Finally, plan and profile sheets that update after design changes

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD


Plan production tools in Civil 3D are great for creating plan and profile sheets, but what about when the inevitable design changes come and you need to update your sheets? You either update them manually or recreate all new sheets. With CTC Software’s Sheet Generator, you can create plan and profile sheets that update after designs change, including refreshing of viewports, north arrows, matchlines, sheet names and numbers, sheet set data, and more. Sheet Generator provides better control on Profile Views, more flexible sheet management workflows, and easily dovetails with your company standards.

For more click here

Create custom legends and QTO with Data Wizard

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD


Tabling, legend creation and QTO workflows leave a lot to be desired in Civil 3D, forcing to use many different subpar tools, or worse, performing the work manually. With Data Wizard you can scan any number of drawings for AutoCAD and Civil 3D objects to generate legends, tables, QTOs, and more, all to company standards, and all automatically. When drawings change, refresh tables to automatically incorporate updates. Save out templates for quick recreation of custom tables and legends.


For more click here

BING Images Won’t Appear

By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD


Have you ever turned on background BING imagery inside AutoCAD products only to find they don’t appear?  There could be a few reasons for this:

  • No Geolocation or coordinate system is set.
  • You’re not logged in with your Autodesk account.
  • You’re zoomed into an area compatible with the geolocation you’ve chose.

These two are the pre-requisites for using images from Bing, but there is one more which has many of my customers stumped.  Have you ever seen this message?  You almost certainly have.

If you choose Yes, then you will see your images.  If you choose No, you won’t.  If you check that little button on the bottom left, you’ll never see this message again.  Good, right?  Well, if you chose Yes, then yes.  If you chose No, well…you’ll never receive this message again and you’ll never see images!

There is a saviour, however.  There are other message like this in AutoCAD.  Toggles that prevent that box from appearing in the future.  These are called “Hidden Messages” and they can be turned back on by opening AutoCAD’s Options dialog box [OPTIONS].  Then opening the hidden message settings in the System tab.


I hope you can use this to avoid any unnecessary frustration in your day.

Keeping Your Revit Model Healthy by Utilizing CTC Express Tools

By Mughees Altaf , Account Manager — AEC Productivity Tools at SolidCAD


Keeping Your Revit Model Healthy by Utilizing CTC Express Tools

Many firms struggle to fully keep their Revit models healthy. There are manual, and tedious workflows that can be error prone.

Do you want to do a thorough health check of your model prior to sending it out? Exhausting time checking to ensure information is correct, accurate and consistent across the project team, and projects can be tedious. Let’s look at a few tools from CTC Software that can help you make this process quicker and more effective project to project.


  1. BIM Manager Suite – Dimension Checker, Project Cleaner*, Type Swapper, Shared Parameter Manager, Family Processor, Import Link Manager
  2. BIM Batch Suite – Family Loader*, Family Exporter*, Plotter & Exporter
  3. BIM Project Suite – Model Compare, Spreadsheet Link

Problems We Face

  1. We need to have, and should have standards
  2. Standards can be hard to maintain
  3. Standards can be cumbersome and tedious
  4. Consistency can be hard to track manually

Workflow Process with 3 CTC Tools

Shared Parameter Manager – Much easier way to manage your shares parameters compared to the out of the box method. Browse your master shared parameters file and compare to a source file. Filter differences between the master and source file, and add, modify, delete, move, duplicate, and find/replace.

Family Processor – Able to make multiple changes to multiple families in batch to ensure the content’s schedules are consistent and accurate. Powerful when you are building a library, adding new content, or downloading content from manufacturers. Builds a summary health check file of each family so the BIM Management team is able to track new or changed content.

Family Loader* – Once the content is up to date and standardized by using Shared Parameter Manager, and Family Processor, you can batch load those specific fixed or new families in a project.

*Free Tools

Contact SolidCAD to discover and evaluate your current workflow in Revit and let us find the right solution for you.


