Electric Lighting Help Guides

Introduction – LightStanza for Electrical Lighting 

For a 2.5 minute overview of the software, check out this video:

Other LightStanza Help Guides

Tutorial Videos

Support Forums

LightStanza has a community support forum, where users can ask and answer questions.
To ask a new question about LightStanza, click here. To look for existing answers, click here.

Still Have Questions?

If you are unable find the answers you are looking for, feel free to contact us directly.

LightStanza Office: (720) 722-0771 (during business hours M-F 8-5pm MT)
Email: support@lightstanza.com (24 hours, 7 days a week!)

Electric Lighting


LightStanza offers a robust way of modeling electric lighting from concept to construction drawings.  LightStanza is flexible so there are several workflows design and engineering teams can use.  Some teams will prefer to place fixtures in Revit, while others want to augment Revit, SketchUp, and Rhino drawings with fixtures.  Drawings that start in Revit format are best supported right now.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. When clicking + dragging luminaires:
    1. Holding CTRL will let you move on the z-axis (up and down)
    2. Holding SHIFT will deactivate the snap feature so you can make more fine-grained movements
    3. Holding SHIFT will also deactivate snap when you are rotating a luminaire with the rotation arrow handle
  2. When placing a luminaire:
    1. Holding SHIFT will deactivate snap
  3. When selecting luminaires:
    1. Holding SHIFT will allow you to select multiple luminaires 
  4. While luminaires are selected
    1. Use the arrow keys to move the selected object(s)
      1. right/left = move on x (red) axis
      2. up/down = move on y (green) axis
      3. shift + any arrow key = move a larger distance on whatever axis
    2. DELETE – will delete

Many Workflows

LightStanza allows users to layout and calc fixtures in a space, building, or exterior in a variety of ways:


    1. Fixture layouts in Revit: for users who want to do most of their lighting design directly in Revit
    2. Fixture layouts in LightStanza:
      1. Synced to a Revit model: for users who want to read in portions or all of their Revit base drawings, do their layouts online, and sync their results back to Revit
      2. Using a Revit model on a computer without Revit: for users who do not want to remodel but also do not have Revit.  
      3. In spaces or an exterior area created online (with or without an imported 2D base-map): for creating simple 3D geometry online and limited support for legacy CAD projects
      4. From an imported Rhino, SketchUp, or IFC model: LightStanza will manage any type of 3D geometry and create lighting plan views from them.
All these workflows have in common:
  1. Photometric Manager
  2. Run Calcs in the Cloud
  3. Calc history and viewing online
  4. Collaborate with message threads, sharing designs, and results
  5. Download data for reporting or further analysis

All workflows for fixture layouts in LightStanza have in common:

  1. Luminaire Manager
  2. Online Editing

The LightStanza Web Application


LightStanza is a full-featured electric lighting design and analysis program.

The figure below describes a typical workflow of assigning luminaires to run calculations.

1. Set your calculation mode to electric light only.  This should be the default for models that were imported from Revit with electric lighting checked.

2. Go to wireframe mode to see all of your photometric webs and IES files.

3. Assign IES files to your fixtures. The fixtures without IES files an be identified in the 3D viewer by red spheres, and yield symbols in the luminaire manager. Not all fixtures have to be assigned to run calculations.

Once assigned, click the name of an IES file to edit in LightStanza’s advanced IES/Family Manager. Here you can view IES file details, BUG ratings, and photometrics, as well as change LLF (light-loss factors), fixture dimensions, and more (see Luminaire Manager).

4. Create new fixtures online and place them in your model.

5. Mark all fixtures that will contribute to Emergency Lighting mode (and set their dimming/power level).

6. Enter the instance manager to edit individual fixture properties. Here you can change rotations, height adjustments, set individual fixtures to emergency lighting, etc.

7. Run calculations in standard mode

8. Run calculations in Emergency Lighting Mode

Generating Results in LightStanza

To generate faster results, we recommend cropping your LightStanza model to your area of interest for analysis:

Navigate to the Illuminance Grids panel on the left-hand panel. Select the “crop” symbol under the area of interest to crop the model to that space. Uncheck the “crop” icon to return to the whole building model. 

