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In Revit Architecture 2011 Essential Training, author Paul F. Aubin shows how to create compelling architectural designs using the modeling tools in Revit. This course covers the entire building information modeling (BIM) workflow, from design concept to publishing. It also covers navigating the Revit interface, modeling basic building features such as walls, doors and windows, working with sketch-based components such as roofs and stairs, annotating designs with dimensions and callouts, and adding 3D geometry. Exercise files are included with the course.
In this movie, we'll talk about opening files, and saving files. Opening should be fairly straightforward and if you've used a computer program for any length of time, then you know how important saving is. Both of these functions are critical to your work, and you'll be doing them all the time. We'll also talk about Saving As, making copies, and working with backup files in this lesson. I should mention, however, that all of the lessons here in the training series work in a stand-alone single-user environment. What this means is only one person can be in those files at a given time. But if you work in an office with more than one Revit user, you are going to be opening and saving files a little bit differently.
So we're going to talk about, at the end of the lesson, the concept of work sharing and working in a work-sharing environment and how that allows multiple users to access the same files and how the process of opening and saving will vary slightly in that environment. So let's go ahead and start with the basics for a stand-alone environment, with the Open command. We could certainly open right here from the Recent File screen. The other option we have is we can go to the Application menu and go to Open > Project. It's also on the QAT, and we can also use the Windows shortcut: Ctrl+O. I am going to browse to my Exercise Files in my Chapter03 folder, and I am going to find the file called Open and Save.
I am going to go ahead and open that up. Okay. So here is a really simple office building structure. We'll actually be working on this file throughout the training series, building it sort of from scratch. So let's say I made some changes, and I am ready to save; all I need to do is go to the Application menu and choose Save. The Windows shortcut for that is Ctrl+S, so that's another option. Just press Ctrl key with the S, and that will save it, as well. And that's pretty much all there is to it. Maybe I want to spin off a version of this, create another copy of it, use this file as the basis for some other project; those would all be things that I would do with the Save As command.
So we'll go ahead and choose that from the Application menu > Save As, and then project. This one does not have a Windows shortcut, so we'll always choose that from the Application menu. And let's talk about a few things here. Naturally, I could come in here, and I could just simply change the name. So we are doing Save As. We can call this OpenSaveAs. So I've made that change, and I go ahead and click Save on the file, and I now have a second copy of this file with the name of the first. Now, let's take another quick look in that dialog.
You may have noticed these files that are showing up in your Revit folders that have these numbers after them. What are these? These are actually backup files. So when you make a save copy, when you were in Open and Save, and you actually chose Ctrl+S, or chose the Save command, it took the original version, and it actually numbered it, and then it took the version you were saving, and it went ahead and saved over it. So it's always keeping previous versions. How many of those versions does it keep? Well, that's something you can decide right here in the Options button. So when you're in the Save As dialog, you can click on Options, and you can set the maximum number of backups that Revit will create.
Now, the default is 3, as you can see here, and I can change that number to anything I like. You can't make it fewer than one, so you have to have at least one backup - that's required - but you could certainly increase the number or decrease the number if you so choose. This is not a substitute for a real, sort of bona fide backup strategy, and you can talk to your IT support personnel if you have such a person in your office, for what the actual backup strategy is. It's pretty common that every evening an automated backup will run of the entire network server and back up all project files. But these are a good interim measure to have, these little backup files, as you save, so that every time you save, you've got anywhere from one to three versions that you can roll back to, should some problem occur and you need to look at previous versions.
So it's definitely a handy thing to have, and while you can change the quantity and make it fewer than 3, I think for now I'd probably just leave it at 3 - that's a pretty good number - and go ahead and see how that works for you. So that's opening, saving, and saving as, and again, that's all for stand-alone projects, those procedures. So let's talk about the procedure if you're in a work-share environment, what does that mean? Well, if you have more than one Revit user working in an environment, and they need to share the same file, it's not possible for two users to open the same file at the same time.
