Ryan Lenihan

C4R – So You’re Missing Many Elements? (Part 1)

If you’ve been working on C4R for even just a little while, you have probably seen the dreaded ‘too many missing elements’ error.

When you’re opening a Revit model, there could be more elements in the central model than there is in your local model. Usually Revit will synchronise the changes with your local and the endless grind of office life moves on. Sometimes though, things just don’t work out and you’re presented with this

Luckily, there are solutions to get your files working again.

Step 1 – Clearing the Local Cache

First, we need to clear the C4R local cache on your machine. You have two choices here, either blow away everything in the cache, or just try to clean out the file that you’re having issues with.

The Cache Location

The local cache is located in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x\CollaborationCache where Autodesk Revit 201x is the version of Revit you are using.

The files and folders in the local cache are coded with unique GUIDs.

The first folder is your local machine code

The second level of folders are the projects. The files within the folders are the models related to the project.


In addition to the collaboration cache, there is another folder named PacCache which is located in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\PacCache

The PacCache is where all the delta file transfer information is cached for all the C4R models that you have worked on. The PacCache isn’t split into individual projects, or even individual versions of Revit. Everything is lumped in the same folder.

This is where you take the easy way, or the (not really very) hard way.

Method 1 – The easy way.
Just Kill Everything.

It’s listed first simply because it’s easiest. This should actually be the last method you try for clearing out your cache.

The easy way is to just wipe out everything in both the CollaborationCache and PacCache folders. With Revit closed, just browse to the folders in your favourite file explorer you can delete the contents of the PacCache folder and then move everything inside the CollaborationCache folder to another location. You can delete the contents of the CollaborationCache as well, however I highly recommend moving just in case you need to restore backups. That’s right! There are local backups of your C4R projects and they’re located in these folders.

Just keep in mind that when you do this, it means you need to cache all the files with your local machine from the cloud again, so it might take some time the next time you open up your models, especially if you have quite a number of projects and models hosted on the cloud.

Method 2 – Just The (not really very) hard way.
Removing a Single File.

The hard way is to remove just the single file giving you grief. It’s actually not very hard at all, you just have to poke around in the journal file to find the specific GUID for your file.

The journal file is located in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x\Journals if you have just experienced the error, then you will need the most recent journal file.

The easiest way to find the most recent file is to change your file sorting by date modified with the newest files at the top.

Open the journal in a text editor (Notepad or Notepad++) and search for the name of the model causing the problem.

Search for the name of your Revit file in the journal. This will give you the GUID for the project and file.

Once you have found the name of the model, you need to search for the GUID by copying and pasting it into the search box and move all the files and folders with that GUID from the local cache folders.

The files and folders will be located in both the CollaborationCache and the PacCache folders. You need to delete the PacCache folder, but for the CollaborationCache you should move the folder that has the same GUID of file that you’re having trouble with without the {curly braces} to another location. Again, you can delete everything but if you do you won’t be able to restore any backups after the files are deleted.

Method 3 – Definitely way harder than it needs to be.
Clearing out a single project.

Clearing the cache for an entire project is quite a bit more difficult due to the PacCache folder is not sorted into Revit versions or even into projects and you need to clear out the PacCache because otherwise you’re going to have a bad time.

If you really want to head down this path, the easiest way to find the project GUID in your journal file.

Get the complete local path to the project folder within your Collaboration cache folder. Move or delete the project from the CollaborationCache folder. Again the same warning applies if you choose to delete the contents of your CollaborationCache.

C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x\CollaborationCache\<your local machine code>\<project guid>

Open up Google Chrome (Edge and Internet Explorer will not work), copy the full folder location to your project and paste it into the address bar in Chrome prefixed with file://

What this does is it lists all the files from the CollaborationCache in your browser. Copy the GUID of each Revit file without the .rvt extension and search for those GUIDs in the PacCache folder.

Delete any results you find from the PacCache folder.

Step 2 – Re-populate your local cache

Method 1 – Just re-open from C4R

The first method is to simply open your file again from C4R. Revit will populate your local cache with brand new copies of the files that you’ve moved or deleted so you can start fresh.

