Anda di halaman 1dari 129

Autodesk Revit 2014 Families Guide

June 2013
Autodesk Revit 2014 Families Guide

3 Contents
Contents
Contents .................................................................................................................. 3
Workflow: Creating a Loadable Family .................................................................... 7
Understanding the Family Editor .......................................................................... 7
Planning a Loadable Family ............................................................................... 10
Flexing the Family Framework ........................................................................... 11
Testing the Family .............................................................................................. 12
Choosing a Family Template ................................................................................. 15
Creating a Family from a Template .................................................................... 17
Choosing a Category ............................................................................................. 20
Cuttable Families ............................................................................................... 20
Non-Cuttable Families ........................................................................................ 21
Creating Family Subcategories .......................................................................... 21
Creating the Family Framework ............................................................................. 24
Defining the Family Origin .................................................................................. 24
Laying Out Reference Planes ............................................................................ 25
Defining Priorities for Reference Planes ............................................................. 27
Using Reference Lines ....................................................................................... 29
Controlling Angular Dimensions with Reference Lines ....................................... 31
Dimensioning Reference Planes and Lines ........................................................ 32
Creating Family Parameters .................................................................................. 33
Family Category and Parameters ....................................................................... 34
Labeling Dimensions to Create Parameters ....................................................... 35
Creating Family Types ....................................................................................... 36
Creating Instance Parameters ............................................................................ 37
Adding Shape Handles to a Loadable Family ..................................................... 38
Using Formulas in the Family Editor ................................................................... 38
Adding Metadata to a Family .............................................................................. 39
Creating Family Geometry ..................................................................................... 40
Constraining Family Geometry ........................................................................... 40
Automatic Sketch Dimensions ............................................................................ 41
Visibility of Automatic Sketch Dimensions in the Family Editor ........................... 44
Duplicating Parameterized Elements ................................................................. 46
Assigning Family Geometry to Subcategories .................................................... 49
Managing Family Visibility and Detail Level ........................................................ 50
4 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Setting Family Geometry Visibility ...................................................................... 51
Annotation Labels .................................................................................................. 52
Editing Multi-parameter Labels ........................................................................... 52
Building a Label .................................................................................................. 53
Shared Label Parameters .................................................................................. 53
Label Parameter Options ................................................................................... 53
Edit Label Unit Formats ...................................................................................... 54
Label Type Properties ........................................................................................ 55
Label Instance Properties ................................................................................... 56
Applying the Label to a Tag in a Project ............................................................. 56
Applying the Label to a Title Block in a Project ................................................... 57
Lookup Tables ....................................................................................................... 58
Managing Lookup Tables ................................................................................... 59
CSV File Structure ............................................................................................. 59
Revit MEP Components ........................................................................................ 60
Category ............................................................................................................ 60
Light Source ....................................................................................................... 61
Part Types .......................................................................................................... 62
Working with Connectors ................................................................................... 65
Placing a Connector ........................................................................................... 66
Selecting a Primary Connector ........................................................................... 68
Orienting a Connector ........................................................................................ 68
Linking Connectors ............................................................................................ 68
Unlinking Connectors ......................................................................................... 69
Deleting a Connector.......................................................................................... 69
Advanced Loadable Family Techniques ................................................................ 70
Nesting and Sharing Component Families ......................................................... 70
Nesting Restrictions ........................................................................................ 71
Nesting Families with Interchangeable Components ...................................... 71
Creating a Family with Nested Components ...................................................... 71
Creating a Family with Nested and Shared Components ................................... 72
Creating a Nested Family with Interchangeable Components ............................ 76
Associating Family Parameters .......................................................................... 78
Associating Parameters for Model Text .............................................................. 79
Loading Generic Annotations into Model Families.............................................. 80
Adding a Generic Annotation ............................................................................. 80
Creating a Work Plane-based Family ................................................................. 82
5 Contents
Creating Vertical Families .................................................................................. 83
Creating Specialized Families ............................................................................... 85
Creating a 2D Line-Based Detail Component Family ......................................... 85
Creating an Annotation Symbol Family .............................................................. 86
Creating a Callout Head Family.......................................................................... 87
Creating a Curtain Wall Profile ........................................................................... 89
Creating a Detail Component Family .................................................................. 90
Creating a Division Profile Family ....................................................................... 90
Creating an Entourage Family ............................................................................ 91
Creating and Modifying Lighting Fixtures ........................................................... 92
Creating a Lighting Fixture with One Light Source .......................................... 92
Creating Lighting Fixtures with Multiple Light Sources .................................... 93
Creating a Profile Family .................................................................................. 115
Creating an RPC Family ................................................................................... 118
Section Head Family ........................................................................................ 119
Creating a Structural Column Family ................................................................ 120
Creating a Truss Family ................................................................................... 124
Creating a New Truss Layout Family File ..................................................... 125
Adding Truss Family Parameters .................................................................. 125
Sketching a Truss Family Layout .................................................................. 126
Creating a Type Catalog .................................................................................. 126


