What's New in Revit 2019?AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #83 (April 11, 2018)


Dan Stine, CSI, CDT
Registered Architect and Author


This year’s new version of Revit has several great new features that will once again make many users happy. I would like to share several of them in this article.

User Interface

The user interface gets a big change this year. And not just a refresh of icons and colors, but serious new functionality: Tabbed Views. This new functionality has been in the works for a while. I actually did some early testing on this a year and a half ago while at the Revit: Inside the Factory week at Autodesk’s Shanghai China office.

View Tabs

The first thing you might notice when you open Revit 2019 is that, similar to web browsers and AutoCAD, we now have View Tabs. Revit displays a tab for each open file/view. Clicking a tab is a quick way to switch between open views. Click the “X” on each view tab to close that view. Drag a tab to change its position.

View Tabs can also be pulled outside of the main Revit application window—even to a second monitor. In the image below, the schedule could be filling a second computer screen while reviewing the same information in the floor plan.

This will be a popular new feature; I personally like it a lot. Using Ctrl + Tab still works to cycle through open views. But I find it faster to just click directly on the view tab that I can now see, rather than take the time to open every active view to get there.


When Tiled, the tabs can be organized in groups as shown in the next image. In this example, I have the schedules and plans grouped together.

Along with the new View Tabs, we also have improved functionality when it comes to rearranging them and the docked pallets. For example, when dragging a view, the blue highlight indicates where the view will be when you let go of the mouse button.


We have similar functionality when dragging the pallets around. But, to be honest, it is still hard to get the highlight in the desired area.


Close Inactive Windows

The Close Hidden command on the Quick Access Toolbar has been replaced with Close Inactive Windows, as views are no longer technically ever hidden.


Tab Views Command

Use this option to switch from tiled views back to the default tabbed view layout. This command has no effect on views outside of the Revit application window.


Tile Views

Use this option to make all open views visible. This command has no effect on views outside of the Revit application window. Tiling views is not new, but the ability to group tabs as shown above is. Revit does not remember grouped configurations, so switching between tabbed and tiled views resets the layout.



Fill Patterns Dialog

A lot of work has been done around fill patterns in this version. This resulted in some related UI elements being tweaked a little. To help understand the differences I juxtapose the 2018 and 2019 dialogs. Some of these changes were added in the 2018.1 update.



Looking at the images above, I am not sure why the fill pattern preview is gray in 2019, where it was black in 2018. Also, another 2018.1 update—I am happy we can change the Import Scale after the initial import!

Publish Settings Dialog

Seemingly hidden on the Collaborate tab, the Publish Settings dialog has seen some changes as shown here. Honestly, I cannot figure out what the reason was for changing the Set selection from a drop-down list to a check-multiple list. I thought it might allow me to quickly add a newly added sheet to multiple Sets at once, but that does not work.


Open Dialog Enhancement

A small, but helpful, change in the Open dialog; the version of the selected Revit file is listed. This will be helpful when selecting a worksharing file and Create New Local is grayed out. That means you have selected a local (not a central) file or you are in the wrong version of Revit. With this new feature, we can discover the problem immediately.


Confirm Rename Levels Dialog

You can now opt to not show this dialog again in the future. I have mixed feelings about this as there are times when you want to select Yes and other situations that would be best to select No.

If you want to reset this, look in the Revit.ini file for:

  • Checked and Yes: SuppressConfirmLevelRename=6
  • Check and No: SuppressConfirmLevelRename=7
  • Not checked and Yes or No: SuppressConfirmLevelRename=0

Project Browser – Right click option

This found its way in to the 2018.2 update … and is super helpful. Collapse all nodes to clean up the presentation of the Project Browser.


Retired Elements of the UI

Gone are the Suite Workflow and Publish tools in the File Tab as shown here:


The Export flyout, on the File Tab, also sees the Building Site command removed. If you are curious what this did, read my past blog post here: Revit 2018 Export to Building Site; Pages from Revit 2018 Architectural Command Reference Book. The Navisworks NWC option is added when Navisworks is installed on the same computer. I hear there will also be an add-in coming out to allow this export without Navisworks installed.


Communicator

This is more of a feature being removed than a simple UI change, but I will mention it here anyway as a transition from UI to features … totally gone is the Communicator from the Collaborate tab. As I understand it, to stay compliant with the ever-evolving industry security standards, there are some challenges that make it better to just decommission this tool at this point.

3D Levels

Levels now appear in 3D views, but not in the family editor. The Levels category is turned off by default to maintain visual fidelity when upgrading a project. If you select a level in a 3D view, the plane highlights. The extents are controlled by the usual options, such as the level’s “3D” extents, Section Box and Scope Box. Dragging a selected level’s grip, in a 3D view, is equivalent to a 3D edit in an elevation or section, so use caution.