From experience this works maybe 80% of the time.

Method 2 – ‘Borrow’ Someone Else’s File

Borrowing.. Stealing.. Fixing your local C4R cache. Call it what you will. This method only really works if someone else is also currently working on the model. What you’re trying to do here is get yourself the most recent working copy of the file so that you lose as little work as possible.

You need to find someone else that is working on the project without any missing element errors, find who has the most recent copy and take only RVT file only from their CollaborationCache, do not take anything from the PacCache.

From experience this works the other 18% of the time.

Lookup Tables and You – Part 2 – Improving Your Workflow

Now you understand how lookup tables are formatted and referenced from Revit families, let’s have a look at how we can improve our workflow.

It’s clear how lookup tables are beneficial to the pipe and conduit modelling process, so how can we use them in other Revit family categories?

Originally lookup tables were only available to pipe and conduit fittings, but we can use them in any family category. We can build fully flexible families that a controlled with lookup tables, we just need to use a bit of common sense when deciding if a lookup table is best suited or not.

Valves would be suited quite well to utilising lookup tables, whereas a VAV box would be more suited to using formulas and other parameters.

Building Your Own Lookup Table

You can use dimensions, angles and integers to both look up and be looked up, the trick to working with integers is that your column header format should follow


Using integers can be valuable within lookup tables to control the dimensions of specified manufacturer equipment. To achieve this, we need to take the manufacturer sizes and populate them into a lookup table. Working this way locks down the sizes so that the end user is unable to manipulate them. In this example, we’re going to work with a basic rainwater tank.

Rainwater tanks are a perfect use of lookup tables, you could have a family file that contains data for one manufacturer, then the lookup table drives the dimensions based on the volume. We use the volume value because this will drive all other dimensions of the tank.

We’re going to use an integer parameter for our tank volume, as volume parameters can not be used in lookup tables.

This is our basic lookup table to get started with. We’re going to look up the volume as an integer which will in turn drive the tank diameter, height and inlet height dimensions.

You can see that based on our basic lookup table and our lookup formulas, the correct data is being input into the family.

Once the lookup table is populated with the tank dimensions across the product catalogue, all a user needs to do is change the tank volume to a value that corresponds with one in the lookup table and all the dimensions will automatically update.

A trick that can be used with lookup tables is that we can drive a single text parameter with a lookup table, the same old restrictions apply though, if you’re looking up an instance parameter, you must be driving an instance parameter.

The secret behind bringing text in from the lookup table is to leave the lookup column in the formula blank. In our rainwater tank example, that would read as follows

size_lookup(Lookup Table Name, “”, “NOT SPECIFIED”, TankVolume)

Getting More Advanced – Allowing Custom User Input

The example water tank is great when you want to completely lock down a family, but what if you want the option to allow input form the user? We can allow for this by adding a few additional parameters to the family.

To achieve this, we’ll add a yes/no parameter to the family which can be checked when the user wants to specify a custom size. When checked, this parameter will override the lookup table.

We then need to add parameters within the family for every parameter that is controlled by the lookup table.

The new parameters that have been created in the family are CustomDiameter, CustomHeight, CustomInletHeight and CustomTankType.

We now need to change the formulas for each parameter being controlled by the lookup table so that the lookup formula is nested within an if statement.

This also allows our trick with the text lookup to make it very clear that custom dimensions are being used, as we’re changing the TankType parameter to read “CUSTOM DIMENSIONS”

Modifying Existing Pipe Fitting Lookup Tables

Now that we know everything there is to know about lookup tables, modifying existing lookup tables should be quite easy. For this example, we’re going to use a PVC pipework bend.

You can download a copy of the files I’m working with here


Open the family

Open the family type dialogue

Click on the Manage Lookup Tables button

Export the existing lookup table

Rename the lookup table to Bend_PVC_DWV_Iplex.csv


Back in the family types dialogue, import the new Bend_PVC_DWV_Iplex.csv and chance the Lookup Table Name parameter to Bend_PVC_DWV_Iplex

Apply the changes and close the family types dialogue before continuing.

