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Author: Ideate, Inc. Navisworks Manage, AutoCAD MEP

Working with both AutoCAD MEP and Navisworks Manage, we always want to make sure to utilize all the data built into AutoCAD designs in the Navisworks model.  However, when exporting from AutoCAD MEP, some information seemed to get lost in translation. Recently, an Ideate Inc. customer contacted us about this exact issue. Thankfully, the Techs at Ideate along with Autodesk were able to resolve this issue.

Conduits, Ducts, Pipes all seemed to export the geometry just fine but all their properties were missing. Take a look... Here is what we saw:


Original Properties of a Conduit in Navisworks 2012

There is no intelligence there at all. We scratched our heads and contacted Autodesk. We collectively scratched our heads. We tried uninstalling, updating, re-installing with no avail. We were almost convinced that Autodesk had left this functionality out of Navisworks 2012. Luckily, a tech at Autodesk stumbled upon a switch that opened the door for the data to come across! Here is the difference!


Updated Properties of a Conduit in Navisworks 2012

So what changed to allow all these new properties to come through the export? It’s a simple change of a registry key associated to the Navisworks exporter.

There are some pre-requisites though. You need to make sure you are up-to-date on all your service releases.

Make sure that you install the latest updates and reboot your computer before making any registry key changes. Once you have rebooted, Open AutoCAD, draw a conduit, cabletray, duct or pipe and run NWCOUT to export the DWG to Navisworks. Open Navisworks and open the NWC. You will most likely NOT see any of the extended properties from your element; This is to be expected. However, behind the scenes a new registry key has been created. This key “HiddenProps” is the one we need to modify. Close out Navisworks and AutoCAD and do the following:

  1. Open the registry editor (Start > Run > regedit)
  2.  Expand to the following key:
    • ...Software\Autodesk\Navisworks Exporters x64\9.0\AutoCAD
  3.  Open the key HiddenProps and set the value to 1
  4.  Close the registry editor and try exporting again.

At this point, if you run an export from AutoCAD, you should see your extended properties in Navisworks. I hope that this helps. Thanks for reading!

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.