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Importing a CAD file

From: Up and Running with Revit

Video: Importing a CAD file

While you may have chosen to do all of your work in Revit, some of the colleagues and coworkers that you have working in other firms, or even in your own firm, may have chosen to work in other programs such as AutoCAD or MicroStation. Well, Revit understands the file formats used by these other programs. It can import and export to DWG and DGN. And so in this movie, I'd like to show you the process of importing data that was created in AutoCAD to use here in your Revit project. So let's say that the site plan for our restaurant building here was created in AutoCAD, that our civil engineer is working in AutoCAD. They've sent us a DWG file and we want to be able to bring that DWG file in and use it here in our project.

Importing a CAD file

While you may have chosen to do all of your work in Revit, some of the colleagues and coworkers that you have working in other firms, or even in your own firm, may have chosen to work in other programs such as AutoCAD or MicroStation. Well, Revit understands the file formats used by these other programs. It can import and export to DWG and DGN. And so in this movie, I'd like to show you the process of importing data that was created in AutoCAD to use here in your Revit project. So let's say that the site plan for our restaurant building here was created in AutoCAD, that our civil engineer is working in AutoCAD. They've sent us a DWG file and we want to be able to bring that DWG file in and use it here in our project.

So, I'm in a file called Link CAD, and I'm looking at the level 1 floor plan, and I think it would make a little more sense to work in the site plan for this process. So, I'm going to double-click Site Plan, and you can see that I get a simplified view of the building. We're looking down on the building, now, so you're just seeing the roof. And let me go ahead and zoom out a little bit to give myself some room to work. Now, on the insert tab, I'm going to choose the Link CAD button. Now, it's possible to actually link a CAD file or import a CAD file, but, generally speaking Link CAD is the preferred method.

And one of the main advantages of Link CAD is, that later if my civil engineer sends me an updated version of the CAD file, I'll simply be able to refresh and get those changes. I won't have to repeat the whole process all over again, so that's one of the Key advantages of using link cad. Here's a file, site plan. I'm going to select it. Notice down here under files of type that you can do dwg or dxf or dgn. So, there's several, several different formats that you can choose from, so just make sure you choose the appropriate files of type before you start but, we've got a dwg here. I'm going to accept most of the default options but, let me just talk through a few of them.

You can change the colors all to black and white if you want to. I'm going to preserve them in this case. You can bring in just some of the layers in the file. I'm going to bring in all of the layers. Layers are the way that cad files are organized, so it might have a few layers, it might have dozens or hundreds of layers, so sometimes it's nicer to specify if you don't want to get all of them. In this case, I only have a few, so I'm going to bring them all in. Import units, usually Revit will do a good job. It will interpret the file correctly. If for some reason it doesn't, just undo, go back out, and choose either feet or millimeters or whatever the unit might be, but in this case, I'm going to leave it auto-detect. I'm going to leave this correct lines feature. That's a nice feature that corrects some things that are slightly inaccurate in the file and prevents an error message from occurring, so that's usually a pretty good idea.

For positioning, if you know for sure that the owner of this file worked with the same origin as you, you can choose origin origin. In this case I'm not certain that's the case, so I'm just going to bring it center to center and then move it after it comes in. So usually it's a pretty safe bet to do that, but you can try origin origin, see what you get. I'm going to orient it to view at level one, and then finally, over here, you can tell it to be current view only, which means that the file will come in and display only in the view that you're in. So if I bring it in the site plan, that's the only view it would show in.

If you leave that unchecked, then it's going to show in all views. Regardless of the kind of data it is, it'll treat it like it's part of the models. So that's what I'm going to do in this case. I'm going to leave that unchecked. So I'm going to go ahead and click open. And you're going to see that site plan data come in. And of course, it's in the wrong spot. You can see it here. It's right on top of my building. When you move your mouse next to it, you see it highlights with this big rectangle around it. That's the CAD file. So when you click it, you're going to select the whole thing. This blue dash line represents my property line. So what I want to do is move that into position relative to my building.

So I'm going to move it roughly first and then I'll fine tune that position. So I'm going to go to my move command right here. And notice that I can snap to point in the CAD file, so that's a really powerful feature of this technique is that even though it's data created outside of revit, revit still can snap to the points in there very accurately. So let's click that end point and I'm going to snap that exactly to column line 'A' one. Now, that's just a rough starting point you could see that it gives me lots of room on the right side of the building and no room on the left. So I'm going to go to move again and pick any old point and I'm going to move it over to the left ten feet.

So I'll just type in 10 and now I'm a little bit better centered. Now, I'm going to zoom in so we can get a better look, and again, I'm, building is a little bit off here, and I've got some room in the back. So let's try moving it down. So I'm going to pick any old point, move is straight down. And I'm going to move it down about six feet. And now you can see that, that gives me a little bit of room right here to the set back line, a little bit of room in the back. So, I'm fitting on my property line correctly now. We'll zoom out.

I've got the neighboring street. I've got the parking lot. If I come up here and I click the default 3D view, the birdhouse icon, you can see that this site plan is going to show in any view I look in. So here it is in 3D. It's flat. It's a flat 2D drawing, but it still displays here in 3D. That's because we did not check that current view only. Had we checked the current view only checkbox, it wouldl not show here. It really depends on how you're intending to use the CAD file, whether or not you want to check that box. Again, like I said, a really important benefit to this process is, if I come over here to the Insert tab, I have this Manage Links button. I can click that.

And under CAD formats, there's my site plan. So if my civil engineer calls me and says, I've sent you a new copy of the site plan, you want to reload it. All I have to do is click it here and choose the reload button right there and it will bring in the latest data. So that's a really useful technique to employ to make sure you've always go the latest copy. So if you're getting CAD files from outside sources that weren't created in Revit It's real easy to bring them in. Link CAD is really the way to go, because then, if necessary, you can update and get the latest version anytime you're sent a new copy of the file.

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Up and Running with Revit

34 video lessons · 6368 viewers

Paul F. Aubin
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