by Stuart Tanfield
Revit certainly seems to be gaining momentum at a pace that now encompasses businesses of all sizes. The knock on effect appears to be that all manner of families are being put together. However, I am noticing more and more that users are taking in a large number of family types into a project when they are importing a family. An example of this is, if a user requires a window “Basic Window 1000mmx1000mm”, they will load a family called “Basic Window”, but not only would the 1000mmx1000mm window load in, but all the sizes that have been created as well. This is due to the fact that the family types have been created within the family environment, which results in all the family types being loaded into a project.
As a user, you really want to make your model as efficient as possible. One way to do this is to only load families and types that you are going to use. There is a solution that immediately springs to mind on this; TYPE CATALOGUES.
Type Catalogues are extremely effective when creating a large number of family types as all information is entered using a text file. This saves the labour intensive method of creating new family types within the family editor.
Not only do Type Catalogues give us the ability to create content on mass, but it also gives us the option to specify exactly what family types we would like to load into our project. Normally, (however there are always exceptions to this), when you load in a family into Revit, if there are 4 or more types of that family, Revit will offer you a type selector list, allowing you to specifically pick which family types you would like to load into the project. The benefit of only loading in the types you will actually be using, means that the file you are working in does not contain lots of family types that will not be used and are only sitting there cluttering up the file and increasing the file size.
Family Type Catalogues are extremely easy to create. A few simple rules will set you on your way. Below is an example of the information required within a txt file for a type catalogue. Download this Type Catalogue example below.
Now if all of this sounds like you have already wasted your time creating families within the family editor, fear not. There is a great tool released in 2012, which is the “Family Type” exporter. Simply go into the family editor environment, click on “R”>Export>Family Types (you may need to use the arrow at the bottom of the export type window to scroll down to find this option). This will automatically write the type catalogue for you, and allow you to save this in the same location as the family. Now whenever you load that family into your project, Revit will offer you the Type Catalogue dialogue box to choose specifically which family types you want to load.
Overall, type catalogues are extremely useful, whether you are looking to creating families of large quantities or just trying to import families more efficiently, then type catalogues are the way forward.