Friday, March 20, 2020

Autodesk BIM 360 Design Set Up Tips & Tricks

In light of Autodesk's announcement yesterday to make BIM 360 Design free through May to help AEC firms through the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to gather up my posts on this topic to help others get up to speed.

At LHB, we made the move to BIM 360 Design, for all Revit projects, about a year ago. This includes Architecture, Interior Design, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and some Landscape Architecture. The posts below are all things I wish I knew from day one!

I also included a guest post from my friend Mike Matheny, at BKV Group, who has been doing BIM 360 Design longer and with twice as many staff! Here is his personal cellphone number in case you have any questions 651-430-XXXX - just kidding, Mike! (but I have it;))

Keep reading to learn more...

Be sure to do the following in preparation for setting up Revit projects in BIM 360 Design; this can be done while you are waiting for your entitlements.

Preparation steps:

  • Upgrade projects; I recommend only using Revit 2019 or 2020
  • Apply all updates to Revit; especially Revit 2020
    • Get updates from Autodesk Desktop App or the account admin portal
  • Install Desktop Connector; this is not optional
  • Create user accounts in your account admin portal
  • Inform staff they will get an email and to finish creating their account
    • To keep things simple, they should only use their work email address
  • Staff now can open Revit and sign in via the option in the upper right
 Once the entitlements are available:
  • Account Admin Portal
    • Assign BIM 360 Design entitlement to each user
  • BIM 360 Design 
    • Account Admin area (opens here by default)
    • Create your company
    • Create your members; assign company and role
      • For now, keep it simple and assign everyone Architect or Engineer
Update: Per this FAQ on the free access program, it sounds like you don't have to assign the BIM 360 Design entitlement within the Autodesk Account manager. When you sign up for the trial, you can invite as many people as you want and they all get the entitlement assigned automatically via BIM 360 in the browser.
The final step is to create projects in BIM 360 and add members. You also need to assign permissions to the folders within Document Management for the project; if you assign rights based on company you can add users later an not have to do anything with permissions.

Update: Check out my detailed 18 minute YouTube video showing all of these steps:

Here is a list of the blog posts on BIM 360 Design on this blog. Please ask questions in the comments and I will try to answer or write a post about it. Any new posts will be updated in this list.

Good luck!

Related posts:

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn

Check out my video-based  courses on ArchSmarter.

I also write blog posts for Enscape - a new paradigm in rendering, animation and VR for AEC.


  1. Can you explain why Desktop Connector is not optional if you are 100% using Revit files? I thought that desktop connector used for loading AutoCAD files from your network and/or desktop so that they will update when modified. Can you tell me what am I missing?

  2. Hi Ken, Desktop Connector has been required since before DWGs were supported within BIM 360 Design. It is the mechanism that syncs the files local, similar to DropBox. I have had several new BIM 360 Design users miss this step (i.e. installing DC) and could not get things working until it was installed.

  3. thanks Dan, that is interesting because I haven't been installing Desktop Connector and it has been working fine for me.

    By the way, this outline is great. It has taken me multiple setups of BIM 360 accounts for my clients to get all of this written down in the proper order. It will save a lot of people the struggle of figuring out all of the steps that they missed since it seems this info hasn't been readily available.

    One final step you might consider adding is that it takes around 2 hrs for the project to finally show up in Revit where you can finally start adding models to the project, so you need to be patience. However, now I am wondering if that is because I haven't been installing the desktop connector. :)

    1. Yes, it must have to do with DC not being installed... I did not think it could work at all. When I create a project, it shows up in Revit almost instantly. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Well, i did just try again after I installed the Connector and here is what i have noticed. If i try to use open and look at the project without any files saved, it says that I am "Not a member of the project". However, if I do a collaborate and save the project in Revit, it allows me to do so immediately. When I use Open to look at the project folder now, the "Not a member of the project" is gone and I can create a local model. Previously when I did this, without the desktop connector installed, I had to wait until the project finally showed up in my Open browser folder before I could use the collaborate in the cloud command as all I got was "Not a member of any projects". So you are correct, it must be what is syncing the project to my local machine and allowing me to start working. So ignore my comment about waiting for the project to show up. Or maybe you say, here is why you need to install the desktop connector so that you avoid this.

    1. Thanks for the update, Ken! Also, did you see the YouTube video I posted in a more recent post? It shows my entire process and have not really clipped any time out.

  5. No, I havent but I will check it out.

  6. Hey Dan,

    Checked out the video, very informative. I didn't think about adding users to the project via the company. Much faster and easier.

    One comment, so I read you update on not needing to assign an entitlement to each user and also read Autodesk's info on this and it doesn't work for our setup. Not sure it is because we are using the Free trial completely and didn't have the entitlement option to assign but we needed for everyone to sign up for a free trial otherwise they couldn't open a project. They could see the project but where greeted with an "You do not have permissions to perform this action" or "You cannot use the option "Collaborate using the Cloud" because you haven't purchased the ...service" message. I went through all the steps you should and set up everything correct but it wasn't until I had the users sign up for the free trial that this issue finally went away. The users only needed to accept the invitation to the free trial so it appeared in their subscription account for it to work. I am not sure if this was a bug or resolved by Autodesk because they say you don't need to do this. I am wondering if it is because we are only using the Free Trial and have not purchased any seats.

    1. Thanks for the follow up, Ken. I hear from someone else that their staff did not have to each sign up. So that is odd you had to do that. But, glad you got it up and running!


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