The Activity Bar (on the right side of your design screen) is where new activities are started, previous activities are referenced, model edits are listed and comparison reports are kicked off. 

  1. Renderings/Animations – These come from individual point-in-time renderings and animations. To play a rendering/animation, click the New Simulation button in the top of the activity menu.
    1. Camera Tools – You can customize the way you view your renderings in the 3D viewer with Camera Tools. (Hover over the activity you want to see in the activity menu then click the building icon)
      1. Exposure – You can manually adjust the exposure of your renderings in order to increase or decrease the amount of light per unit area. LightStanza uses Reinhard tone mapping for adjusting exposure. 
      2. Contrast – Adjusting the contrast of your image will increase or decrease the difference between light and dark in your renderings. 
      3. False Color – In the 3D viewer, you have the option to view your renderings in False Color mode for a more quantitative view of your images.
        1. Luminance Bounds – Changing your luminance sets what luminance values each color in your image represents. Adjust this to focus on very bright or very dark areas. 
        2. Log Scale – Adjusting your log scale sets scaling of your false color heat map. 
        3. Contour Lines – This is another way to look at your false color rendering. Contour lines trace the different luminance thresholds in your rendering, using the false color legend.
          1. Line spacing – Changing your line spacing sets the density of contour lines in your image. 
  2. Illuminance Grids – These come in the form of Point-in-time Illuminance Grids and animations. Clicking one of these activity cards will place the result inside of your 3D model. 

  1. View model edits – By clicking the “Show model edits” button at the top of the Activity Bar, you can see edits you’ve made to your model in the left toolbar. You can also revert to previous model states using the revert button on a history card, and you can save any state of your design to a new design using the save button on a history card. 
  2. Starting a comparison – By clicking the “Compare Activities” button at the top of the Activity Bar, you can compare two different simulations at once by selecting two activities from the list of simulations below.

  1. Starting a new activity – At the top of the Activity Bar, there is a “New” dropdown menu with the following options:
    1. Rendering/Animation – Renderings can be made on the fly or from your list of viewpoints in the left Viewpoints panel. To make renderings on the fly, simply move your 3D viewer screen to the angle and location that you want, and when you start a new rendering at the exact spot. After clicking “Rendering/Animation” in the dropdown menu, you will be presented with a new set of simulation options:
      1. Check the “Emergency Lighting Calculation” box under Simulation Options to create a rendering from luminaires designated as emergency. Leaving this box unchecked will create a rendering of all normal lighting within the set viewpoint.
      2. Simulation Quality depends on a list of Radiance settings. These settings will be shown as a tooltip next to the Simulation Quality setting in the header.
        1. “Draft” quality is good for faster simulation
        2. “High” and “Very High” quality renderings will be more accurate for things like reports.
        3. You also have the option to set “Custom” quality settings. Simply click “Show Quality Details” and edit your Radiance parameters directly. You can hide these details by clicking “Hide Quality Details.”
          1. Camera Settings – These settings allow you to adjust several options for you rendering/animation.
          2. Field of View – Adjusting these settings will change the X and Y lens angles. Both the X and Y default angles are 180.
          3. Super Sampling – Setting this percentage determines the original size before scaling to your target resolution. The larger this percentage, the crisper your images will be. 
          4. Resolution – Adjusting of the resolution will change the quality, in pixels, of your renderings.
          5. Section Cut – By simulating with a section cut, you can cut into your 3D model to easily view daylight performance in your building.
          6. Analysis Viewpoint – The analysis will be performed at the selected viewpoint.
        4. Camera Settings
          1. Lens
            1. Perspective lens resemles the way the human eye would see a space.
            2. Hemispheric lens uses a wide angle similar to a fisheye lens.
            3. Cylindrical lens has a panoramic look. 
          2. Field of View – Adjusting field of view will change X and Y lens angles. Different lenses (above) will have different default angles. The minimum value for X and Y is 1°. The maximum value for X or Y is 180° for hemispheric and cylindrical lenses, and 175° for perspective lens.
          3. Super Sampling has to do with the original size of your images before scaling to your target resolution. The larger this percentage, the crisper your images will be. For speed, choose smaller percentages.
          4. Resolution changes the quality, in pixels, of your rendering. 

