Revit Families 302 – Naming and Grouping Parameters

by Tim Alatorre

I started a post a couple weeks ago on tips for creating families in Revit but I didn’t get very far.   Our friends over at Inside the Factory are more disciplined bloggers than I and beat me to it. Erik Egbertson put together a great post of Family Editor Tips.  He talks about flexing a family, placing Constraints Consistently, not over constraining, avoiding chaining references, shortcuts to duplicating elements, shortcuts to creating dimensions, labeling shortcuts, and a couple other tips.

Initial Setup and Naming of Family Parameters

One thing that Eric didn’t cover in too much depth was naming and grouping of parameters.  I also use Eric’s programming syntax method for naming parameters except I usually capitalize the first letter.  It doesn’t make much difference really, I just like the look of it in my parameter list.  For example, “WindowTrimWidth” instead of “windowTrimWidth”.  Although Revit supports parameter names with spaces, I think having your parameters as one “word” makes writing formulas easier.

The first thing I do when setting up a new family is place all of my reference planes, dimensions and parameters.  I flex the model with the reference planes and make sure it works.  If it does then I’ll start modeling the geometry.

When I first add parameters I don’t write out the whole name for parameters that I know will involve some calculations.   Sometimes formulas can become quite complex:

if(and(LoopOne, LoopTwo), DepthDefault, if(or(LoopOne, LoopTwo),DepthDefault- DepthBikeLoop, Diameter))

Make one error in typing this out and you have a hard time debugging it.  I start with naming my parameters with shortened names like LO, LT, DD, etc.  This makes the structure easier to see.

if(and(LO, LT), DD, if(or(LO, LT), DD – DBL, D))

Once I know everything is working I rename the parameters and they are automatically updated in my formulas.

Grouping of Family Parameters

Currently Revit only allows us to categorize parameters in a set list.

  • Analysis Results
  • Analytical Model
  • Constraints
  • Construction
  • Dimensions
  • Electrical
  • Electrical – Lighting
  • Electrical – Loads
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Energy Analysis
  • Fire Protection
  • Graphics
  • Green Building Properties
  • Identiy Data
  • IFC Parameters
  • Layers
  • Materials and Finishes
  • Mechanical
  • Mechanical – Airflow
  • Mechanical – Loads
  • Model Properties
  • Other
  • Phasing
  • Photometrics
  • Plumbing
  • Rebar Set
  • Slab Shape Edit
  • Structural
  • Structural Analysis
  • Text
  • Title Text
Analysis Results
Analytical Model
Constraints
Construction
Dimensions
Electrical
Electrical – Lighting
Electrical – Loads
Electrical Engineering
Energy Analysis
Fire Protection
Graphics
Green Building Properties
Identiy Data
IFC Parameters
Layers
Materials and Finishes
Mechanical
Mechanical – Airflow
Mechanical – Loads
Model Properties
Other
Phasing
Photometrics
Plumbing
Rebar Set
Slab Shape Edit
Structural
Structural Analysis
Text
Title Text

I’m glad that Revit doesn’t let us customize this list, it would just complicate things even more.  Eric reminds us to “choose a pertinent parameter group for your parameters,” but what does that mean?  Really, it depends on your office.  I would recommend creating a standard.

I discourage the use of the “Other” category because it ends up being a trash bin holding everything.  “Dimensions” is obvious, but I only put parameters in this group that are relevant to the user of the family.  I use “Analytical Model” for any behind the scenes calculations or dimensions that the user of the model doesn’t need to bother with; unit conversions, dimension calculations to keep the model from breaking, etc.  I have also seen “Model Properties” used for this.  If I have toggles for the visibility of different components I put those under “Construction“, if I have a toggle for something that is graphical only, like in an annotation family, I put that under “Graphics“.

Tomorrow we will look at using formulas in families.


About the Author


Tim Alatorre