Revit 2011 brings a mixture of platform and, yes again, User Interface changes. Some are small while others bring major, and welcome, changes to modelling and workflow when sharing files. I'll deal with the UI first as it think its the first change users will notice when switching to 2011.
It's the Ribbon, but not as you know it
The ribbon is still there but has had a major overhaul. In response to “user feedback”, to be polite, the layout has been revised. Once editing objects you’ll find Select, Properties, Clipboard, Geometry and Modify commands have a static location at the head of the ribbon. Other panels are appended and tools are greyed out depending on function. Some of the graphics have been revised, buttons made larger to reduce potential miss-clicks.
- Home Ribbon
- Modify/Create Wall – Showing static Modify, Properties, Clipboard, Geometry, Modify panels
- Modify/Create Stair – Showing static panels with irrelevant tools greyed out
Customise your QAT, and only once
The QAT can be edited & re-ordered. This is standard in most other Ribbon implementations so its good to see it arrive in Revit. There is also now only one QAT with any customisation in the main project UI being seen in the family and conceptual editor modes.
Properties on show (how very AutoCAD Architecture!)
Coming from AutoCAD Architecture (ACA) one aspect of Revit I found frustrating was access to object properties. ACA has long had a Properties Palette (below left).used when creating and editing object properties. As Revit is a system that creates, lives, is all about, objects it was weird to have to constantly open & close a dialog to change their properties. 2011 fixes that with the biggest change to the UI since the Ribbon: A Properties Palette!
Access the Properties Palette with:
- Keyboard shortcut PP
- Right click>Properties
- Ribbon>View tab>Window panel>User Interface drop-down>Properties
You can dock or float it to park on a second monitor and it remembers the last position, even between sessions! The Revit Palette offers the same controls as the old instance properties dialog, and more, but it’s always available:
- With nothing selected it shows the settings for the current view/sheet.
- In Object Creation mode you can choose/edit type and set relevant instance properties
- In Modify Mode its like opening/editing the old dialog, without having to open the dialog
- It also allows access to the Type Properties dialog. That creates a distinct difference in UI between editing instance & type properties. I know this could be a point of confusion for new users as the old dialogs were very similar, the impact very different!
If multiple objects are selected you can filter the selection to apply changes to only objects of the selected type (i.e. Two walls in the image below). Note: This doesn't replace the filter command as other objects remain selected, ready for subsequent property edits. Below I could change to the two railing selection and then edit their properties.
- The Type gallery/selector is located in the Properties Palette.
- Applying changes takes some adjustment. You can make multiple changes within the Properties and nothing happens in the view. They are processed when you:
- Click the Apply button on the Properties Palette
- Mouse away from the Palette back to the current view/sheet
- Is Revit still missing a Palette?
I'd love to see Family Editor Types treated as a palette but it’s still an open/close dialog as with previous releases.
Select All Instances, Visible in View.
Its nice to see this to combat the dreaded "Select All, what do you mean that is all everywhere?” accidental deletions. Selecting windows Visible in View in Level 1(below left) leaves the same object on other project levels untouched.
A Realistic View of editing?
Two new editing view styles arrive in 2011. Consistent colours is effectively Shaded with edges without the directional lighting. Realistic shows, no surprise, the applied materials including textures without requiring a render.
Map based Location and interactive Sun:
In addition to the previous City List 2011 adds web map based selection. Enter an Address and search or drag the location pin to your site on a Google Map view (complete with Street & Satellite views).
A location related change is this new interactive sun path. Drag the sun to see a live preview of sun/shadow impacts in the view. Weather data is claimed to be available worldwide at 12- kilometre intervals, apart from United States 2004 data which uses 20 kilometre intervals, but I haven’t verified the NZ data yet.
HTML Format Help:
In common with other 2011 releases Revit uses HTML browser based help. This feels a bit slower but does make it much easier to reference the official help from support/training documents, intranet etc
That’s a few of the platform user interface changes. Look for more on new modelling, workflow and cross discipline process changes in future posts as there is plenty to blog about!