Exporting Data to other programs

  • Exporting Data to other programs

    Posted by Doug McLean on March 10, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    I recently completed the major task of setting up Revu to be able to export my markup data to a program called Takeoff. Very daunting to say the least.
    Let’s chat about ways to do this. Tell us about the way you export data.

    Vince replied 8 months, 1 week ago 6 Members · 33 Replies
  • 33 Replies
  • Troy DeGroot

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    March 10, 2021 at 8:51 pm
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    I’d be interested to learn what others are doing also. I have built out custom columns to get a proper CSV file export, Quantity Link of course works best for some cases. I have also established a workflow where the CSV export was then converted to a TXT file to be imported into estimating software. Millwork has a lot of different specifics to it, I’m interested to see what you’ve created.

    • rob gibson

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      October 6, 2021 at 7:41 am
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      Hi Guys,

      as a quantity surveyor, i find that the available options and way BB exports the CSV data is not ideal for

      what we call the standard method of measurement ….. mainly that the total is at the top of the stack of markups

      i have played around with filters etc

      but so far have found it easier to use a macro to format the data to something more suitable

      heres an example of what i mean……

      watch from about 5.20……..

      interested in any further opinion/suggestion

      • David Cutler

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        October 6, 2021 at 1:16 pm
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        Your macro setup is great Rob! I perform my takeoff in a very similar fashion, and then reduce my data in a .CSV export. I perform the same sort of data reduction in Excel, but I go through the steps every time.

        Looks like I need to learn about macros!

        Thank you for sharing.

        Dave

        • Vince

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          October 7, 2021 at 12:50 am
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          Macros are very good but Power Query takes things to a whole new level!

        • Doug McLean

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          October 7, 2021 at 5:08 pm
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          Completely agree with Vince.
          Macros can do a lot, but can be tricky to write properly.
          While Power Query can be a bit tricky to learn, once its done, its fully repeatable.

          • Vince

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            October 8, 2021 at 12:46 am
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            Although I think I may have just overloaded Power Query with something as it is taking way too long to refresh!

            • Doug McLean

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              October 9, 2021 at 11:37 am
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              You might just need to apply the right filters.

              Could be a lot of things though.

            • Vince

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              October 9, 2021 at 11:54 am
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              By the looks of it I have just overloaded it with too many table merges and appends. So it is back to writing some old fashioned formulas for some of the spreadsheet and some more basic Power Query stuff for the rest.

            • David Cutler

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              October 11, 2021 at 7:00 am
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              After getting a glimpse of your spreadsheet I could see how you could overload Power Query @vince !

            • Vince

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              October 11, 2021 at 12:19 pm
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              Hi David.

              I have another spreadsheet specifically for brickwork & scaffolding take-offs – I will try to work out how to post an example on here. No Bluebeam used in the actual measuring but it is extremely fast and still just as accurate.

            • Vince

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              October 27, 2021 at 7:06 am
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              Hi David. Trying something new here so if you get a chance can you have a look at the following and let me know what you think???? https://youtu.be/K1NcK8kQEQQ

            • David Cutler

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              October 28, 2021 at 7:45 am
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              Good morning Vince. I’ll have to make some time to go through this. Looking forward to seeing what you have here.

            • David Cutler

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              November 2, 2021 at 12:11 pm
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              Quite the spreadsheet Vince! Nice job for your first video.

              So the Bluebeamer in me is thinking how about creating some custom tools to capture your measurements while highlighting in Revu and then use quantity link to pull the data into your spreadsheet so that you don’t have to key anything in… This would leave you with a presentation grade highlight in review that you could snip and paste into your spreadsheet for future reference.

              You could probably use “Spaces” to identify each unit and then copy your markups from one unit to the next, making appropriate changes as you go.

              Looking forward to seeing more videos from you!

            • Vince

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              November 2, 2021 at 2:35 pm
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              Thanks David!

              This is one of those rare instances where I think it is quicker to just use the spreadsheet to measure rather than a combination of Bluebeam and Excel.

              When I did the measures for the house in the video that was real time i.e. it literally took 3 or 4 minutes to input all of the measures for both the Brickwork and the Scaffolding. From that I have all of the breakdowns automatically generated. This is because a lot of the measures are generated from just a couple of dimensions at DPC level. I personally can’t mark-up that fast on Bluebeam.

              I have done a few more videos going into a bit more detail and showing how quick it is to make adjustments for alternative elevations – this is because you don’t have to start your measures all over again.

              HOWEVER, hopefully I will have something else very soon that will satisfy the Bluebeamer in you!!!

              I’ve been trying out something new which I have almost finished – just need to have a chat with Troy hopefully later this week.

  • Troy DeGroot

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    March 10, 2021 at 8:54 pm
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    One thing that is really important when exporting data is to make sure in the Output Setting to turn off the Replies from being exported. That extra line item can really screw things up!

  • Troy DeGroot

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    March 12, 2021 at 3:59 am
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    That sounds awesome David. It fun to have a vision for how it could work and then see it actually work!

  • Doug McLean

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    March 12, 2021 at 7:40 pm
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    David,

    Have you tried using Power Query to do your data washing?

  • David Cutler

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    March 12, 2021 at 9:35 pm
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    I’m not familiar with “Power Query” Doug.  Is that an Excel function or another program?  I did investigate Pivot Tables a bit but didn’t get too far with it.  At this point I’m using the “Subtotal” option in the “Outline” tools in Excel.  It’s not perfect as I need to add some formulas in every time to get my item numbers, descriptions and units of measure where I need them, but it keeps me from having to re-key everything.