6 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Typically, the loadable families that you need to create are standard sizes and
configurations of common components and symbols used in a building design.
To create a loadable family, you define the geometry and size of the family using a
family template that is provided in Revit. You can then save the family as a separate
Revit family file (.rfa file) and load it into any project.
Depending on the complexity of the family, the creation process can be time-
consuming. If you can identify a family that is similar to the one you want to create, you
can save time and effort by copying, renaming, and modifying the existing family.
The topics in this section apply to the creation of model (3D) families, but some are
relevant to 2D families, including titleblocks, annotation symbols, and detail
components.
7 Workflow: Creating a Loadable Family
Workflow: Creating a Loadable Family
Depending on the complexity of the family, the creation process can be time-
consuming. If you can identify a family that is similar to the one you want to create,
you can save time and effort by copying, renaming, and modifying the family to
create the new family.
For best results when creating a family, use the following workflow.
1. Before beginning family creation, plan your family. Identify requirements
regarding family sizes, how the family displays in different views, whether a
host is required, the detail level to be modeled, and the origin of the family.
See Planning a Loadable Family.
2. Create a new family file with the appropriate family template. See Choosing
a Family Template.
3. Define subcategories for the family to help control the visibility of the family
geometry. See Creating Family Subcategories.
4. Create the family skeleton, or framework:
Define the origin (the insertion point) of the family. See Defining the
Family Origin.
Lay out reference planes and reference lines to aid in sketching
component geometry. See Laying Out Reference Planes and Using
Reference Lines.
Add dimensions to specify parametric relationships.
See Dimensioning Reference Planes and Lines.
Label dimensions to create type or instance parameters or 2D
representation. See Labeling Dimensions to Create Parameters.
Test, or flex, the skeleton. See Flexing the Family Framework.
5. Define family type variations by specifying different parameters.
See Creating Family Types.
6. Add a single level of geometry in solids and voids, and constrain the
geometry to reference planes. SeeCreating Family Geometry.
7. Flex the new model (types and hosts) to verify correct component behavior.
See Testing the Family.
8. Repeat previous steps until the family geometry is complete.
9. Specify 2D and 3D geometry display characteristics with subcategory and
entity visibility settings. SeeManaging Family Visibility and Detail Level.
10. Save the newly defined family, and then load it into a project for testing.
See Testing the Family.
11. For large families that include many types, create a type catalog.
See Creating a Type Catalog.
Understanding the Family Editor
Revit Architecture
Revit MEP
8 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
The Family Editor is a graphical editing mode in Revit that allows you to create
families to include in your project. When you start creating a family, you open a
template to use in the Family Editor. The template can include multiple views, such as
plan and elevation views. The Family Editor has the same look and feel as the project
environment in Revit, but features different tools located on a single Create tab.
You can access the Family Editor by:
Opening or creating a new family (.rfa) file.
Selecting an element created by a loadable or an in-place family type, and
then right-clicking and clicking Edit Family. (You can also double-click a
family element to open it for editing.)
Family Editor Tools
The Family Types tool (Create tab Properties panel Family Types)
opens the Family Types dialog. You can create new family types or new
instance and type parameters. See Creating Family Types.
The Dimension tools (Annotate tab Dimension panel) add permanent
dimensions to the family, in addition to ones that Revit automatically creates
as you draw the geometry. This is important if you wish to create different
sizes of the family.
The Model Line tool (Create tab Model panel Model Line) lets you
draw two-dimensional geometry for when you do not need to show solid
geometry. For example, you could draw door panels and hardware or duct
as 2D rather than use solid extrusions.
Model lines are always visible in 3D views. You can control their visibility in plan and
elevation views by selecting the lines and clicking Modify | Lines tab Visibility panel
Visibility Settings.
The Symbolic Line tool (Annotate tab Detail panel Symbolic Line)
lets you draw lines that are meant for symbolic purposes only. For example,
you might use symbolic lines in an elevation view to represent a door swing,
or to represent the flow direction for a pipe fitting. Symbolic lines are not part
of the actual geometry of the family. Symbolic lines are visible parallel to the
view in which you draw them.
You can control symbolic line visibility on cut instances. Select the symbolic line, and
click Modify | Lines tab Visibility panel Visibility Settings. In the Family
element visibility settings dialog, select Show only if instance is cut.
In this dialog, you can also control the visibility of lines based on the detail level of the
view. For example, if you select Coarse, the symbolic lines are visible when you load
the family into a project and place it in a view at the Coarse detail level.
Tip: Use this dialog to control visibility of generic annotations loaded into model
families. See Loading Generic Annotations into Model Families.
The Opening tool (Create tab Model panel Opening) is available in
host-based family templates only (such as wall-based or ceiling-based
families). You create an opening by sketching its shape to the reference
planes and then modifying its dimensions. After you create an opening, you
9 Workflow: Creating a Loadable Family
can select it and set it to display as transparent in 3D and/or elevation views
when loaded into a project. You specify transparency on the Options Bar.
Note: The Opening tool is also available in the project environment.
The Reference Plane tool (Create tab Datum panel Reference
Plane) creates a reference plane, which is an infinite plane that serves as a
guide for drawing lines and geometry.
The Reference Line tool (Create tab Datum panel Reference Line)
creates a line similar to a reference plane, but that has logical start and end
points.
The Control tool (Create tab Control panel Control) lets you place
arrows to rotate and mirror the geometry of a family, after you add it to your
design. The following arrow controls are available on the Modify | Place
Control tab Control Type panel (multiple selections are acceptable):
o Single Vertical
o Double Vertical
o Single Horizontal
o Double Horizontal
Revit rotates or mirrors the geometry about the origin. With 2 opposite-facing arrows,
you can mirror horizontally or vertically.
You can place the controls anywhere in the view. It is best to place them where it is
obvious what they control.
Tip: Controls are useful when creating a door family. The double-horizontal
control arrows change which side the door is hinged. The double-vertical control
arrows change the swing of the door from inside-out to outside-in.
Tip: Controls are useful when creating a pipe fitting family. The control arrows
allow you to flip the fitting horizontally or vertically.
The Text tool (Annotate tab Text panel Text) lets you add text notes
to the family. This is typically used in an annotation family.
The Model Text tool (Create tab Model panel Model Text) lets you
add signage to a building or letters to a wall.
The Section tool (View tab Create panel Section) lets you create a
section view.
The Component tool (Create tab Model panel Component) selects
the type of component to be inserted into the Family Editor. After you select
this tool, the Type Selector becomes active and you can select a
component.
The Symbol tool (Annotate tab Detail panel Symbol) lets you place
2D annotation drawing symbols.
The Detail Component tool (Annotate tab Detail panel Detail
Component) lets you place a detail component.
The Masking Region tool (Annotate tab Detail panel Masking
Region) lets you apply a mask that will obscure model elements when the
family is used to create an element in a project.
The Solid tools: Extrusion, Blend, Revolve, Sweep, and Swept Blend
(Create tab Forms panel) let you create solid geometry in the family.
The Void Forms tool (Create tab Forms panel Void Forms) provides
access to tools that let you cut solid geometry in the family.
10 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
The Label tool (Create tab Text panel Label) lets you place intelligent
text in the family. This text represents a family property. When the property
value is specified, it will show up in the family.
Note: This tool is available for annotation symbols only.
The Load into Project tool (Create tab Family Editor panel Load Into
Project) lets you load a family directly into any open project or family.
Planning a Loadable Family
If you consider this list of requirements before creating a family, you will have an
easier time creating it. Because there are bound to be changes as you create
families, the Family Editor lets you make those changes without having to start
over.
Will the family need to accommodate multiple sizes?
For a lighting fixture that is available in several preset sizes, or a bookshelf that can
be built in any length, create a standard component family. However, if you need to
create a custom piece of equipment that only comes in one configuration, you may
want to create it as an in-place family, instead of a loadable family.
Size variability and the degree of complexity of the object determine whether you
create a loadable family or an in-place family.
How should the family display in different views?
The way the object should display in views determines the 3D and 2D geometry
that you need to create, as well as how to define the visibility settings. Determine
whether the object should display in a plan view, elevation view, and/or section
views.
Does this family require a host?
For objects typically hosted by other components, such as a window, lighting
fixture, or rebar, start with a host-based template. How the family is hosted (or what
it does or does not attach to) determines which template file should be used to
create the family.
How much detail should be modeled?
In some cases, you may not need 3D geometry. You may only need to use a 2D
shape to represent the family. Also, you may simplify the 3D geometry of the model
to save time in creating the family. For example, less detail is required for a wall
outlet that will only be seen in interior elevations from a distance than for a door
with raised panels and a sidelight that will be seen in an interior rendering.
What is the origin point of this family?
For example, the insertion point for a column family could be the center of the
circular base. Determining the appropriate insertion point will help you place the
family in a project.
11 Workflow: Creating a Loadable Family
Flexing the Family Framework
You can flex, or test, the parameters that you have applied to the family framework.
To flex the framework, you adjust the parameter values, making sure that the
reference planes to which you applied the parameter change accordingly. Flexing is
a way to test the integrity of the parametric relationships. Flexing early and often as
you create families ensures the stability of the families.
To flex the framework
1. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types).
The Family Types dialog displays. Although you have not defined any family types
yet, the dialog lists the parameters that you created.
2. Reposition the Family Types dialog on the screen, so you can view the
framework.

3. In the Family Types dialog, under Parameter, locate the parameters that you
created previously, and enter different values in each corresponding Value
field.
4. Click Apply.
The family framework should adjust to reflect the updated parameter values.
12 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

