line style to green.

Revit Floor Sketch - Green

This can obviously be quite useful if you have colour blindness with certain colours or are working with different background colours.

Hope this helps,


Tutorial – The Excitech Toolkit and Reinforcement

I have just created a quick video to showcase some of our Excitech Toolkit tools that could make you more productive when creating and detailing reinforcement in Autodesk Revit. These tools are free to all of our customers

For more information take a look at the following link.



Tutorial – Piling with Revit 2019, Dynamo and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2019

In this tutorial we will look at a simple method to generate piling from a finished ground level to a rock stratum from borehole data. Most of you will now have access to the Autodesk AEC collection but, I often find that people tend to use just one or two tools from this collection which doesn’t return value or efficiency. In this workflow we will utilise Revit 2019, Civil 3D 2019 and Dynamo.

Revit and Civil3D Piling workflow

This workflow can also be achieved using Dynamo and Revit to find the intersections between the piling and the surfaces, but this can take quite a while to execute on large datasets, is computationally expensive and will invariably crash the machine.

Piling to Rock

So, presented below is another option if you want to move into the use of Civil 3D. We will start in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2019. In Civil 3D you can either create the surfaces from points or from an existing set of contours a little like the workflow in Revit. We then place the pile locations as AutoCAD points and convert these points into Civil 3D points. The Civil 3D points can then obtain levels from surfaces. The group of points are then exported as a text file.

Export Points

The next stage is to use Dynamo to organise and prepare these points for use in Revit. The Dynamo script will first open the text file and create an ordered list from the data.

Dynamo Section 1

Once this list is created, we then get the Project Base Point from Revit. The PBP is set to the local setting out point. This is then used to create the local coordinates that Revit will need to set out the piles.

Dynamo Section 2

Because the top and bottom points are in the same list, we can use dynamo to sort the points on the X coordinates (the X and Y value will be the same for the top and bottom point). This section of the script separates the Eastings, Northings and Levels and transforms the coordinates to local grid suitable for Revit.

Dynamo Section 3

The last part then creates the Revit elements and sets the depth parameter to send the piles to the rock level.

Dynamo Section 4

Here is the final layout in Revit.

Revit Piling Layout

Obviously, we can directly use the coordinates to create a piling schedule and use the point numbers to number each pile.

Hope that has been useful,

Lawrence H


Tutorial – Transferring Pile caps from Revit to Robot using Dynamo

Many of you may already know that if you would like to design a pile cap for punching shear with Robot you need to manually model the pile cap as a panel and then manually set up all the piles and the footprint of the column. This can be a real pain when the geometry changes!

Pile Cap Punching Shear Robot A better approach is to unleash the power of Dynamo to help model the analytical panels and nodes that can be used by Robot Structural Analysis. You will first need to make sure that the package ‘Structural Analysis for Dynamo’ has been installed.

Structural Analysis for Dynamo Package

You will then see a range of nodes that allow you to take Revit geometry into Dynamo and then create Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis elements. The main idea behind the process is to take the top surfaces of the pile caps and then build panels from these in Robot. We then take the footprint of the column and the pile diameters and model these as panel openings. In the example I have used you can see the Revit model and the panels and nodes that are created in Robot.

revit robot pile Caps

If there is enough interest I may create a full tutorial video for this process but if you can’t wait to test this out then you can download a large image of the Dynamo graph from here:

Dynamo Graph as Image