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Author: Ideate, Inc. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Software, Revit, Microsoft Excel

Recently,  I received a Support call regarding Ideate BIMLink.

The customer was distraught because he exported all his data using Ideate BIMLink and when he tried to import back to Revit 2012, he was presented with this error: Unable to Import Excel Spreadsheet. Excel Columns Do Not Match Link Properties



I racked my brain for a moment, made a few calls and we all agreed that it could have been one of two options.

  1. After exporting from Revit, The columns have either been reordered, or deleted in Excel.
    ​OR
  2. After exporting from Revit, The Ideate BIMLink link definition has changed.

In talking with the customer, I narrowed it down and found out that he had reorganized the Excel workbook to use in a presentation (Option #1). This was the root of the issue. But how do you fix it? Or better yet… how do you avoid it!? Let’s first understand what actually happens here.

Ideate BIMLink relies on the fact that when the link is exported, the columns will stay exactly the same as its initial state. You may replace the values of the columns but the order and organization of the columns and rows really need to stay put! This way when you import the data… Ideate BIMLink knows where it needs to go.

Great, so how do you avoid this? Let’s say that you are like our customer and need to create a presentation from your Ideate BIMLink data.

Here’s how: Excel Links.

Using a feature that has been in Microsoft Excel for some time now, you can reference data from an entirely different workbook. A visual example:


Image Credit: Microsoft

You can see here that the Data from “source.xls” is being pushed to “linking.xls” using the  excel links function. In cell “C5” the formula is “=[source.xls]Prices!A4” This references the workbook, worksheet and cell and pastes its value into our new cell.

Using this functionality allows us to leave the raw data from Ideate BIMLink alone (allowing us to import/export at will) and create a new presentation workbook that stay up-to-date to leverage our data. A very easy and valuable way to handle this situation.

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


      Matthew Nelson
Matthew Nelson
MEP Solutions Application Specialist

Matthew has a deep understanding of Autodesk products. He studied Mechanical Engineering at SUNY Stony Brook. He has been a BIM manager and CAD manager for a leading international consulting services firm utilizing AutoCAD MEP, Civil 3D and Revit MEP. During that time, he focused his skills on understanding the dynamics of inter-discipline coordination on large scale civil and building engineering projects. At Ideate, Matthew provides training and support for Revit MEP, Navisworks and AutoCAD MEP.