5. Continue to flex the framework by specifying different parameter values.
The more extensively you test the parameters, the more likely you are to create a
stable family.
6. When you finish flexing the framework, click OK.
Testing the Family
The complexity of the content that can be created in the family editor requires a
robust testing plan to identify issues before the content is used in actual projects.
The following general guidelines will help you improve the quality of your content.
Additional testing may be required for specific family types.
In the Family Editor
Test all family parameters to ensure that the geometry flexes/adjusts
correctly when the family parameters are modified.
Test all family types - change the type, apply it, and inspect the geometry to
verify that the dimensions and relationships are maintained.
In a host-based family, verify that the host flexes as expected. Change the
host thickness and ensure that the family geometry adjusts appropriately.
Verify that the family preview image is using the Preview view.
Check all views to ensure that the family displays appropriately in different
detail levels and when different Model Graphics styles are applied.
Test constraints:
13 Workflow: Creating a Loadable Family
o Test the shape handles on the edge of the geometry to make sure
that all geometry is constrained to either a reference plane or a
reference line.
o Test the dimension parameter to make sure that the reference plane
or line is being adjusted by the parameter and not the actual
geometry.
In the Project Environment
Using a test project, load the family in a project environment and check all
views for any issues. (If the family includes a type catalog, use it to load the
family.)
Inspect the family appearance in all views (plan, reflected ceiling plan,
elevation, section, 3D) at all detail levels (Coarse, Medium, Fine).
Inspect the familly appearance in different Model Graphics Styles:
Wireframe, Hidden Line, Shaded, Consistent Colors, and Realistic.
Test all family types - change the type, apply it, and inspect the geometry to
verify that the dimensions and relationships are maintained.
Create new types and modify all parameters, checking all views for issues.
Modify all material assignments to verify that materials are associated with
the geometry correctly.
Tip: To better inspect family geometry, change all material type parameters to
glass. If any of the family geometry does not display as glass, then a material
parameter is assigned incorrectly.
Modify category and subcategory materials to verify the family is not using
material type parameters.
For hosted families:
o Place hosted families into the provided host thicknesses and confirm
families work in all hosts appropriate to the family's use, including in-
place walls and mass elements.
o Modify the host thicknesses by 25% - 400%, and check for
unconnected geometry and/or plan representations that may be
disconnected from the geometry.
Re-inspect the family appearance in all views to ensure that the geometry
displays as expected.
Dimension to all references and snap all references to walls.
Create a test rendering.
Test the following commands on geometry created in the family:
o Copy/Paste
o Rotate
o Mirror
Verify that the family preview image is using the Preview view.
Test the family in an actual project, verify its performance, and ensure that
the project matches the design intent of the family.
Create a schedule to verify that the family schedules as expected.
Family-specific testing
Family Type Examples Test
Freely-placed Furniture, entourage Test in a relevant project
context.
14 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Family Type Examples Test
For example, place
furniture or casework
elements on a floor with a
texture to ensure that the
elements mask the floor.
Hosted Window, door Ensure that the family
interacts properly with a
host and adjusts to
different host thicknesses.
Face-based Light fixture Ensure that the family
attaches properly to faces
and doesn't improperly
embed in, or project away
from, the face of the object
to which it is attached.
Detail component Detail component Ensure that the familiy
snaps to other geometry
correctly and that it masks
any geometry on which it
is placed.
15 Choosing a Family Template
Choosing a Family Template
After you plan a family, your next step is to choose the template that you will base it
on. When you create a family, you are prompted to select a family template that
corresponds to the type of element that the family will create.
The template serves as a building block, containing the information that you need
to start creating the family and that Revit needs to place the family in projects.
While most of the family templates are named according to the type of element
family created from them, there are a number of templates that include one of the
following descriptors after the family name:
wall-based
ceiling-based
floor-based
roof-based
line-based
face-based
Wall-based, ceiling-based, floor-based, and roof-based templates are known as
host-based templates. A host-based family can be placed in a project only if an
element of its host type is present.
Template Types
Review the following template descriptions to determine which one best suits your
needs.
Template Description
Wall-based Use the wall-based templates to create components that will
be inserted into walls. Some wall components (such as
doors and windows) can include openings, such that when
you place the component on a wall, it cuts an opening in the
wall. Some examples of wall-based components include
doors, windows, and lighting fixtures. Each template
includes a wall; the wall is necessary for showing how the
component fits in or on a wall.
Ceiling based Use the ceiling-based templates to create components that
will be inserted into ceilings. Some ceiling components
include openings, so that when you place the component on
a ceiling, it cuts an opening in the ceiling. Examples of
ceiling-based families include sprinklers and recessed
lighting fixtures.
Floor-based Use the floor-based template for components that will be
inserted into floors. Some floor components (such as a
heating register) include openings, so that when you place
the component on a floor, it cuts an opening in the floor.
16 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Template Description
Roof-based Use the roof-based template for components that will be
inserted into roofs. Some roof components include
openings, so that when you place the component on a roof,
it cuts an opening in the roof. Examples of roof-based
families include skylights and roof fans.
Standalone Use the standalone template for components that are not
host-dependent. A standalone component can be placed
anywhere in a model and can be dimensioned to other
standalone or host-based components. Examples of
standalone families include furniture, appliances, duct, and
fittings.
Adaptive Use this template to create components that need to flexibly
adapt to many unique contextual conditions. For example,
adaptive components could be used in repeating systems
generated by arraying multiple components that conform to
user-defined constraints. When you select an adaptive
template, you are creating a massing family using a special
family editor in the Conceptual Design Environment.
Line-based Use the line-based templates to create detail and model
families that use 2-pick placement.
Face-based Use the face-based template to create work plane-based
families that can modify their hosts. Families created from
the template can make complex cuts in hosts. Instances of
these families can be placed on any surface, regardless of
its orientation. See Creating a Work Plane-based Family.
Specialty Use a specialty template when the family requires unique
interaction with the model. These family templates are
specific to only one type of family.
For example, the Structural Framing template can only be
used for creating structural framing content.
Deciding Which Template to Use
Don't limit your selection of a family template by category. Select the style of
hosting or the behavior that is required when choosing a template, and then change
the category to match the type of family needed. Additionally, some types of
families require a special family template to function properly.
To create a... Select from the following template types...
2D family
Detail Item
Profile
Annotation
17 Choosing a Family Template
To create a... Select from the following template types...
Titleblock
3D family that
requires specific
functionality
Baluster
Structural Framing
Structural Truss
Rebar
Pattern Based
3D family that is
hosted
Wall Based
Ceiling Based
Floor Based
Roof Based
Face Based
3D family that is
unhosted
Line Based
Standalone (Level Based)
Adaptive
2-Level Based (Column)
Creating a Family from a Template
To create a loadable family, you select a family template, and then name and save
the family file. Name the family so it adequately describes the element that it is
intended to create. Later, when the family is complete and you load it into a project,
the family name displays in the Project Browser and the Type Selector.
You can save families to any local or network location. After you create families,
you can use the Copy and Paste commands in Microsoft Windows Explorer to
move the families to different locations.
Note: Do not save the family to a location where others can access it until you
complete and test the family.
To create a family with a template
1. Click New Family.
Note: If you are creating an annotation or titleblock family, click New
Annotation Symbol or Title Block.
Depending on the current drawing units, the New Family - Select Template File
dialog displays the available imperial or metric family templates that are installed in
a subfolder of this location:
%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Autodesk\<product name and release>\Family Templates
Note: Depending on your software installation or office standards, the family
templates may be installed in another location, either locally or on a network.
Contact your CAD Manager for more information.
18 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
2. Optionally, to preview a template, select it.
The template preview image displays in the upper right corner of the dialog.
3. Select the family template that you want to use, and click Open.
The new family opens in the Family Editor. For most families, 2 or more dashed
green lines display. These are reference planes, or the working planes that you will
use when you create the family geometry.

If you are creating a host-based family, host geometry may also display.
19 Choosing a Family Template

4. In the Project Browser, notice the list of family views.
The family views vary depending on the type of family that you create. If necessary,
you can create additional views by duplicating and renaming existing views.
5. Click Save As Family.
6. In the Save dialog, navigate to the location in which you want to save the
family, enter a name for the family, and click Save.
Note: Use title case for the family name.
20 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Choosing a Category
Select the family category based on how the family is classified in the industry, that
is, how the part is ordered from a manufacturer. Typically, a Revit project will
include a schedule of related parts organized by type of manufacturer.
For example, say you are creating a desk for an office environment. If this type of
desk would be purchased from a system furniture manufacturer, then the family
should be of the System Furniture category. The desk will schedule with the related
items to be purchased from that type of manufacturer.
Cuttable Families
If a family is cuttable, the family displays as cut when the cut plane of a view
intersects that family in all types of views.
In the Family Element Visibility Settings dialog, there is an option called
When cut in Plan/RCP. This option determines if family geometry is shown
when the cut plane intersects that family.
For example, in door families, the geometry for plan swing is set to be
shown when the door is cut in plan views and not shown when the door is
not cut.
This option is never made available and is never selected for non-cuttable
families. For some cuttable families, the option is made available, and you
can select it. For other cuttable families, the option is never made available,
but it is always selected.
The following table lists cuttable families and whether the option is made
available for that family.
Note: Not Applicable means the category is a system family that cannot be
made from a family template.
Cuttable Family Category Option Made
Available
Casework Yes
Ceilings Not Applicable
Columns Yes
Curtain Wall Panels No
Doors Yes
Floors Not Applicable
Generic Models No
21 Choosing a Category
Cuttable Family Category Option Made
Available
Roofs Not Applicable
Site Yes
Structural Columns Yes
Structural Foundations Yes
Structural Framing Yes
Topography No
Walls Not Applicable
Windows Yes
Non-Cuttable Families
The following families are not cuttable and are always shown in projection in views:
Balusters
Detail Items
Electrical Equipment
Electrical Fixtures
Entourage
Furniture
Furniture Systems
Lighting Fixtures
Mechanical Equipment
Parking
Planting
Plumbing Fixtures
Specialty Equipment
Creating Family Subcategories
When you create a family, the template assigns it to a category that defines the
default display of the family (line weight, line color, line pattern, and material
assignment of the family geometry) when the family is loaded into a project. To
assign different line weights, line colors, line patterns, and material assignments to
different geometric components of the family, you need to create subcategories
within the category. Later, when you create the family geometry, you assign the
appropriate components to the subcategories.
22 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
For example, in a window family, you could assign the frame, sash, and mullions to
one subcategory and the glass to another. You could then assign different
materials (wood and glass) to each subcategory to achieve the following effect.

