7 Practical Tips for Autodesk Navisworks Simulate and Navisworks Manage

7 Practical Tips for Autodesk Navisworks Simulate and Navisworks Manage

Navisworks SimulateNavisworks Simulate is a 3D design review software designed and developed by Autodesk. The program is used to analyze, navigate, and combine 3D models for the construction industry. It is especially popular among professionals who want to review complex designs, as it offers a plethora of useful features. For example, it presents you with accurate measurements and allows you to view the project from different viewpoints. There is also a redlining feature essential to conduct an analysis of construction projects properly. In Navisworks one can also contribute to issue tracking and management in BIM 360 Docs 

As opposed to Navisworks Manage, Navisworks Simulate does not support clash detection. However, it has every other feature that the overall Navisworks platform has to offer. While the software is relatively easy to use, there are many tools and functions included. In order to maximize the potential of Autodesk Navisworks Simulate, you will need to know some of the things not commonly found in the instruction manual.

Navisworks Manage

Navisworks Manage

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Key Tips for Autodesk Navisworks Simulate and Navisworks Manage:

In this article, we will present you with a few important tips and tricks that will improve your understanding of the platform. After all, it is quite a complex tool, and you can easily overlook some of its most useful features.

1. Accurately Measure Round Objects

Measuring round objects can be a bit tricky, especially if you are not experienced in using 3D review software. In Navisworks Simulate, there is a quick and easy way to accurately get the numbers you need for any round object in your project. What you need to do is go to Options > Interface > Snapping. You will see an option called “Snap to Edge” — make sure it is turned on.

Your mouse pointer will not automatically snap to the edges of vectors contained in any loaded model. When it comes to round objects, their edges are usually found right at the top and right at the bottom. With this functionality, you will be able to properly measure any round objects.

Here are more tips about the measuring tool:

2. Fix Clipping Planes

Quite a few people have reported that their Navisworks Simulate models will suddenly just vanish while during navigation. It is a known issue, and there is a simple fix that will take care of it once and for all. First, go to File Options > Culling. Find and edit the following values as follows:

  •     Near Clipping Plane Fixed, value = 0.01
  •     Far Clipping Plane Fixed, value = 9999

The issue we are tackling has to do with clipping planes. If you edit the two values like we suggested and save the changes, you will no longer have any problems with disappearing models.

Watch this video to learn more:

3. Fast Navisworks Model Iterations

If your work requires you to do quick iterations of Revit or AutoCAD models, you might be facing a bothersome issue. We are talking about having to constantly unload your appended models so you can export models from the corresponding program. 

Fortunately, Navisworks Simulate offers a smart workaround that resolves this problem. Go to Options Editor > Model > Performance and enable “Close NWC/NWD Files on Load.” You will now be able to overwrite NWC while skipping the unloading part.

Now, if you hit Refresh right after overwriting such a file, you will see that the new model has automatically replaced the old one on your screen. This trick can save you quite a lot of time, so we highly recommend it.

4. Get XYZ Coordinates

Struggling to define the exact X, Y, and Z coordinates of a single point on your model? With Navisworks Simulate, you are able to do that by using the program’s measurement tools. Go to Review > Measure and click the arrow located at the bottom of the menu. 

You will now be able to select an area on the model. A handy window to the left will show you the exact X, Y, and Z values for the area’s start and endpoints. With this, you will be able to define those values for any given point on your models.

 5. Open Different File Extensions

Navisworks Simulate is an extremely versatile tool that allows you to review other file formats besides NSD and NWC. The following file types can also be opened in Navisworks Simulate:

  • PDF
  • CAD
  • Revit
  • 3DS

6. Override the Color of an Object

Overriding an object’s color can be especially useful when reviewing certain models. Navisworks Simulate allows you to do that quickly by right-clicking on the object and choosing Override Item > Override Color. 

If you want to revert the changes, simply right-click on the object again and select Reset Item > Reset Appearance. Keep in mind that color changes will appear only in Navisworks Simulate and not on other platforms.

7. Enable Quick Properties

With Navisworks Simulate, you can view a considerable amount of data related to an object or a model. It is usually visible in a dedicated window called ”Properties,” which you have to open specifically. As you can imagine, this can be a bit tedious to do, especially if you need to check on an object’s attributes frequently. This is where “Quick Properties” come in — however, you need to activate the feature first.

Go to Options > Interface > Quick Properties and make sure you enable “Show Quick Properties.” Select the attributes you want to see in the ”Definitions” field, and you are good to go. Now, you will be able to see an object’s properties just by hovering your mouse over it.

Watch this video to learn more:


Those were some essential tips that will make you work more efficiently with Navisworks Manage and Simulate. There are lots of other cool features to find, so feel free to experiment with this exceptional piece of software.


About the Author

Roger Liucci is a senior BIM specialist at Microsol Resources, an Autodesk Platinum Partner in their New York office. He has provided BIM implementation, support, and training to architectural, engineering, and construction firms for over 20 years. Roger is particularly interested in the interaction between design and technology innovation as it relates to digital fabrication and cloud computing. Among his software specialties include Autodesk Revit, Navisworks, 3ds Max Design, and Rhino.

Roger studied Environmental Architecture at Arizona State University and SUNY Farmingdale. He has given talks on building information modeling and technology innovation at Autodesk University, AIA seminars, and the Revit User Group.


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