October 19, 2011

Revit Key Plans - More Detail

It has come to my attention that my Revit Key Plans article can be hard to follow, particularly if you are not familiar with some of the concepts or procedures used. It was not intended to be a step-by-step tutorial, so I am providing this post to fill in some of the gaps and make it easier to follow along. This tutorial was prepared using Revit Architecture 2011; interface elements in other versions or releases may vary.
  1. Start a new Generic Annotation Family. From the Application Menu - Big "R" in the upper left corner - choose New > Family. In the New Family - Select Template File dialog, navigate to the folder where you or your firm have placed the Annotation Family Templates, and choose Generic Annotation.rft.
  2. Determine how your Key Plan needs to function. I do not want to have to place the Key Plan family separately on each Sheet; I want it to be part of the title block family so that it need only be placed once, and will always be in the exact same position on each Sheet. I also do not want to set up a title block family type for each Key Plan option. I do not want to show a Key Plan on every sheet in the set, so I will need a Key Plan type that shows nothing at all. There will be plans that show the overall building, as well as larger scale plans showing only one of the two wings. I want a solid fill to show in the Key Plan indicating the area that is being shown on that drawing. I also want to be able to show the Key Plan outline graphics with no fill.
  3. Create the graphics for your Key Plan. You are going to have to figure this one out on your own. There does not appear to be a way to make use of any sort of graphics in a project file and transfer them to a family file. You can scale graphics inside the family, so you could draw the building outline in the family to scale and then scale it down to fit the area available in your title block for your Key Plan. As shown below, I created scaled-down outlines of the two wings of my building and then added text to identify the wings, filled regions with solid black fill for each wing, and the north arrow graphics. Keep in mind that the intersection of the two reference planes will be the initial insertion point for your Key Plan family and position your graphics accordingly.
  4. In order to be able to control the display of the various graphic components, I created three type-based Yes/No parameters in the Family Types dialog. The first is for the outline, text and north arrow graphics that will be on whenever a Key Plan is to be displayed, but off when no Key Plan is to be shown. I called this parameter Outline.
    1. On the Modify ribbon tab, on the Properties panel, select the Family Types tool.
    2. In the Family Types dialog, click on the Add button in the Parameters area at the lower right side.
    3. In the Parameter Properties dialog, in the Parameter Data area, enter the name for the parameter, change the Type of Parameter to Yes/No, select a parameter category under which to group the parameter - I used Graphics and select the Type toggle. Click OK to add the parameter and dismiss the Parameter Properties dialog.
    4. In the Family Types dialog, I cleared the check mark in the value column, so that the current condition will be to not display the graphics.
      Repeat the previous sub-steps to add the remaining two parameters, SectorA and SectorB, for the filled regions associated with each building section. Other than the Name, the parameter attributes are the same as those for the Outline parameter. Uncheck the toggle in the value column for these as well.
  5. With the Family Types dialog still open, create a family type for each display condition you want for your Key Plan, and turn on the appropriate visibility parameters for each type. In the example, I created five: No Key Plan (all parameters unchecked), Outline Only (only Outline parameter checked), Sector A (only Outline and SectorA checked), Sector B (only Outline and SectorB checked) and Sectors A-B (all three checked).
    1. In the Family Types dialog, select the New button in the Family Types area at the upper right.
    2. In the Name dialog, enter the name for the Family Type in the Name edit box and click OK to register the entry and dismiss the dialog.
    3. In the Family Types dialog, set the appropriate value (checked or unchecked) for the visibility parameters for this type. (For the No Key Plan type, leaving all unchecked is correct.)
    4. Repeat the preceding sub-steps to add the remaining Family Types needed for your Key Plan, setting the appropriate values for each type.
  6. Select all of the graphic elements in your Key Plan that are to be associated with one of the parameters (in my example, I started with the Outline parameter, to which everything but the filled regions will be assigned). On the Properties palette, look for the Visible parameter, under the Graphics parameter group. If you do not see it, you likely selected an object, such as a Reference Plane or a Group, which does not have this parameter. Deselect these items. Select the button at the right side of the Visible parameter line. (In versions prior to 2011, do this from the Instance Properties dialog for the selected items.)
  7. In the Associate Family Parameter dialog, choose the appropriate Yes/No parameter (Outline, for the graphics selected on the first pass) and then click OK.
  8. Notice on the Properties palette, the Visible parameter and its value are now grayed out and the button at the right side displays an equals sign ("="). This indicates that the Visible parameter has been linked to another parameter, and cannot be edited directly. You can click on the button to verify (or edit) the chosen parameter.
  9. Repeat the previous three steps to assign the SectorA and SectorB Yes/No parameters to the visibility of the associated graphics (in my example, the filled regions). Note: If you have any Detail Groups within your Key Plan Graphics, as I did to collect the various parts of the north arrow graphics, you will need to edit the group to be able to assign the appropriate visibility parameters to the nested graphics within the Detail Group.
  10. At this point, your Key Plan family is complete. Save the family.
  11. Open the Title Block family into which you will place the Key Plan. Load your Key Plan family into the title block family. (One way, with the Key Plan family open and current, on any of the standard ribbon tabs, on the Family Editor panel, choose the Load into Project tool. If you have multiple potential target files, choose only your Title Block family in the dialog presented.)
  12. Your Title Block family should be set current and you should be prompted to insert an instance of the Key Plan family. If you are not seeing any "ghost" graphics of your Key Plan family near your cursor, check the Properties palette to see what the default family type is. Mine was set to No Key Plan, which has no visible graphics, so I got no ghost graphics to aid in initial placement. I changed it to Sectors A-B so that I could see all of the graphics.
  13. Adjust the location of your Key Plan family in your title block, if necessary.
  14. Select the placed instance of the Key Plan.
  15. On the Options Bar, click on the down arrow at the right of the Label drop-down and choose <Add parameter...> from the list.
  16. In the Parameter Properties dialog, in the Parameter Data area, give the new parameter a name; I used Key Plan. Choose a Group for the parameter; I used Graphics once again. Make this parameter an Instance type. This is crucial, as doing so will allow each instance of your title block to have a different family type displayed, which is what you want.
  17. On the Home ribbon tab, on the Properties panel, click the Family Types tool.
  18. You should see the Key Plan (or whatever your called yours) Label listed as a parameter under the Graphics group (or whatever group you chose). Set the value for the Label to your desired default Key Plan family type. This is the value that newly created (or newly updated) title block instances will use. I chose to set mine to No Key Plan. (If your Title Block family has several family types, you will want to do this for each Family Type. This only sets the default value; each instance can be changed to show a different Key Plan type because we made the Label an instance parameter. This avoids the need to create a separate Title Block family type for each Key Plan type.)
  19. Save your Title Block family file.
  20. Load or reload your Title Block family into a project. On a Sheet that has an instance of this Title Block family, select the instance.
  21. On the Properties palette, notice that, under the Graphics parameter group (or whatever parameter group you assigned to the Label applied to the Key Plan instance in your Title Block family), there is now a parameter called Key Plan, the value of which is a drop-down list of the family types you created in your Key Plan family. Choose the type you want to see for that particular Sheet.


Anonymous said...

This is clear, concise, and definitely helpful.

So much thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great article!

Do you have any suggestions for how to best manage this in a big project? It would be sweet to be able to assign the generic annotation to a shared parameter value in the title block so that it is adjustable for each sheet instance from a schedule when in the project..

Anonymous said...

Agree, having the option to pick which part is visible in the sheet list schedule would be an awesome feature.

alewis said...

This is a really excellent and easy to follow tutorial. Thank you so much for posting!