Sunday, August 5, 2012

EXCEL YOURSELF

OK, so Adriel asked for a better explanation of how to assign parameters to the panels, and how to link data in the 2 worksheets.

Firstly the panels.  You need to add instance parameters to your curtain pattern family.  Normally if you want these to appear in a schedule, they need to be shared parameters, but the linking software doesn't seem worried about this.

I made mine shared, just in case I want to schedule them within Revit. 



Check the shared parameter button, click on "select" to open the next dialogue.  Now choose "edit".
First time around you will have to browse to a suitable folder and create a text file where your shared parameters will be stored.

Then choose "new group" type something suitable like "curtain panels", then choose "new parameter" and make text parameters called "X value" and "Y value" or you can use U & V if you prefer.  These 2 values will be used to identify the location of each panel in the rectangular grid.



The third parameter will be  the one that we want to vary.  In my case I called it "Thickness".  It could be "Radius" or "Angle".  Later one when you get more confident you could add several parameters to control independently.  Make sure you choose the right category of parameter, probably "length" or "angle".  It needs to be numerical if you want to use the formula capability of Revit to create interesting patterns.



Once you have the parameters set up, you need to assign each curtain panel with its correct X & Y values.  To make this easier select one panel, right click and choose "select panels > along vertical grid".  This whole column should have the same X value.

Do this for all the columns.  Then do the same for the horizontal rows, assigning the Y values.



By selecting rows and columns you can label 100 curtain panels in 20 steps: 10 vertical & 10 horizontal. 

You can leave all the thickness parameters at their default setting, because you will be using Excel to drive these values.

Now you can export an Excel file.  Follow the guidance provided with the software you chose.  It's pretty straightforward.  You will be prompted to choose the category (Curtain Panels) and choose the parameters you want (the 3 we just created)  Revit Excel Link exports a bunch of other parameters that it uses (unique ID values for example) and these are all coloured blue.  The headings are coloured grey, and the data you created is left white. 



You will need to organise the data so that the X & Y values are in the right order.  Select all the white & blue cells, then go to Sort and filter.  This will allow you to sort first by X, then by Y while leaving the headings undisturbed.  These are pretty basic Excel skills.  If you don't have them you will need to spend a bit of time getting familiar with the programme, so that you can start to take advantage of the power it has.  

Once the data is organised you need to open a second worksheet.  Have two windows open so you can see the 2 worksheets side by side.  Now create a rectangular array of data in your second worksheet.  Curtain wall was 11x11 so I have and array of this size.  You can populate this grid with data, using simple formulae at first.  You could have a formula that simply adds 50mm each time you move once cell to the right. 



Now you need to link this data to the first sheet.  The key idea here is to take a set of vertical columns and stack them one on top of the other.  Select each column in turn.  Copy to clipboard.  Move to the other worksheet.  Select the matching portion of the vertical stack.  Paste from clipboard.  The data will come in as links.  Worksheet 2 is now driving the data in Worksheet 1.



In the example I show above I have set up a more complex system with values based on a sine wave.  The starting value of the top left hand cell is controlled by a slider bar.  As you move the slider, the pattern ripples across from left to right.  More on this in a future post.


By way of acknowledgement.  The gif was inspired by some nice work on a newish blog here:   http://revitdowntothedetails.blogspot.com/

5 comments:

  1. Hi Andy,
    thanks for the informative post.
    I have tried REL 2012 but it doesn't work still.
    But anyways, i have other questions regarding this post, sorry for the trouble!
    1) did you use curtain panel by pattern based family?
    2) how did you get the "select panels - along vertical grid" command? in both versions of Revit 2012 and 2013, even within or outside of in-place mass editor, i couldn't see such an option.
    3) could you explain how you populated an entire excel column with the RANDBETWEEN function?

    Thanks!

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  2. Hi Adriel

    1 No, I have been using standard curtain walls
    2 Tab-select and individual panel, right click, select panels ... but only works on standard curtain wall. Using pattern-based you have to select panels one by one I'm afraid. 3. To propagate any function or relationship in excel, drag the little black square in the bottom right corner.

    Good luck & let me know how you get on

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  3. Hi Andy, really appreciate your lightning fast reply. Thanks to you, i found out where i was going wrong.
    What i did "wrong" was i used curtain panel by pattern based within an in-place massing family. REL couldn't reach into those curtain panel by pattern based, that was why the excel data was only coming out as read-only. In other words, because they were "wrapped" by the massing family, REL couldn't reach inside to grab those data. I tried BIM-link and the same issue occurred, so im guessing this is an inherent revit limitation. However now that this has happened, i recall zach kron n ian keough mentioning last au2011 that there is a work around for this. That is to create parameters in the massing family and using them to link to the values of curtain panels within. If we have 121 curtain panels within the mass in place with one instance parameter each, we have to create 121 new parameters in the mass in-place to link them together.
    Anyway more about this post that you have written, i have to say it was very comprehensive. I managed to replicate your work after reading it, and look forward to your next post on this!

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  5. You need to stay within your budget, but you need to decide which is the best for you. You may want to stick with the darker curtains, if you do not like the sunshine to be in your eyes.

    cleanroom curtains

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