In a plumbing fixture family, you could assign the sink to one subcategory and the
fittings to another. You could then assign different materials to each subcategory.
Revit features some predefined subcategories for different categories of families.
Other families have no subcategories, which means that you can define your own.
The Object Styles dialog lists family categories and subcategories. It also displays
the line weight, line color, line pattern, and material assigned to each category and
subcategory.
Tip: You can apply a drafting pattern to a family. When you create and define a
subcategory to apply to the family, you can specify its surface and cut pattern
materials to have a drafting pattern. You cannot apply a model pattern to a family.
Only flat or cylindrical surfaces can have drafting patterns. See Fill Patterns.
1. With the family open, click Manage tab Settings panel (Object
Styles).
2. On the Model Objects tab of the Object Styles dialog, under Category,
select the family category.
3. Under Modify Subcategories, click New.
23 Choosing a Category
4. In the New Subcategory dialog, for Name, enter a new name.
Revit automatically selects the appropriate category in the Subcategory of list.
5. Click OK.
Although you will not immediately create and assign the subcategory to the family
geometry, you can specify the line weight, line color, line pattern, and material for
the subcategory.
6. Specify values for line weight, line color, line pattern, and material:
Click in the Projection and Cut fields for Line Weight, and select
values from the lists.
Click the button in the Line Color field, and select a color from the
Color dialog. If desired, define a custom color.
Click in the Line Pattern field, and select a line pattern from the list. If
desired, define a new line pattern for the line display.
Click in the Material field, and specify a material, cut pattern, surface
pattern, or render appearance.
See Materials.
7. To define additional subcategories, repeat steps 3 - 6.
8. Click OK.
24 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Creating the Family Framework
After you plan a family, the next step is to create the family framework (skeleton).
The framework is comprised of reference planes and parameters in which you later
create the family geometry. It also defines the origin (insertion point) of elements
that you create with the family.
To create the framework, you begin by defining the family origin. You then build the
framework with elements called reference planes and reference lines. Next you
define family parameters. The parameters that you define at this stage usually
control the size (length, width, height) of the element, and let you add family types.

A view of a family framework
When the framework is complete, you test it by changing the parameter values and
ensuring that the reference planes resize. By creating solid frameworks from the
information that you gather in your planning stage before you create the family
geometry, you ensure the stability of the families that you create.
Defining the Family Origin
After you create a component family, define the family origin and pin (lock) it in
place. Later, when you create an element with the finished family, the family origin
specifies the element insertion point.
25 Creating the Family Framework
The intersection of 2 reference planes in a view defines the origin of a family. You
can control which reference planes define the origin by selecting them and
changing their properties. Many family templates create families with predefined
origins, but you may need to set the origin of some families. For example, an
accessible toilet family that creates toilet elements must always be placed a certain
distance from an adjacent wall to meet code. Therefore, the family origin would
need to be located at the specified distance from the wall.
To define the family origin in a new family
To define the family origin in an existing family
1. In the Family Editor, verify whether an origin has been defined for the family
by selecting the reference planes and checking the Defines Origin property
on the Properties palette.
If Defines Origin is selected for 2 intersecting reference planes, the origin is defined
for the family, and you can skip the remaining steps.
2. Click Create tab Datum panel (Reference Plane).
3. Sketch the reference plane.
4. Select the reference plane.
5. On the Properties palette, under Other, select Defines Origin, and click
Apply.
6. Create or open a family.
7. In a plan view, while pressing Ctrl, select both reference planes.
8. Click Modify | Reference Planes tab Modify panel (Pin).
9. With the reference planes still selected, on the Properties palette, select
Defines Origin.
The intersection of the reference planes now defines the origin/insertion point of the
family. By pinning the planes, you ensure that you do not accidentally move them,
which would change the family insertion point.
Laying Out Reference Planes
Before you create family geometry, you should sketch reference planes. You can
then snap sketches and geometry to the reference planes.
Position new reference planes so that they align with the major axes of the
planned geometry.
Name each reference plane so that you can assign it to be the current work
plane. The name lets you see the reference plane so that you can select it
to use as a work plane.
Specify the property for reference planes that lets you dimension to them
when the family is placed in a project.
26 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

A bookcase family created within a framework of reference planes

A flange family created within a framework of reference planes
27 Creating the Family Framework

A metal deck family created within a framework of reference planes
To lay out reference planes
Click Create tab Datum panel (Reference Plane).
Specify a start point and an end point for the reference plane.
Name the reference plane so that you can identify it in when you open other
views:
o Select the reference plane, and on the Properties palette, under
Identity Data, for Name, enter a name for the reference plane.
o Click Apply.
Defining Priorities for Reference Planes
Reference planes have a property called Is Reference. By setting this property, you
specify that the reference plane can be dimensioned or snapped to when you place
a family into a project. For example, if you create a table family and want to
dimension the edges of the table, create reference planes at the table's edges and
set the Is Reference property for the reference planes. When you create
dimensions for the table, you can then select the table's edges.
Is Reference also sets a reference point for dimensions when you use the Align
tool. Specifying the Is Reference parameter lets you select different reference
planes or edges of aligned components for dimensioning. The Is Reference
property also controls if a shape handle is available on instance parameters in the
project environment. Shape handles are only created on instance parameters
attached to reference planes with strong or weak strength.
To dimension or snap to a location on families placed in a project, you need to
define the references in the Family Editor. You set the reference plane attached to
the geometry as either strong references or weak references.
28 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
A strong reference has the highest priority for dimensioning and snapping.
For example, you create a window family and place it into a project. As you
are placing the family, temporary dimensions snap to any strong references
in the family. When you select the family in the project, temporary
dimensions appear at the strong references. If you place a permanent
dimension, the strong references in the window geometry highlight first. A
strong reference takes precedence over a wall reference point (such as its
centerline).
A weak reference has the lowest priority for dimensioning and snapping.
When you place the family into the project and dimension to it, you may
need to press Tab to select a weak reference, as any strong references
highlight first.
A not a reference is not visible in the project environment so you cannot
dimension or snap to those locations in a project.
Table 1. System Defined Is Reference Values
Strong References Weak References Not a References
Strong
Reference
Left
Center
(Left/Right)
Right
Front
Center
(Front/Back)
Back
Bottom
Center
(Elevation)
Top
Weak Reference Not a Reference
If you create multiple families with the same Is Reference value for a particular
reference plane, the dimensions to that reference plane apply when you switch
between family components.
Examples
You create a table family and a chair family, and specify the left side
reference plane property value to Left for both of them. You place the table
in a building and dimension it from the wall to the left side of the table. If you
replace the table with the chair, the dimension to the left side would remain
to the left side of the chair because they both had a property value of Left.
You create a toilet family and a sink family, and specify the left side
reference plane property value to Left for both of them. You place the toilet
in a building and dimension it from the wall to the left side of the toilet. If you
replace the toilet with the sink, the dimension to the left side would remain to
the left side of the sink because they both had a property value of Left.
To specify the Is Reference value:
29 Creating the Family Framework
Click Create tab Datum panel Reference Line (or Reference Plane), and
sketch a line or reference plane.
Select the line or plane, and on the Properties palette, for Is Reference,
select Strong Reference.
Note: The default reference property for all reference planes and sketched lines is
Weak Reference.
Click Apply.
Using Reference Lines
You can use reference lines to create a parametric family framework to which
elements of the family can attach.
Examples
Use reference lines to parametrically control the angle of a door swing.
Angular parameters applied to a reference line also control the elements
attached to its face.

A bookcase family featuring a door with a swing controlled by a reference line
30 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Use reference lines to control the angle of a curve of an elbow fitting.

An elbow pipe fitting family with an angle controlled by a reference line
Reference lines are datum objects with their own category. When selected, they
display dual faces. When printing, their visibility is affected by the Hide ref/work
planes option.
Straight reference lines provide 4 faces or planes for you to sketch on, one that is
parallel to the work plane of the line, one that is perpendicular to that plane, and
one at each endpoint. All planes go through the reference line. The planes display
when the reference line is selected or highlighted, or when you use the Work Plane
tool. When selecting a work plane, you can place the cursor over a reference line
and press Tab to switch between the 4 planes. The plane in which the line was
sketched always displays first. You can also create arc reference lines, but they do
not define planes.
31 Creating the Family Framework
Reference Line Behavior in the Project
After a family is loaded into a project, the behavior of reference lines is identical to
that of reference planes. Reference lines are not visible in a project and do not
highlight when the family instance is selected. They highlight and generate shape
handles in the same contexts as reference planes currently do, depending on their
Reference property.

Selected reference line in multiple views
Controlling Angular Dimensions with Reference Lines
The preferred method to control the angular dimensions of a family is to apply a
labelled angular dimension to a reference line. Unlike reference planes (with infinite
extents), a reference line has specific start and end points and can be used to
control the angular constraints within components such as a web truss, a door with
an instance door swing, or an elbow.

