Solutions from Synergis: Autodesk Revit Building Export Options

11 Apr, 2006 By: Peter Gehring

Exporting 2D and 3D views enables you to share your Revit data with others.

Collaboration with consultants, clients and partners requires the ability to view, query and print design data in software applications that are not compatible with the native file format of the original application that created it. One of the fears of adopting new software design tools is how you will share this data with others. Autodesk Revit Building allows you to export 2D and 3D views from the File menu as DWG, DXF, DGN or SAT files.

You specify the file type and version that you are exporting to and the file naming convention you want to use in the Export dialog box. You can manually give the exported file a name or let Revit name it with a prefix of the Revit Project and view name (long) or just the Revit View name (short). You also can choose to export the current view or select from a list to export multiple views and sheets. The Export Each View or Sheet as a Single File option binds the xrefs and is automatic for DXF files. It is not an option for DGN and SAT files. If this option is not selected and you export a sheet with multiple views on it, each view is exported as a separate file and included as an xref into the sheet drawing.

To control the layer names (DWG, DXF), level numbers (DGN) and colors that Revit objects are mapped to, you can create and apply a custom export layers text file. Revit comes with many existing standards, but you can save them as another version and create one that matches your firm's standards.

Export Layers Mappings and Existing Standards
Revit 2D Views are exported as 2D line work and everything is flattened to a zero elevation. Door and window families are exported as blocks with the name of the Revit family and type (figures 1 and 2).


Figure 1. Exporting a Revit file (top) to an AutoCAD drawing file (bottom).


Figure 2. Exporting the element properties from Revit (top) to AutoCAD (bottom).

You can export Revit 3D views as polyface meshes or ACIS solids, and the layer name is prefixed with 3D. To set the desired method you need to access the Options button in the Export dialog box (figure 3). The Export Options dialog box also lets you export rooms and areas as polylines, merge collinear wall lines and control coordinate mapping (figure 3). You also can export shaded and nonshaded views from Revit in formats for review in non-CAD applications. One option is to use the Export Image command, which lets you export to a variety of raster formats.

Figure 3. The Export Options dialog box.

A more robust option is to select File/Export to 2D and 3D DWF. Exporting as a 2D DWF file uses the Autodesk DWF Writer and gives you the ability to export each sheet and view to a separate DWF file or combine them into one multisheet DWF file. The other options in the dialog box are the same as those in the Print command.

You can view these DWF files in Autodesk's free DWF Viewer or DWF Composer. In the 2D multisheet DWF you can view a list or thumbnail of each sheet, see information on the sheet properties and view and zoom the sheet geometry with the same visual resolution and quality of the original Revit file (figure 4).

Figure 4. Viewing Revit 2D views in AutoDesk DWF Composer.

You can only export 3D DWFs from 3D Revit views and only one view at a time. However, when viewed in the DWF Viewer, you can rotate the view, restore preset elevation and isometric views (figure 5). You also can select objects or object categories from a list to hide, isolate or make transparent (figure 6).


Figure 5. Preset Views and making an object transparent in DWF Viewer.

Figure 6. Isolating object categories.

Revit also has options to publish directly to Autodesk Buzzsaw, export schedule data into delimited text files and export object information into an ODBC database, GBXML and IFC formats as well as room and area reports.

About the Author: Peter Gehring

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