3D Information Retrieval

3D Information Retrieval

Win32 and 64, English

Search Autodesk® Revit® element parameter values and linked document contents for a word or phrase.

General Usage Instructions

In the Revit ribbon, the "3D Information Retrieval" panel is found within the "Add-Ins" tab.


In the search dialogue you can type in the search word or phrase in the 'Keywords / phrases' text box. If you have building elements selected then only these will be searched, if nothing is selected then the whole building model will be searched.

As you type your search phrase, 3DIR will search the index and display any results in the list in the middle of the dialog. Each item is given a score depending on how well it matches your search phrase. Also displayed are category, parameter name, and hit type, which identifies where the search phrase was found - Parameter / Txt / Pdf / Excel / Word / Other. If the hit was from a linked file then double clicking on the search result will open the linked file.

The search can be further filtered by a 3D space defined by a sphere. You can enter the sphere position and size directly in the dialog or click on the 'Pick...' button to pick the centre point in the model, and then enter a radius on the dialog. Search hits will then only be shown from elements which have geometry within this sphere.

The 3DIR search will dynamically update if you change the selection of objects within the model. If you would rather it didn't do this then you can lock the search selection with the padlock symbol at the top right corner of the dialog. With the padlock locked, the search selection will remain fixed to whatever was current at the time it was locked, either a selection of objects or the whole model. It is recommended to lock the selection before you start displaying the results in the model.

The selected search results can be displayed graphically in the model using the controls at the bottom of the dialog.

  • Select - objects will be selected and zoomed to in the current view.
  • Isolate - objects will be isolated, everything else will be hidden in the current view.
  • Colour - coloured balloons will be added to the current view, indicating where in the model the search hits were found. The colour of the balloons represents the hit type, and the size is proportional to the score. Note that this is only enabled in a 3D view.


Advanced search terms

3DIR will only search for whole words or phrases that you enter, however you can enter more complicated search terms to be more specific.

You can perform a wildcard search using the question mark "?" symbol for a single character, or the asterisk "*" symbol for multiple characters. For example, the search term vent* would find vent, ventilator, or ventilation.

You can perform a fuzzy search using the tilda "~" symbol. For example searching for table~ will find similarly spelled words such as table and cable.

For more information refer to the Lucene documentation.


When you are searching a selection of objects 3DIR can also hop to connected objects and search them as well.

You can control the maximum number of hops to take with the 'Hops to adjacent elements' setting on the dialog box. Currently the relationships that are considered are touching elements, intersecting elements, and hosts.


Before a search can be attempted the Revit model must be indexed. Also, whenever the Revit model or linked documentation is changed it will need to be re-indexed.

Clicking the re-index button will cause 3DIR to index all string parameters contained in the model. It will also index the contents of any linked documents. For linked documents to be considered for indexing, their path must be specified within a parameter who’s name begins with ‘URL’. So the built-in URL parameter can be used, or you can setup any number of projects or shared parameters to use, just as long as their name starts with ‘URL’. The path entered should be either the full path to the linked document, or its path relative to the Revit project file. The contents of any linked documents are extracted using the IFilters registered on your machine.


3DIR uses IFilters in order to extract text from a linked document. A default installation of Windows includes several standard IFilters. These IFilters offer fast full-text searching on Microsoft Office files (pre 2007 .doc, .xls, .ppt), text documents, HTML files, and others. In order to index other document types you will need to download and install other IFilters, some of which are listed below:-

  • Microsoft Office 2007/2010 (.docx, .docm, .pptx, .pptm, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlsb, .zip, .one, .vdx, .vsd, .vss, .vst, .vdx, .vsx, and .vtx) download from Microsoft
  • Adobe PDF (.pdf) Although Adobe reader includes an IFilter, it will only work with Microsoft software. So in order to index pdf documents you will need to install a 3rd party IFilter, such as pdf-xchange

For more general information on IFilters please see this.



Ribbon/Toolbar Icon Command Command Description


Search Revit element parameter values and linked document contents for a given word or phrase. The search will be processed either on the whole building model if nothing is selected, or limited to the selected objects. Search results are presented in a list including their score along with other information. Selecting a search hit will optionally select, or highlight the Revit element containing it, or display a coloured balloon in the building model.


An index must first be created before a search can be started on a particular building model. It should also be re-created when the building model has been changed. The index will contain all textual information from the parameters attached to all elements within the whole building model. It will also contain all of the text contained within linked documents. See the linked documents section below for more information.


The installer that ran when you downloaded this plug-in from Autodesk App store has already installed the plug-in. You may need to restart the Autodesk product to activate the plug-in. To uninstall this plug-in, exit the Autodesk product if you are currently running it, simply rerun the installer by downloading it again from Autodesk App store, and select the 'Uninstall' button, or you can uninstall it from 'Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features' (Windows 7/8/8.1/10), just as you would uninstall any other application from your system.

Additional Information

More information is available at the 3DIR project website.

The 3DIR project was supported by a Brian Mercer Feasibility Award from the Royal Society.

The 3DIR project was supported by The Higher Education Innovation Fund at Loughborough University.

The 3DIR project was developed by Graitec Ltd.

Known Issues



Company Name: GRAITEC
Support Contact: support@graitec.ro

Author/Company Information


Support Information

Email us at helpdesk@graitec.co.uk with feedback.

Version History

Version Number Version Description


Updated for Autodesk® Revit® 2016 and 2017. Added multiple hop functionality.


Original release

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