Create two sets of Annotation Symbol Tags within the same Family

Have you noticed some of the annotation symbol you use changes from one symbol to another when you switch between Family Types? The visibility of the graphic symbol can easily be controlled by adding a few Family Types and Parameters.


I am going to use the Curtain Wall tag family that I discussed in the previous post Create Curtain Wall tag looks identical to Window tag for this tutorial. Say you wanted to tag both the Exterior and Interior curtain wall / storefront, but wanted to use different symbol to distinguish them. My goal is to create a Hexagon symbol as the Exterior tag and Pentagon symbol as the Interior tag.

Create the symbols

First, I opened up the curtain wall tag that was created following the tutorial in the previous post. Currently there is only a hexagon symbol inside the family. I will need to create a Pentagon symbol. Go to Create tab > Line (under Detail Panel) to draw the pentagon. Draw the pentagon symbol on top of the hexagon.


Create New Family Types

From the Create tab, click on Family Types (under Properties Panel). In the Family Types window, click Family Types > New. We need to create two new family types: Exterior & Interior. (You are free to name the types anything you want.)


Create New Parameters

Next, we will create two new Parameters. These Parameters will be used to control the visibility of the hexagon and pentagon symbol for each Family Type. In the same Family Types window, click Parameters > Add.


Create an Exterior and Interior Parameter following the image below.



Once the Parameters are created, you will see these parameters are now available for your use in the Family Types. Each Family Types should contain the same list of parameters. Next, select the Exterior Type, check the Exterior Parameter; select the Interior Type, check the Interior Parameter.



Assign the Parameter to elements in the Family Model

We are now ready to assign the Parameter we just created to the element in the Family model. In this case, the element will be our Hexagon and Pentagon.

Select the Hexagon, next, go to Properties and click the grey box next to Graphics | Visible. In the Associate Family Parameter window, select Exterior from the list of Parameter.  What I am doing here is to tell Revit to associate the Hexagon symbol with the Exterior Family Type we definite just now.


We will do the same thing to the Pentagon symbol. Select the Pentagon, go to Properties and click the grey box next to Graphics | Visible. In the Associate Family Parameter window, select Interior from the list of Parameter.


Save and Load Family

Save the family and Load it into the project.


Understand the Concept

Are you confused with why we need to create 2 Family Types and 2 Parameters? An analogy is to look at the Family Type as a “bag”. The bag is filled with all the Parameters you have defined. Each parameter represents width, length, height, material, etc… information about the family model. You can make the Parameter meaningful by assigning these parameters to your family model. You can create as many “bags” as you want with different width, length, height, materials, etc by changing the parameter data. In our case, we have two “bags”, the Exterior bag and Interior bag. Inside each bag, we have parameters that allow us to choose to display the exterior or interior symbol by checking or unchecking the check box. Note: One important thing to keep in mind: No matter how many parameters you have defined in the family, if you did not associate them to the family model, those parameters are meaningless.

Switching Curtain Wall tag

Back in the Project, tag the curtain wall. Next, select the tag, from the Properties menu, click the pull down menu to select the CW tag family you loaded into the project. You should see the two Family types you have created earlier – Exterior and Interior Type – for your selection. Try switching between the Exterior and Interior type to see the symbol changes from one to another.


Create Curtain Wall Tag looks identical to Window Tag


I received a request from a blog subscriber asking how to create a window tag for the curtain wall.  Curtain wall is a “wall” family. When we tag the curtain wall, Revit will automatically give us a wall tag symbol  (The diamond symbol is the wall tag symbol, the hexagon is the window tag symbol). Of course, we don’t want to use the wall tag symbol to tag our curtain wall.  A smart reader like you will probably wonder if we need to create a new annotation family.  You are absolutely correct!  We need to create a new wall tag family to disguise as curtain wall tag.  I know some people get nervous editing family.  I am going to show you how to create a super easy annotation tag.  I hope your fear will go away after this tutorial or maybe getting more comfortable editing/creating family.  This annotation is a good family to keep in your Family library for future projects.  Let’s get started!


