Your first PropertyWizard formula: ‘Hello Wall’

This is a quick exploration based on the first ‘Getting Started’ tutorial from the PropertyWizard Help.

The tutorials are meant to give you a good introduction to PropertyWizard and what it can do for you.

The first tutorial’s formula is straightforward: It collects all the walls in the project and sets their Comments parameter to say ‘Hello Wall’:

PropertyWizard Formula window showing a formula for the category 'Walls', Target Property is 'Comments' and the Formula text is "Hello Wall"
‘Hello Wall’ formula

This is a very simple formula, and you’d never use it in a real Revit project. But we can use it to explore what PropertyWizard brings to Revit.

So, just for comparison, if you needed to set the walls’ Comments to ‘Hello World’ manually, how would you do it?

I’d probably just try selecting all the walls manually and then typing ‘Hello Wall’ into the parameter in the properties window.

But selecting all the walls in a Revit project can be a bit fiddly. You might ‘Isolate Category’ in a 3D view and then window-select all the walls. Or you could select all the rows in a walls schedule. Or maybe you have another add-in that makes selection easier.

But then if you add any more walls in the future you need to remember to set that parameter value. Or regularly select-all-the-walls again to set any that have been missed.

In contrast, PropertyWizard just sits in the background updating any new walls for you as and when they are created.

Model Speed
You might worry that this background work will put a heavy load on Revit and slow your model down. But the Revit API has a very useful facility where an add-in can ask to be notified only when the model is changed in specific ways. So PropertyWizard asks Revit to wake it up when changes are made that affect your formulas, and it spends the rest of the time asleep and having no impact on model speed.

Similarly, if you set a parameter manually it’s very easy for someone to change it. To be sure that all the walls have the right value, you’d have to check them individually, or just select-all-the-walls-again.

In contrast, if you have a PropertyWizard formula it controls the parameter value. If someone tries to change the value, PropertyWizard changes it back. That can be a surprise if people aren’t aware that PropertyWizard is working in their model – you need to keep your team informed – but no-one can accidentally or misguidedly change a value that you’re controlling with a formula.

And finally, if you want to change the value in the future, with the manual method you have to select-all-the-walls again, while with PropertyWizard you can just change the formula and let PropertyWizard update all the walls.

So those are a few differences between setting property values manually and setting them with PropertyWizard. And they start to illustrate the kinds of problems that PropertyWizard is designed to help with:

  1. You want to control a parameter value on a particular category of elements.
  2. You want to be sure the value is set correctly.
  3. You might want to change the value in the future.

In future posts, I’ll explore other formulas in a similar way.

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