Revit to Sketchup: How to Prepare your Model for Export

It’s a common workflow for designers to turn to Sketchup during the early phases of a building design because jumping straight into Revit model is often more time consuming. In this post, we will cover the less common workflow of going from Revit to Sketchup and discuss some recommended techniques and some common errors to watch out for.

In part one, we’ll cover the process from the Revit side of the workflow, where you will prep your model for export.

1. Prep Your Revit Model

On the surface, it can seem fairly simple to export Revit to Sketchup, but here are some techniques that should make your life a little easier before importing to Sketchup.

Model Lines for Reference

I highly recommend that you draw a set of model lines around your Revit model to use as a reference after imported to Sketchup. As shown later in this tutorial, it can be difficult to align the multiple models in Sketchup without these lines to snap to.

Export Models by Model Category

Another technique that can help when exporting Revit to Sketchup is to export multiple models which contain a few model categories rather than one model containing all model categories. Although Sketchup maintains layers for visibility, it is still much easier to manage when individual models contain a common model category.

In the screenshot to the right, you can see that I’ve created an individual 3D view for Doors, Roofs, Walls and Windows, however the view named “Export – Site” actually has the Parking, Planting, and Revit to SketchupTopography model categories set to visible because for this project, it makes sense to have all site elements in one exported model.

There are a number of ways to control visibility in Revit, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide what works best for you.

2. Export from Revit

Now that you have your model prepped, you are ready to export your 3D views as individual model as the next step in transitioning from Revit to Sketchup.

Export to DWG

Within Revit, navigate to the File menu and choose Export > CAD Formats > DWG.

In this DWG Export window, you are presented with several options including the option to select multiple views to be exported in batch. If you don’t see the 3D views that you created in step one, you might need to change the Export dropdown to  and the Show in list dropdown to Views in Model as shown in the screenshot below. Once the relevant views are displayed, simply check the box under the Include column to select the 3D views to be exported from Revit to Sketchup.

Revit to Sketchup

AutoCAD DWG Version

One important detail that often gets overlooked when transitioning your model from Revit to Sketchup is the DWG file version. Sketchup typically doesn’t support newer versions of CAD file types, so you’ll want to make sure you have a compatible version of the AutoCAD DWG after export.

To change this setting, click the Modify Export Setup button. It is the obscure ellipsis button in the Select Export Setup section of the DWG Export window (see screenshot below).

Revit to Sketchup

In the Modify DWG/DXF Export Setup window, I typically change the “Export to file format” way back to AutoCAD 2007 Format. This way you’ll be sure that it is compatible with most current versions of Sketchup.

Revit to Sketchup

Now that you’ve adjusted all of your settings, you are ready to export. Click the Next button in the DWG Export window. You will then be prompted to save the DWG files. Browse to an appropriate target folder location to save the files.


Now that you have successfully exported your CAD files, you are ready to complete the process of converting your model from Revit to Sketchup. Click here to learn how to do this in part 2. 

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Revit Terminology: What You Need to Know to Implement the BIM Software

A mandatory step in implementing any new software is learning the unique language that goes along with it. Revit terminology is no different, and is particularly complex. Basic modeling in Revit is typically considered extremely user-friendly, but once a user starts to dive into some of the more advanced features, they can quickly get lost in all of the technical Revit terminology.

In an effort to help with your adoption of Revit, we’ve put together a list of technical terms that are unique to Revit. While you may not have a need to use these features today, you will undoubtedly need a thorough understanding of Revit Terminology as you progress to more complex projects and larger teams.

1) Central ModelRevit Terminology Central Model

The central model is a necessary component to enable worksharing in Revit. The central model must live in a location that is accessible to all team members, whether it is a network location or Autodesk’s BIM 360 cloud platform. The central model is where changes are saved when users sync to central.

2) WorksetsRevit Terminology Worksets

Worksets are a way to apply permissions to objects in Revit. There are many strategies revolving around how worksets are to be used, but their most common uses are for collaborative worksharing and improving performance.

