Revit Family Creation Expertise Needed

As a company moves into using Autodesk Revit for the design of buildings, they quickly learn that families are an important part of the process.  Families represent entities within a project, such as walls, doors, windows, furniture, water heaters, drains, sinks, condensers, air terminals, receptacles, electrical panels, light fixtures, etc.  Revit provides many families with the software installation, but there are never enough or they never look or function the way that the Revit user’s organization desires.  As a result, custom Revit families are created for use within their organization.

Unfortunately, many organizations utilize inappropriate people to create these custom families.

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Managing Menu Tabs in Revit

When using Autodesk Revit software, the display of tabs across the top of the software can be annoying or helpful.  Revit allows you to easily adjust the order of the tabs, as well as which discipline tabs are displayed.  Turning off unnecessary tabs is very helpful if you are discipline specific (as are most users) and don’t want to see and work around the tabs for commands for disciplines that you never use.  Less is more.

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Show Different Detail Levels for Different Categories in Revit View

Revit has three Detail Levels that can be assigned to a view, which are Coarse, Medium, and Fine and these control how much detail is shown for model elements in the view.  When assigning the Detail Level, everything in the view gets assigned that Detail Level by default throughout the view.  However, there are times when you want to have different Detail Levels for different categories of model elements in the same view.  There can be various reasons for this, but a couple of examples are:

  1. You want some information to display more detail than others to accent certain items, such as only wanting walls to display the outer wall lines (Coarse display) while information such as furniture in the room shows a high level of detail (Fine display).
    1. This is common with MEP designers as they often don’t want the walls to show all finishes within the wall.  An earlier blog post addresses this situation.
  2. You want to show a category like Cable Tray with a Fine detail, but show the Conduit as a single line which requires a Coarse or Medium display level.

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Controlling Material of Nested Revit Families

Being able to control the displayed materials and finishes of nested families is an important part of creating complex Revit families.  As families are created to provide more options or be more efficient, additional families are created and placed into a Host family.  The use of Nested families has a couple of key advantages:

  1. When the same component is used multiple times in a family, it can be advantageous to make that component a Nested family.  An example of this is a wheel assembly family that is used four different times for a cart.
  2. When a family needs to have multiple options from which the user can choose.  An example of this is a door assembly that has various door panel family options, such as full glass, half glass, solid, etc.

Before I go any further, I want to clarify the difference between a Host family and a Nested family.  A Nested family is one that exists inside another family.  For instance, when family F1 is loaded into F2, F2 is the Host family and F1 is the Nested family.  Typically, F2 is then loaded into the Revit project file.

Anyway, as you create a family with Nested families, you want to be able to control the materials and finishes of those Nested families directly in the Host family Properties palette after it has been placed in the project file.  For instance, you may want to control the material/finish/color of a door panel that is actually a nested family in a door assembly.  If you don’t set the family up correctly, you will not be able to do this without opening the door panel family and changing it in the family editor.  You do NOT want to be required to do this.

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Revit Keyboard Shortcut List

Autodesk has kindly provided a keyboard shortcut list for Revit users.  The list is broken down by each tab and contains a brief description of the command represented by the shortcut.  The whole document is 9 pages long with the actual shortcut list being 6 pages long, so this is not a one page document to hang next to your monitor.

Link to webpage for Revit Shortcut Key Guide

Get a printable PDF version of the Revit Shortcut Key Guide

Create a Sanitary to Vent System Transition in Revit – 2nd Method

Earlier this year, I posted about creating a sanitary to vent system since Revit does not have a default way of showing where the piping changes from sanitary system to a vent system.  (Read it here.)  There are times when this simplified process does not work, so this post shows a 2nd method to accomplish this task.  This 2nd method utilizes a newly created family to act as a transition between the two systems.  It is a simple pipe fitting family that can be inserted into a pipe to create the transition.

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AutoCAD 2016 Start Tab

When I opened AutoCAD 2016 for the first time, I (like the rest of you) noticed the Start tab.    That was all well and good and I thought that it would go away when I opened a drawing, similar to previously releases.  But then I opened an existing drawing and noticed the Start tab was still there.  My thought was “Ok, I will close it so I don’t have an extra tab”.  The problem was that there was no “X” on the tab to close it like other tabs.

Startmode tab

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