Loaded door family with an angular dimensioned reference line
To add and dimension a reference line
To add and align model geometry to a reference line
32 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
1. In the drawing area (while in the Family Editor), add a reference line with the
point of origin located at the point of expected rotation and align and lock the
endpoint.
2. Add an angular dimension referring to the reference line.
3. Label the dimension.
4. On the Properties palette, click (Edit Type).
5. In the Family Types dialog, change the angular value for the labelled
dimension, and click Apply.
This is known as flexing the model. It is important to make sure the reference line
adjusts as expected before adding model geometry to it.
6. Set the current work plane to one of the faces of the reference line.
7. Add the model geometry that you intend to have controlled by the angular
dimension.
8. Flex the model to make sure the design works as expected.
The geometry moves with the reference line as the angle changes.
Dimensioning Reference Planes and Lines
The first step to creating family parameters is to place dimensions between the
reference planes and lines of the framework to mark the parametric relationships
that you intend to create. Dimensions alone do not create the parameters; you must
label them to create parameters.
1. Identify the reference planes of the framework that you want to dimension to
create parameters.
2. Click Annotate tab Dimension panel, and select a dimension type.
3. On the Options Bar, select the desired dimension options.
4. Place the dimensions between reference planes, or on reference lines.
5. To constrain the distance of the dimension, select the dimension if it is not
selected, and click the lock symbol.
The lock works like a toggle, so clicking the symbol will lock or unlock the
constraint.
Tip: It is recommended to constrain all dimensions to ensure that the geometry
behaves as designed when the family is flexed.
6. Continue to dimension reference planes until all the parametric relationships
have been dimensioned.
Tip: You may need to open different views in the family to create some of the
dimensions.
33 Creating Family Parameters
Creating Family Parameters
You can create new instance parameters or type parameters for any family type. By
adding new parameters, you have more control over the information contained in
each family instance or type. You can create dynamic family types for increased
flexibility within the model.
To create parameters
1. In the Family Editor, click Create tab Properties panel (Family
Types).
2. In the Family Types dialog, click New, and enter a name for the new type.
This creates a new family type that will be available in the Type Selector when you
load it into a project.
3. Under Parameters, click Add.
4. In the Parameter Properties dialog, under Parameter Type, select Family
parameter.
5. Enter a name for the parameter.
6. Select a discipline.
7. For Type of Parameter, select the appropriate parameter type.
Name Description
Text Completely customizable. Can be used to collect unique data.
Integer A value that is always expressed as an integer.
Number Used to collect miscellaneous numeric data. Can be defined
by a formula. Can also have real numbers.
Length Can be used to establish the length of an element or
subcomponent. Can be defined by a formula. This is the
default type.
Area Can be used to establish the area of an element or
subcomponent. Formulas can be used in this field.
Volume Can be used to establish the length of an element or
subcomponent. Formulas can be used in this field.
Angle Can be used to establish the angle of an element or
subcomponent. Formulas can be used in this field.
Slope Can be used to create parameters that define slope.
Currency Can be used to create currency parameters.
URL Provides web link to user defined URL.
34 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Name Description
Material Establishes parameters in which a specific material can be
assigned.
Yes/No Used most often for instance properties when the parameter is
defined with either a Yes or No.
Family Type Used with nested components and allows you to swap
components after the family is loaded into a project.
Divided Surface
Type
Establishes parameters with which divided surface
components (such as panels and patterns) can be driven.
Formulas can be used in this field.
8. For Group parameter under, select a value.
After the family is loaded into a project, this value determines which group header
the parameter displays under on the Properties palette.
9. Select either Instance or Type. This defines whether the parameter is an
Instance or Type parameter.
10. Optionally, if you selected Instance in step 9, you can select Reporting
Parameter. See Reporting Parameters.
11. Click OK.
Family Category and Parameters
The Family Category and Parameters tool assigns the properties of a predefined
family category to the component you are creating. The tool is only available within
the Family Editor.
Family parameters define behaviors or Identity Data that apply across all types in
that family. Different categories have different family parameters based on how
Revit expects the component to be used. Some common examples of family
parameters that control how the family behaves include:
Always vertical: When selected, the family always appears vertical at 90
degrees, even if it is on a sloping host, such as a floor.
Work Plane-Based: When selected, the family is hosted by the active work
plane. You can make any non-hosted family a work plane-based family.
Shared: This parameter is only relevant when the family is nested into
another family and loaded into a project. If the nested family is shared, you
can select, tag, and schedule the nested family separately from the host
family. If the nested family is not shared, then components created by the
host family and nested family act as a single unit.
Identify Data parameters include Omniclass Number and Omniclass Title
which are based on the Omniclass Table 23 product classification.
To specify family parameters:
35 Creating Family Parameters
1. In the Family Editor, click Create tab (or Modify tab) Properties panel
(Family Category and Parameters).
2. From the dialog, select a family category whose properties you want to
import into the current family.
3. Specify the family parameters.
Note: Family parameter options vary depending on family category.
4. Click OK.
Labeling Dimensions to Create Parameters
After you dimension the family framework, you label the dimensions to create
parameters. For example, the dimensions below have been labeled with length and
width parameters.

Labeled dimensions become modifiable parameters for families. You can modify
their values using the Family Types dialog in the family editor. When the family is
loaded into a project, you can modify any instance parameters on the Properties
palette, or open the Type Properties dialog to modify type parameter values.
If a parameter exists in the family for the dimension type, you can select it as a
label. If not, you must create the parameter, specifying whether it is an instance or
type parameter.
To label dimensions and create parameters
1. While in the Family Editor, select the dimension.
36 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
2. On the Options Bar, for Label, select a parameter, or choose <Add
parameter...>, and create a parameter.
See Creating Parameters. After creating the parameter, you can use the Family
Types tool on the Properties panel to modify the default value, or specify a formula,
as required.
3. If desired, select Leader to create a leader line for the dimension.
Creating Family Types
Using the Family Types tool, you can create many types (sizes) for a family. To do
this, you need to have labeled the dimensions and created the parameters that are
going to vary.
Examples

A bookcase family that creates 4 different bookcase types (sizes)
37 Creating Family Parameters

A lighting fixture family with 4 different types (sizes)
Each family type has a set of properties (parameters) that includes the labeled
dimensions and their values. You can also add values for standard parameters of
the family (such as Material, Model, Manufacturer, Type Mark, and others).
To create family types
1. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types).
2. In the Family Types dialog, under Family Types, click New.
3. Enter the family name, and click OK.
4. In the Family Types dialog, enter the values for the type parameters.
5. Click OK.
Creating Instance Parameters
As you create families, you can specify labeled dimensions as instance
parameters; the parameters are modifiable when the family instance is placed in a
project. Labeled dimensions specified as instance parameters can also have shape
handles that display when the family is loaded into a project.
1. Sketch family geometry using Family Editor tools.
2. Create dimensions for the family geometry.
3. Label the dimensions. See Labeling Dimensions to Create Parameters.
4. Select the dimensions and, on the Options Bar, select Instance Parameter.
Note: If you label dimensions by selecting a label on the Options Bar, you can
select Instance Parameter without re-selecting the dimensions.
5. Click Modify | Dimensions tab Properties panel (Family Types).
In the Family Types dialog, notice the new instance parameter. The (default) label
indicates the value for the instance parameter when you place the family in a
38 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
project. For example, if you create an instance parameter called length with a
default value of 3000 mm, the family instance will have a length of 3000 mm when
placed in a project.
6. Save changes and load the family into a project. Select an instance of the
family, and on the Properties palette, notice that the labeled dimensions are
available for modification.
Adding Shape Handles to a Loadable Family
You can add shape handles to a component family that display when the family is
loaded into a project. The shape handles let you resize the component in the
drawing area, instead of creating multiple types in the Family Editor. See Controls
and Shape Handles.

Example of a generic component in plan and 3D views with shape handles added
To add shape handles to a component family, you must:
Add reference planes to the family.
Add geometry so that the sketch of the geometry is aligned to the reference
planes.
For the reference planes, verify that the Is Reference value is other than Not
a Reference.
Add a dimension to the reference planes.
Label the dimension as an instance parameter.
Save the family and load it into a project. When you select the component in
the drawing area of the project, shape handles display where the reference
planes are aligned and dimensioned.
Using Formulas in the Family Editor
1. In the Family Editor, lay out reference planes.
2. Add dimensions, as required.
3. Label the dimensions. See Labeling Dimensions to Create Parameters.
4. Add the geometry, and lock the geometry to the reference planes.
5. On the Properties panel, click (Family Types).
39 Creating Family Parameters
6. In the Family Types dialog, in the Formula column next to the appropriate
parameter, type the formula for the parameter. For more information about
entering formulas, see Valid Formula Syntax and Abbreviations.
Adding Metadata to a Family
You can add metadata to the Type or Instance properties of a family in both the
Family Editor and in the project environment. Default parameters are provided for
the typical metadata attributes of a family, such as manufacturer, model,
description, and cost, but you can add parameters as needed. See Creating Family
Parameters. This data can be included in schedules. See Schedules.
Additional parameters built into families allow linking to information not included in
the family.
The URL parameter allows you to provide the user with a direct link to the
manufacturer's website by opening a link in the user's default web browser
to the selected location. For example, if you are creating a manufacturer-
specific window family you could link directly to the window specification on
the window manufacturer's website. Provide the full website address
(http://www.somewhere.com/windows/model1234.html) to ensure the link
opens the desired page.
The Keynote parameter refers to the defined keynote table to look up the
values in a list of values. To specify the keynote table and make the settings
available to the family, in the Family Editor, click Manage tab Additional
Settings drop-down Keynoting Settings. See Keynotes.
The Assembly Code parameter opens a dialog with Uniformat
Classifications for you to choose from.
40 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Creating Family Geometry
You can use both 2- and 3-dimensional geometry to create families. Create solid
geometric shapes to represent the element that the family is intended to create.
Use 2D linework to add detail to solid geometry in certain views or to create a
symbolic plan representation of an element.
As you create the family geometry, you can specify the visibility, material, and an
optional subcategory of the geometry. These settings determine how and when the
specific geometric components of the family display.
To ensure the stability of each parametric family, build the family geometry
incrementally, testing (flexing) the parametric relationships in each increment.
Constraining Family Geometry
As you are adding geometry to your component family, you need to constrain the
geometry to the parametric framework previously created. For the best results, the
sketches of the geometry should be constrained to the reference planes driving the
parametric relationships.
To constrain the sketch of a piece of geometry during creation, use the Align tool
and select the specific reference plane and the sketch line to establish the
constraint. When the lock symbol displays, click it to lock the constraint. If the
constraint is labeled, then the parameter created from the constraint will allow the
geometry to adjust with changes to the parameter.

