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How to get Revit’s Places to go where you want. by Shanoc Halliday

Back in the day when I used AutoCAD, any project that I was working on would be set up with little folders in the Open Dialog Box “Places”. Oh, the joy as I knew what was where and that I could get into my project at the click of a button! Well two actually.  But when I migrated to Revit in 2007, the dream of also having my Revit Open Dialog Box organised was lost.  You see, there is no way to rename the folder in that little section on the side anymore.
I was not happy about this, not at all. It was not organised enough!

Over the years I hunted with Google to find answers to my dilemma.  And there is information out there. What Revit Wants and Do-U-Revit both show you how to edit the registry Directly. Blogs also write about Companies setting up all the user’s Places, via the Revit.ini file.  At this point, I thought that I should add a gentle reminder that Companies should be deploying Revit to their users.

Minimise working harder, by thinking smarter.

So I was chatting to an Engineer who was studying Software Programming at the time on the side, as you do, and we came up with this simple but clever little solution.  Best of all, it works for more than just Revit.

It starts with a PlaceHolder on my Desktop. I create a folder that I use to contain shortcuts to all the projects that I am working on. I would then load the Place Holder into the Revit Open Dialog Box, Places sidebar.  Let’s go through this highly organised, pleasing to my inner Ataxophobia child, setup.

Creating a PlaceHolder and Shortcuts to Projects.

  1. Create a Place Holder Folder on your Desktop and name it Projects.
  2. Change the icon to something that stands out; I use the big red button.
  3. Browse your Windows Explorer to the Revit Project Folder, now create a Shortcut to your Desktop.
  4. This Shortcut can now be edited to display whatever you need, i.e. Project No. and Project Name.
  5. Drag the renamed Shortcut to the Projects Place Holder Folder.

Add Projects Folder to Revit’s Places.

  1. Open up a Revit session and select the Open button, don’t open a project.
  2. Select the Desktop Icon from the Places Sidebar.
  3. Drag the newly created Projects Folder into the Places Sidebar and locate it at the top of the list.
  4. Now select the Project Folder and all your current and completed projects are readily available and listed as you prefer.

Open Dialog Box

I had a look at Autodesk’s Knowledge Network page, and there is an option to Edit Places in the Open Dialog Box. But you can only edit the name, not the Icon. And if you are working on several projects or have a long list of completed projects, this “convenience” can get out of hand very easily.

More value out of Place Holders

Completed Projects:
Inside your placeholder create a folder called Z_Completed Projects.  Move all your completed projects here. The point is they will always be available and not require you to remember what a Project is called and have to look it up in a Database.

DeskWindows Explorer Taskbartop Windows Explorer:Quick Access
Drag the newly created Projects Folder into the Windows Explorer icon at the bottom of your screen.  It will automatically Pin the Projects Folder inside the Windows Explorer Icon so that it is available in the folders lists when you now “left click mouse” the Windows Explorer Icon.

Windows Favourites:
The Projects Folder should now automatically show in the Quick Access area anytime you open Windows Explorer. Now this folder is getting handy!

But wait…. there’s more!

If you are working on Revit Projects that have Worksets, then you will need your local files to be saved somewhere, and the default C:\Users\CaptainBimcad\Documents is not such a perfect place.

  1. Setup a new location that you can keep separate,  I use C:\Users\CaptainBimcad\Documents\RevitLocalFiles\Revit2017\Local File.
  2. Create a Shortcut to Desktop for your Local Revit files.
  3. Create a new Place Holder folder on your Desktop and name it Local Files. If you name it too long, it will not fit in the Revit Open Dialog Box
  4. Change the icon once again to something that stands out; I use the Floppy Disk icon.
  5.  Add it to your Revit Open Dialog Box Places Sidebar as stated previously.

What about Company Standards?  You do have standards, don’t you? Create a Place Holder, rename it, change the Icon and add in all the sub-areas that you keep the Company Standards like Example Drawings, PDF versions of Standard Details, Company Manuals and so on. For this I use the Defrag Icon, the colours stand out.

So where else can we take this?

If the company that you work for is large and you feel that this simple improvement would be of benefit, then IT can write a batch file so that it automatically sets up everything except the shortcuts of the Project(s) that you are working on.  But that part is not hard.

Good luck, I hope this method frees up 2.5 minutes or more of your day and that you can easily find all your Projects, Standards and any other intelligent place that you take this idea too.

Let me know how you go.

Captain BIMCAD-01

Fair winds and following seas,
Captain Bimcad.

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About The Author

A2K Technologies is an industry-leading solutions, training, consulting and management firm specialising in the design technology space. With a multi-million dollar turnover and over 150 staff across Australia, New Zealand and China; A2K Technologies is Australia’s largest Autodesk re-seller.

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