3) Shared parametersRevit terminology shared paramater

Shared parameters can be considered containers for data that needs to be made accessible and shareable among multiple families and projects. The shared parameter file is an external text file stored outside of Revit families or projects. Shared parameters are required to build schedules in Revit.

4) View RangeRevit terminology View Range

View range is the setting in a plan view which allows users to control the visibility of objects along the z-axis. For example, if you needed to see objects that exist below a floor, set the bottom of your view range to a negative value.

5) Hosting

Hosting in Revit entails families that are dependent on a host and do not stand alone. For example, a family of sconces will require a wall or vertical face to host to. Hosting is helpful when you would like an object to “attach” to another object because the hosted element will move along with the element that it is hosted to.

6) Object StylesRevit Terminology Object Styles

Object styles are used to specify various objects in categories and subcategories of a project. These setting allow users to specify line weights, colors, and patterns as well as the materials for model,annotation, and imported objects in a project.These settings are similar to what you would see in Visibility/Graphics, except Object Styles are applied throughout the project rather than a specific view.

7) View FiltersRevit Terminology view filters

View filters are created to override the visibility and graphics in a model which share common properties. View filters are based on model categories and give you a set of rules to control the visibility and graphics of a specific set of elements. Use this tool if you need a more granular way to control graphics of elements that share common properties. For example, you can set the linetype of all pipes that are below grade to dashed lines.

8) Copy/MonitorRevit Terminology Copy/Monitor

Users have the option to Copy/Monitor elements from linked Revit models. Often times, Gridlines and Levels are copy/monitored into each discipline’s model to ensure the entire project team are sharing the locations of these critical elements. If copy/monitored elements are modified, users are notified and can evaluate changes using Coordination Review.

9) CAD links / Imports

Revit Terminology Cad links/importsCAD files can be linked or inserted into a Revit project which are often times used as a starting point to modeling a project or family. Linking CAD files is the preferred method for use in a Revit model, as it’s elements remain an external reference to your project. This means users can remove the link without any risk of issues and bloating of the Revit model. On the other hand, when a CAD file is imported, the objects are “embedded” into your Revit model which can cause undesired elements to be loaded and effect model health.

10) Revit warnings

Revit Terminology Revit warningsRevit warnings are crucial when it comes to monitoring your project health. A warning will alert you when there is an issue that might require review and resolution, so it is a good idea to pay attention to these as they appear before you encounter a crisis with your project. If you opt to not address the warnings you receive right away, it is a good idea go through and correct them on a regular basis. Here is a list of Common Revit Warnings you may encounter.

In conclusion, when you start your first project in Revit you can expect to encounter a steep learning curve. On the surface, Revit has a set of straightforward modeling tools, but as you progress towards more and more complex projects you will be exposed to some of Revit’s intermediate features. A good understanding of the aforementioned Revit terminology, tools,  and settings can make the process of adopting Revit a little bit easier.

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Nov 13-15: AU Las Vegas

Nov 13-15: AU Las Vegas

Time & Location

Nov 13-15 2018
Las Vegas NV USA


UNIFI Labs will be exhibiting at AU Las Vegas, can’t wait to see you there!



Dynamo for Revit: What it is and Why You Should Use it

In The Future of BIM, I specifically mentioned an application called Dynamo for Revit. Within the Revit ecosystem, Dynamo is not only the tool of choice for computational designers, but an alternative to computer programming.

Simply put, Dynamo for Revit is a visual scripting tool and gives its users the capability of leveraging the Revit API  to automate a chain of commands that might otherwise be extremely time consuming. These scripts can aid in anything from automating repetitive tasks, managing data, or generating complex geometry in Revit. If you’re looking to break into the field of computational design, it actually requires in-depth understanding of all of the above.

The reason Dynamo for Revit is referenced as a “visual scripting” tool is because it gives users almost all of the power of tapping into the Revit API with absolutely zero software development experience. Keep in mind that a basic understanding coding in Python can give users the ability to break through some of the limitations of Dynamo (yes, there are limitations).

Dynamo Graphs Explained

A script in Dynamo is saved as a file with the extension of “dyn” and is often referred to as a graph. It looks similar to a flow chart, and rightfully so, as it is comprised of a series of inputs, outputs, and functions.