    1. Grid Illuminance – This option will provide electric lighting calculations.
      1. Simulation Options – Leaving this section at its default will produce a normal electric light calculation. Checking the “Emergency Lighting Calculation” box under Simulation Options will provide an emergency lighting calculation activity card.
      2. Grid Settings – “Unit” will adjust the lighting measurement unit between Lux or Footcandle (FC). “Point Spacing” allows you to adjust the spacing between grid points for the calculation. “Scale” allows you to choose a graphical scale to accompany the results. 
      3. Simulation Quality depends on a list of Radiance settings. These settings will be shown as a tooltip next to the Simulation Quality setting header.
        1. “Draft” quality is good for faster simulation. 
        2. “High” and “Very High” quality renderins will be more accurate for things like reports.
        3. You also have the option to set “Custom” quality settings. Simply click “Show Quality Details” and edit your Radiance parameters directly. You can hide these details by clicking “Hide Quality Details.”
          1. Camera Settings – These settings allow you to adjust several options for you rendering/animation.
          2. Field of View – Adjusting these settings will change the X and Y lens angles. Both the X and Y default angles are 180.
          3. Super Sampling – Setting this percentage determines the original size before scaling to your target resolution. The larger this percentage, the crisper your images will be. 
          4. Resolution – Adjusting of the resolution will change the quality, in pixels, of your renderings.
          5. Section Cut – By simulating with a section cut, you can cut into your 3D model to easily view daylight performance in your building.
          6. Analysis Viewpoint – The analysis will be performed at the selected viewpoint.

6. Navigating Activity Panel Tools – The top of the Activity panel holds several buttons to compare, view, and edit your model.

    1. Compare Activities – This button allows you to compare two separate 2D reports of simulations that have been run.
    2. Intelligent Perspective/Section Cut – This button will allow you to toggle Smart Camera Position and Smart Section Cut on and off for easily viewing grid-based simulation results within your 3D model.
    3. Revert Model to Previous State – When selecting this button you will be prompted to select a model state to revert to represented by history cards in the Activity Panel. Once you revert to a previous model state, this action cannot be undone.
    4. Make a Copy of Your Design – This button will create a new copy of your model in its current state in the 3D viewer (so if you are viewing a previous state in the model history, the copy will have the properties of that previous state). After selecting this button you will be prompted to name your new design before continuing.
    5. Show/Hide Simulation Results or Model Edits – Here you can show/hide cards in the Activity Panel that represent Simulation Results and/or Model Edits.
    6. Filter Activities – This button will allow you to filter cards in the Acitivty Panel strictly by the Simulation Type.

7. Viewing Previous Activities – Each card in the activity bar is an individual activity. The cards consist of a few basic navigational elements.

Luminaire Manager

This panel allows users to create and add fixtures, assign and adjust IES files,  and set up Emergency Lighting in their model. Each fixture type in LightStanza can be addressed through this panel.
  1. Access the Luminaire Library
  2. Access the IES Library
  3. Create new light fixtures — ideal for those designing in LightStanza
  4. Fixture type name — can be edited
  5. Number of instances of that fixture type
  6. Adjust the LLF of all fixtures in that family type

Adding a Fixture

Fixtures can be created in LightStanza in various ways: 1. Importing lighting families from a Revit model 2. Creating a new lighting family (without fixture geometry) to hold an IES file – ideal for those that wish to design in LightStanza, regardless of where the model geometry is imported from 3. Adding a fixture that was previously saved into the family library 4. Adding more instances/copies of a fixture already present in the design (via one of the above methods)

Placing Fixtures

You can create, delete, and move fixtures in LightStanza. The following figure illustrates these steps: 1. Navigate to a 2D lighting plan view (recommended – you can edit and create luminaires in any view mode). Use this dropdown menu to navigate between model levels. 2. Click on the fixture you want to move. Right click lets you delete it. 3. Use your keyboard to move the fixture. See keyboard shortcuts above. 4. You can also add and remove fixtures using the top menu and batch selection.

