Revisiting AutoCAD Basics: Shortcut Menu Hotkeys

By Jae Kwon , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Many of us use keyboard shorts and aliases to keep our eyes on the drawing area and keep our thoughts on our design. Searching for commands on the ribbon, especially if it’s buried in the pull-down portion, is probably not our favorite things to do. The right-click contextual shortcut menus are one of the key tools for keeping ribbon searching at bay.

Shortcut menus are great. They are fully customizable, and even out of the box they have some useful commands. What makes them even better are that each one of these can be selected with just a keystroke.

Let’s look at the two core shortcut menus: “Default Menu”, which pops up if no objects are selected, and “Edit Menu”, which pops up if at least one object is selected.

Default Menu:

  • R: Repeat
  • C: Clipboard
    • T: Cut
    • C: Copy
    • B: Copy with Base Point
    • P: Paste
    • K: Paste as Block
    • D: Paste to Original Coordinates
  • I: Isolate
    • I: Isolate Objects
    • H: Hide Objects
    • E: End Isolation
  • U: Undo
  • R: Redo
  • A: Pan
  • Z: Zoom (real-time)
  • Q: Quick Select
  • F: Find… (find/replace text)
  • O: Options

So, pan command can be run with a simple right click followed by pressing A. In the above list, Isolate and Pan are nice. The rest have decent keyboard shortcut or alias options already, but things get much more interesting with the edit shortcut menu. The Edit shortcut menu hotkeys are listed below (except for those already listed above):

Edit Menu:

  • E: Erase
  • M: Move
  • Y: Copy
  • L: Scale
  • O: Rotate
  • D: Draw Order
    • F: Bring to Front
    • B: Send to Back
    • A: Bring Above Objects
    • U: Send Under Objects
  • G: Group
    • G: Group
    • U: Ungroup
    • A: Add to Group
    • R: Remove from Group
  • D: Add Selected
  • T: Select Similar
  • A: Deselect All
  • S: Properties Palette

Basic editing commands like copy, rotate and move are made significantly made easier with the shortcut menu hotkeys. Draw order hotkeys are solid, as are Group hotkeys (if you use the group feature). Add Selected is amazing (draws a new object of the same type and as if match properties were applied afterwards), as are Select Similar and Properties Palette.

Best of all, whether you decide to throw more commands into the shortcut menu or not, you can manually add or edit the hotkey for each item. Let’s look at the Undo item in the “Default” shortcut menu in the CUI:

. . .

Note how there is an “&” character in the name of the item in the shortcut menu. That designates the letter that follows (U) as the keyboard hotkey for that item.

What this allows, essentially, is to open a second set of keyboard shortcuts that are accessed with the right mouse button.

I know there are still many drafters who prefer to use the right mouse button to repeat the last command rather than access the shortcut menu. There is nothing wrong with that. If you are a shortcut menu user, however, it gives you all sorts of hotkeys through the right mouse button so that you can keep your eyes on the drawing area and your mind on design. Consider giving shortcut menu hotkeys a try if you don’t use them already.

Path of Travel tool – Revit 2020

By Camila Lima Pires , Technical Consultant AEC at SolidCAD

 

Path of Travel tool is a new feature in Revit 2020 that determines the distance between two points on a floor plan. By selecting a start point and an end point, Revit automatically creates the path and calculates the length and the speed of the travel based on an average walking time. The tool also recognizes obstacles such as walls and furniture and create a path around these model elements. The tool will ignore some model elements such as demolished elements or elements that are hidden in the view.

Some other categories can also be customized under the Analyze tab – Route Analysis Settings.

Notice that by default the doors are not considered obstacles.

You can also set an analyze zone and determine the top and bottom offset. Any object in this range will be considered an obstacle and the path will avoid them.

 

Path of Travel

To use the Path of Travel tool, open a floor plan view and go to the Analyze ribbon tab and select Path of Travel on the Route Analysis panel. Revit will ask to pick a start point and an end point.

