The DB Link tool is a great little add on for Revit products that allows you to connect your Revit model to a external database.
The most common questions that I have seen are about setting up the database and 64 bit Operating Systems. It can be a little tricky if your not a regular database user (I fall into this group!). There were a lot of great questions and a few good tips during the webcast so I want to make sure to get some of them out there and hope they help you use the tool.
If your interested in what the tool can do, you should check out two videos that Inside the Factory put together. They show what you can use the tool to do with Revit.
One of the questions I hear a lot is “What about using Revit DB Link with a 64 bit OS?”
I’d have to say that Revit DB link works the easiest with a 32 bit OS. A 64 bit OS can be used, but there are some things that will make it trickier and a little bit more trial and error will be needed. If you are using Office 2010 it makes it a little bit easier, but not fool proof.
The issue is that until Office 2010 came out, Microsoft did not provide the 64 bit ODBC drivers needed to connect to a Access Database or to Excel. You had to use a different database, like SQL Express, to connect to it.
With the release of Office 2010, they released the drivers needed to connect ODBC with Access and Excel. If you don’t have Office 2010, you still can download and install the Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 Redistributable so that you should be able to setup the connection. I actually haven’t tried this download myself yet though.
Even with Office 2010 installed, you will have to setup a ODBC connection (the MS Access Tab in the DB Link tool will be blank) in order to connect to a data source. I ran across a good blog post the other day that walks through the setup.
If you want to use SQL Server as your connection, I was able to find another blog post (its in French, but can be translated) that explains the setup process pretty well.
I’ve been messing around with SQL Express 2008 and the key for me has been making sure that I was using SQL Server Management Studio. Having Management Studio made all the difference for making the connection and setting it up (without it, I was quite literally stuck).
Last, but not least, a quick troubleshooting tip you can use when trying to work out a problem with exporting or editing/importing via the DB link tool is to see if you can export your model via the ODBC export option in the Application Menu. This can help boil it down a little bit and see if the problem is with Revit or the ODBC connection.
I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with the Revit DB Link tool and why you have used it, so please submit your comments.