Use an adjustable grid to assist placing light fixtures in the model: 

  1. Toggle between 2D plan and 3D model views. 
  2. Toggle the grid on and off. Adjust the spacing of the grid. 
  3. Move and align the grid while this button is active.

IES File Assignments

You can directly upload an .ies file into LightStanza or choose one from your team’s online library.  Upload and assign fresh .ies files, or store them in your LightStanza library for easy assignment and management.

Instance Manager

Each fixture instance in LightStanza can be individually addressed through this panel.

Emergency Lighting

Emergency Lighting is set in the Luminaire Manager to be “on” or “off”. If “on”, you can also assign the output power when in emergency lighting mode.  Individual fixtures can be assigned to emergency lighting in the instance manager. Specify regular or emergency lighting simulations in the simulation set-up dialog – easily identify these settings in your results and reports.

Rotating/Moving Fixtures

Individual fixtures can be rotated and moved in the Instance manager, by using the arrow keys (see Keyboad Shortcuts above) or in the model viewer using the colored rotational arrows in the x,y, and z-axes.

IES/Family Manager

This panel allows you to customize your IES file and make adjustments to light source position/orientation within the family. Features Include:
  1. Candela Distribution viewer
  2. Luminaire classification system viewer
  3. Photometric web viewer
  4. Light Loss Factor: directly enter the number in this field or click on the pencil to get a detailed list of factors to modify
  5. The rotation and location of the light source within the family, and the IES luminous dimensions to match the family

Working with Illuminance Grids

Importing Illuminance Grids from Revit

1.  Horizontal illuminance grids will be generated in the LightStanza model per Rooms or Spaces assigned in Revit. 

2. Create vertical illuminance grids on the walls of each room or space. 

A horizontal illuminance grid will be created in the LightStanza app. You can adjust the height of this using the editing tool in the Illuminance Grids Panel. 

3. Adjust the “Room Type” assigned to the grid by clicking on the light bulb. 

4. A “Room Type” for that illuminance grid will be assigned based on the room or space type defined in Revit. An illuminance target and whether that target is an average, max or min will be defined based on that room or space type. These conditions are editable for each illuminance grid imported from Revit. 

Vertical illuminance grids have been created on each wall within the imported Revit model. Toggle the vertical illuminance grids on and off to customize your design. 


You can tag your peers in your designs and result reports.

Revit Plugin


The most developed electric light modeling workflow is with the LightStanza Revit Plugin, which can be found on our Plugins Page.

LightStanza’s Revit Plugin allows design teams to quickly read out relevant geometry,  fixtures (optional) and .ies files from a Revit drawing, load this information into LightStanza, try out different concepts, run calculations, and bring results back into Revit and other reporting programs.

Revit Lighting Workflow if used for
  • Luminaire layout (can edit and add fixtures in LightStanza too)
  • Assigning IES Files (optional– this can also be done in LightStanza)
  • Photometric properties (LLF, lumen output, voltage, etc.) can currently only be set in LightStanza (but we have plans to sync them from Revit to LightStanza)
  • Setting up properties
  • EM 
  • Active/Not Active
LightStanza Revit Plugin is used for:
  • Setting Up Calculation
  • Bringing in 3D Revit building geometry
  • Family geometry filtering to reduce model size and improve performance
  • Selecting spaces, rooms, or cropped (selection) boxes as the unit of analysis and to improve performance
  • Syncing Between Revit and LightStanza
  • Luminaire updates
  • Room Tag Updates
  • Adding more families to LightStanza
LightStanza Web Application is used for:
  • Uploading IES files and mapping them to families (if not done in Revit)
  • Changing Photometic Properties (LLF, resizing IES dimensions to fixture, etc)
  • Lighting family management
  • Rotating/Moving/Changing heights of fixtures.  Each family instance can be individually addressed.
  • Setting Emergency Lighting calculation fixtures and levels
  • Editing surface reflectance assignments (e.g. 80% Ceiling, 50% wall, 20% floor – these defaults can also be applied automatically)
  • Running calculations
  • Viewing results in 2D or 3D
  • Storing and retrieving results
  • Tagging teammates, others in your company (even those without LS accounts), or others for instantly sharing or publishing your results on the web