By Jonathan Guibert , Account Manager A.E.C QC , Bluebeam / Laser Scan 3D



*scroll down for FR version  – LES BASES POUR L’ESTIMATION 

A lot of people are still estimating on paper plan to quote their job on a project. So, why should they use Bluebeam for doing it? In fact, we’ve got the answer from the same people; faster, direct export to Excel, more precise than ever with the calibration integrated in the document (from Bluebeam or directly from the drawing software where the plan came from) and finally (maybe the most important) no printing.

So, what do you need to know about Bluebeam to start estimating?

In this article, we will see tools to be used in order to give you the basic knowledge to begin quoting on your pdf plans within Bluebeam.


  • Calibrate your plan

The first step is to calibrate your plan. In order to be able to quote lengths and areas, you need to make sure your plan has been calibrated correctly and accurately to avoid any mistake (or at least, limit those mistakes)

For this purpose, we will have to set the calibration by selecting Measurements and then, Calibrate.

Then, we will use a measure already indicated in the drawing to calibrate our plan by using the side line as our guide.

Then, we will use a measure already indicated in the drawing to calibrate our plan by using the side line as our guide.

When you finish tracing your calibration line between the 2 extremities of the side line, click again and a Calibrate menu will appear. Now, write the same length as indicated in your side line and you’re done. Your plan has been calibrated. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

You are now ready to start.

Note from the author: I always double check after calibration by measuring another sideline length to be sure the date I used was correct. It could happen a drawer changed manually a length to have a rounded number in place of the real length.

Most user rather use the calibration within Bluebeam instead of the scale indicated on plan because it’s more accurate.


2 ) The Measurement tools and their purpose

Bluebeam has 13 default tools to do measurement. It’s more than what we need to estimate. I am personally selecting 3 of them to create my own tools set for estimating. You are free to choose depending of your need. In addition to those 3 tools, I also often use Dynamic Fill, but we will see that later.

Linear estimates (imperial / metric)

To be able to do precise estimates, we’ve got 2 choices: Length and Polylength.

I prefer to use Polylength  for 2 reasons :

I’ve got more custom choices that I can apply to my length and, above all, I can take of sidelines in extremities to be more readable and smooth (and you can’t do that with the regular Length tool)

Now that we choose our estimating tool for measuring length, we will need to think about what we need to quote. Usually, an estimator doesn’t quote on a single product or job. So we will use our Polylength standard tool to create our different custom tools set of products/jobs we will need to quote on.

On this purpose, trace a standard Polylength  on your plan (picture below).

Then, in the customization quick menu above your drawing, you will be able to change color, width, line type… and finally, give a name to your custom Polylength and save it in a custom Tool Chest (you should have created before, obviously or select an existing one). For example, in steel estimating, people use to call their length as the type of beam they need to quote. This allows them to estimate on measurements AND count them at the same time. MEP sub-contractor are doing the same for HVAC duct or general pipping.


Once you finish customizing, save your custom tools by clicking on Add to Tool Chest and select the one you have been created.

You can now use the same line to create all products / jobs you need to quote and populate your tool chest by changing name, color, type of Polylength and add it to the right Tool Chest. It will not overwrite your first custom tool already created.

Note from the author : This stage can be a bit long but once you’ve created all needed tools, your job will be really more easier than ever. The more developed your tools are, the less time you will spend after to organize your data and get your result. But, if it is your first bunch of tool, don’t overthink it too much. The more time you will use Revu, the more you will know and the more custom your tools will be.


Area Estimate (square feet / square meters)

For this part, we will use exactly the same process than previously done for Ploylength but we will do it by using Area standard tool.

On a similar way, we will create areas to represent what we want to quote and name them. For example: Floor, Concrete Slab…

Then we will customize them with different colors, fills and even being able to include hatch in them. Finally, we will save them in a tool chest the same way you did with Polylength.

This is the conclusion of the first part of Estimating with Bluebeam. In the next post, we will see how to create layers and how to use them smartly and how to create, customize and use columns in Markup List to create quick and easy estimates.




