Screen Menus - Cell Showroom Function?

Screen menus are pretty powerful but a little under utilised. The ability to use a screen snap shot and assign keyins to the shapes is really powerful.

BIM requires heavy use of pre-packaged components, typically provided by manufacturers. A lot of design is now selecting from manufacturers' component catalogues rather than just 'drawing' lines and annotating to indicate the same components. This means dealing with a lot of components and files to be inserted as Cells and Parametric Cells.

The problem is finding and selecting the required / desired Cell. Manufacturers have responded by providing a lot of RFAs and 2+3d DWGs as individual downloads. Increasingly, They are now also providing consolidated 'showroom' RVTs containing multiple RFAs. I think that they are realising that the designer ideally needs to be able to compare and contrast in one place before making a selection, efficiently.

One problem you will have when you have many Cells loaded up like this is the file size. You need to flick through a lot of files very quickly. I think that Screen Menus would a great way to get around this problem by allowing the user to view the SM without having to load the whole file each time. The user would load the 'show room' model and generate the SM. A VBA would tag the shapes with the links to the Cells and save it with the file. Saved View?

User uses a viewer within Mstn to browse to the file and makes his selection by clicking on the hyperlinked shape and the associated Cell is handed to the Place Cell tool.

  • Maybe Mstn could be rigged to save a SM to specific model when Save Settings is called. The Windows dgnpreviewer already allows access to the separate models in the dgn. This would allow users to use any dgn as a Cell library. Finding something is often easier when you can leverage context. Easier to remember where a particular object was used than looking through a cell library full of similar objects.