Revit 2017 Family Reference Planes

As someone that creates a lot of Revit families, I always appreciate Revit enhancements and new features that help with creating or working with families. Reference Planes are a critical component of families and Revit 2017 has some interesting changes in regards to them.


A big change for 2017 is that we can now create sub-categories for Reference Planes. This allows us to differentiate reference planes with different graphic properties such as colors and line types.

When viewing the reference planes in a family, you can understand the purpose of the reference plane by its graphics. You can also turn off the reference planes that are not pertinent to what you are doing at the current time in the family.  An example of usage for subcategories is to have one for reference planes that control connectors, another one for extrusion edges, another one for 2D linework, etc.  This can be very beneficial when there are many reference planes in a family.

When you create a new Reference Plane subcategory in a family, it will get added to a Project file when the family is loaded into the project. I can see this getting pretty chaotic when many different people create families with their own versions of sub-categories.  This subcategory listing in the project file can get rather confusing and lengthy.  I really appreciate the ability to have sub-categories for model elements and linework in a family so that the end user in a Project file can turn on/off specific sub-categories and adjust their graphic properties.  However, reference planes are not printed and viewed in the same way as actual physical elements, so I don’t understand the need to have the family reference plane sub-categories transfer to the project file.

This is a feature that has nice possibilities, but also can be a big pain within a project file. I am not a fan of it yet.  I would be a big fan of this feature if the sub-categories did not carry over into the project file.

New reference plane subcategories are created in the Object Styles dialog box in the Annotation Objects tab.

Reference Plane Subcategories


A feature that was actually added to R2 of Revit 2016 is to be able to name a Reference Plane in the drawing area without having to go the Properties palette for the Reference Plane.  Simply pick on the Reference Plane and type a name for it right there.  (Note that I believe that you should ALWAYS name ALL reference planes.)  While this isn’t huge, it is easier than typing it in the Properties palette and sometimes bumping your mouse so that you aren’t actually typing in the parameter box.

Reference Plane Name


While not a family feature, we now have the ability to use Filters on Reference Planes inside a project file. This capability did not previously exist.


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