Download a copy of the Iplex DWV piping catalogue from http://www.iplex.com.au/iplex.php?page=lib&lib=8&sec=186 we will be referring to the Plan Bend F&F on page 24.

We also need to refer to the Drain, Waste & Vent Pipe table on page 23 for information about pipe diameters and wall thicknesses

Open the .csv file in Excel. The out of the box (OOTB) lookup table is in inches, it is up to you if you convert the current dimensions to millimetres or not, but we will need to change the column headers from inches to millimetres (USA spelling)

Compare the dimensions of the Iplex product catalogue with that of the Revit family.

Iplex Catalogue Revit Family
L1 – L2 (from fitting table) Centre to Socket Bottom (CtSB)
L2 (from fitting table) Socket Depth (SDpt)
a (from fitting table) Angle
L1 (from pipe size table) Fitting Outside Diameter (FOD)
L2 (from pipe size table) Wall Thickness (WThk)

Something to take note of is that the L1 dimension from the pipe fitting takes into account the total length of the fitting from the centre of the fitting to the end of the fitting including the socket.

Within Revit the Centre to Socket Bottom does not include the socket, so the figure that we need to take for CtSB is actually L1 – L2

In this example, I’m going to start with the 40 dia fitting size, however if you have a need for the 32dia pipe fittings you can start there.

There are 3 different 40 dia elbows in the Iplex catalogue. 40×15°, 40×45° and 40×90° each with differing dimensions. To allow for each specific fitting, we’re going to add a row for each fitting from the catalogue.

Fill out the corresponding data to the lookup table from the Iplex catalogue, once done, save the csv file and load it back into the family and test the flexing of your new 40 dia fitting.

If you’re happy with how the family flexes for your 40 dia fitting, continue adding the remaining sizes to the lookup table.

Once you’re finished you’ll have a complete, dimensionally accurate Iplex PVC pipe fitting.

Lookup Tables and You – Part 1 – Understanding Lookup Tables

Life isn’t just about Dynamo, so here is something a little different to mix things up.

Earlier this year I spoke at BiLT ANZ 2017, I had the opportunity to present two separate talks of which one was lookup tables. It’s a bit of a dry topic, so stick with me.

Lookup tables for pipe and conduit fittings provide an invaluable enhancement to the MEP workflow that we take for granted. On every project we work on, lookup tables save us countless hours in the modelling process. Without them, modelling a pipe system would require each individual pipe fitting to be sized as you go. It may be only a few seconds lost per fitting, but multiply that by hundreds or even thousands of times across a project. Then consider the revisions across the piping network. Those few seconds wasted quickly adds up.

At their core, lookup tables are simply comma separated value files (.csv) that are used in conjunction with Revit family files. Prior to Revit 2014, these files were stored on your hard drive or in a common network location and that location was referenced by the revit.ini file.

You might have had experience with tiny pipework fittings that wouldn’t size correctly in Revit if the lookup table location was not correctly configured. Nowadays, lookup tables are stored within the family themselves, provided your family content has been properly updated to 2014 or newer the new system with embedded lookup tables should eliminate those tiny fittings altogether.

Most commonly lookup tables are used for defining pipe and conduit fittings based on the nominal diameter of the fitting. Revit is then able to automatically size and resize fittings based on the size for the pipe the fitting is connected to by using the data contained within the lookup table.

The Lookup Table Format

Lookup tables can be created and edited in either a simple text editor such as Notepad or Notepad++ or in Microsoft Excel and it’s alternatives.

The first column is a reference column, the values in this column could be ‘Tom’ or ‘Jerry’ but it’s obviously more useful to give enter data that is relevant to the family being created.

Usually when dealing with pipe and conduit fittings this is the nominal diameter, when dealing with pipework branches, I like to format my references as Upstream x Downstream x Branch so for example, 100x100x65. You could however include product names, say if it was a 5000 litres grease arrestor, the reference could be GreasePit5000

The second column defines the lookup value which is typically the nominal diameter of the fitting. This is the column that Revit will look up to determine the remaining parameters for the element.

The formatting of the headers within the csv file is


which you can see in the example above. The formatting of the headers is critical for the lookup tables to work.

