How to avoid mistakes while upgrading a Revit project with linked files

Revit versions change faster than fashion trends. And upgrading can feel like wearing stilettos on a hiking trail. In northern Norway.

Here’s how to avoid mistakes while upgrading a Revit project with linked files, written by a Digital design manager with 20 years of experience.

Hold your horses!

First of all, don’t rush it just because a shiny new version has emerged. It's a good idea to wait to upgrade your project until Revit has been out for about 4-6 months. That’ll ensure that all your preferred add-ins are compatible with the new version and wait until Autodesk has released the first fixes.

It might also be a good idea to do a test upgrade of your project before you go ahead with doing it live. Make sure you have a copy of the entire project in a safe place before and after upgrading in case some problem arises after a couple of days that you didn't predict. And when you think nothing can blindside you, that’s usually when sh*t hits the fan.

Back yourself up!

Before upgrading, choose some sheets for comparison between the old and the new version, so that you can be sure that the sheets look the same in the latest version. You should do the same with an IFC: export it and do some checks with your favorite checking software, doing some quantity takeoffs and some visual inspection to make sure it's the same after the upgrade.

And of course, make sure that all the designers and engineers have the new version of Revit, with add-ins, installed before going ahead.

Time it and link it!

Timing and planning are essential. The process should happen when there are no approaching deadlines and possibly during the weekend to make sure the downtime is as minimal as possible.
Shutting down production on Friday after lunch and working with the upgrades during the weekend to be set for production on Monday. Be ready to revert the process to the previously achieved version if something dramatic happens on Monday.
When you upgrade, make sure that all of your links are unloaded. Either by removing them entirely from the project before upgrading or by doing a selective open and making sure you don't open any worksets that have links on them (You have your links on each separate workset of course?).

Then you just start opening the different files and saving them in the new version. After this is all done, export an IFC and check if the quantities are the same and everything looks OK. Check also your sheets in both versions if there is any major discrepancy.

1. Make sure the timing is "right" regarding software and project deadlines.
2. Test the upgrade first!
3. Keep a copy of the old version for safety.
4. Make sure everyone has the correct Revit version and add-ins installed!
5. Unload links before upgrading.
6. Upgrade all your files, including the links
7. Compare the old and new versions of Revit, IFC, and sheets.