Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Revit 2009: The Hidden Feature

In previous years, I've really enjoyed ferretting out those "hidden" features or behaviors of Revit in each new release...

This year, I've been poking and prodding - but I've only managed to turn up one thing which I would call a "Hidden Feature".

Revit URL Support
I noticed as you mouse over files in the new Startup Screen, in the bottom left corner you see not the filename - but a URL:

This made me think - does this mean that Revit supports URLs for files now? That might be interesting...

So I tried it - Using "File + Open", I typed in a URL of a Revit File I posted on a website, i.e.:

And sure enough - Revit automatically downloaded the file and opened it.

Where did it put it locally? It currently is put in your %TEMP% folder (a previous build was putting it in "My Documents" - I'm not sure of my preference).

What does this all mean? I'm not entirely sure, but as models proliferate over the web (or content - my presumption is that you can load a family this way as well) - that Revit being able to open any URL (HTTP, FILE, FTP, etc) - presents some interesting future opportuntities....

(Update: It appears that FTP does not really work... ah well).

Another interesting quirk - I notice that when you mouse-over the "New" button, it gives you a URL of:


and the Open option gives you file:///X:/OpenProject.start.

I haven't delved into what's going on here... Is this some kind of HTML application that we're actually in? What happens if you actually have an X: drive?

Anyway - this hidden feature seems to inspire as many questions as answers... Have you discovered any "hidden features"? Drop a comment here and let people know!



Unknown said...


Enjoying this series! Have you tested to see if the URL can pass parameters to a site to for instance restrict data in a report?

Hope all is well.

Matt Mason said...


I'm not sure if I'm grasping what you're asking - You can pass parameters in the URL - but I think the URL is really meant to return a RVT file.


RobiNZ said...

I may have misintepreted your post but isn't Revit just using UNC addressing?

For example our server has a namespace ID "BIM" so I can path anything \\BIM\...

I have no idea what actual server, or servers "BIM", resides on. The "traditionalists" still map a drive to G:\BIM or whatever but I use the UNC for all CAD related stuff for both AutoCAD, Revit and everything!

Makes accesing files from anywhere, machine painless as you don't need to match drive mapping

Matt Mason said...


No - I wouldn't say that this is the same as UNC paths...

UNC paths have been supported for a long time in many applications - they're really an extension of windows...

Being able to enter a URL such as: files/project1.rvt

(NOTE: not a real URL)

and have the files downloaded to your computer is a different thing.
(The FILE:// URL is much like UNC paths, admittedly - it's the HTTP or implied FTP support which seems different).


Abhishek said...

Matt Good Finding,
Great finding. I hope the thing works in secure FTP sites. I mean to say if an FTP site has an user name and password, does Revit asks for it before downloading.
Secondly can we change the default folder of download from %temp% to any other of my choise.
I hope it works OK
Pinnacle Infotech Inc.

Dave Baldacchino said...

Very interesting. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that we can now iDrop rfa families straight into Revit.....

Matt Mason said...


Out of curiousity, I tried it on a secure FTP site, and it didn't work.

It prompted for a username and password, but wouldn't let me enter one.

Out of curiousity, I also tried embedding my username/password in the URL - and it didn't like that either...

So perhaps secure FTP is not a working option.


Abhishek said...

OK Matt.
I also tried it at my end. But could not.
However a great finding.
Pinnacle Infotech Inc.

Richard Binning said...


Good find! I looked at that too when I saw the url appear. I thought that it might present an opportunity to open a web folder, but the url must present a complete filename, not just a folder location. So your example ( files/project1.rvt)works, but this doesn't ( files/)

P.S. I also looked into adding a url as a places folder, but it doesn't work.

Abhishek said...

Yes, The system is not looking for the file names or file names from a folder also when there is a secured folder.
Pinnacle Infotech Inc.

Unknown said...

At our office we do have an X: drive and we haven't had any problems here.