Dynamo Graph

In Dynamo, a node does all of the work. The image above is the addition node, which serves to add two values together. Keynotes #1 and #2 are the inputs labeled “x” and “y” while the output is identified with keynote #3.

Dynamo Revit

In the example above, you’ll see that I’ve connected the output of two Number nodes to “x” and “y”. The output of the Addition node is connected to a Watch node which has the sole purpose of visually displaying an output.


You may have noticed that the Watch node has an output as well. In the example above, I’ve taken the output of the Watch node and connected it to a Multiplication (*) node to multiple it by 100.

Once you have a graph comprised of nodes wired together as displayed in the example above, you may start to understand why this is called visual scripting. If you were to write out an equivalent script in a more conventional software development language such as C#, it would look something like:

int x = 1;
int y = 1;
int sum = x + y;


int z = 100;
int result = sum * z;


Example: Automating the Repetitive Tasks

Dynamo Revit

One example of how a Revit user can leverage Dynamo for Revit automation is the creation of sheets. If you’re currently creating sheets in Revit individually, stop what you’re doing because Dynamo can create dozens of sheets for you in seconds.

Dynamo can read Excel spreadsheets out of the box and map sheet numbers paired with sheet names into Sheets within a Revit project. A quick search on the Dynamo forum  returns several discussions around this task.

Example: Data Wrangling

Historically, wrangling the data within Revit models manually has been a daunting task. The interface of editing schedules has left much to be desired even with the application’s latest 2019 release. While there are several third-party tools out there in the BIM ecosystem to aid in this type of work, these often involve licensing fees.

One of the most useful graphs that I’ve built in the realm of data manipulation is to help relieve some of the grunt work associated with COBie compliance. This graph will take a room number from the Number parameter of a Room element and push it into the COBie.Component.Space parameter of an element that is either within the Room or in the ceiling space above the Room. The graph takes the bounding box of the room and expands essentially “stretches” it to include the ceiling space. You can access further information  on this graph including the workflow and details of the function of each node or download it free here


With a basic understanding of what Dynamo for Revit can do, I challenge you to keep an eye out for opportunities for automation. Even if you have a tool that can push parameters values from one to another, try to accomplish it on your own in Dynamo. Or if you find yourself pushing the same button twenty times in a row, consider if that repetitive task can be accomplished with Dynamo. Dynamo for Revit makes automation available to users, whether or not you know how to code.


If you’re just stating out on your journey to learn Dynamo for Revit, one of the best free resources is the Dynamo Primer. This is the de facto reference guide which covers everything you’ll need to know to get started.

If you already understand how to use Dynamo for Revit but have run into a roadblock with a graph you’re developing, I highly recommend asking for help in the DynamoBIM forums. These forums are highly active and have passionate advocates who are willing to help out those in need.

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Meet Our Webinar Panelist: Adam Murray, BIM Manager at CannonDesign

We are very excited to strategize managing Revit libraries in multidisciplinary, nationwide firms on our Industry Insights webinar next Wednesday. UNIFI’s very own Jay Merlan, will interview Adam Murray AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc., BIM Manager Adam Murray CannonDesignat CannonDesign to learn the techniques, workflows, standards compliance, and steps of software implementation he takes to reach success as a BIM Manager.

UNIFI selected Mr. Murray as our panelist due to his impressive professional experience, outstanding success as a BIM Manager, passion for technology, distinct perspective on all things BIM, and excellent reputation among his peers in the industry. While Mr. Murray is a self proclaimed “computer geek”, he’s also a very well rounded family man who plays guitar, is an avid outdoorsmen, and loves to read.

Mr. Murray was initially introduced to BIM in an introduction to AutoCAD and Revit course during his undergrad at Lawrence Technological Institute. He recalls experiencing excitement about the possibilities that Revit offered the AECO industries right away. Mr. Murray has since developed a full blown passion for BIM and is excited to be apart of its endless possibilities to integrate with other technologies and processes in the future.