Both Workflows you can:

Choosing a Workflow: 

When adding luminaires to your design there are two main workflows:

  1. Revit Centric: Add all luminaires in Revit and continually update luminaires in Revit
  2. Web-Centric: Send base Revit geometry add all luminaires in LightStanza and continually update luminaires in LightStanza

After making changes to fixtures that were added in BOTH Revit and LightStanza with syncing turned on, unusual behavior will occur; therefore, it is advised to add and adjust fixtures in only one direction.

Using the Revit Plugin

Step 1. Put Lighting Families into your Revit model (note: you can also add fixtures directly inside the LightStanza application).  The lighting families do not have to have an associated IES file, but these will be included in your export if they are present.

Step 2. Move to a 3D view if you are not in one already.  LightStanza will use the current Construction Phase, and will include geometry and other data from associated linked Revit files.  You can apply section boxes to crop to any region of the model, or let LightStanza automate this for you in the next step.

Step 3. Click “Export to LS” or “Save to disk” on the LightStanza Toolbar

  • Export to LS” (1) will send your model directly to LightStanza, creating a new LightStanza design that will automatically open in your web browser.
  • Save to disk” (2) will save a LightStanza Data (.lsd) file to your local disk that can be directly loaded into LightStanza.
    • This is most useful to share with someone else who has the LightStanza application (without needing to use Revit).
    • You can also use this for when you do not have an internet connection and want to upload later, or to save your design in a specific state.
  • Start/Stop Tracking” (3) If this is turned on, changes to your Revit model will be automatically sent to LightStanza to keep the designs in sync.
    • If you have exported multiple times, only the most recent LightStanza design is updated.
    • Changes made while this is “off” will not be sent when turned back on.

Step 4. Check Options.

  • Name your LightStanza design (1).
  • If you want to include electric light information (lighting family and type names, light source positions, and IES files), choose “Include” (2). Click the lamp icon to “Exclude”.
  • “Calculation Area of Interest” (3) allows you to crop your model to a particular level, room or space before uploading to LightStanza. This can dramatically improve export and simulation times.
  • “Automatically sync changes from Revit to LightStanza” (4) will connect your newly exported design to Revit so that new changes are automatically propagated, keeping your Revit and LightStanza designs in sync, without having to re-upload. This is useful if you want to create, edit, delete fixtures in Revit and only want those changes to propagate. You can turn this option on later as well.
  • “Filter Revit Families” (5) gives options to reduce your model size and remove model components not relevant to lighting calculations. If you change your mind later, families can be added to your LightStanza design using the “Send Families” button in the toolbar
  • Create Illuminance Grids Using Rooms or Spaces (6) gives you flexibility on the unit of analysis
  • Workplane illuminance grid heights are set here (7) .  You can also change them within the LightStanza application.
  • Export vertical illuminance grids on walls or create illuminance grids on ceilings (8).
  • Only geometry on the current phase in the 3D view (9) will be exported.

Step 5. Your file is uploaded or saved to disk!

Revit Centric Workflow

Workflow 1: Using Revit for Lighting Layouts


Placing a Luminaire in Revit: 

  • A Revit fixture is contained in Revit by a “host,” meaning that the light must be attached to something in Revit (i.e. a 2×4 troffer is placed on a ceiling when that ceiling is set as the “host”)
  • Lights will remain coplanar to their host in Revit
  • Lights in Revit can be rotated along the z-axis

Working with LightStanza Revit Parameters

In order to access LightStanza Revit Parameters click “Load LS Parameters” in the ribbon for the LightStanza plugin in Revit.  This will automatically add parameters to each individual lighting fixture.

Proration of IES Files

Assign the “LS-Luminous Length” as the intended length of that light fixture type.

Navigate to the Type Properties of each light fixture type and under Photometrics, assign “LS-IES Basis Length” as the length of the luminous box of the base IES file that will be used in the calculations.