In column B of the example, we have ND##length##millimeters (note US spelling of millimetres) which in this to the nominal diameter, it’s a length parameter and the units are in millimetres.

If further lookup values are required, say for example in the instance of a pipework branch, more lookup columns can be added as needed, shifting the remaining columns to the right.

As you can see in the above example, we have three nominal diameter columns to determine the size of our fitting.

The remaining columns after our lookup columns contains the data that drives the modelled dimensions of the Revit family and you can have as many lookup columns as you need to generate your family.

How Lookup Tables Are Used in Revit Families

Lookup tables are stored within the family file itself through the Manage Lookup Tables dialogue. The lookup table is then referenced using a text based parameter and lookup formulas are used to retrieve these values from the lookup table.

Importing and Referencing the Lookup Table

To import the lookup table, you first must open the family file itself. In the family types dialogue box, click on the Manage Lookup Tables button.

Once in the Manage Lookup Tables dialogue, you have the option to either import or export the lookup tables contained within the family.

If you’re starting with a family that already has an associated lookup table, it’s always a good idea to start by exporting the original lookup table so you can use that as a base and then modify.

Once you have a completed lookup table, you can import it in the Manage Lookup Tables dialogue. You can have multiple lookup tables within your family files and chose whichever is required.

Once the lookup table has been imported, you need to add a text parameter to the family that references the lookup table name. Historically this parameter has been named Lookup Table Name although you can name this parameter anything that you like, it’s best to remain consistent with the out of the box parameter naming.

When filling out the parameter data, it needs to match the name of the .csv file that you are going to use, minus the .csv extension.

Lookup Table Formulas

The formula used to reference the lookup tables is

size_lookup (Lookup Table Name, “Lookup Column”, Default If Not Found, Lookup Value) 

The format of the formula is similar to that of an if statement.

The first portion of the formula is telling Revit to find a value in the lookup table “Lookup Table Name” for a column named “Lookup Column” and then pull the value from the row that corresponds with the value from the “Lookup value”. If there is no match, Revit will provide the value from “Default If Not Found Value”.

In the example above, the formula is finding the value for the fitting outside diameter.

Stepping through the formula, Revit will lookup the table that has been defined in the parameter Lookup Table Name for a value in in the column named “FOD” that corresponds with the lookup value of the Nominal Diameter parameter (50mm). If no match is found for the nominal diameter in the lookup value column, a value equal to Nominal Diameter 1 + 9.1mm will be returned.

Note that the nominal diameter is currently set at 50mm. If we refer to our csv file we’ll see that our lookup value is ND1 which corresponds with Nominal Diameter 1 in our family.

When ND1 is 50mm we can see that the value of FOD is 56mm, this has set our family to have a fitting outside diameter of 56mm.

What About Multiple Lookup Values?

You may have noticed that the example family used is a DWV pipe branch fitting, so we need to deal with multiple lookup values. The fitting may be a reducing branch or it may have different variations in branch angles.

To achieve this, we simply need to add more lookup values to the end of the formula.

In this example we’re looking up the socket bottom to socket bottom run, we are again referencing the same lookup table however this time we’re looking for a match for Nominal Diameter 1, Nominal Diameter 2, Nominal Diameter 3 and Angle in a single row within the lookup table.

If a match is found, Revit will return the value from the column that corresponds with SBtSBR. If no match is found, Revit will return a value equal to that of Nominal Diameter 3 + 27.7mm.

This particular fitting we are working with is a 50x50x50 x 45° DWV branch

Referring to our csv file, we can see that when we look up the values 50, 50, 50 and 45 the corresponding value in the SBtSBR column is 81mm which is the value that has been set in our family.

Remember that the lookup columns need to be in order in columns from left to right to be able to lookup multiple values.


So that’s it for understanding how lookup tables work, stay tuned for Part 2 where we look at applying the use of lookup tables to improve our workflow.


Placing Multiple Views on Sheets With Dynamo

Keeping on the theme of Dynamo and drawing setup, I had a series of MEP models that I needed to setup that had 2 views that needed to be placed on each sheet, a main view and a smaller inset view.

