Monday, September 22, 2008

Custom application - Filtering

In a post last month, I suggested several enhancements to the filter tool in Revit, namely being able to view the family types and quantity of each category. A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Jochen Reichert of Toolbox4Revit.com, who has developed such a tool utilizing Revit's API. I was very excited that my wish was granted in such a short time ;) Note to Autodesk: Users STILL want this to be in Revit's core functionality.

Jochen graciously gave me a license to test out and I really like this little gem. Installation was a snap and I didn't have to edit the Revit.ini file manually to get it to work. As with Revit add-ins, you can access it under the External Tools in the Tools pull-down. Now if only we could disable Revit's filter tool and make it point to this application, it would be awesome!

The application comes with a nicely explained and illustrated pdf document, which will install in the Program folder of your Revit Architecture directory. The application is very simple to use and quite self-explanatory. A feature I really like is the ability to save selection filters in your project which can be used later (persistent). Note that these filters don't save the actual selection set. So for example if you save a filter for Generic - 8" walls and you add more instances of this wall type to your project, when you use this filter later on, all Generic - 8" walls are selected.


Another really handy feature is how the filter tool groups objects by their associated/hosting level. This can be a huge time-saver when trying to clean up a model with objects hosted to the incorrect level and positioned "properly" by using lots of offsets. I had to do this manually not long ago and let me tell ya....it wasn't fun.


As always, I came up with a list of suggested future enhancements:

  • What if the Selection Filters could be saved as view Filters? Building them through selections is a nice, interactive way and they could serve a dual purpose by also being used in the V/G dialog.
  • It would be nice if lines are grouped by style. Currently we cannot do a "select all instances" for lines, so this feature would come in handy, especially if we could save selection filters.
  • We cannot select detail lines independently from model lines, so if detail lines would group under "Not level based" or "View specific", while model lines would go under a "Workplane based" group (or if the workplane is set to a level, then perhaps they go under that level), that would be a huge asset to this tool.

I don't intend to uninstall this tool and I'm sure that if you check it out, you'll want to have it installed permanently. I'm sure Jochen doesn't like to hear me say that this should be standard Revit core functionality, but I truly believe it and in the meantime, it's great to see that 3rd parties can fill this gap and make some money in the process. Once we get this functionality in Revit, 3rd parties can continue focusing on other, more important plugins ;)


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5 comments:

still.james said...

very nice, but i cant get it to install on Vista 64.

Will post on there authors site for support

Dave Baldacchino said...

I failed to point out that I installed on XP32. I'll test on other platforms in a couple of weeks. If I hear anything about Vista64, I'll post a comment.

David Kingham said...

Doesn't work on XP64 either, I sent them a message.

Dave Baldacchino said...

Sounds like an installer problem.

willsud said...

oops, didn't notice the other comments until I also could not get it to install under Vista 64...

I guess the author knows now ;-)

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