Since his passion for BIM was born, Mr. Murray has come a long way. He has worked in the Architectural Design Industry for the past 8 years where he uses his passion for BIM daily. He started his career as an architectural drafter and has since worked his way up to become a registered architect. Along the way, he continued his education earned his Master’s Degree in Architecture.

After several years of actively engaging in standards implementation and content development, Mr. Murray obtained his current role of BIM Manager at CannonDesign. He oversees training, project support, troubleshooting, other BIM-related needs in the Houston, Dallas, and Denver CannonDesign offices.

The greatest challenge Mr. Murray faces as a BIM Manager is balancing the various markets and focuses of CannonDesign when implementing new standards or workflows. CannonDesign is a large, multidisciplinary firm that encompasses Architecture, Engineering, and Construction. This requires Mr. Murray to find solutions that work for and benefit all of these components in their unique development cycle. Impressively, Mr. Murray takes advantage of the opportunity this balancing act brings to actively reach out to his colleagues and work with his BIM team and quality groups to come up with solutions. Mr. Murray sincerely enjoys playing an integral role in developing strategies that help hundreds of people work more efficiently on a daily basis.

As for what the future holds for BIM, there is a going to be an increased focus on the “I” in BIM that has been ignored up to this point according to Mr. Murray. Furthermore, he feels strongly that it’s time to leverage the information of  BIMs to introduce design intelligence into workflows and begin automating and augmenting the process in which the industry delivers work.

Beyond the impressive aforementioned accolades and strong insight Mr. Murray possess, he has a friendly personality and inspirational, forward thinking attitude. You will see exactly what we’re talking about when we interview him live on our webinar next Wednesday, October 24 at 11 am PST.

We look forward to having you there!

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Oct 24 @ 11 AM pst: Webinar Invite

For this episode of INDUSTRY INSIGHTS we will be discussing strategy for managing Revit libraries in a multi-discipline nation-wide firm. We are thrilled to have Adam Murray, BIM Manager at CannonDesign,join us to share his experience managing a Revit library in a multidisciplinary firm. We will review the techniques, workflows, standards compliance, and software implementation steps that contributed to his success as a BIM Manager. We will also talk about the challenges and road bumps he encountered while implementing UNIFI Core at CannonDesign. 

Webinar Details:

-Overview of the challenges MEP and other multidisciplinary firms encounter.
-Interview with BIM Manager Adam Murray, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc.

Click here to register now!

Revit for Mac and Linux

When I started using Revit back in 2005, I was an Apple Macintosh user. As with learning any new application, and in this case learning about the technology of Building Information Modeling itself, I became obsessed and I wanted a version of Revit for Mac. Of course, back then Autodesk didn’t even offer a version of AutoCAD for Mac! The good news is, things are quite different now an we finally have some viable options for running Autodesk software on an Apple machine.

Autodesk has provided an Apple version of AutoCAD for several years now, but still there is no native version of Revit for Mac in sight. Rather than waiting for Autodesk to release Revit for Mac, there are several options for running Windows applications on an Apple machine.

Bootcamp and Virtualization

Apple has gone to the extreme and has finally given its users the option to partition their hard drive and boot directly to a Windows installation using Bootcamp, which obviously will let you run any Windows application you like. Really, at that point you have transformed your shiny Apple into a Windows box. On the plus side, this method gives users a true Windows experience and allows users to leverage the premium hardware that Apple users seem to be committed to. I will say that if you don’t need to do any heavy lifting in Revit, splitting up your precious drive can be quite the chore especially if your sole purpose of partitioning is only to get a version of Revit for Mac.

If you only need an instance of Revit for Mac to review models or do some light work, you may want to go the route of using virtualization software such as Parallels or FusionIn a nutshell, this sort of emulation gives your non-Windows machine a virtual machine “inside” of it.

In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system (called the host) to behave like another computer system (called the guest). An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate (or imitate) another program or device.

The major downside to using an emulator to run Revit for Mac is your machine is technically working nearly twice as hard to run an operating system inside of an operating system. Although this will get you up and running faster than partitioning your hard drive, it is probably not the best solution for most Revit users.

