Author: Ben Bishoff Ideate Software

For me, this last year has been an amazing journey of taking an idea to reality. Back in the fall of 2009, we were pondering lessons learned from creating Ideate Explorer for Revit. The seed idea of that tool, which is still blossoming, was to create an iTunes-like way to explore the Autodesk Revit software building information model (BIM).

From many sources, including our own personal experiences supporting Revit here at Ideate, we heard about people wanting to connect the power of Excel spreadsheets with their Revit models. Excel is the ubiquitous tool for editing large lists of numbers and text. The phase "Excel as the pocketknife of BIM" was bouncing around the blogosphere. At Ideate, we decided to explore how we could connect Excel and Revit.

Well, that was over a year ago and we just released the first version of Ideate BIMLink. Our goal has been to create a simple yet powerful tool that allows you to access the information, or the "I" of BIM. Judging on initial reactions, I think we've hit on something useful and critical to unlocking the true power of designing buildings with Autodesk Revit.

Ideate BIMLink allows you to pick a category of "things" (say walls, rooms or text notes) within your Revit model, and directly create an Excel spreadsheet with properties of those things. No complicated setup needed to create the Excel spreadsheets. (In fact, if you are techie enough to know about COM and ODBC drivers, we don't use any of that.) You don't even need Excel installed on your computer.

Once you have the Revit info in a spreadsheet, analyze and edit using all the powerful commands of Excel you know so well. The changes you make in the spreadsheet can imported back into Revit. You get to preview all the changes you are making to your Revit model before you accept the changes.

Sound interesting? Check out some specific examples of what the Ideate BIMLink application can do on the Ideate Software website. We keep discovering more uses and hearing new ones from our users.

What would you do if Excel and Revit were on speaking terms? Lots I'll bet. The future looks bright for this dynamic combo. Test drive Ideate BIMLink and see how!

For more information on the software solutions, training, and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate, Inc. homepage.

        Ben Bishoff
Ben Bishoff
Senior Software Developer

Ben has been a software engineer for over 25 years. With a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, he has worked at several software companies developing applications for the AEC industry including Sage Timberline (construction accounting and estimating) and ArchT (architectural drafting for AutoCAD). He also worked at Microsoft creating AEC and other diagramming solutions for Office Visio. Ben has been with Ideate Software for over 8 years developing add-ins for Revit including Ideate Explorer and Ideate BIMLink.

This article was originally posted on the Ideate Software blog.