Are Revit Dependent Views Still Needed?

Autodesk introduced dependent views to Revit several releases ago and they have been a popular feature when you have a large building with multiple units/areas in order to show the entire floor plan at a scale of say 1/8″=1′-0″.  When they were introduced, they were great as they allowed us to break up a large floor plan into manageable units and control the visibility of all units by only modifying one view.  We were able to get good consistency and increased speed, along with having view reference tags for adjoining views.  I thought is was a great feature.

However, is the use of dependent views still as important at it was when they were introduced?  My belief at this time is that they are not as important for everyone.  I think some users will get good benefit from them, but others will get benefit from not using them.

Before you get upset with me, let’s take a look at this.

Reasons to use dependent views:

  • Any changes made to the display of one of the dependent views (or overall view) is automatically reflected through the other related dependent views.
  • Tags and text can be added to the one overall view and be visible in the dependent views.

Reasons to not use dependent views:

  • All of the related dependent views must have the same display settings.  You are not allowed to adjust some settings for different views.
  • Filters cannot be applied separately to related dependent views.
  • View reference tags no longer require dependent views and can be applied to any view.

One of the big reasons for me backing down from using dependent views is that that you cannot use View Filters on dependent views.  There are times when I want to filter information to be unit/area specific so that it only shows on the highlighted dependent view and not on the views around it. This situation is more pronounced when I have odd shaped buildings as there is a lot of adjacent unit information shown in my highlighted unit/area plan.

While there is a match line delineating the different units/areas, it is still a bit confusing to someone reading the plan seeing the same information multiple times on multiple sheets.  For instance, on a view I may want to filter to show only light fixtures in a specific unit/area, or to show only the furniture in a specific unit/area.  View A should show only the lights that are in Unit A and not the ones in Unit B, while View B shows only the lights that are in Unit B and not the ones in Unit A.  I cannot do that if I use dependent views since any view filter gets applied to all related dependent views.

Alternative:

Since Autodesk changed how View Templates now control views, those View Templates can be used for unit/area plans in lieu of dependent views.  View filters can control the same information as a dependent view, but give you some flexibility.  You just specify what you want or don’t want the view template to control.

Downside to using View Templates:

Unfortunately, there always seems to be a downside to most things.  In the case of using View Templates in lieu of using dependent views, I see 2 main issues:

  1. Users must be conscientious in using view templates.  I realize that some companies really don’t use view templates, however, I am a big believer in view templates and highly recommend their usage.
  2. This can increase the quantity of view templates in a project.  However, if view filters are the only difference in the unit/area views, the same view template can be used for each unit/area view and the Filters option in the view template just is not checkmarked.

Summary:

Consider whether dependent views are right for your needs, or whether using view templates instead may better address your requirements.

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