Rather than covering the concept of partitioning your hard drive (it is pretty straightforward), I want to run through the option of using a virtual machine to run Revit for Mac or Linux.

Installing Revit for Mac or Linux

I am no longer a Mac user, however I am a Linux user and I’ve recently had the opportunity to install Revit on Ubuntu 17.10. If you are looking to learn how to run an instance of Revit for Mac, you’ll be pleased to know that this tutorial has you covered because Mac OSX and Linux are cut from the same cloth, so to speak, as they are both Unix-based operating systems.I wanted to see if there were any improvements on running Revit for Mac or Linux on a virtual PC. Overall, I was rather impressed with the outcome, but again, I wouldn’t recommend any heavy-lifting with this sort of configuration.

Download Oracle’s VirtualBox (free)

I like free things, so I chose to use Oracle’s VM VirtualBox Revit for macvirtualization software. This application is feature-rich and gives its expensive, for-pay competitors that I mentioned earlier a run for their money. They have packages for a number of hosts such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.You can download VirtualBox here.

Download Windows

Did you know that Microsoft allows you to download and install Windows 10 for free? You won’t be able to activate it without a legitimate license, but if you are simply looking to test out how an instance of Revit for Mac would run on your machine, this is a great place to start.

Again, even if you don’t have a license for Windows 10, you can still test performance of Revit for Mac or Linux by installing Windows 10 without activating it. However, if you are planning to use Windows for anything beyond that, please activate it!

Create Your Virtual Machine

MicrosoftGive the virtual machine a name and choose the appropriate Type and Version of Windows.

In the following dialogs, you will be prompted to choose some settings for your virtual machine such as allocating RAM and the Hard disk. I am far from an expert at virtual machines so I won’t pretend to know the best settings, but for this test I went with 10GB of RAM and a VDI hard disk of a fixed size. I went with a fixed size hard drive because I’ve heard that it can improve performance for virtual machines.

For the record, the desktop that I’m using is a Dell Optiplex 980 with an Intel i5 Intel® Core™ i5 CPU 670 with 16GB of RAM. Not the most powerful machine out there, but I was still rather impressed with the results.

Install Windows

We’re almost done setting up an instance where we can run Revit for Mac and Linux, but we still need to install Windows. Double-click your new virtual machine to start her up and VirtuaBox will prompt you to select a startup disk because you don’t have an operating system installed yet. Click the folder icon to the right of the dropdown menu and browse to the Windows ISO that you downloaded earlier in this

Click the Start button and you’ll see your brand new machine booting up and ready to install Windows 10.

Install Revit as Usual

Once Windows is installed, you can move into the final step of getting Revit for Mac and Linux, you simply need to install Revit as you normally would. Since I am a subscription user, I downloaded the Revit installation files from Autodesk Manage. Don’t forget, there are three files that need to download for the installer to work.

Revit for Mac and Linux

In the screenshots below, you can see that I have successfully launched an instance of Revit for Mac or Linux!

Revit For Mac

As I mentioned earlier in the post, this probably isn’t the best solution for most Revit users, however, without a doubt this is the fastest way to install Revit for Mac or Linux. This installation was simply to see how technology has progressed in terms of emulation. I am not entirely sure if this configuration would work well in a production environment, but please leave a comment below and let me know if it worked or didn’t work for you and why.

Happy emulating!

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Oct 11-13: BiLT EUR

Oct 11-13: BiLT EUR

Time & Location

Oct 11-13 2018

Ljubljana, Slovenia


UNIFI Labs will be exhibiting at BiLT EUR, can’t wait to see you there!


3.1.5 Release Notes

Hey UNIFI Customers,

Our latest software update was released on October 8, 2018. We fixed multiple bugs and resolved several issues including the following:

-Fixed an issue where the “overwrite family” dialog and options were not functioning properly.

-Fixed an issue where adding a large number of files to upload would take a long time to populate the upload page.

-Fixed an issue in Batch Export where selecting 3D families would not be included in the total selected count and the Export button would remain unavailable.

-Fixed an issue where changes to a library would not be applied after saving.

-Fixed an issue where batch exporting some drafting views would fail.