Beaucoup de gens estiment encore sur les plans papiers afin de pouvoir estimer efficacement un travail. Alors pourquoi utiliser Bluebeam? Et bien ce sont ces mêmes gens qui m’en ont donné les raisons ; plus rapide, exportable sur Excell directement, précis par une calibration selon l’échelle des plans qu’on calibre ou sortent calibrés des logiciels de dessins, moins d’impression et enfin un meilleur suivi de l’information (surtout lorsqu’on doit se replonger dans un plan déjà fait mais désormais relâché dans une version différente). Beaucoup de bonnes raisons en somme.

Du coup, voici un petit article qui sera en deux parties et qui permettra à n’importe qui de commencer à estimer avec Bluebeam. Nous allons voir les outils à utiliser et pourquoi afin de donner une base de connaissance pour commencer à estimer dans Bluebeam


Le calibrage est la première des choses à vérifier. Tenant compte du fait que nous allons estimer des longueurs et des surfaces, il faut que notre plan soit calibrer correctement afin d’éviter tout erreur.

Pour cela, nous allons aller dans Mesure et choisir Calibrer

Par la suite, nous allons calibrer le plan à partir d’une cote du dessin

Marquer le même nombre que sur notre côte et Appliquer l’échelle


Une fois votre plan calibré, vous êtes prêt à commencer.

Par acquis de conscience, je revalide toujours ma mesure de calibrage car si une cote est erronée ou tronquer par le dessinateur, cela va avoir des conséquences fâcheuses.

Pas mal de monde préfère utiliser cette calibration via Bluebeam plutôt que l’échelle des plans qui ne sont pas précises à 100% et nécessitent des re-vérifications après coup. Pour cela, j’utilise simplement une polylongueur et je valide que le résultat affiché corresponde bien à celui de la cote sur laquelle je me suis basé.

Si votre plan sort d’un logiciel de dessins type AutoCAD ou Revit, il conservera l’échelle de votre plan comme indiquée dans les dits logiciels.


Astuce :

Dans la section Vignette, vous pouvez désormais afficher les échelles des pages en dessous du titre. Pratique pour ne pas se tromper


2 ) Les types de mesures et lesquels choisir

Bluebeam dispose de 13 outils standards de mesures en tout et pour tout. C’est plus qu’il n’en faut pour faire nos estimés. J’en privilégie toujours 3 pour faire mes outils d’estimation mais libre à vous d’en choisir plus. En plus de cela, je vais aussi beaucoup me servir du remplissage dynamique mais on n’y reviendra.

Estimés linéaires (impérial / métrique)

Pour ceux là, on a deux choix ; la longueur ou la polylongueur .

Personnellement, je privilégie la polylongueur pour 2 raisons ; plus de choix de modifications de mon trait et surtout je n’ai pas de barre de côtes (qui ne sont pas enlevables avec la longueur).

Maintenant que nous avons notre outil d’estimation de longueur, on va réfléchir sur qu’est ce qu’on estime. En général, un estimateur ne soumission pas que sur un produit quelque soit son métier.  À cet effet, notre polylongueur va nous servir à créer le maximum de produits que nous devons estimé. Pour cela, commencer par tracer une polylongueur sur votre plan.

Dans le menu de personnalisation de votre annotations (en haut de l’écran), donnez lui une couleur et un nom spécifique qui va servir à l’identifier (le nom des poutres d’acier W12x24 par exemple ou encore le nom des tuyaux et des ducts sur lesquels on estime…).

Une fois cela fait, enregistrez votre annotation dans votre boite à outils (créée au préalable) en cliquant sur le bouton Ajouter au Tool Chest  et sélectionnez celle que vous utilisez.

Vous pouvez vous resservir de cette polylongueur pour en créer autant d’itération que vous en aurez besoin (couleurs et noms différents pour les autres produits à estimer). De cette façon, vous allez créer vos propres outils avec les informations qui vous seront nécessaires.


