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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saving Revit Families - Andekan.com

Our friends at Andekan.com must be super busy to only find time to post at this time of the year. I guess with the 1,000s of manufacturer content they're creating, they just don't have the time to do much blogging.

Below is a great tip for those of you trying to create your own content. I'll give you my own little secret. The key to Revit is content, but not just any content. You're going to need to put in parameters and fields that aren't selfish. That means adding fields for everything from conceptual design through facility management. As we move more into energy modeling and owner required BIM and LEED, you're going to have to give up your families to share with others. That's going to require adding extra information that will be used downstream.

In terms of downstream, Revit is not linear like CAD is. You can have multiple people working on the model at the same time. Revit is a database and filled with information. Lots and lots of information. It's a database. That means it's going to be shared with others. Oh, by the way, it's something you want to do. You want to share the database with others. That's because they want to get the job done and not have lots of errors and omissions. So, you, there in the corner, hoarding your data and telling the owner, consultants, GC and everyone else that you're special and magic copyrighted never can be shared with anyone because it's top secret and martians told you that the world would end if you gave someone your Revit model, well, get over it.

For the rest of you, pay attention to what Andekan has to say below because content needs to be small in file size and they really know what they're doing.


Unlike Saving Private Ryan, here no lives are being lost, just time.

In Revit, when saving a family from within the family editor the file size might not be as good as one might expect. Let’s say you start working with a family weighting 192kb and after a lot of playing around, doing and undoing geometry, changing parameters and what not, you decide to save the family. Since you ended up just adding a couple bits of geometry and some parameters, you don’t expect the file size to increase for more than 20kb, if that. But when you look at the file size of the family you just saved, your heart skips a bit – okay, maybe not. Still you might end up being surprised that the file size is now close to 900kb.

You know that can’t be right. You’ve done or seen families done by others more complex that weren’t half the (file) size of the one you just saved. So what gives? Is there a secret formula to building light weight geometry in the family editor?

No, nothing so intriguing. The problem is with the Revit family editor. The problem has been there since at least the 2008 series, and up to today. And there is a workaround.

The Workaround

Saving the family with the Save As command and giving it a different name1 always works to get you the smallest file size possible. That family that we were playing with, now slimmed down to 204kb. That’s a nice file size, and you save yourself from the fat-bits that would otherwise end up in your project.

Then, if you started with the right name for the family, most likely, Save As again to rename it back to the original name.

Up until and including the 2009 series, there was little else you could do. With 2010 and beyond, a plugin could do the dirty work for you. The solution should come from the Factory, though. At least three releases sport the problem. About time it gets fixed. Since it’s Chrismas Eve, I’ll make this one wish.

And for everyone else, merry Christmas!

1 Sometimes is enough to use the Save As and keep the same name, but often is not, so better to rename.

» Saving Revit Families


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