I have created a window (left) and a curtain wall (right) side by side for quick reference. I quickly tag them and you will see Revit gives me a window tag on the window and a wall tag on the curtain wall. Keep in mind that all tags are associated to the Family Categories**, i.e., a window tag can only be used to tag window, an equipment tag can only be used to tag equipment.  With this concept in mind, in order to make the curtain wall tag looks identical to the Window tag, we need to create a new Wall Tag symbol to disguise as window tag.

Create Curtain Wall Tag

In the Revit model, select the Wall tag, right click > Edit Family.  Once the family opens up, do a quick “Save as” and called it CW tag (or whatever name that make sense to you). Always do a “Save as” before any editing, this is to prevent you from accidentally overwritten the original family.


Copy line work from Window Tag

We are going to perform a copy and paste exercise. Go back to your project. This time we select the window tag, right click > Edit Family to open up the Window tag family. Select the hexagon line work, then go to Modify | Lines > Copy to Clipboard (under Clipboard panel). Close this family when you are done, no need to save this family.

Paste the Window tag line work to the Curtain Wall tag

Switch back to the CW tag family. Delete the diamond shape line work, then go to Modify > Paste > Aligned to Current View.  This will paste the hexagon line work we copied earlier to here. Now your CW tag should looks identical to the Window tag symbol.


Save and Load Family

Save the CW tag family and load it into the project.



Replace with Curtain Wall tag

Once loaded, selected the Wall tag, from the Properties menu, select the newly created CW tag.



That is it! Simple! Creating family is not always a painful process, like the one above, it is easy! I hope you enjoy this simple tutorial.

Quick Note:  Notice my CW tag has 2 types for my selection: Exterior and Interior. This is because the original wall family tag I used to create this CW tag already has the Exterior and Interior type defined in the family. In the next post, I am going to show you how to create 2 sets of symbols within the same CW family for tagging interior and exterior curtain wall. Stay tune.

** How to check which Family Category does the family I am editing belongs to?

With the family opened, go to Create tab > Family Category and Parameters.


The Family Category and Parameters window opens, the Family Categories is highlighted in grey.


Globe Worksets Control on Linked Model

Last week I talked about the Visibility Control of linked consultant’s model. Do you know you can control their Worksets visibility globally as well with a few simple steps. Why do we need to control the consultant model’s Workset?  A good example is the Grids and Levels in the project. You don’t want to see two sets of grids and level lines overlapping in the project. Turning them off will be a pain if you have to turn it off view by view. However, following the steps below, you can selectively load / unload Worksets you do / don’t need to see in your model.  If a Workset is Closed, all elements within that Workset will not be loaded, which means they will not become visible in any of your views.

Here are two Scenario:

Scenario 1:
This is the first time you linked in the model…

1. Go to Insert tab > Link Revit


2. Browse for the model, but instead of clicking Open, click the little down arrow next to it and select Specify…


3. With the Manage Worksets window opened, select the appropriate Worksets you don’t want to see and click Close. Click OK when you are done. All elements from this Worksets will become invisible in every view in your model.



Scenario 2:
The consultant’s model already linked into your model…

1. Go to Manage tab > Manage Links


2. On the Revit tab, select the consultant’s model > click Manage Worksets located at the bottom of the window.


3. Follow Step 3. in Scenario 1.

Note: Each firm has its own list of Worksets, it is better to have a coordination meeting with all the consultants before starting the model for better control of visibility on your side.  Knowing the elements that is placed in each Workset can help speed up your work flow.  It can easily become a nightmare if you are working on a large project with so many views in it.

Of course, other than using this trick, you can also setup View Templates to apply to your views.


Controlling Element Visibility of Consultant’s Linked Model

I received an email from my blog reader asking how to turn off the floor pattern from the consultant’s model that’s linked into the project.  I think this is an excellent question worth explaining as I had the same problem when I first started using Revit.  It is actually a very simple process if you know the trick.  I am going to answer the reader’s question by going thru it step by step in this post.

1. Open the plan view that you want the floor pattern to turn off.

2. Type in VG to open Visibility Graphics.  Click on the Revit Links tab > Select the consultant’s model > Click the By host view button.


