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Autodesk Navisworks Tip - When to Use Search Sets Vs Selection Sets

We know that Navisworks is a very powerful tool for collaboration, combining models and clash checking amongst other things, a couple of features that enable Navisworks users to work efficiently and effectively is searching and selecting items and being able to reuse those same searches and selections again and again. Integrating Search and selection sets into your everyday workflow can make project collaboration smoother.

When we need to find items within the model, we can use the Find Item tool and then save as a Search Set.

Search sets are a dynamic groups of items. The search can be re-run in the future and it could be used in Timeliner or Clash Detective. A search set saves the search criteria e.g. looking for a unique name or property so even if the model is continually being updated or revised it can still find those items and find any additional new items that meet the search criteria. Multiple conditions can be added to a search to fine tune your search.

Navisworks Find Item Tool Image

The main benefit of using search sets is the reduction in time to find particular items based on set criteria. For example, Ductwork in an MEP model.

Navisworks Find Items Window Image

We can export the Search Set to an .XML file, which could then be imported into any other Navisworks file sets and re-used by anyone.

Navisworks Sets Dialogue Box

When we are selecting items within the model we can group them as a Selection Set for reuse.

Selection sets are a static group of items, they are useful for saving groups of objects that you need to repeatedly select to perform an action on, such as hiding, changing transparency or colour etc. You could also use the selection set in Timeliner or Clash Detective. The set simply remembers the group of items there is no intelligence behind this set and if the model changes, the same items would be still selected, unless they have been removed from the model.

Navisworks Save Selection Tool Image

You can create a Selection Set by select objects in the model using the Select Tool, you could also use the Find Items tool and then save the items as a Selection set or you could even drag and drop them from the Selection Tree into the Sets dialog box.

Navisworks Selection Tree Image

We need to remember Selection Sets cannot be exported and reused on other Navisworks file sets.

Added 12/12/2016

Thanks to Darrell Edwards, BIM construction manager at Fletcher Construction in New Zealand for suggesting the following further tips.

When setting up Search sets using the "Find Items" tool, have your Selection Tree set to Properties. Now, as you select from the Selection Tree the Find Items tool populates the Category, Property, Condition, and Value columns.

Of course if you hold Ctrl and select further conditions from the Tree it further populates the Find Items. If you wish to restrict your search to a Building level select this from within the Find Items tool.

Try this, open Find Items and your Selection Tree as above as well as your 'Sets' Pallet. From the Selection Tree, scroll down to +Element > +Category then 'Ctrl+Select' as many Categories as you want and watch the Find Items tool populate, the elements will be highlighted on screen also. Then in your 'Sets' Pallet hit Save Search and name it.......Enjoy

Thanks for reading.

If you are looking to take a training course on Autodesk Navisworks, contact Graitec today on (023) 8086 8947 or click the button below to request more information and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Furthermore, if you are looking for an additional 30+ specialist tools for your Navisworks software then have a read of our iConstruct Navisworks Extension web page. 

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