    I’m not positive but I think my manager still writes everything down on a yellow pad, adds it up with a calculator and then keys the quantities into B2W so I’m light years ahead of him.  Need to make some time to show him some of the new tricks…

    • Doug McLean

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      March 17, 2021 at 12:49 pm
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      Power Query is a function within Excel. If you have O365 you’ll find it under the Data tab. Get and Transform.
      Power Query is a way to ‘wash’ your data in ways that Excel Formula’s can’t do. Its also REALLY good when you have to repeat various steps as new data becomes available.
      I would recommend watching a few YouTube videos on the subject first before trying it.

      • David Cutler

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        March 19, 2021 at 8:36 am
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        Thank you for the tip Doug. I watched a quick intro video on the feature. Going to have to explore this further…

        • Brett Ruppel

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          August 16, 2021 at 10:31 am
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          We are using Power Query to scrub bulk B2W Track data into a better report for weekly reviews of job status. Just started doing this, so still perfecting it, but happy to show you what we are doing.

          • Troy DeGroot

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            I’d love to hear more Brett, thanks for being in the group!

    • Vince

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      August 29, 2021 at 12:19 pm
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      Hi David. Power Query is a great tool but you can also just use a standard table in Excel from which a pivot table is generated. Once the table is set you can just copy any new data from the csv file output by Bluebeam into the table then hit refresh to update your pivot table.

      I am using this sort of thing all of the time now and the amount of time saved is incredible.

  • Doug McLean

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    August 20, 2021 at 4:42 pm
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    For those of us in the Finishing Trades, Power Query can work better than QL because invariably GC’s want things broken down by room or item even.
    QL is great, but setting it up by Space is time consuming. Its next to impossible to set that up on a Template.
    I have one re-usable workbook that transforms the data to the way I need it based on a BatchConfig file. It also has two macros on it that break the output table into Tabs as per the Spaces column and then saves those tabs as individual csv files which I import into my Estimating Software.

    Its pretty slick.

  • Troy DeGroot

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    August 23, 2021 at 3:01 pm
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    I think the trick is to reverse engineer it. Figure out exactly what the import needs to look like. Then build custom columns in Revu to match both the data and the order of the columns. Some columns can have default values, some will have choice menus. After that, you build your tools as detailed as you want to be using the custom data. for instance, you might have the same tool with different manufacturers, so you make 2 tools with different colors and set the default for the manufacturer (or material type or whatever). Hope this makes sense.

    • David Cutler

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      August 24, 2021 at 7:23 am
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      I think I’d take it a step further Troy and say that you need to start with how you need to present the information to the client at the end of the process as this drives how you enter the data into the estimating software. Having an item for 10,000 lf of quarter round doesn’t do you any good if your client wants to know how much quarter round is in on each floor.

      Spaces are an interesting topic. I’ve experimented with them some, but haven’t had the right project to fully develop my knowledge of how to use them yet. I wonder if we will ever see a routine in Revu that would auto establish spaces…

      • Troy DeGroot

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        August 24, 2021 at 10:01 am
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        That would be nice in Revu, but highly unlikely based on simple lines and text. Revu would never know how to distinguish what boundaries define a space or not. I wouldn’t put it past them to figure it out though.
        I know when you create “Rooms” in Revit, those convert to Spaces when printing to a pdf. (depending on license and settings).

      • Doug McLean

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        August 27, 2021 at 5:17 pm
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        Auto creating Spaces would be amazing.
        I thought I heard that one can from Revit though. The Spaces transfer over

        • Troy DeGroot

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          October 29, 2021 at 10:53 am
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          The rooms in Revit can be part of the print using the Bluebeam plugin. This will bring the extents of the Room and title into Revu for Spaces and Area measurements among other measurements.

  • Vince

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    August 29, 2021 at 12:13 pm
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    Hi Doug. Looks like I’ve found this topic a bit late in the day!

    I export to Excel where I use a variety of different methods to make my data more usable. Various different formula set-ups, sorting & splitting into with macros and also power query.

    I am also currently doing a power query course which, although I’m only half way through, I can highly recommend.

    What it does mean though is that I can have a standard profiles set up in Bluebeam for various different types of work – drainage, foundations, external works, etc. which can then all be easily exported to a csv and then imported directly into Excel.

    • Doug McLean

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      October 7, 2021 at 5:10 pm
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      Its great isn’t it?

      I learned most of mine by watching ExcelisFun on YouTube, as well as a couple other Excel people.

      Once you get it written, just record a refresh and attach to a button. Even easier.

  • Doug McLean

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    April 1, 2022 at 2:53 pm
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    Thanks to a tip from Vince, I just updated this entire workflow.
    I took a bunch of the common Options and broke them down into individual Custom Columns. So now I essentially have a dropdown list for all of my common options.

    Of course I have to completely re-write the Power Query to stich everything back together, but that’s the fun part.

    Along the way I’ve learned how to do a couple of really cool things with PQ, like Find/ Replace from an existing table (which is pretty cool btw).

    The whole process took about 3 days, and I’m now testing it out in the world.
    I’ll keep you posted

    • Vince

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      April 2, 2022 at 12:34 am
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      Great to hear that things are working @Doug McLean !

      I also like the look of that Find / Replace as I ‘ve never used it before either – just working out what to try it on!

      PQ is definitely the way to go with repetitive tasks. Although not related to Bluebeam, I’ve recently used it to reduce a weekly job that took >2 hours and now it can be done in about 30 seconds. Not only that but I get far more data out of it too!