41 Creating Family Geometry
Automatic Sketch Dimensions
Revit creates automatic dimensions to help control your design intent. These
automatic dimensions are not displayed by default.
To turn them on, select Automatic Sketch Dimensions on the Annotation
Categories tab of the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog. You can then modify the
dimensions or create your own dimensions using the Dimension tools. You can
also lock dimensions to keep a distance constant. This is useful if you plan to have
several sizes of the family and want to keep certain dimensions constant while the
family changes size.
Effects of Automatic Dimensions on Your Geometry
When automatic sketch dimensions constrain geometry to reference planes, you
may see some unexpected behavior in your project. The automatic sketch
dimensions are Revit's way of solving how to grow or shrink geometry based on
changes in value of a family parameter.
Example
You have added a rectangular window to a fire door that has a labeled dimension
for the width, but you have not dimensioned the window.
42 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

You decide to change the width of the door, but you want the window width to stay
the same. You expect its position to remain unchanged; however, observe what
happens when you increase the width of the door using the Family Types tool.
43 Creating Family Geometry

In this example, the window is constrained to the centerline of the door and the
right side of the door panel, both of which are represented by reference planes. The
window's position remains fixed relative to those reference planes.
To see the automatic sketch dimensions, edit the sketch of the window and turn on
the visibility of the dimensions. You will see how the vertical sketch lines of the
window are dimensioned to the center and right reference planes.
44 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Image legend:
1. Auto sketch dimension to right reference plane.
2. Auto sketch dimension to center reference plane.
To achieve the desired results, add locked dimensions. For example, you could add
a locked dimension for the width of the window and a locked dimension from the
window to the right reference plane.
Visibility of Automatic Sketch Dimensions in the Family
Editor
Automatic sketch dimensions are turned off by default. They display if there is at
least one labeled dimension in the family.
Notice in the following image that there is a dimension added to the geometry, but
the dimension has no label.
45 Creating Family Geometry

No automatic sketch dimensions are visible.
To turn on visibility of automatic sketch dimensions
1. While in sketch mode, click View tab Graphics panel
(Visibility/Graphics), or type VG.
2. On the Annotation Categories tab of the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog,
expand the Dimensions category, select Dimensions, and select Automatic
Sketch Dimensions.
3. Click OK.
4. Place and label a dimension.
The automatic sketch dimensions display.

Revit now knows where each line of this geometry exists with respect to reference
planes or other sketch lines.
46 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
As you add locked dimensions, they replace the automatic sketch dimensions, as
shown.

Duplicating Parameterized Elements
When creating a component in the Family Editor, you often need to create identical
elements that are controlled by the same parameters, such as labelled dimensions
or visibility parameters.
Examples
If you create a window family with muntins controlled by a visibility
parameter, you can create the first muntin, apply the visibility parameter to
it, and then copy, array, or mirror the muntin. The visibility parameter of the
original muntin is applied to the duplicated muntins.
If you create a lighting family with lighting fixtures controlled by a visibility
parameter, you can create the first fixture, apply the visibility parameter to it,
and then copy, array, or mirror the fixture. The visibility parameter or the
original fixture is applied to the duplicated fixtures.
If you copy, array, or group a parameterized element, the parameters that control
that element are also copied.
In the example shown below, a generic family was created with 2 extrusions. The
bottoms of both extrusions are aligned to the horizontal reference plane. The height
of the large extrusion is controlled by the labelled dimension H. The height of the
smaller extrusion is controlled by the labelled dimension (H/2). In the Family Types
47 Creating Family Geometry
dialog, a formula was added to the (H/2) parameter to make it equal to Height/2. In
addition, a visibility parameter was created and applied to the smaller extrusion,
which has a split and painted face.

Elements controlled by parameters (labelled dimensions in this case)
Continuing with the example shown above, to create a series of elements identical
to the sub-height element, you can copy, array, or mirror the element, and the
associated parameters are copied with it. In the image below, you can see that the
smaller element was arrayed and the labelled dimension, painted face, and visibility
parameters are applied to each arrayed element.
48 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Array of parameterized elements
In the Family Types dialog, if the Height value in this example is changed from 6 to
8, notice that the arrayed elements adjust to the new values.

Arrayed elements adapt to changed parameter values
49 Creating Family Geometry
Assigning Family Geometry to Subcategories
You can assign different pieces of family geometry to subcategories within the
family category. A subcategory controls the line weight, line color, line pattern, and
material of the geometry assigned to it, independent of the family category settings.
By assigning portions of the family geometry to different subcategories, you can
display the portions with different line weights, line colors, line patterns, and
material assignments.
Window Family Example
For example, in a window family, you could assign the frame, sash, and mullions to
one subcategory, and the glass to another. You could then assign different
materials (wood and glass) to each subcategory to achieve the following effect.

Bathtub Family Example
For example, in a bathtub family, you could assign the faucet to one subcategory,
and the tub basin to another. You could then assign different materials to each
subcategory to achieve the following effect.
50 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

If you havent created subcategories or the family does not contain them by default,
you can create them at any time. See Creating Family Subcategories.
To assign family geometry to a subcategory
1. In the Family Editor, select the family geometry that you want to assign to
the subcategory.
2. On the Properties palette, under Identity Data, for Subcategory, select a
subcategory.
3. Click Apply.
Managing Family Visibility and Detail Level
Visibility of a family determines in which view the family displays and what it looks
like in that view. Typically, when an element is created by a family, the geometry of
the element will change, depending on the current view. In a plan view, you may
want to see a 2D representation of the element. In a 3D or elevation view, you may
want a fully detailed 3D representation of the element. You have the flexibility to
display different levels of geometry.
For example, you could create a door frame and use lines to represent it. Or you
could extrude the door frame, so it has a 3D representation.
Detail Level determines the visibility of elements at different levels of detail.
For example, you might create a door with certain embellishments. You then may
decide that the embellishments should only appear at a certain detail level.
You control the detail level in a project view with the Detail Level option on the view
control bar. You can set the visibility and detail level of any 2D and 3D geometry in
the family after you create it.
Families are either cuttable or non-cuttable. If a family is cuttable, the family
displays as cut when the cut plane of a plan view intersects that family in all types
51 Creating Family Geometry
of views. If the family is non-cuttable, it displays in projection, regardless of whether
it is intersected by the cut plane.
You can determine if a family category is cuttable in the Object Styles dialog (click
Manage tab Settings panel Object Styles). If the Line Weight Cut column is
disabled, the category is non-cuttable.
Setting Family Geometry Visibility
1. Select the geometry, and click Modify | <Element> tab Mode panel
(Visibility Settings).
2. In the Family Element Visibility Settings dialog, select the views in which you
want the geometry to display:
Plan/RCP
Front/Back
Left/Right
Note: All geometry automatically displays in 3D views.
3. If desired, select When cut in Plan/RCP (if category permits).
If you select this option, the geometry appears cut if it is intersected by the cut
plane of the view. If the element is cut by a section view, it also shows if you select
this option.
4. Select the detail levels at which you want the geometry to display in a
project:
Coarse
Medium
Fine
Detail levels are dependent upon view scale.
Note: The Family Element Visibility Settings dialog is different for families of profiles
and detail components. For these families, you can set only the detail level.
5. Click OK.
Tip: You can set family elements to be visible or not visible in the project by
associating the Visible parameter of solid geometry tools with a family parameter
for that element. The Visible parameter is available for solid geometry tools (blends,
sweeps, swept blends, revolves, and extrusions). This lets you create one family
type with optionally visible geometry on it. Note that the family geometry still exists
in the project, it is just invisible. For example, it may still be involved when you join
geometry in the project.
52 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Annotation Labels
An annotation label is a text placeholder added to tags or title blocks. You create a
label as part of a tag or title block family while in the Family Editor. When you place
the tag or title block in the project, you place substitution text for the label, and the
text appears as part of the family.
1. Click New Annotation Symbol or Title Block.
2. In the displayed dialog, select the appropriate template for the family you
are creating.
3. In the Family Editor, click Create tab Text panel (Label).
4. In the Type Selector, select the label type.
5. On the Format panel, select the vertical and horizontal justification.
6. In the drawing area, click to position the tag. For example, in a generic
model tag template, place the cursor at the intersection of the two reference
planes. The Edit Label dialog opens.
7. Edit the label parameters. See Editing Multi-parameter Labels.
Editing Multi-parameter Labels
You assign single or multiple parameters to labels with the Edit Label dialog.