-Fixed an issue where uploading a file and an image with the same name through a content request would not apply that image as the preview for the file.

-Fixed an issue where the incorrect number of base files was displayed.

-Fixed an issue where Library Admins would approve or reject a batch upload request and the changes would not be applied.

-Fixed an issue with Harvest Project where selecting a source file using “Open Project File” would open the project in Revit rather than only making the elements within that project available for harvest.

-Improved the image quality of preview images in Harvest Project.

-Fixed an issue where inserting content would not allow the user to rotate the family using the space bar until the Windows focus was on Revit.

-Fixed an issue where uninstalling or updating UNIFI 3.1.2 would not remove the UNIFI.bundle folder and therefore wouldn’t be updated by the next version of UNIFI.

-Fixed an issue in Project Analytics where the Model Path does not display for Revit Links.

-Fixed an issue where, if the user is not logged into UNIFI, using the Request Feature button would crash UNIFI.

-Fixed an issue with drafting views getting renamed during insertion.

Do you have suggestions for future updates or changes? Click here to learn how to submit your recommendations directly in the UNIFI platform. 

The Success of Knoll BIM Content on UNIFI: A Case Study

Did you know that UNIFI Core users can find high quality BIM objects from leading manufacturers such as Knoll directly in the UNIFI Core app?

Benefits for Designers

Typically, when a designer is looking for manufacturer content, they turn to a search engine. This can either lead them to the manufacturer’s website or an online BIM object library. However within the UNIFI Core application design firms have the option to subscribe to manufacturer “channels” which returns search results from not only said firm’s internal standard library, but manufacturer BIM objects as well.

With CORE and CONNECT, searching for something as complex as the perfect chair has suddenly gotten a little easier when users subscribe to the Knoll Channel.

Knoll In the screenshot above, a user is searching for a chair and is not only seeing results from their organization’s internal BIM object library, but from the Knoll manufacturer as well.

According to our statistics, the most downloaded piece of content from the Knoll channel is “Knoll_Studio_Platner_Tables_Side.rfa” which is the Revit family for Knoll’s product, the Platner Side Table. We can see why designers have opted to not attempt to model this family themselves. There look to be several hundred sweeps in the base of that table!

The Knoll Platner Side Table in Unifi Core

UNIFI Connect for Manufacturers

It goes without saying that visibility of products is key when striving to be specified in projects. However, one added benefit for our manufacturers who are leveraging UNIFI Core to host their BIM content is the ability to track data. We offer PowerBI reports so that our manufacturers can see statistics on not only the number of times their content has been searched and downloaded, but who is downloading it, the number of times it has been loaded into projects, and how many projects their BIM objects have been inserted into.

Today, I’d like to focus on one of our most successful Connect customers to date, Knoll, and share some of their impressive statistics.

Knoll, Inc is a design firm that produces office systems, seating, files and storage, tables and desks, textiles (KnollTextiles), and accessories for the office, home, and higher education settings.[1] The company manufactures furniture for the home by Ludwig Mies van der RoheHarry BertoiaFlorence Knoll (Florence Schust), Frank GehryMaya Lin and Eero Saarinen under the company’s KnollStudio division. Over 40 Knoll designs can be found in the permanent design collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. – Source: Wikipedia

Knoll joined the UNIFI Connect platform a little over one year ago and has seen steady traction with the usage of their BIM objects. Our data shows that their products have been returned in over 430,000 search results to date. Those searches yielded over 2,300 insertions of Knoll products into over 650 projects across the globe.

KnollThe designers who have been using the Knoll content have predominantly hailed from all across the US, but also include users from The UK and Australia.

Since inception, Knoll has seen steady growth in Channel subscriptions. Today, nearly 200 AECO organizations have elected to see Knoll BIM objects included in search results within UNIFI Core by subscribing to the Knoll Channel.

UNIFI Connect is typically seen as a solution for manufacturers, but it also can offer efficiency gains for designers. While we offer several key pieces of analytics to help manufacturers track how their content is being used, designers also reap the benefits of access to high quality manufacturer products directly in their BIM content management system.

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