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    By Garry Stockton 

    Whilst delivering Revit MEP training I am often asked about tagging pipes with the correct abbreviations.

    When adding a piping system to a Revit model, adding abbreviations may be useful.  Do you want to label piping systems with their system type so that you see text on the piping line?  Some examples of this are DHW for Domestic Hot Water, DCW for Domestic Cold Water and SW for Soil and Waste. See below:


    In AutoCAD, piping systems are typically shown by drawing a line with a specific line type that displays the desired text.  This works fine since the lines themselves contain no data and are just symbolic.  Revit does not allow line types with text in the line like in AutoCAD.  However, Revit makes it super easy to label piping systems with the appropriate text.  I believe that the net result is the same, if not better.

    In Revit, the user defines the System Type when they place the pipe in the model, allowing Revit to use that system data throughout the design and documentation process.  It is that data contained in the pipe that we will leverage to label the pipe correctly.

    The following steps will get you the desired text for the piping system type.

    1. Go the Project Browser in Revit and pick the plus (+) next the Families section to expand the listing to see all the family categories.
    2. Go the Piping Systems category and pick the plus (+) again, to expand the listing.
    3. Under that Piping System category is another Piping System category, so pick the plus (+) next to it to expand the listing.
    4. You will now see the various piping systems listed that are defined in this project file.


    1. Highlight one of the piping systems (such as Domestic Cold Water).
    2. Right-click and select Type Properties… from the pop-up menu.
    3. Go the Identity Data section and type the desired pipe name.

    The example below is for the Domestic Cold Water piping system, it is set to “DCW” as the text shown for the pipe:


    1. Pick the OK button.
    2. Repeat steps 5 through to 8 for tagging each piping system in the project file. Below is just a few examples:

    SW - Soil & Waste

    DCW – Domestic Cold Water

    DHW – Domestic Hot Water

    CW – Cold Water

    FPW – Fire Protection Wet

    BG – Below Ground


    Tagging the Pipe

    This step will tag the pipe with the appropriate text.  Pipes assigned to piping systems must exist in the model before performing this step.

    1. Go to the view where you desire to see the text on the pipes.
    2. Go to the Annotate tab on the Tag panel select Tag by Category.
    3. In the Options Bar, pick on the Tags… button.


    This should only be done if the tag placed later is incorrect.  It will retain this setting until it is changed.

    1. In the Loaded Tags and Symbols dialog box that appears, scroll down to the Pipes/Pipe Placeholders category.
    2. In the column named Loaded Tags, pick in the box to the right of Pipes/Pipe Placeholders category. Pick the little arrow that appears at the right end of the box.  Select the Piping System Abbreviation Tag from the list.  

    Note: that the name may be different if your company has created a custom tag.

    If this tag does not exist in the list, it may be loaded as a family from the library of tags installed with Revit.

    1. Pick the OK button to save your tag selection.
    2. In the Options Bar that appears below the panel after picking the “Tag by Category” command, remove the checkmark next to the Leader text. This will ensure that the text will appear directly on the pipe line.


    Note: if the piping system is incorrect, you will know as soon as you place the tag since the tag accurately reports the assigned piping system.

    The tags are view specific, so each view where the tags are desired can have the tags placed where you desire them for the pipes in the view.

    The abbreviations are project file specific, so they should be defined in your company’s template file.

    If the abbreviation for a piping system changes in this project file in the future, all tags for the affected piping system will update accordingly.




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