The Category Parameters window contains the label parameters related to the tag
type. The Label Parameters window contains the Category Parameters that display
in the label. Typically, this is a single parameter, but you can detail more complex,
concatenated labels.
53 Annotation Labels
Building a Label
You add and remove parameters by moving them between the windows:
Highlight a parameter in the Category Parameters window and click (Add
Parameter) to move it into the Label Parameters window.
Highlight a parameter in the Label Parameters window and click (Remove
Parameter) to move it into the Category Parameters window.
Labels display their parameters from the first to the last (top to bottom) as listed in
the Label Parameters window. You reorder the label by highlighting a parameter
and shift its position using (Move Parameter Up) and (Move Parameter Down).
Shared Label Parameters
You can configure the label with shared external parameters of other families. You
configure shared parameters before moving them over to the Label Parameters
window. The Category Parameters controls aid in this integration:
Add Parameter. Click this button to enter the Parameter Properties
dialog. See Adding Shared Parameters to Families.
For Generic Annotation families, you can use the Add Parameter button to
introduce new Family Parameters to the Generic Annotation family.
Edit Parameter. Click this button to enter the Parameter Properties dialog
to edit a selected parameter. See Viewing, Moving, and Deleting Shared
Parameters.
Delete Parameter. Click this button to delete a selected family parameter.
To delete a shared parameter, see Viewing, Moving, and Deleting Shared
Parameters.
Note: Deleted shared parameters are removed from all sharing labels.
Label Parameter Options
The columns in the Label Parameters window display annotation options for the
label. The parameter names are listed in order in the first column.
Spaces. You increase or decrease the spacing between parameters in the label by
entering a representative number of spaces (zero or greater). This option disables if
the Break option is selected.
Prefix. You can add a prefix to the parameter value by adding a text string in this
option.
Sample Value. You can change how the place-holding text appears in the
parameter.
Suffix. You can add a suffix to the parameter value by adding a text string in this
column.
54 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Break. You force a line break immediately after the parameter by checking this
box. Otherwise, the text wraps within the label boundary.
Wrap between parameters only. You force text wrapping in the label to break at
the end of parameters by checking this box. If not selected, text wraps at the first
word reaching the boundary.
Unadjusted label text Wrapping label text Breaking label text

Edit Label Unit Formats
If you create a label with a length, area, volume, angle, number, currency, or slope
parameter, you can format the appearance of the parameter.
1. In the Edit Label dialog, choose a length or area parameter, such as Room
area.
2. Click . The Format dialog displays.