I started from my sheet generation Dynamo graph and ran through a number of different options to enable to graph to place multiple sheets on views in the correct location.

The method I found posed the least problems in the process was to add an extra column to my Excel file for the names of the inset views

As a bit of ground work, I needed to figure out where I wanted my views to be located, so I made up mock sheet with the views placed where I wanted them to sit on the sheet

I then threw together a quick graph that allowed me to select the viewport I’ve placed on the sheet with the Select Model Element node and running that through the Rhythm node Viewport.LocationData I can get the centre point of the viewport box. This centre point of each viewport will be the values used when we move the viewports later.

Once the viewport locations are picked up, we can get to modifying our original sheet creation graph.

The first modification that we need to make is with the additional column in Excel. Copy the original section of the graph and change the code block to 3 so that we are reading from column D of the excel file.

The next step we filter our views again, but this time we’re filtering two separate lists of views, things get a little messy but it’s still reasonably easy to manage. Note that I dropped a List.Clean node in the mix as I was having views return with no data, the List.Clean node removed empty and null values.

Remember that if you’re going to clean the list, you need to feed the other nodes with the cleaned list, do not mix and match between clean and unclean lists, otherwise you’ll have a bad time.

Now we should have two lists of element ids, one for our main views and another for our inset views.

Our main views get fed through the same series of nodes from the moving views on sheets post.

So while all of this is happening, where the output of the Sheet.ByNameNumberTitleBlockAndViews node shoots off a second time to tell our insets what sheets they need to be placed on.

The problem you will stumble into when placing views in this method is that if the sheet hasn’t yet been created, the inset views won’t be placed. The way that I decided to handle it was by using a Passthrough node from the Clockwork package. The Passthrough node implements an order of execution. It will wait for the node threaded into the waitFor input to complete before sending on the data threaded into the passThrough input.

I fed the Passthrough node with the results of moving the main viewport on each sheet, once this main views have been moved the sheet numbers are sent through to the Viewport.Create node.

Running the script, we end up with views placed exactly where they want them. The example GIF below is recorded in real time and runs for 14 seconds from start to finish, which includes checking each sheet has been correctly created.


This is great and all, but what happens when you have two difference types of “main” views, one where you want placed along with an inset like the above example and another where you ant the views placed centrally?

The way I found best to handle this scenario is to add a String.Contains node along with an if node to control the location of the viewports depending on the name of the view itself.

In this particular example, the names of the “main” views are being checked for if they contain the string Platform Level_ and if they do, the views are being placed centrally on the sheet, otherwise they’re being placed offset from centre to allow for the inset view to be placed on the same sheet.

The nodes labelled platform view x, main view x, platform view y and  main view y are simply code blocks that I have renamed so I know exactly what they are.

Tagging Invert Levels

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of err.. solutions for tagging invert levels. From adding shared parameters to your pipe families through to using Dynamo and everything in between.

Ignoring the fact that you can’t add parameters to system families like duct and pipework, there is a far simpler way to get what you’re after.

Ever heard of the spot elevation tool?

The key is in the settings that you use.

The settings that I use in my templates are as follows, the settings to change are highlighted below

In the units format dialogue, change the your settings to match the following

And of course, don’t forget to select the bottom elevation!

Importing DWGs to Revit While Still Displaying MTEXT Correctly

For those of you that still heavily rely on DWG based details and schematics that are bought into Revit from AutoCAD, you might have experienced issues maintaining the correct alignment of MTEXT once imported into Revit.

There is actually quite a simple solution, and no it’s not exploding the text.

In AutoCAD, MTEXT has grips that define the bounds of the MTEXT element.

The location of the grip indicates that the MTEXT bounding box doesn’t actually fully enclose the text contained within it. When the DWG is imported into Revit the text is displayed differently, it gives a completely unexpected result by placing the MTEXT word on the same line as TRUNCATED

If we modify the bounding box in AutoCAD to not truncate any of the text with the bounding box like so

And once we reload the DWG file into Revit and the text will display correctly.


