How are you managing your Autodesk materials?
An often overlooked feature in the Autodesk design suites is the ability to save materials in an external library file. Autodesk material library files have an ADSKLIB extension and can be stored anywhere on your machine or network server. They are easy to create directly in Autodesk authoring applications like Revit, AutoCAD and 3ds Max. Once you have an ADSKLIB file, you can share it with other members of your project team to ensure a consistent palette of materials throughout the project or even entire organization. Here we’ll outline the steps to create one in Revit. But the process would be similar in the other software packages in the Autodesk suites. More importantly, a library created in one application can be shared and used by other applications. So even a library created in Revit, can easily be shared with AutoCAD or Max uses and vice-versa!
To start, access the Material Browser in Revit (on the Manage tab). Near the top, just below the search field, ensure that you are seeing the library pane by clicking the small icon to display it.
At the bottom of the dialog are three icons. The first two are drop-down icons to create and open libraries and create and duplicate materials. To create a new library, from the first one, click the drop-down and then choose: Create New Library.
Browse to a location where you want to store the new library and give it a name. It will now appear on the list. You can begin placing materials in this library, or optionally you can right-click to create categories. If you plan to add many materials to the library, categories can help keep it organized.
To add materials to it, just drag and drop from the Project Materials pane directly above. You can drag directly onto the library folder, or into any of the categories if you created them. Selecting the library will display all contained materials and selecting a category will show only the materials within that category.
While you are working on the library, it will display a small pencil icon next to it. This indicates that it is currently locked while you edit. To finish, you need to release the library. Do this by right-clicking on the library and then choose: Release Library.
Once you have released the library, it is available for anyone else to access in any Autodesk application that supports the ADSKLIB file format. If you want to see the process described here in detail and see how to load the and use the library in AutoCAD, check out this week’s tip in Revit Tips, Tricks and Troubleshooting.