3. The RVT Link Display Settings window is now opened.  Go to the Basic tab > select Custom


4.  Go to Model Categories tab, from the pull down menu, select <custom>.  (You are free to control the visibility of all the elements from your consultants model at this point.  You can also click the other tabs, follow the same step to select <custom> from the pull down menu to control visbility of Annotation, Worksets, etc.)


5.  The entire table now becomes available for customization.  Scroll through the table until you see “Floors”.  Click Floors > Override… from the Projection/Surface – Patterns column.


6.  In Fill Pattern Graphics window, unchecked the Visible box.  Click OK to exit out all the windows.  The floor pattern should now disappear in the view.



Note:  Keep in mind this changes applies to this view only.  You will need to do the same process again if you have another plan view that needs to make the same changes.  If you have multiple views that requires the same changes, I would suggest you to create a View Template and apply it to all the views.  This way you do not have to adjust the VG settings over and over again.

Making the non-editable field in the Door Schedule becomes editable

Revit tried to make creating a door schedule a breeze. No more making your own schedule, just add all the door parameters you need to show in the door schedule and it will automatically populate most of the information for you. Sweet! But wait until you start editing some of the field in the door schedule, you realized they are not editable! Bummer! So what is the problem? Why can we edit the field for some doors but some not?

We need to understand a few basics:

  1. Door parameters – Parameters defines the properties of the door. Common parameters in a door family are door height, width, thickness, swing degree, frame materials, etc.  These parameters are information that can appear in the door schedule.
  2. Door Family – Families are components used to build a Revit model. You are likely going to have many different families in a single model. Common door families used are single door, double door, door with side lite, glass doors, etc.
  3. Each door family may not necessary carry the same list of door parameters. For example, some door families might have a parameter called “Fire Rating” defined, but some door families do not. For this reason, when you include the door parameter “Fire Rating” into your door schedule, doors that have this parameter will find the field editable, but doors that doesn’t have this parameter will find the field un-editable. Simple concept! To make all the fields become editable, we need to add the “missing parameter” to other door families.

Adding “Missing” Parameter to Door Family

There are two approaches, but first we need to make the “missing parameter” a “shared parameter”.

  1. Proper method – Load the shared parameter into each door families. Yes, very time consuming, but this is the proper way. The advantage is when you reuse the door family in another project, you do not have to do this all over again with this method.
  2. Quick fix method – If you are on a deadline and need a quick fix. Load the shared parameter into the Project Parameters in the project model. Make sure you assign this parameter to the Door Category.  This is the quickest way to get the job done.  This parameter now becomes available to all the doors in the model.


Adding “New” Parameter to Door Family

What if you need to add a brand new parameter into the door schedule that does not exist in any of the door?

  1. Proper method – Create this new shared parameter and “share” it with all the door families. Basically, you will need to open up every door families in your project and load the parameter in.
  2. Quick fix method – You have two options: 1. Create this new parameter directly as a Project Parameters in the project model. 2. Create the parameter as a Shared Parameter first, and then load it into the project.  For either option, make sure you assign this parameter to the Door Category.

Whether you are adding a missing parameter or a brand new parameter, the solution is pretty much the same. The only difference is in the quick approach solution.

  • If the parameter already exist in some of the door family, we need to turn that parameter into a shared parameter before we can add it into Project Parameter.
  • If the parameter is brand new, you have the option to create and add the parameter directly in Project Parameter or create a Shared parameter  and then load it into the project.  But remember, adding door parameter directly to Project Parameter is a “cheating” method to get the job done when you are in a time crunch, it is not a good practice.  It is always preferable to create it a Shared Parameter and load it into the project.  If there is already a Shared Parameter file created in your office, it is highly possible you will find the parameter you need from there.

Why Shared Parameter? Even if you create another parameter that is identical to the parameter in another family, Revit doesn’t recognize it as the same parameter. Every time a new parameter is created, Revit assigned an unique ID to the parameter. To make Revit recognize it as the same parameter, you need to “share” the parameter with other families. That way, Revit knows all your door families are carrying the same parameter.