What is a Family?

I bet everyone asked the same question when they started to learn Revit – “What is a Family?  When you start a new file, you have the option to choose from Project, Family, Titleblock and Annotation Symbol. It is easy to understand what Project, Titleblock and Annotation Symbol are without further explanation.  But what is Family?   Families are components you use to build your model, such as walls, windows, stairs, doors, etc.  Each family can have multiple types, such as different size, materials, parameter variables, etc.  Any change to a type is updated in every instance throughout the project.  For example, when you change the window height of one of your window type, all the windows with the same window type are updated instantly. There is a list of predefined families that are shipped with your Revit software.  However, you can also create your own family as follows:

  • Create with your existing family – Select a family object in your model, e.g. window, and click on the Edit Family button on your tool bar.  Modify and save as a new family.


  • Create from Scratch – Go to File > New > Family to create your family from scratch.  When you start a new family, a new window appears with a list of family templates for you to choose from.  These templates are set up for creating different family models, so make sure to select the correct family template when creating your new family.  For example, select the curtain wall panel.rft template to create a curtain wall panel family.
  • Download families online – There are many resources on the internet where you can download a new family and bring it into your project.  The two common places are Revit Web Content Library (Window > Recent Files, on the right hand column, click Revit Web Content Library, then click Revit Architecture Library) and RevitCity.





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