So the solution is to use something called Worksharing in Revit. This is a system where you'll have a central file, a master file that will live up on the network server - nobody works in that file - but then when we open from that central file, what actually happens is Revit creates what we call a local file for us. So let me go ahead and demonstrate that process for you. Now, I should point out that it's very difficult for me to actually provide an exercise file for you to simulate this process for real, because the central file relies on your network server.
So what I've done here is I have simulated the process here on my computer, and I am just going to simply demonstrate it for you, so there is no file for you to actually follow along in. So this next couple of minutes, just think of this as concepts. Now, where I would like to direct your attention in this dialog, I have got this folder here called Your Office Network that I just sort of set up to simulate something that you might see. Just pretend that's a network server. And I have selected this file here called Workshare. And where I'd like to direct your attention is down at the bottom of the screen in the Worksharing area.
There is this little check box right here called Create New Local. Now, that's a critical setting. It's on by default when you select a central file. So a Workshare file is actually a central file. We don't ever want to open that directly and work in it. What we want to do instead is create a local file, which Revit will offer to do for us automatically. So make sure that check box is selected, and then go ahead and click Open, and Revit will then go through the process of actually creating a local copy of that network central file on your local hard drive. And if I drop my Window down here and show you the title bar, you can kind of see what it did.
Instead of opening the file called Workshare, what Revit has actually done is it created a new file called Workshare_, and it added my name, Paul Aubin, to the end. This is my Revit username, and Revit does this for me automatically. It adds that on the end. So each of your colleagues will also create their own local file with their usernames tacked on the end. I can go ahead and work as normal in this file, make whatever changes I need to make. There is a lot of process and procedures in there that might vary slightly when you're in Worksharing, but let's keep focused on opening and saving. So the only thing different about opening a Workshare file is to make sure that little check box is chosen.
The next step is when it comes time to save, we actually have two save commands now. We can still do Save or Ctrl+S, like we've always done. That will actually save the local file. But right next to it is now available an icon called Synchronize and Modify Settings. This command will actually launch a dialog box, where I am synchronizing my changes with the central file. So Synchronize is a little different than saving. What it's actually doing is taking any changes I've made to the model, pushing those up to the central file, and then taking any changes that my colleagues have made and pulling them down from the central file and updating my local.
So both of those happen simultaneously when I click OK in this dialog, but it's definitely as important for me to synchronize to central on a fairly regular basis as it is for me to save with the Save command or the Ctrl+S my local file. So you really need to do both; save your local file and synchronize with the central file on a regular basis. Let me just point out one or two more things here, should you want to load a Workshare file a little bit more quickly. So I am going to close that Worksharing file, and I am going to go back to Open, and I am going to select it again.
This is a very simple file that I have onscreen, but let's just pretend for the sake of argument that it's a large file, thousands of square feet, many users working on it. Sometimes those files can have a tendency to load rather slowly. So what your CAD or BIM Manager might do is set up multiple work sets in that file, and what you're able to do then is use this little dropdown arrow here, choose Specify, and then click Open, and what this will do is it will present you with the Opening Worksets dialog before you actually open the file, and then you can go in and select any Worksets that you're not interested in seeing and close them before you go ahead and click Open.
One last thing to point out here is I have gotten this dialog now that says, hey, there is already a local file called Workshare_Paul Aubin. What do you want to do about that? I can either overwrite that existing file, or I can actually add a timestamp to the existing one and create a new version, which I like to do. It's kind of like giving me an extra backup. So go ahead and choose the Timestamp option. Yesterday's local file will get this timestamp, and today's will get the default name of Workshare_Paul Aubin, like we saw a moment ago.
So the process for opening and saving is similar, but slightly different, depending on whether you are working in a stand-alone or whether you are working in a Worksharing environment. Most of you, when you're working in an office environment with multiple users will be working in a Worksharing environment, so please just make note of the procedures I showed you. But bear in mind that for the remainder of the training series, we are going to be working in stand-alone files, because it's more conducive to the way that we have to deliver data sets, and the fact that we're working asynchronously and separately in our environment here in the training series.
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