New Warning Associated with Deleting Levels

A long overdue feature! When you attempt to delete a level, you will receive a warning indicating the number of elements and views that will also be deleted. In case you did not know, in previous versions, if you deleted a level, Revit would silently delete all elements and views associated with that level—the result was a severely messed up model if not caught right away.


Elements to be deleted with the level are also highlighted in the current view as shown in the next image.


Project Browser – Slow double click

Slow double-click on names in Project Browser to enter in-line rename mode.

Projection Mode Toggle

It is now a lot easier to switch between Perspective and Orthographic modes in a 3D view!




Assign Scope Box to 3D Views

We can now assign a Scope Box to a 3D view as shown in the following image.


Uncropped Perspective

This is sure to be a very popular new feature—Perspective views can now be uncropped, which fills the entire window as shown in the next image. Not only that, but when you scroll the mouse wheel within an uncropped perspective, the camera moves. Thus, you travel through the model, and not just zoom in. The only problem is you cannot turn, so you must switch to the Navigation Wheel and use Look.

In an uncropped perspective, when an element is selected, double-click the wheel button to zoom to it.

An uncropped perspective cannot be placed on a sheet for obvious reasons. If you try, the following warning is given:

Selecting Yes crops the view and allows you to place it on the sheet. However, the crop region will likely need to be adjusted. The image below shows the result with some portions of the building not showing.

When you enable cropping to place a perspective view on the sheet, you may see a change in the view; for example, compare 3D view in the previous image with the one earlier in this article. To help with this, when you right-click in an uncropped perspective, you can select Reset Crop Boundary to Screen as shown below. The second option, Reset Crop Boundary to Model, has the more drastic effect of including the entire model within the crop window.

This feature also makes the preview on the Recent Files page look great … even though you should never use them—here’s why: Create a New Local File Daily.


Double Fill Patterns

The next feature I will talk about is a direct result of the Revit Ideas mechanism Autodesk created to get customer feedback. Back in May 2016, Herwin Voortman posted the idea: Double Patterns. It went from “Under Review” to “Accepted” to here it is in Revit 2019!

In Revit 2019, anywhere you can apply a fill pattern, we can now select two: Foreground and Background. This ultimately gives us more control over how things look graphically in the model. Note that the Background pattern can only be a Drafting pattern (including a solid).

Here is an example of the Foreground and Background being applied to the same element from two different settings. I am sure Revit users will come up with some interesting workflows using this new functionality.


Advanced Materials

A topic near and dear to my heart has seen an improvement in Revit 2019 … that is, Materials. More specifically, Physical Based Appearance Assets. There is a new advanced material library with high resolution textures, additional controls and dramatic quality improvements.

All of your current materials will work just fine in Revit 2019. To help differentiate between legacy and advanced materials, the old stuff gets an orange triangle in the lower left corner as shown here. At first, I thought the new items should get the new symbol, but as we work towards moving to the new materials, the symbols will be gone and this mark will serve as a warning in the future.

The Autodesk-provided material library contains both legacy and advanced materials. Speaking of material libraries, there is now only one AEC Materials library available within the Material Browser.


Notice, in the next image, where you would typically see “Generic” or a physical material such as “Glass” or “Wood” we see the word “Parameters” for advanced materials. The quality in a rendering is very noticeable as seen in the ceiling example.


Here are the four images used to define this new advanced material:

The next image is a comparison in texture image quality:

Finally, some of the textures are very large files as shown here:

One last example image comparing the legacy asset with the new 2019 version.


View Filters: Adds “Or” Condition

This next one was described as the number one request on Revit Ideas in this Revit Roadmap Update – August 2017 post. We can now create much more complex view filters using a combination of “And” and “Or” conditions. To support this, the Filters dialog has changed considerably as shown here.

The next two images show an example of how this new functionality could be used…



Split Railing

The Split Element command now works on railings. As expected, the result is two separate railing elements. It should be noted that the Split with Gap command does not work on railings.

Steel Tab

Revit 2019 has a new tab on the Ribbon called Steel, as shown below. This ties in with the AutoCAD Advanced Steel workflow. I find it interesting that we now have a Structure and a Steel tab, as Steel is obviously a subset of Structure. With this precedence, I feel like MEP should be split up into separate tabs to allow for future growth of functionality.


IFC Export

This dialog has a new option, shown below.


Vertical Text Alignment

We now have the ability to control the vertical alignment of text within the textbox, as shown here.


Average Illuminance for IES-based Lighting Fixtures

Utilization of Coefficient calculation for absolute photometry (i.e., LED lighting fixtures) is fixed.

Rise Drop Symbols

The improvements in the 2019 version compared to the 2018 version are shown below.