Once we have selected the end point, an automatic green path line runs along the building. Since we can tag the path information, I placed a tag to read the length and time parameters.

The tool can also be updated in case we add a model element on the way. To update the path, select the path you want to update and under the Modify | Path of Travel Lines click on Update.

Notice that it also updates the tag.

If we select the path created and look under properties, we can find the instance properties calculated by the path. These are reporting parameters and when you modify the path Revit will redo the calculation. Notice that the Path of Travel is a detail line which means it is view specific. It is important that you create this in the view you wish to see it in, and it will not need to be filtered or hidden from other views.

Reveal Obstacles

This tool is very useful to figure out why the Path is not behaving properly and understand which elements are being considered as obstacles.

After toggling it, all elements analyzed as obstacles will display in color and the rest will display in halftone. The categories can be changed at the Route Analysis settings.

Schedule

We can also schedule this information and set filters to analyze the content and see if it is code compliant. The Path of Travel Lines will be under the Lines category.

Here is a sample of a schedule with all the parameters that are available. On my example I set a filter to highlight in red the paths that go over 30m.

Filters

We can also set filters to easily identify these paths on a floor plan view and make changes if necessary. In this example I set the filter to override the lines that are greater than 30m.

Potential Issues

One last thing I would like to point it out is that this path graphics are not fully customizable. We can change the line style from solid to dash for example, or create a new line style, but you cannot customize the arrow and dot at the start and end point.

The other aspect that we cannot control is the distance the path takes around an obstacle. The calculation of this distance occurs in the background. It takes in consideration the width of a typical person and body sway while walking. If you want to read more information about the path travel calculation click here.

Conclusion

It is impressive in how automatic and smart the tool is. Even though there are limitations on how much customization we can do with the tool, it is very exciting the fact that it can goes around objects and that it automatically updates when a change occurs, also how you don’t have to draw the line yourself, it does it for you.

 

 

 

BIM Project Suite – Free Valuable Tools for AEC

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

 

BIM Project Suite – Free Valuable Tools for AEC

Quick Select

Gives users the ability to build or filter selections of Revit objects by specific categories or parameter values.

For more click here

Revit Filter Tool

                                    vs

                    Quick Select Tool

 

 

Renumbering

Provides a fast and simple way to renumber your rooms and doors. Auto-swapping avoids duplicates. Alphanumeric sequential numbering. Add separators and suffices to room and door numbers.

For more click here

Project Analytics with CTC Software

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

 

Project Analytics

Need for data analytics is growing rapidly within the AEC industry. I have clients that tell me about the work, effort, time and most importantly money they have lost because they did not understand the reasons behind a project or a model being corrupted.

CTC Software makes tools to make sure these errors don’t occur. Specifically, a tool that logs data; Project Activity Logger.

There are some challenges to become a data driven organization, and CTC has the solution.

Common Challenges

  • Aggregating statistics and data of activity in on-going Revit projects
  • Detecting problems encountered as projects progress
  • Generating accurate and complete reports of current workflows, resources and expertise

Solution – Project Activity Logger (PAL)

  • Lightweight background capture of key performance indicators for Revit projects
  • Real-time availability of data on work-shared projects
  • Data stored allows easy connection & visualization with popular business intelligence software

Source of ROI – Return on Investment Realized

  • Flexible licensing & highly competitive pricing- get up and running with lower investment than similar products
  • Proactive and ongoing project analysis- make informed improvements before problems escalate
  • Optimize workflows, schedule resources and identify training opportunities for future projects

If you are a data driven firm or looking to get there. Contact SolidCAD to assess your current Revit workflow and understand what other firms are doing in the industry to get ahead.

Common Uses of Productivity Tools by Contractors

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

 

Model Compare, in the BIM Project Suite. This tool can compare to iterations of a Revit model. Very useful to see “what’s changed” in very great detail. Thus if they are estimating, or looking for coordination issues, model compare is an excellent tool that many of our contractors use.