Practical Dynamo – Moving Views Based on Another View

Okay, so we’re on a roll with practical Dynamo usage. Last week we looked at placing views centrally on our sheets, but what if you didn’t want the view centrally placed? What if you wanted views placed in the same location on all sheets maybe in the top left of the page?

As always with Dyanmo, there is a solution for that. Again we’re going to be using the Rhythm custom node package to get the work done. This method requires one sheet to be used as a template that all the following sheets are based on.

In our example this time around, where we want the view located is in the top left (shown on the left) but by default Dynamo places our views in the bottom left (shown on the right)


This workflow can be easily integrated into our previous graph where we created new sheets in Dynamo using Excel however for this example we’re going to create a standalone graph. For this example though, it’s assumed that this time around though that you already have all the sheets and views required created.


First we start by taking all of our sheets, we do this simply by using Categories and then All Elements of Category, after that we get into our Rhythm nodes.

First we get a list of all of the viewports on our sheets using the Sheet.GetViewportsAndViews node. Run the list through a List.Clean node to remove the empty list entries. This leaves us with just the viewport entries.

Meanwhile, we also need to get the viewport from our template sheet. In this instance our template sheet will be drawing H101 which we’ll select using the Sheets node and then we’ll feed that node into the Sheet.GetViewportsAndViews node which are both from the Rhythm package.

And finally we feed our data lists into the Viewport.SetLocationBasedOnOther node, which again is from Rhythm. It’s as simple as that.

Hit the run button and watch the magic happen.

Update to MisterMEP Dynamo Package (0.1.4)

I’ve just published a small update to the MisterMEP Dynamo node package. A quick changelog:

  • Fixed the problem with the Set Project Information node not doing anything.
  • Removed the Lunchbox dependency from the Pipe From Strings node.

You should be able to update the package using the package manager within Dynamo.

Note that all inputs for the Set Project Information node need to be populated for it to work.

Practical Dynamo – Moving Views on Sheets

For those of you that read through my previous post last week on creating sheets using Dynamo, you might have come to the end of the post only to realise that the views haven’t placed where you want them to be on the sheets.

For example, my sheet with the automatically placed view now looks like this

The first method I’m going to use nodes from both the Rhythm and Lunchbox packages which you can download from your package manager. Simply install the latest version.


The Rhythm package has some super useful tools for a whole range of different actions in Revit, but today we’re going to focus on the nodes that can help us manipulate the location of our views on the sheet.

To get started, we use the Sheet.GetViewportsAndViews node, we want to feed the sheets from our previous steps into this node and the node will give you the viewports, views and schedules as separate outputs. For this exercise, we’re only interested in the viewports. As always, while you’re reading through just click on the images to see them full size.

Next you need to use the Viewport.LocationData node from Rhythm. The outputs from this node are

bBox which returns the minimum (bottom left) and maximum points (top right) of the viewport bounding box.
boxCenter which returns the centre point of the viewport bounding box
boxOutline which returns the start and end points of each side of the viewport bounding box

For this example, we’re going to use the boxCenter option because we’re going to get tricky with it a bit later on. For those earlier that were wondering what the Use Levels option actually on the nodes, as you can see in my animation it changes the level of the list that we’re working with. Without the Use Levels option you would need to either use GetItemAtIndex or List.Deconstruct to get the data that you want to manipulate.

Next use the Points.DeconstructPoint node from the Lunchbox package, this will deconstruct your point into it’s individual X, Y & Z coordinates.

Now this is where we get too smart for our own good. I want my view to be placed in the middle of the available space on my titleblock. For my particular titleblock I know that the centre point is located at 378, 297 (yours may be different) and we already have the centre of the viewport from our Rhythm node.

To find how far we need to move the viewport, we need to subtract the view X centre value from the sheet X centre and the view Y centre value from the sheet Y centre. The code block is simply values I’ve chosen, you could think of them much like a parameter in a family.

The next step is to move the views. The vector gives the distance in X & Y coordinates that the view needs to be moved, the Vector.ByCoordinates and Element.MoveByVector nodes are both standard nodes within Dynamo.

And finally, the whole thing is tied together by pushing the viewport elements into the Element.MoveByVector node via a List.GetItemAtIndex, from which we’re taking the list elements at index 2.