Hydraulic Separation for Hydronic Piping Systems (Primary/Secondary)

Hydraulic Separation is a continuation of the improvements added for closed loop hydronic networks in the 2018 release.  Now, complex networks may be separated into primary, secondary, and tertiary loops.  The pressure drop is calculated independently for each loop.

A read-only parameter called Loop Boundary has been added to pipes assigned to hydronic systems to indicate whether it is a boundary for the loop. Note: this is not a fully developed example, so the calculations are all zero.


Parallel Pumps Sets (Duty/Standby)

Building off the work done in Revit 2018 to strengthen flow and pressure loss calculations, Autodesk added capability for Mechanical Engineers and Designers to utilize pumps operating in parallel conditions.

The goal is to make setting up parallel pump sets as seamless as possible from the perspective of creating and editing systems in Revit.  The set determines the number of pumps that are running at a time.  This information is used by the flow and pressure calculations for proper sizing of the branches and header of the pump set.  In previous Revit releases, flow through each branch was determined by the pressure drop on each branch.

In addition, there are several minor MEP-related improvements around fabrication modeling:

  • Step Down Connector improvements
  • Connector matching automation
  • Use of non-service template items
  • Export fabrication elements via API
  • Additional fabrication patterns supported with auto-fill 
  • Change Size / Service Improvements
  • Sloped Fabrication Piping Routing Improvements
  • PCF Output Improvements
  • Inside / Outside Diameter on Fabrication Piping

Dimensions on Cut Geometry

Linear Dimensions, Aligned Dimensions, Spot Elevation and Spot Coordinate now work on view specific geometry such as edges and points created by a section cut plane. These improvements enhance the workflows for detailing complex bridge components (decks, girders, peers, etc.,) as well as structural building elements. In the example below, I have added dimensions between three curved beams, where one is a more complex double curve.

Even linework generated by a section box, in a 3D view, can be used to host dimensions as shown here.


Known 2019 UI Bug

If you try to add a command to the Quick Access Toolbar, it will be hidden as shown in the following image, until you close and reopen the current project (no need to fully exit Revit).


Conclusion

This release of Revit has a lot of great new features and enhancements that are sure to make many customers happy. If there are things you were hoping would have made it into this release, be sure to head over to Revit Ideas and make sure it is listed and you have voted for it. Also, be sure to keep an eye on my blog, BIM Chapters, as I continue to write about these new features in more detail.

About the Author

Dan Stine is a registered Architect with twenty-three years of experience in the architectural field. He currently works at LHB (a 250 person multidiscipline firm) in Duluth Minnesota as the BIM Administrator, providing training, customization and support for two regional offices. Dan has worked in a total of four firms. While at these firms, he has participated in collaborative projects with several other firms on various projects (including Cesar Pelli, Weber Music Hall – University of Minnesota - Duluth).  Dan is a member of the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) and the Autodesk Developer Network (ADN) and has taught AutoCAD and Revit Architecture classes at Lake Superior College, for the Architectural Technology program; additionally, he is a Certified Construction Document Technician (CDT). Dan currently teaches BIM to interior design students at North Dakota State University (NDSU). He has presented at Autodesk University, the Revit Technology Conference and Minnesota University.

AECbytes content should not be reproduced on any other website, blog, print publication, or newsletter without permission.

Related Archive Articles

  • Autodesk's 2015 Building Design Portfolio
  • Improvements include expanding the capabilities of FormIt and Dynamo, extending the scope and scale of Revit especially for fabrication and construction, enhancing the point cloud capabilities across all of Autodesk's modeling products, tighter integration with Autodesk cloud services, and improved analysis and simulation.
  • Autodesk University 2014
  • News and updates from Autodesk University 2014, including A360 Collaboration for Revit and the Ember 3D printer, and presentations including the evolution of technology implementation at HOK and the use of AEC technology on Disney's Enchanted Storybook Castle in Shanghai.
  • Revit 2014
  • An indepth review of the new version of Revit, the key product in the 2014 Autodesk Building Design Suite, to see what additional BIM capabilities it can provide to AEC professionals across all the three design disciplines it targets: architecture, structure, and MEP.
  • Got Macros? Scripting and Coding for BIM
  • In this article, Karen Kensek, Assistant Professor in USC's School of Architecture, advocates the writing and use of macros in AEC firms to improve the efficiency of BIM, which "out of the box" is not synchronized with the way firms work.
  • Revit 2015 - Enhanced Hidden Line Control and More
  • This tutorial by Dan Stine looks at the main updates that are likely to affect everyday work in the just-released 2015 version of Revit, including a change related to the Revit user name and some view-related changes including Sketchy Lines, Anti-aliasing, Revit Hidden Lines control, and Revision clouds and tags.