The most common method to present and document your Revit models is by using PDF files. You can share different sheets with views, like floorplans, elevations, and sections. When there are a lot of sheets inside your project, it is possible to automate a lot of work by batch exporting. Also if you export multiple sheets it is possible to use references between them to navigate inside a PDF reader. So how do we export PDF files from Revit?
Table of Contents
This article will show you how to export single and multiple PDF files from Revit with different settings. There are several ways to create these files. This article will focus on the built-in features of Revit, not on 3rd-party add-ins.
TipIf you’re interested in learning more about exporting 3D PDF files, you may find this article helpful: How to export 3D PDF files from Revit.
Methods to export a PDF
Before Revit 2022 came out, there was no PDF export built-in function. From within Revit, it is possible to Print with an external PDF driver like Microsoft Print to PDF for example. Since Revit 2022 came out, Autodesk has added the PDF export function. This function makes it possible to export sheets and views directly from Revit without external drivers or add-ins.
So we have two options to export Revit to PDF:
- PDF by using the Print function
- PDF by using the PDF Export function (since Revit 2022)
Both methods are free to use without the need of 3rd party software that requires a fee.
TipI recommend updating your Revit to version 2022 as soon as possible to get the advantages of the PDF Export function. This method can recognize your sheet orientation and size automatically. Furthermore, it is possible to set up PDF naming rules to automate your workflow.
Method 1 – PDF by using the Print function
You can export Revit to PDF by using the Print function, which is the standard method with the Revit versions before 2022. With this method, you can use the default print PDF drive from Microsoft. It is also possible to get other drivers for free like PDFCreator for example. In the example below we will continue with PDFCreator.
Open the print menu by using the shortcut CTRL + P or follow the steps below.
- Go to the File menu
- Click on Print or hover over and then select Print in the side-menu
The print menu will be opened and looks like the PrintScreen below.
You see different sections with options to use.
- Printer: the printer section can be used to change the driver of the preferred PDF printer, and to change the properties of this printer.
- File: in this section, you can choose to combine multiple sheets and views into a single file, or to create them as separate PDF files. The PDF files will be named with the filename as a prefix and the sheet or view name as a suffix. The location of the file can be set by the Browse… button.
- Print Range: this will be used for the range that will be on the PDF file. The Current window means that the whole sheet will be aligned on the paper of the active view. The Visible portion of current window will only show a part of your window of the active view on the PDF file. The Selected views/sheets will only show your defined selection. You can make as many sets as needed or change them whenever you want, by renaming the set, and adding or removing sheets/views.
- Options: this less common section is used to reverse the print order and collate if you have multiple numbers of copies. This section is not really used for PDF printing.
- Settings: when you click this Setup button it will open another window with all Print Setup settings. It is possible to set up your own settings and save them. For example, you can make a set for each paper size, A0, A1, etc.
- Paper: choose paper size (A0, A1, etc.).
- Orientation: Portrait (vertical) or Landscape (horizontal).
- Paper Placement: Centered or Offset from corner with coordinates.
- Hidden Line Views: Vector Processing or Raster Processing
Vector Processing: this method uses formulas to make lines and curves so that when u zoom in on a PDF file it remains smooth. Also, this method produces smaller PDF files and is faster than Raster Processing.
Raster Processing: this method will use individually drawn pixels, which makes a lower quality output compared to Vector Processing. Furthermore, Revit will automatically choose Raster Processing if the views contain one of the conditions written below:
- The view contains an image or decal
- The view contains a point cloud
- The view use Shading or Realistic style
- The view use shadows, gradients, sketchy lines, or depth cueing
TipI recommend to use Vector Processing as much as possible, because the quality of the output is better.
- Zoom: fit to page or Zoom with a percentage of the size. I recommend using Zoom 100% to be more precise.
- Appearance: raster quality (Low, Medium, High, or Presentation), Colors (Black lines, Grayscale, or Color)
In the last section of the print setup, you will see different additional options. The default options are already checked by Autodesk Revit.
- View links in blue: select this option if you want blue links in your PDF (the default is black).
- Hide ref/work planes: select this option if you do not want reference or work planes on your PDF.
- Hide unreferenced view tags: select this option if you do not want views tags on your PDF that are not on the sheet.
- Region edges mask coincident lines: select this option if you want edges of masking/filled regions to cover lines they clash with. (allows to plot over top)
- Hide scope boxes: select this option if you do not want scope boxes on your PDF (default checked).
- Hide crop boundaries: select this option if you do not want crop boundaries on your PDF (default checked).
- Replace halftone with thin lines: select this option if you have halftone elements and you want to show them as thin lines instead.
If all settings are set, you are ready to save them as a setup and click OK to print the PDF file(s).
Method 2 – PDF by using the PDF Export function
With the arrival of Revit 2022 and further on, a new PDF Export function was added by Autodesk. With this method, it is easier to create PDF files without the print drivers. It is possible to PDF single or multiple sheets at once (batch).
The PDF menu has no shortcut by default, but it is possible to give a shortcut in the settings menu. For now, I will explain how to open it manually by following the steps below:
- Go to the File menu
- Hover over Export and then select PDF in the side-menu
The print menu will be opened and looks like the PrintScreen below. It has almost the same options as we have seen with the print function. The big differences are:
- It is possible to set up PDF naming rules when creating multiple PDF files.
- Page Size: can recognize the sheet size automatically: <Use Sheet Size>.
PDF naming rules
It is possible to select as many parameters as you wish to create naming rules for the exported PDF files. The values can be separated by characters of your choice, the hyphen (-) character is the default one. For example, I mostly use a naming rule like this:
<Sheet Number>_<Project Name>_<Project Number>_<Project_subject>_<Sheet Issue Date>.
The output will be like: AA-01_Terraced House_201601_Elevations_20160208.
Most parameters are built-in Revit, but you can add your own parameters to your sheets. If you do not know how to add parameters to your project I recommend you to read the article: How to use Shared Parameters in Revit.
To create this PDF naming rule follow the steps written below:
- Uncheck the Combine selected views and sheets into a single PDF file
- Click on the modify icon > Setup Naming Rules window will pop up
- Choose the parameter(s) from the field > Add Parameter(s)
- Put a Prefix, Suffix, and Separator whatever you need > Press OK
TipSetup Naming Rules are part of the export setup. This means that you can save different naming setups as you wish. Do not forget to save the Setup Naming Rules after changing.
When all settings are done and saved, you are ready to create the PDF files by pressing Export. Revit will export the sheets and views to the target folder that you put under the file section of the menu.
PDF files are very often used to present and document your project. Before Revit 2022 came out, it was only possible to create PDF files by the print function. This function requires a PDF driver to be installed. With the arrival of Revit 2022, Autodesk finally added the PDF export function. This PDF export function makes it a lot easier to Batch document the files and automates the file names with the naming rules function.
I recommend installing Revit 2022 as soon as possible to get the advantages of this PDF export function. As a result, it will save a lot of time with the sheet size recognition and the naming rules.
I hope this article helped you to export PDF files from Revit. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below.