 

Spreadsheet Link, in the BIM Project Suite. This tool can push and pull data to and from Revit and spreadsheets. Very useful in estimation processes, and also if they ever need to push commissioning/installation/facility management data back into Revit objects in a project.

 

Fab Sheets, in the BIM Project Suite. This tool was actually created specifically for contractors who self-perform concrete work. If they do, or create any type of construction sequencing drawing/pour sets, this tool could be a huge time saver.

 

Project Cleaner, in the BIM Manager Suite. This tool is free. It helps to clean up models coming in from other parties, blowing away things like working views, or “all views, not on a sheet” which is a common desire of general contractors. This solves a few things. One, it makes the Revit project file faster performing. Two, by blowing away all the “junk” the designers left behind, it makes navigating the project in Revit easier.

 

Dim Checker, in the BIM Manager Suite. This is a really cool tool. It finds out where designers might be “lying” in a dimension.

  1. Sometimes designers and engineers do not feel they have time to properly coordinate modeled object positions
  1. Too frequently this leads to overriding dimension values in very dirty ways, mimicking the days of AutoCAD workflows
  1. Unfortunately, these are rarely found and more rarely repaired, and can cause HUGE headaches for contractors and increase risk.
  1. The DIM Checker allows these dimensions strings to be found and reports generated to allow the team to easily repair and coordinate these dimensions where appropriate

 

Plotter & Exporter, in the BIM Batch Suite. This tool runs on a nightly, or specified schedule to do all your exports for you. NavisWorks, PDF, DWG, whatever else you might need, automatically.

  1. Sure, generating PDFs can happen from Bluebeam, but what about everything else
  1. DWGs, Navisworks files and others often must be exported for other consultants and partners
  1. Instead of doing this from multiple places, use Plotter/Exporter to single click export all the needed files
  1. Have them exported where you want, named how you want with the exact settings you want.
  1. Instead of manually triggering exports, try scheduling this so it can happen after hours and be ready for you when you walk in the office

 

Last but not least:

Import & Link Manger, in the BIM Manager Suite. Loading, and reloading links and imported files for coordination happens all the time. Waiting for Revit to link in everything, or to find where a link or import may, or may not be working is a pain.

  1. All too frequently files are improperly linked or imported into production models
  1. While Revit does allow minimal management of links, there is no easy way to find and fix imported AutoCAD files
  1. ILM is critical to the regular maintenance of models by finding and fixing imports and update link settings in a simple interface

To watch our previous webinars on BIM Project Suite click here!

Uncover CTC’s Project Cleaner tool from BIM Manager Suite

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

In case you were unable to attend SolidCAD and CTC’s webinar last week here is what you need to know…

When working through general project cleanup, there are many tedious tasks. Deleting unused views, removing imports, cleaning working schedules… the list goes on.

Instead of doing this all manually, perhaps a free tool that can help automate this process. These are tasks we all should be doing in project models on a regular basis, and when sending or receiving models from others. Who has the time to do this without automation?

Project Cleaner 

  • Removing user duplicated working views can frequently enable purging of unused documentation elements, reduce file size and speed model performance
  • Allows BIM manager to easily manage unwanted or unneeded views, sheets and schedules in the project without re-organizing the project browser
  • Using ‘Options’ can enable sorting of views and sheets in meaningful ways to enable rapid decision making about view use and value.

 

Join SolidCAD and CTC’s Shawn Zirbes to explore Project Cleaner from BIM Manager Suite. This webinar will demonstrate how Project Cleaner from BIM Manager Suite can speed up this task for free with a simple to use toolset.

Click here to Register

Introduction to BIM Project Suite

By Daniella Delgado, Marketing & Communication Manager at SolidCAD

In case you were unable to attend SolidCAD and CTC’s webinar last week here is what you need to know…

Shawn Zirbes, a Guru for everything CTC, uncovered how the BIM Project Suite allows Autodesk Revit users to automate routine tasks, manage large numbers of content files, generate database information and much more in a lot less time, all within the Revit environment.