Now sometimes when I run this script, I’ll see the following “Attempt to modify the model out side of transaction” error.

There is a simple solution to this. Just save your changes in Dynamo, close Dynamo and then re-open. Simply run the script again and everything will work!


An overview of our extension to the original graph from last week, I’ve highlighted the nodes from custom packages to make things a little easier as well, Captain BIMCAD actually called me out on last week’s example for not grouping my nodes!

Practical Dynamo – Generate Sheets from Excel

I was discussing Dynamo workflows with good old Captain BIMCAD the other night and we got to the topic of project setup.

Personally I don’t use Dynamo in my everyday project setup workflow, I use Ideate BIMLink, Omnia Scope Box Synchroniser and Sheet Duplicator but if you don’t have access to this software; especially BIMLink as it’s a bit pricey, Dynamo is definitely a viable option. Here’s how to get it done.

First we need to create a list of sheets in Excel with Name and Number information. Starting with a blank workbook in Excel, create a list with sheet numbers in column A and sheet names in column B.

From here we need to generate new sheets with this Excel data. Don’t forget the File.FromPath node, you can not feed the File Path node directly into the Excel.ReadFromFile node. Note that the name of the sheet in the Excel workbook is case sensitive. You can click on the image to view in full size


The next step is to remove the headers from our Excel file. They’re useful to us as it makes the Excel file more readable, however they need to be removed when used in Dynamo.

To achieve this we’re doing to use 2 nodes, List.FirstItem and List.RestOfItems.


Next we need to transpose our list so that we can feed in our sheet details into the sheet creation node. You can see once we run the list through the List.Transpose node that we now have a list of sheet numbers and a list of sheet names which sets us up for our next step.

Most of the magic happens at the next node which is the Sheet.ByNameNumberTitleBlockAndView node.

For the node to work, we need to input the sheet name, sheet number, the titleblock family which you can see how we achieve this in the next screenshot.

While you’ve been reading, I’ve taken it upon myself to generate some views in our model and add them to our original Excel file.

We can copy what we’ve already created in Dynamo for the sheet names and numbers and we simply take index 2 from the list, giving us the view names. Note that these will be case sensitive.

The next step is to actually find those views in the model to drop onto the sheets. We do this by creating a list of all the views within the model. Take the Categories node and select Views from the drop down, feed this into the All Elements of Category node and then finally feed this into an Element.GetParameterValueByName node. For the parameter name, we want to get the value for the View Name parameter.

From here we need to search the list of view names in Excel with the list of view names in the model. To do this, use an IndexOf node.

When you run this though, you’ll end up with a result of -1 instead of a list of indices. To fix this, change the level of list in the node. To do this, click on the right arrow on the element input of the node, select Use Levels and select @L1. Run the graph again and you’ll see the list of indices.

But what happens if you have a model where you don’t have the views setup yet? In our example we don’t have a view for the cover sheet or site plan yet which is why the view name is represented as null. You can see that the null view names give a -1 index result. If we feed this data into the Sheet.ByNameNumberTitleBlockAndView node as it is, it won’t create the sheets with the null views.

You can still use the same node, but there is a trick to it.

First, grab the Manage.ReplaceNulls node. Feed the list for views into the data section.

Next, create an empty drafting view, I’m just going to leave mine as the default Drafting 1. Feed the ReplaceWith input of the Manage.RemoveNulls node with the string Drafting 1.

Now when we search our views in the model, we’ll have the correct indices returned.

But hold on there a minute! We can’t drop drafting views on multiple sheets, how is this even going to work? To be honest, I’m not quite sure why but if you feed an empty drafting view into the Sheet.ByNameNumberTitleBlockAndView node it will generate an empty sheet. Whatever the reason, that’s a win for us!

Simply feed Manage.ReplaceNulls into the Sheet.ByNameNumberTitleBlockAndView node and we’re done!


If you’ve had automatic run selected, you’ll have a nice set of shiny new sheets created, otherwise simply click run and watch the magic happen.

Blink and you’ll miss it!

The end result. Click the image for the full resolution version.