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.


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.


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


4 thoughts on “Are Revit Dependent Views Still Needed?

  1. I am probably a bit late to this post, as I have just been looking into finding a reason why I should use dependent views, and stumbled upon this link. I have used them in a few previous projects, though not necessarily by my own choice, but more because the projects I had worked on required us to use their pre-generated files to aid overall cohesion in a large, multi-user project. Those projects had already created defined scope boxes and regions for dependent views to coincide with the scope boxes themselves.

    I am constantly searching for methods to improve efficiency and eliminate user errors in Revit that arise due to either, improper use of the tools available in Revit, or ignoring them altogether due to an overall lack of understanding of how the tools actually function.

    I feel like my problem with dependent views arises from my lack of understanding, and possible improper use of the available tools. In my very limited knowledge on the subject of dependent views, I have found them to be near useless, which is possibly due to my ignorance on their implementation.

    Unless the dependent view capabilities have changed since Revit 2016, I see very few offerings on a large project with hundreds of sheets used for CDs. To me, the absolute breaking point for dependent views is the lack of controlling the scale of the view independently. The inability to apply view filters and templates to dependent views, without affecting other views, is also a huge letdown, but the scaling issue really breaks it for me. It almost feels like you need two “master plans” for every discipline, or subsection of the plans themselves. You create an overall plan that will fit on whatever sheet size you have for the project, then you create an additional plan that will be used to generate dependent views.

    The additional, “master plan”, from which dependent views will be generated, is not shown on sheets, but merely used as the sandbox from which you will generate subsequent drawings that will actually be placed on sheets. Ignoring the issue with “detail items”, such as text objects, and view-specific “detail items” showing up where they are not wanted in a dependent view, you are left in the same situation as if you had duplicated views with detailing, rather than duplicating as dependents. You still have to manage multiple views across multiple sheets, and I honestly don’t see the benefit of dependent views in any reasonable scenario, outside of showing an overall floor plan broken down into enlarged views placed across multiple sheets, with absolutely no view-specific elements applied.

    I really would like to use them, and I hope I am wrong in my assessment, but again, I feel like every time I think “Well, Revit just can’t do that,” I am almost always incorrect. So perhaps you could shed some further light on the subject, as I really would like to be able to implement them in my own projects.

    • Dependent views were wonderful when they were implemented in Revit. Since View Templates now control visibility much like dependent views, I am not a big proponent of dependent views at this time. I am not opposed to them, but believe View Templates may be the better control mechanism for more situations.

    • The only two places I endorse using dependent views are:
      1st on views for bulletin drawings or sketches.
      2nd as working views.

      In all other ways, independent views with a good utilization of view templates is far superior.

  2. I find using view templates accompanied by using dependent views to be more efficient
    I use specific view types, each view type has its own view template, and in each underlying view, there are its dependent views that are based on scope boxes.
    This is pretty powerful, to make it even more powerful I use Dynamo to generate dependent views from scope boxes for certain levels, this makes managing hundreds of sheets quite easy for me without needing to look at each and every single view, I don’t even need to look at views to see if they were set correctly, it’s only a matter of checking the view templates to see if they are working according to standard, so a single check could mean verifying 30+ sheets in one go

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