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Captain Bimcad – Revit 2017 Text Upgrade Workflows by Shanoc Halliday

As a long term Revit user, I welcomed in the 2017 new text editor, I mean how great is that?  My inner OCD child was ecstatic at the new workflows that would ensure consistency in the documentation for clients. Bringing to mind a vague memory of AU RTC 2015, where Kyle Bernhardt said that Autodesk was working on a better text editor. With my Structural Draftsman background, the Engineers ensured that the design was Structurally sound and I was responsible for presentation, and text, whether it be through Tags, Key Notes or general Text, to tell the construction story. But now text seems to work against us with the new text editor. Using the Bluebeam Overlay Tool you can see in Green 2016’s text and Red showing 2017’s text.

No2 Green and Red Text

So what is the problem here?

There have already been some great blogs about the differences in 2016 vs 2017 Revit text editor, some of my preferred ones are Revit OpEd, and Ideate, or you can listen to the BIM Thoughts Podcast discussion. But I will elaborate to save you from researching and I will keep it simple.  The text manager has always measured the text height from the Base Line to the Ascent Line, the difference is that in 2016 the tallest letter in the text font governs the height, however, in 2017 the Capital Letter governs the text height.  This changes everything!

No3 Capital Ms

What advice do we give to our clients about upgrading projects and their Revit Library?

I see it as a change that has to happen. Finally, Revit is reading the text the same way as AutoCAD has always done. There will surely be further improvements to the text editor so I worry that creating workarounds, like making the Text Width Factor narrower may come back to bite us. That’s to say, getting fixated on what was previously shown can prove a hindrance to the future development of this software in a company.  Does this ring any bells about Revit drawings needing to look like AutoCAD?

Workflow procedures;

1-Don’t Upgrade current Projects – Add this to your BIM Execution Plan, make it your mantra, educate your staff, mainly the Managing Staff who may make false promises about upgrading projects to align with other Consultant

2-Only Upgrade the Model – If you are forced to upgrade to 2017.  Yes, there should be a contingency plan.  At this point I would suggest that the projects, families, annotations etc. that have their text Height and or Width reduced, be denoted as V16.5.  So that’s not a 2016 or 2017 standard, but an in between. Obviously, debate this naming convention around the BIM Chiefs, but I hope that you can see what I’m getting at. Don’t allow technically, non-standard families to find their place in any project 2017 and on!
   2a-Keep the old version and Save As “Project xxx Standard Details and General Notes_V16” . Using the Revit Extension Freeze Drawings Tool  you can save a set of any of the drawing sheets that you think will not change, or if they do 2D will still be fine. You get extra lines styles turning up in the system, but for the simplicity, it works well.
   2b-Upgrade the version to 2017 and save it as  “Project xxx Model Only_V16.5”  Delete all 2D Standard Details and General Notes and the newly created frozen Views and the 3D Views they derived from because of these all in the V16 file now .
   2c-I suggest keeping the sheet reference in the V16.5 (2017) file so that Revit users can find their 2D information. There are options to link V16 files into V16.5 (2017) with Temporary upgrades to Linked files, but this will completely depend on your network and if you are using Revit Server, C4R, Vault and so on.
   2d-Now… do you change all the text widths in the V16.5 project? Or just work with it? Well, that depends on how long your piece of string is! It could get costly to update Tag text width for each project, but you could save these back to a V16.5 file to load into other V16.5 Projects. Ahhh do you see how this V16.5 thingy is making sense?  One thing that will help a great deal, is SOFiSTiK BiMtools Substitution of Font Type.  A Free Add-In, that allows you to filter a particular size text in a project and change numerous items including the dreadful Text Height and Width (if need be). This tool will not edit the text of entire folder structure unfortunately and you will need to check for new wrong size text Tags that sneak in just before issue day.

No4 Ok Cancel and Help bottom right

Spring Clean!

Update everything for an all new 2017. Start updating everything! Make this your opportunity to clean out all that junk! Begin with the clunky Families that you first made in 2008 and everybody complains about. Now is the time to really review the Shared Parameters file, we have Global Parameters now, use them! How big is the “I” in your BIM?  We talk about it all the time and this could be the catalyst to get that time allocation to add new workflows, improve productivity, initiate that plan you made before the G.F.C. to 4D functionality. Also, this is a good chance to add more Data to the families with ANZRS standards, QS and internal QA Data. Reconsider if you are using the best Tag methods, consider other options  Multi-Category and Material tags, set up visual On/Off switches with Integers for different Tag options i.e. 1. O-deg. 2. 45-deg. 3. 90-deg. & 4. 135-deg.

In Summary

If you let it, this could easily be another Autodesk created vexing problem. But challenge yourself to make the best of a trying situation.  Instead of looking back in 2 years at the frustration and angst you felt with the upgrade, make it an opportunity where you really made the improvements to your Revit System. Including improved documentation consistency, reduced rework in text detailing with keynotes, efficiencies created in production and you gaining a little more respect from your fellow peeps. Even if it can only be measured in the reduction of “constructive” comments.

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.


  1. rye September 16, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    I will try this myself captain,

    great, how di you spot that? ^_^

    good point there, in that case when you update your mode revit 2016 to revit 2017 (sheets and model) there is going to be a problem in you text to be unwrapped (eg 2 lines text note become 3 lines)

    and with the tags, if you have program to be has a 6 character there is a chance that your tag to be break or become 2 lines.

    Aside from this text issue maybe there are more things that not yet been discover in upgrading the model.


  2. Shanoc Halliday February 13, 2017 at 12:00 PM


    Text is the big one, I did hear of some issues some clients are having but nothing too serious.

    The Captain.

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