The possibility of controlling panels in a Revit curtain wall through an Excel spreadsheet opens up a wide range of opportunities for interoperability between Revit and other tools in our workflow. Any program capable of exporting a range of values could potentially send values directly to Revit, saving users the hours of manual data entry currently required to translate a design or analysis model into a documentation (BIM) model. To enable Revit to read in values from Excel , we looked at two Revit plugins; Revit Excel Link ,developed by Cad Technology Center and Whitefeet, written by Mario Guttman. Using a combination of Revit and both plugins, we were able to develop the workflow demonstrated in the video below.
In short, we number each of the panels in our array through Revit Excel Link, then create a set of values in Grasshopper (alternatively, this could be done in Excel), export through GH excel-exporter script and bring the corresponding data into Revit via the Whitefeet Plugin. These steps are outlined below:
1) We start by creating a “Mark” instance parameter in a Revit Curtain Panel Family. Using Revit Excel Link, we generate an Excel spreadsheet from a set of scheduled parameters in Revit including the Mark parameter we just created.
2) Using Revit Excel Link, we label each panel within a curtain wall by assigning values to the Mark column. It is important to note that Revit does NOT schedule panels in the order they are physically arranged within the curtain wall. Consequently, while it is possible to automate assigning Mark values using Revit Excel Link, some manual adjustment to the Excel spreadsheet is required. This step, although tedious, is especially important to ensure that the values coming out of Excel will drive the targeted Revit parameters in a predictable way.
3) With the Mark values properly coordinated, we are ready to plug data into the Revit model. In the video a second list of values is generated using grasshopper. ( These values could just as easily have come from an energy analysis or inserted directly into the Excel spreadsheet) . Grasshopper-generated values are inserted into the Excel spreadsheet using GH excel-exporter by LMNTS.
4) Finally, the new values are imported into Revit via the Whitefeet Plug-in, creating the desired curtain wall.
NOTE: The example above uses Revit’s standard curtain wall panels rather than pattern-based panels. Pattern-based curtain panels are nested within a Revit family (.rfa) where it is not possible to generate schedules. As a result, it isn’t possible to use Revit Excel Link to label panels automatically, and we are left with the unfortunate task of assigning labels to each panel one-at-a-time. While manually labeling panels somewhat defeats the purpose of using the Revit/ Excel workflow, it could still be worthwhile if many design iterations are expected.