BIM Project Suite is meant for everyday users of all skill levels and used by firms of all sizes. To learn more about the some of key functionalities of the suite, watch the full webinar on our YouTube Channel.

Reconcile the Differences Between Parameters live in projects without Destroying Data

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

Let’s talk about Revit families. Are your Revit users pulling families from manufacturer websites, then having to spend project time individually reconciling the differences between the parameters used without destroying existing data?

Downloaded Revit family content introduces shared parameters into a project that are often times different from the parameters used in the company’s schedule. These differences often cause schedules to display incomplete or inaccurate data requiring tedious, individual fixes.

BIM Project Suite 2020’s Parameter Jammer uses a two-step process to swap the parameters in the family to reconcile the differences between the parameters without destroying your existing data, saving users time and headaches. The first step swaps parameters that can be safely identified as a match, while the second allows users to map, add or omit parameters that do not need to be swapped.
Parameter Jammer is user friendly, and was designed so that Revit users who are unfamiliar with the family editor can successfully prepare a family to be scheduled; it also:

• Uses the schedule to derive parameter needs; and
• Allows the end user to push parameters into a non-standard family.

Maximize your Revit project team’s time with Parameter Jammer and the entire BIM Project Suite 2020 by downloading a free software trial and scheduling a demo today.

CTC BIM Projct Suite 2020 – Invisibility Advisor

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

Find improperly displayed elements in Revit with Invisibility Advisor. Part of the BIM Project Suite, this tool can also identify the cause of invisibilty as well as offer useful information and links to relevant knowledgeable articles for each issue.

Common Challenges

Revit users may spend 2-4 hours a week on average resolving object visibility issues

Revit has various ways of finding objects, and users rarely check all

Often invisibility can be controlled by multiple factors and multiple users

Solution – Invisibility Advisor

Invisibility Advisor searches through almost 60 different factors affecting an object’s invisibility

Advice is offered to assist with understanding why the object(s) were not visible

In many cases, an instant ‘Fix’ option is available to resolve the visibility issue automagically

The Invisibility Advisor can remain on screen while you work, so visibility solutions are available at your fingertips

ROI

At even 1 hour per week time savings, Invisibility Advisor can save an average firm $3400/year/Revit user

For more information visit CTC Productivity Tools to learn more, and download free trial.

Revit Project Cleanup – Why and How

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

As a collaborative BIM software, Revit enables multiple authors to work within the same project file. However, as projects progress files can grow rather large, often time filling up “extra stuff”. This extra data can cause model performance to slow down or lag, causing models to take far longer to open, save, or close.

Additionally, users may take more time to navigate through this extra information to find the correct view, sheet, content or other relevant data. Some processes exist to alleviate these issues inside of Revit, however they are time consuming, tedious, and incomplete.

Describing the issue

The development of Revit project files comes with a lot of work to maintain a healthy file for continued, efficient user workflows. BIM Managers must keep going through the files, cleaning up all the unneeded information. Deleting views, view templates, filters, unused sheets, link & imported elements from the file. Additionally, reviewing all views, trying to find non-standard elements that users might have created in the file. Finally, checking the model to make sure the users are following best practice of modeling correctly. These tasks and more all take time and must be done regularly to ensure that models do not break minutes before major submittals. The breaking of models, file corruption, or file slowdown may require the stopping of work for repair of a problematic model has cost that is not frequently quantified. Fortunately, there are project maintenance tools available in the CTC Software’s BIM Manager Suite that makes this entire process easy to execute, and significantly reduces model downtime, and stoppages of work.

Workflow Description

The use of Project Cleaner makes efficient use of time in cleaning up garbage views from the project. Leveraging the Import/Link Manager can rapidly allow identification and repair of the imports in the model. Intelligently running Type Swapper can save hours of model maintenance and cleanup of rogue types. Finally, Dimension Checker makes it possible to identify areas in a model where information has been faked to ‘just get it done’, but could be a liability issue, or a model fidelity issue later in the project.

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