Estimés surfaciques (pied² / m²)

Ici, on va faire le même processus que nous venons d’utiliser pour les polylongueurs mais nous allons l’appliquer à la création de surface

De la même façon, on va créer des surfaces afin de représenter ce qu’on veut estimer et clairement le nommer. Par exemple : Surface de dalle de béton

On va donner à ces surfaces, un nom, une couleur et même des hachures pour bien signifier visuellement ce qu’on estime et enfin l’enregistrer dans notre boite à outils

Voilà qui clot la première partie de notre volet estimation avec Bluebeam. Dans le prochain post, on verra comment utiliser les calques intelligemment, comment créer des colonnes custom et ce que vous pouvez faire avec et enfin, comment exporter vos données.

Design better Pipe Networks with CTC Software

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD


While Pipe Networks are a great toolset in Civil 3D, they fall short as a true design tool. With CTC Software, we can edit pipe runs through a design-oriented, dynamic interface. We can swap multiple parts, both pipes and structures, in plan or profile. We can also auto-populate properties across multiple parts at once, aiding in proper labeling or tabling.



For more click here


By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD


AutoCAD has a command contained within the Express Tool named FLATTEN.  It is designed to remove any non-zero elevations from selected objects within a drawing.  It does an excellent job with this, but there is some behavior that may not be obvious to all users.  This command works very well with many objects such as TEXT, LINES, and some BLOCKS.  However, unexpected behavior results when flattening Dynamic and Annotative blocks, even blocks with embedded non-zero-elevation linework.

Annotative Blocks:  For example, an annotative block with a name of Arrow, is inserted 3 times.  Regardless of the attached annotative scales, the result after the FLATTEN command will be 3 blocks with 3 different names; Arrow-flat-1, Arrow-flat-2, and Arrow-flat-3.  Further, they will no longer be annotative.

Dynamic Blocks:  After the FLATTEN command, each dynamic block will no longer be dynamic and will become an “unnamed block” with a name similar to “*U63”.

Blocks:  A typical block will FLATTEN adequately.  A block which contains elements which have non-zero elevations, will also flatten adequately.  Understand that the FLATTEN command will make changes to block definitions in this example to set all elevations to 0.

So what can be done?  Here are two options.

  • Download and run a LISP command from this discussion group post.
  • Be selective when flattening.  Flatten objects which have no deleterious results afterwards.  The AutoCAD FILTER command can be configured to easily select compatible objects.  The filter can be saved for future use.

Revit Data Corruption

By Elyse Hatch , Technical Consultant – AEC  at SolidCAD


Let’s talk about data corruption in Revit. In this post I will look at these 4 points:

  1. File crashes before opening
  2. Crashes when opening a new view
  3. Looking for corrupt families
  4. Higher level investigation

As always you should make sure you save a copy of your file for testing while trying to resolve corruption issues.

File crashes before opening

Sometimes a file cannot open because of a simple issue that can easily be overcome. Each of the following actions have the potential to get past a different issue. If your file crashes when you try to open it ask yourself:

  • Can the file be opened with or without audit checked?
  • Will the file open without the worksets loaded? Can I narrow it down to a specific workset that keeps the file from opening?
  • Can I open the file in a different build, or a newer version of Revit?
  • Sometimes new name allows you to bypass the issue, copy-paste file to new location
  • Isolate the file from the network save to a location where the links cannot be accessed.

Crashes when opening a new view

If your file crashes when you try to open or create new views, try these suggestions:

  • Turn off hardware acceleration try each location one at a time.

  • Reset Revit settings
    • Customized settings are stored in the app data folder, when removed from this location the defaults are regenerated.
  • Repair the installation
    • This won’t change any user setting.
  • Open Revit without add-ins
    • Locate the following folder: C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\[Version].
    • Temporarily move the addin files from the folder above to another location.

If any of these work for you take note, this is where the issue resides and you’ll want to know the exact cause whenever possible.

Looking for Corrupt Families

Sometimes the behavior you see in a file is caused by corrupt families follow this process to identify corrupt families.

