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    By Garry Stockton


    Project templates provide a starting environment and standards for new models. Consider these recommendations and guidelines when creating custom project templates.

    Content location

    A project template may contain custom families like title blocks, model elements, such as doors and windows, and annotation elements, such as element tags and view references. Before creating the project template, designate a location to store these custom families so they can be accessed easily. Consider keeping custom content separate from Autodesk-supplied content.

    Naming standards

    Having a clear naming standard will make the template organised and easier to use. As you work through each item on this checklist, consider the naming standard you will follow for all elements (families, views, materials etc.).


    A project template should include the annotation families you plan to use in the model. By loading the annotation into the template, it will not need to be loaded when first used in the model. This method saves time and reduces errors caused by loading the wrong family.

    Use the AnnotateTagLoaded Tags and Symbols tool to see a list of possible tags for the project and load any typical tags into the template from this dialog. Edit the tag families as required to match your project standards.

    View tags (callout, section and elevation) are system families and are composed of nested annotation families. On the Manage tab, use the Additional Settings drop-down menu to access the view tags type properties and change or edit the nested families, as required.

    Load other annotation elements such as grid heads, north arrows and any other annotation families you typically use in models.

    Annotation also includes text and dimensions. These are system families, so edit the type properties or create new types for text and dimensions as required for your project standards.

    Remember to save any edits made to annotation families to your custom content folder.

    Title blocks

    Create title block families for all the different sheets needed to document your models. Load the title block families into the template to save time and reduce errors during project development.

    Save all edited title block families to your custom content folder.

    Viewport types

    Viewport types define the appearance of title marks when a view is placed on a sheet. Consider how sheets are typically laid out and create all the viewport types you need for your projects. You may consider creating viewport types for instances when you do not need a title mark. For example, you may not need a title mark for a presentation, or you may create a viewport type for an instance where you want title marks with additional graphics to help organise sheets. Make as many different viewport types as needed in the template file so they don't have to be created as the documents are created.


    Create basic system family content in the template. Create enough content to cover typical uses in a model. Include information such as keynote and type marks in the element parameters. As you create system family types, you will use materials in the definitions, so begin to think about how materials will be defined in your models.

    System families to consider include the following:

    • Walls
    • Floors
    • Ceilings
    • Roofs
    • Curtain walls
    • Curtain panels
    • Mullion/Profiles

    You should also include loadable content in the template. As loadable content (such as doors, windows, columns and beams) is placed in the template, consider how these items appear in a schedule. Include all the shared/project parameters needed for the content loaded into the template. By including parameters in content loaded in the template, schedules will be easier to create in the model. Populate parameters in the loaded content with the appropriate information.


    Create typical views in the template project so they will not have to be created at the beginning of each project. Some example views are:

    First Floor Plan

    Reflected Ceiling Plan

    Exterior Elevations

    Add empty schedules to the project template. The schedules can be formatted one time in the template, eliminating the need to do this process for each project. Creating schedules in the template also acts as a check to make sure the content included in the template has all the parameters needed for scheduling.

    The template should include a "cartoon set" of sheets with views and schedules placed. This set can be modified as the project is created but having a cartoon set included in the template gives the project a road map of how sheets will be organised.

    View types/Browser sorting

    Consider adding project or shared parameters to the Views category in the template. These parameters can be used in the project to help organise the Project Browser as the project progresses. To determine the parameters you need to add, begin by thinking about how you typically organise and classify drawings and sheets. For example, you might want to classify plans into floor plans, furniture layout plans, enlarged plans, finish plans and so on.


    Create view filters for common use cases in a project. When the filters are included as part of the template, they can simply be applied to a view rather than having to build a filter each time it is needed. Filters use element parameters to apply a visibility override. For example, a filter could be applied to highlight rated walls and doors in a view. As you create filters in a project, consider adding those filters to your template files when it is a common view you would like to create.

    Placeholder links

    If projects are going to require collaboration where models will be linked together, consider adding a placeholder link in your template project. The placeholder link is a blank project. In the template you will be able to set visibility controls on the link to control how a linked model will be displayed. When the template is used for a project, the placeholder link is directed to the linked model, and the visibility controls in the template are applied to the linked model. This can save time when working with linked models because common visibility settings can be set once in the template rather than each time a link is created.

    View templates

    Create view templates for different view types used in your project. View templates are a quick way to assign visibility settings in your views. Creating view templates in the template project will ensure consistency of views from project to project.

    Materials and hatch patterns

    Create a library of common materials in the project template. When making materials, consider not just their appearance but how you are going to keynote them, or use them in a material takeoff. For example, you might want to make different materials to represent different sizes of a wood stud or different thicknesses of wallboard. These materials share an appearance but would be keynoted and scheduled differently in a material takeoff.

    Fill patterns for material surface and cut patterns are also defined in the template and should be purpose built for each material. This will help reduce errors when selecting fill patterns for new materials.

    Line styles

    Define line styles for the template using ManageSettingsAdditional Settings. Line styles defined in the template should be purpose built for use in the project. For example, instead of a line type named "Dash" which is assigned to demolished elements and overhead casework, instead make 2-line styles named "demolition" and "overhead casework." Purpose-built line types will reduce possible errors when selecting a line type for use.

    Object styles/Line weights

    Set the object styles and line weights in the project template so the output graphics meet your requirements. Start by setting the object style line weights. These are set relative to one another to represent how you want elements to display graphically next to each other. To help with setting object styles in the template:

    Create a sample plan detail using elements from different categories which use different object styles.

    Duplicate this view and change the scale so each view shows the same elements but will be printed/shown at different scales.

    Compare the on-screen and printed appearance and adjust the object style settings, as required.

    After the object styles are defined, adjust the object style line weights for each scale to ensure the required output.

    These steps may need to be done multiple times as you refine the object styles and line weights for each view scale.