Assigning Emergency Fixtures

To assign a fixture as emergency prior to interfacing with the LightStanza model, use “LS-Emergency” to designate each fixture you wish to mark as emergency. Adjust the emergency output of the fixture using “LS-Emergency Output”.

Marking fixtures as emergency prior to uploading a model to LightStanza will automatically designate those fixtures as emergency in the LightStanza model. These emergency fixtures will be included in Emergency Lighting Calculations.

If you are syncing changes to/from/between Revit and LightStanza, the emergency parameters can be edited from either location and kept in sync in the two applications.

Active/Inactive Fixtures

Fixtures can be included/excluded from regular (non-emergency) simulations in LightStanza using the “Active” parameter.  You can set the initial state of each fixture by toggling the LS-Active parameter on each instance before exporting.

After the initial export, you can use syncing to/from/between Revit and LightStanza to toggle this parameter in either place and have it kept in sync in the two applications.

Workflow 2: Using the LightStanza Web Application for Lighting Layouts

Placing a Luminaire in LightStanza:

  • Luminaires can be added as a “new instance” anywhere there is a floor below the intended location
  • Luminaires may be adjusted (i.e. moved within the model or rotated around any axis)

Syncing Fixtures from LightStanza back to Revit:

  • The fixture will appear as a “Generic Model” in Revit
  • The “Generic Model” will appear on it’s associated floor plan and reflected ceiling plan in Revit. Adjust the View Range if the fixture does not appear in either
  • LightStanza will associate specific parameters under the “Generic Model” properties in order to identify the fixture type:

  • Utilize the “Generic Model” marker and it’s properties to manually place the proper fixture family in the Revit model

Adjustments made in LightStanza may not register all information back to Revit (when the LightStanza to Revit sync is activated); therefore, certain information has been put into schedule details to address this Revit API issue.

Viewing Proration Set from LightStanza Revit Parameters

 In LightStanza, you will see the “Proration Factor: #.##” for each individual fixture instance. For example, this fixture is 16ft in length with a base IES file of 4ft. The IES file of this fixture has be prorated by a factor of 4.00  to create a 16ft luminous box. 

In LightStanza, you will see the “Proration Factor: #.##” for each individual fixture instance. For example, this fixture is 8ft in length with a base IES file of 4ft. The IES file of this fixture has be prorated by a factor of 2.00 to create an 8ft luminous box. 

Sending Schedules from LightStanza to Revit

On the activity card for the calculation information you wish to send back to Revit, click the icon to create a report. 

Once in the report file, navigate to the icon highlighted in red in the image below. Clicking this icon will export scheduled information back to the Revit model. Syncing between LightStanza and Revit must be activated for this to occur. 

In Revit, navigate to the “Schedules/Quantities” section of the Project Browser. You will see (2) schedules were created from the LightStanza model: 

“LightStanza Luminaires” will provide a schedule of fixtures that were used in the model. 

“LightStanza Report” will provide a full calculation matrix of illuminance values generated in the specified calculation. 

See the “LightStanza Luminaires” schedule below:

See the “LightStanza Report” schedule below:

Adding LightStanza Results Images to Revit

On the activity card for the images you wish to add to Revit, click the icon to create a report. Once in the report file, click on the “Download report data” button at the top-right. This will download a zip file containing all of the data in the report, including DXF format drawings of the results.  

In your Revit design, navigate to the “Insert” tab and select “Import CAD”:

In the next dialog, navigate to the files downloaded from LightStanza, and select the desired image.  Make sure to show files of type .dxf, and set the import units to meters.  By default, Revit will load the image into the current active view, or you can select one in the “Place at:” drop-down:

Once loaded, you can align the image with the view by clicking and dragging if necessary.

Adding Lights to SketchUp, Rhino, and Other Modelers

LightStanza allows you to create and place lights into uploaded SketchUp and Rhino Models.  Simply click “create” in the luminaires panel and assign an IES file to the light, then click anywhere to add them to your design. If you also use Revit, you can import lighting familes/types with Revit models, and then save them into your LightStanza Luminaire library for use in other designs, even those originating in other software!