  • Save a copy of the corrupt file
  • Open and save all families as a library, this process will fail when it reaches the 1st corrupt family.
  • Record the family named on the bottom left hand corner of the screen & delete the family and run again, repeat until the process completes successfully.
  • Open the original corrupt file and reload all the families on your list with versions that predate the corruption. If you’ don’t have a previous version of the family, you’ll need to recreate them.

Higher level investigation & troubleshooting

Many issues can also be fixed by returning to Revit’s original settings.  Try these steps one at a time, testing the file after each change.

  • Rename the .INI file (_old) which is in the AppData Roaming folder.
  • Rename App Data Folders (_old)
    • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x
    • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x
  • Rename Workspace in the registry editor


When these folders/files don’t exist, they are recreated the next time the user opens Revit. Be sure rename and not remove these files/folders, as they will server as backups for the user original setting including keyboard shortcuts and font maps.

Happy Reviting!

Be sure to check my other videos in this series for more information.

While you wait why not follow us @SolidCAD on Twitter, check out our other videos on YouTube, and see what our experts have to say on our BIM Blog!

ArcGIS and AutoCAD – Free Background for everyone using AutoCAD

By Frank Zander , Project Manager – Civil, GIS/FME  at SolidCAD


Imagine a world where you could get high resolution background image maps to display and PRINT in AutoCAD.

Esri and Autodesk are working closer than ever and this alliance benefits all CAD and GIS users. Esri provides a free ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin. This plugin allows vanilla AutoCAD users to access Esri maps. As mentioned, the beauty of these maps is that they also print/plot in AutoCAD.

I was surprised at the level of detail!

Download ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin for free at:


Contact SolidCAD for more information about our newly created three-day  training course for any INFRA, GIS/FME training.

Revit Family Creation: Family with Adjustable Built-in Label

By Elyse Hatch , Technical Consultant – AEC  at SolidCAD


Usually Tags are added separate from the Components we place, but in certain situations the “tag” needs to be part of the family. To push this further occasionally a request is made for flexibility in the placement due to text overlap.

This post explains how create a family with a built-in label with adjustable positioning.

Prepare the Model Family to Receive the Label

  • Open the model family that requires the built-in label.
  • Create a vertical and a horizontal Reference Line to mark the center of the default label location.

  • Create a vertical and a horizontal Reference Plane offset slightly from the reference lines. These will be the anchors for the label. Both Reference Planes must be set as “Not a reference” for the grips to show properly in the project.

  • Dimension between the new horizontal references, and the between the new vertical references. These dimensions need to be assigned separate instance parameters. To allow the label to slide in the project.

  • Choose which existing reference planes you will Align and Lock your anchor Reference Planes to. I prefer to lock them to the planes the model uses as origins. The plane you lock to must be stationary (not controlled by an instance parameter), the label will not be able to cross the horizontal anchor plane.
  • Save the family.

HINT: To make working in a complicated family simpler follow a few best practices.

Set the origin planes, then pin them.

Name reference planes clearly and remove temporary planes ASAP.

Dimension to the reference planes, not geometry.

Flex the parameters of the family before adding geometry.

Geometry to be locked to reference plans after confirming the parameters work as expected.


Create the Label Family

  • Using the Generic Annotation Family Template, create a new “label” family.
  • Place a label, you will be prompted to create/assign a parameter to the label.
  • Edit the label type properties, so the text size & style meets the company standards.
  • Save the label & load it into the model family you started with.


Combining the Two Families

  • Place the label family near the geometry in the project.
  • Align the horizontal reference in the label to the horizontal Reference line, and lock.
  • Align the vertical reference in the label to the vertical Reference line, and lock.

  • Select the label and Edit Type, associate the Family Parameter for the Label to the Family Parameter in the host family which will control the text, often Description or Type Comments.

  • If you have chosen to have a visibility Parameter to control the Label Visibility, associate those parameters to one another as well.

Using the Family

  • Save the Model Family and load into a blank project to test the flexibility of the label location.
  • Select the family, the grips for the label location will become visible. Slide then around in turn.

NOTE: Look for unexpected changes to the geometry or the overall placement of the family, this indicate the need to change the anchor alignment.