Key Plans in Revit Architecture

Buildings that are too big to fit on one plotted sheet are divided up into units or areas for plotting purposes.  When that is done, key plans are created and typically placed in the lower corner of the sheet to illustrate how the unit shown on the plotted sheet relates to the entire building.  This article will describe a process to create just a single key plan that has parameters for the displaying various units.  This method is an alternative to a common key plan method of having a separate key plan legend for each unit.

  1. The first step is to export a floor plan as an AutoCAD drawing file.  It is advisable to create a temporary view with minimal floor plan information displayed as this drawing file will be used to create the outline of the key plan.  A plan can be exported to a .dwg file by going to File -> Export -> CAD Formats.
  2. While still inside Revit, create a new annotation family using the Generic Annotation.rft template by going to File -> New -> Family.
  3. When the new annotation family has opened, link in the AutoCAD drawing file that was created from the floor plan view by going to File -> Import/Link -> CAD Formats.  This will need to be scaled down to be the appropriate size for the sheet.  A good starting point is to scale the link down .0001 when linking in the file, which can be done by selecting the Custom Factor option in the Import Units box at the bottom of the Import/Link dialog box prior to selecting the Open button.

    If you get a message stating “Import detected no valid elements in the file’s Paper space.  Do you want to import from the Model space?”, select the Yes button.
  4. After the AutoCAD file is linked and visible, use the Line tool to draw lines around the perimeter of the building and draw lines for the unit match lines to differentiate the units.
  5. Delete the linked AutoCAD drawing file.
  6. Save the family with Key Plan as the name.
  7. Load the Key Plan family into the project.
  8. Place the key plan on the one of the desired sheets using the Symbol option on the Drafting tab.  Analyze the size of the key plan and determine if it needs to be scaled either up or down to appear proportionally correct on the sheet.
  9. Go to the Key Plan family window.  If the key plan size needs to be adjusted, use the scale command on the family linework.  Reload the family into the project to verify that the size appears as desired.
  10. After getting the linework to the desired scale, add text to label the key plan.
  11. Create separate filled regions for each of the units.  (Make sure that all unit areas are not created at the same time or each area will actually be different parts of one filled region.)
  12. After the filled regions have been created, it is time to set up parameters to control the visibility of the different filled regions and text.
    1. Select Family Types from the Design Bar.
    2. Under Parameters, select the Add button and enter the following settings:
      1. Name = Unit A
      2. Group = Other
      3. Discipline = Common
      4. Instance
      5. Type of Parameter = Yes/No        

    3. Repeat step “2” directly above for each of the Unit areas in your key plan.
    4. Select one of the filled regions, then pick the Properties button.
      1. Under Graphic, select the button to the right side of Visible.

      2. In the Associate Family Parameter dialog box, select the applicable Unit which the filled region represents.
      3. Pick the OK button
    5. Repeat step “4” directly above for each of the filled regions which represent a unit.
  13. Load the Key Plan family into the project.
  14. Highlight the Key Plan on the sheet and pick the Properties button.  Place a checkmark next to the desired Unit filled region to be displayed.

3 thoughts on “Key Plans in Revit Architecture

  1. Is there any reason why this annotation family couldn’t live within a titleblock family? This way you could keep the key plan in the same place on each sheet (assuming you wanted it on each sheet,) and you could just create a key plan type for Unit A and for Unit B. We’ve done something similar which allows us to simply change the titleblock to get the correct key plan, but we just loaded the traced over the DWG right in the titleblock (I like your suggestion to make an annotation family better.)

    Nice tutorial.

    – Alex

    • Alex,
      Your suggestion is another possibility. Personally, I like to be able to locate the key plan as needed on each sheet. While I typically have it in the same spot, I often seem to have that one sheet in the set where the key plan just doesn’t work where I really want it to be, especially when I have projects that have 5 or 6 unit plans. There are trade-offs with each method.


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