One of the most frustrating aspects I find in using Revit is plotting, My previous plotting experience is based on AutoCAD, initially using pen plotters and then LaserJets and electrostatic plotters.
The PDF format is generally considered the default plotting format. Revit uses third party plotting engines to provide output in this form.
With Revit plotting, I have issues the following areas:
- Use of external PDF plotting software.
- The creation of sheet sets.
- Post Processing.
- Unattended Plotting
What I am looking for:
Provide an internal PDF plotter in Revit with similar concept to the AutoCAD Sheet Systems systems and plotting engine.
- Provide native PDF plotting in Revit.
- Extend sheet sets to support enable to support hierarchies and filters with wild card queries.
- Provide style profiles to allow control of pen weight, colour etc. to support sheet sets plotting with different presentation styles.
- Improved unattended plotting.
External PDF Plotting Software
I currently use Acrobat Pro for plotting but I have found the process slow, clumsy, unreliable and difficult to automate.
- Often the plot stalls and I have to access the system task manager to end the acrobat process to continue the plotting session. This sometime kills Revit completely.
- Acrobat regularly updates the software and this resets the settings on my systems.
- We direct our plots to a specific sub directory for post processing but after an Acrobat update, we find the plots end up in the system documents directory and we have to go in and reset this.
- The issues are random.
- I can plot 1200 A4 sheets from a file one day and the next day there same plot run will have issues.
- Plotting is an attended and manual process.
- I have AutoCAD based batched plotting systems that can reliably plot 7,000 A4 plotted over a day.
- Batch Plotting
Revit does provide a dwf exporter but the format has not been widely adopted by the industry.
The .dwf format
The .dwf formant is vector based format that was introduced last century as Whip. It provides a plotting format that is vector focused and supports overlay markups and 3D support. Autodesk support for this product has waned over the last twenty years of so with the last viewer released 2018 with a hot fix.
- As I understand it, dwf was designed to compete with pdf but the popularity of pdf eclipsed its adoption.
- .dwf(x) is useful as it can carry Revit metadata and is used by some quantities take -off systems for BIM model data extraction.
- Revit plotting is via computer system plotter with the only built-in plotting feature being the .dwf export.
- The organization of the sheet sets for the sheet sets is clumsy and difficult with no hierarchical structure provided.
- We have to use Dynamo to group the sheet into sets to manage the plotting.
Sheet sets are defined from a flat list of views and sheets which has no hierarchical group settings. We use a Dynamo program to group and filer sheets into plotting sheet sets,
We now use AutoCAD’s sheet sets system which can support hierarchical structures allowing one to groups different sets.