The Use project settings option is selected by default. This means that the value
displays according to the Units setting in the project. See Project Units.
3. Clear Use project settings.
4. From the Units menu, select an appropriate unit.
5. From the Rounding menu, select a decimal place value. If you choose
Custom from the menu, enter a value in the Rounding increment text box.
55 Annotation Labels
6. If applicable, select a Unit suffix from the menu.
7. Select Suppress 0 feet to hide leading zeros on dimensions, such as 0' 6".
This option is available only for feet and fractional inches.
8. Click OK.
Label Type Properties
You can modify the Type Properties of labels.
Name Description
Graphics
Color Sets the color of the text and the leader line.
Line weight Sets the thickness of the line that surrounds the text when you
select the text and the thickness of the leader line. You can change
the definition of the line weight numbers using the Line Weights
tool. See Line Weights.
Background Sets the background for the text note. With Opaque, the
background of the note itself covers material behind it. Transparent
allows you to see material behind the note. This is useful with text
notes placed in color-defined rooms.
Show Border Displays a border around the text. See Displaying the Text Box
Border.
Leader/Border
Offset
Sets the distance between the leader/border and the text. See
Modifying the Leader/Border Offset.
Text
Text Font Sets the Microsoft True Type fonts for the text note. The default
font is Arial.
Text Size Sets the size of the typeface.
Tab Size Sets tab spacing in a text note. When you create a text note, you
can press Tab anywhere in the text note, and a tab appears at the
specified size.
Bold Sets the text typeface to bold.
Italic Sets the text typeface to italic.
Underline Underlines the text.
Width Factor 1.0 is the default for regular text width. The font width scales
proportionately to the Width Factor. Height is not affected.
56 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Label Instance Properties
You can modify the Instance Properties of labels.
Name Description
Graphics
Sample Text Read-only field that displays the Sample Value from the
Edit Label dialog.
Label Launches the Edit Label dialog.
Wrap between
parameters only
Forces text wrapping to break at the end of parameters. If
not selected, text wraps at the first word reaching the label
boundary.
Vertical Align Orients text at the Top, Middle, or Bottom of the label
boundary.
Horizontal Align Justifies text to the Left, Center, or Right of the label
boundary.
Keep Readable Text in the label remains readable whenever you rotate it. It
never displays upside-down.
Visible Sets whether the label is visible in a project.
Applying the Label to a Tag in a Project
1. In a project, click Insert tab Load from Library panel (Load Family).
2. Navigate to the family you want to load, and click Open. If prompted to
replace a family of the same type, click Yes.
3. If you created a window, door, or room tag, place one of those components
to see the new tag you created.
4. If the element does not already have a tag associated with it:
a. Place the element.
b. Tag the element: click Annotate tab Tag panel Tag drop-down
(By Category).
5. Select the element that you placed, for example, a window.
6. On the Properties palette, locate the parameter that you chose when
creating the label in either the instance or type properties. For example, if
you defined the label to include the Manufacturer parameter, click Edit Type
to open the Type Properties dialog.
7. Enter a value for the parameter and click OK (if entering a type property).
The label value displays in the tag.
57 Annotation Labels
Applying the Label to a Title Block in a Project
1. In a project, click Insert tab Load from Library panel (Load Family).
2. Create a sheet using the titleblock. See Sheets.
The new sheet view opens with the label you created in the titleblock family.
3. Select the label.
4. On the Properties palette, locate the parameter you defined for the family
and enter a value for it.
58 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Lookup Tables
Lookup tables are used to define parameter values in an external comma-
separated values (CSV) file. This lets you specify multiple part sizes that are based
on a table without creating a separate family type for each size. Revit provides a
size_lookup function that can be used to read the necessary values from a CSV
file.
Data from lookup tables for is stored within the family and use the size_lookup
function. See Managing Lookup Tables. For upgraded projects, you can define the
location of lookup table files with the LookupTableLocation parameter in the
Revit.ini file. Folders are created for each type of content installed.
Note: The Revit.ini file is located in this folder:
%APPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\<product name and release>
Lookup tables are used in conjunction with type catalogs. For information about
creating type catalogs, see Creating a Type Catalog.
The syntax for the size_lookup function uses the following format:
result=size_lookup(LookupTableName, LookupColumn, DefaultIfNotFound,
LookupValue1, LookupValue2, ..., LookupValueN)
Where: Is:
result the returned value.
LookupTableName the name of the CSV file to lookup.
LookupColumn the name of the column from which the
result value is to be returned.
DefaultIfNotFound the value that will be returned if
LookupValue is not found.
LookupValue(1-N) the value to find in the first, second, and
subsequent columns of the table. (When
looking up values, the first column is
skipped.)
Notes:
The size_lookup function provides the ability to look up numerical values
only.
The size_lookup function is intended for instance parameters. If you want to
use tabular data to define types with unique values for each type, see
Creating a Type Catalog.
59 Lookup Tables
Managing Lookup Tables
Data from lookup tables (CSV files) is stored within the family. Use the Manage
Lookup Tables command while editing a family to import, export, or delete a lookup
table.
To manage lookup tables
1. In the Family Editor, click Create tab Properties panel (Family
Types).
2. Under Lookup Tables, click Manage.
To import a lookup table
1. In the Manage Lookup Tables dialog, click Import.
2. In the Select File dialog, select a lookup table. Click OK.
To export a lookup table
1. In the Manage Lookup Tables dialog, click Export.
2. In the Save As dialog, select a location for the lookup table. Click Open.
To delete a lookup table
1. In the Manage Lookup Tables dialog, select a lookup table and click Delete.
Note: A warning displays if you attempt to delete a lookup table that is being
referenced by the parameters in a formula. Click Show details to see a list of the
parameters. Click Delete Anyway to continue.
Note: When you upgrade a project with a family that uses a lookup table which is
not in the default lookup table folder, a warning displays indicating that one or more
CSV files used by the size_lookup function are missing. Click Export to export a list
of the missing files. You may also see this dialog when you open a project from
another user that uses different CSV tables for a family.
CSV File Structure
The first row of values in the CSV file is for header information, to describe the
contents of subsequent columns. The headers are of the format
ParameterName##ParameterType##ParameterUnits
Acceptable parameter types are: NUMBER, LENGTH, AREA, VOLUME, ANGLE,
and OTHER.
For example, a column may have the following header:
TotalArea##AREA##INCHES to represent the total area in square inches.
The first column in the file contains a description. The Lookup Function processes
the information in the file starting with column 2.
60 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Revit MEP Components
This section describes features that distinguish Revit MEP families from standard
loadable families.
Before creating your own Revit MEP components, you should learn how to create
families. For more information, see Creating Loadable Families.
Category
Revit components fall into general categories (pipe fittings, lighting fixtures, and so
on). The family category specified when a family is created determines which family
parameters are activated. The settings for these family parameters affect the
behavior for the part and identifies the type of component. In the Family Editor, the
Family Category and Parameters settings are found in the Settings menu.
Depending on the family category and the type of template that the family was
derived from (host-based, generic model, detail component, generic tag, and so
on), different family parameters apply. The following table lists each family
category, and indicates the applicable family parameters.
Family Category Family Parameter
Work
Plane
Based
Always
Vertical
Light
Source
Part
Type
Maintain
Annotation
Orientation
Shared Room
Location
Point
Air Terminals X X X X X
Cable Tray
Fittings
X X X
Communications
Devices
X X X X X
Conduit Fittings X X X
Data Devices X X X X X
Duct
Accessories
X X X X
Duct Fittings X X X X
Electrical
Equipment
X X X X
Electrical X X X X X
61 Revit MEP Components
Family Category Family Parameter
Work
Plane
Based
Always
Vertical
Light
Source
Part
Type
Maintain
Annotation
Orientation
Shared Room
Location
Point
Fixtures
Fire Alarm
Devices
X X X X X
Generic Models X X X
Lighting Devices X X X X X
Lighting Fixtures X X X X X X
Mechanical
Equipment
X X X X
Nurse Call
Devices
X X X X
Pipe
Accessories
X X X X
Pipe Fittings X X X X
Plumbing
Fixtures
X X X X X
Security Devices X X X X X
Sprinklers X X X X
Telephone
Devices
X X X X X
Light Source
A light source is the part of a lighting fixture that emits light (such as a light bulb). In
general, each lighting fixture family has one light source. To create a lighting fixture
that uses multiple light sources (such as a chandelier or a set of track lights), create
a nested family.
When a light source is selected in the Family Category and Parameters dialog, you
can specify the shape of the light element (point, line, rectangle, circle), and the
light distribution (spherical, hemispherical, spot, or photometric web). You can also
define photometric characteristics, such as Light Loss Factor, Initial Intensity, and
62 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Initial Color Control. In a project, you can adjust the position and brightness of each
light source to achieve the desired lighting effects.
When creating a lighting family, you can also specify an IES file. This file contains
engineering data that can be used to calculate the coefficient of utilization of the
fixture. The IES file is not used for rendering. Lighting manufacturers often allow
you to download IES files from the Web for their fixtures. Some IES files are
provided here:
%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Autodesk\<product name and release>\IES
Note: If Revit was not installed in the default location, you can determine the correct
path to the IES file as defined by the IESFileLocation parameter in the Revit.ini file,
which is located in this folder: %APPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\<product name and
release> .
Part Types
The Part Type parameter provides additional subclassification of a family category,
and determines the behavior for the parts in the family. The part type serves 2
functions:
To only allow replacing a particular part with a similar part in a building
project. Generally the Type Selector allows you to replace a family of one
category with any other family of the same category. However, there are
times when this is not appropriate. For example, for fittings it would not be
valid to replace a cross with a transition. So there is a level of filtering built
into the Type Selector for Revit.
To determine the part type family. The ASHRAE Duct Fitting Database,
Version 5.00.00 is integrated with Revit. This allows calculating fitting losses
based on a loss table. To accurately look up the correct fitting in the
database, the part type must be defined.
If a family category provides a Part Type parameter, the Part Type values available
depend on the family category. The following table shows which part types apply to
which family categories:
Family Categories Part Types
Air Terminals Cross, Cross-Reducing, Damper, Duct
Mounted Equipment, Elbow, Elbow-
Reducing, Entry, Exit, Equipment, Fan
and System Interaction, Hood, Junction,
Obstruction, Tee, Tee-Reducing,
Transition, Undefined, Valve
Duct Accessories
Duct Fittings
Mechanical Equipment
63 Revit MEP Components
Family Categories Part Types
Pipe Accessories
Pipe Fittings
Plumbing Fixture
Communication Devices Normal, Panelboard, Transformer,
Switchboard, Data Panel, Switch
Junction Box
Data Devices
Electrical Equipment
Electrical Fixtures
Fire Alarm Devices
Lighting Devices
Lighting Fixtures
Nurse Call Devices
Security Devices
Telephone Devices
Cable Tray Fitting Channel Elbow, Channel Vertical Elbow,
Channel Cross, Channel Tee, Channel
Transition, Channel Union, Channel,
Offset, Channel Multi Port, Ladder
Elbow, Ladder Vertical Elbow, Ladder
Cross, Ladder Tee, Ladder Transition,
Ladder Union, Ladder Offset, Ladder
Multi Port
Conduit Fittings Elbow, Cap, Union, Multi Port, Tee,
Cross, Junction Box Elbow
Damper: Used to control flow volume.
Duct Mounted Equipment: Smoke detectors, steam generators
Elbow: A bend or elbow type fitting
Entry: Point at which fluid enters the system: louvers, grills, grates
Exit: Point at which fluid leaves the system
Equipment: Generic equipment
Fan and System Interaction AHUs, inline fans
Hood: Kitchen, lab or other exhaust hoods
Junction: Intersection of 3 or more segments (tee, cross, wye)
64 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Obstruction: Anything that causes a pressure drop, such as an inline filter
Transition: Shape or size change
Undefined: No specific functionality
Valve: Valves and similar accessories
Data Panel: Panels used to connect devices with connectors of System
Type Data, Telephone, Security, Fire Alarm, Nurse Call, Controls, and
Communication.
Normal: Devices such as receptacles, fire alarm components, and light
fixtures.
Panelboard: Used to connect devices/equipment with connectors with a
System Type value of Power and to generate branch circuit type schedules.
Switch: Control device such as a switch where wiring is typically not drawn
through the devices. As indicated in the image, the automatically generated
wiring branches to the switch.
Junction Box: Wire management devices through which wiring is generally
drawn through the device. As indicated in the image, the automatically
generated wiring branches through the junction box.

Switchboard: Used to connect devices/equipment with connectors with a
System Type value of Power and to generate branch circuit type schedules.
Transformer: Used to interconnect Panelboards and/or Switchboards of
differing voltages.
65 Revit MEP Components
Working with Connectors
You can place connectors using one of the following methods:
Place on Face
This option (Edge loop centered=true) maintains its point at the center of the edge
loop. In most cases, this is the preferable method for placing a connector. Typically
the Place on Face option is easier to use, and is suitable for most cases.
Place on Work Plane
This option allows placement of the connector on a selected plane. For many
cases, you can imitate the Place on Face option by specifying a plane and using
dimensions to constrain the connector to the desired location. However, this
method generally requires additional parameters and constraints to be used
effectively.
Connector Orientation
Fittings (pipe and duct fittings) expect the instance origin of the family to be the
intersection of the connectors. In most cases for fittings, there is a point on the
fitting where all of the connectors (if extended into the fitting) will collide. Fittings
expect this collision to be placed at the original intersection of the Center (Front /
Back), Center (Left / Right), and Reference Level work planes. For this reason, it is
good practice to pin these reference planes before beginning to build the family.
When you place fitting connectors, the primary connector must be placed on the
face that is on the X-axis. Crosshairs display indicating that this is the primary
connector. You can verify this by viewing the face in a floor plan view. Unexpected
behavior can result if the primary connector is not properly placed relative to the
other connectors, and if all connectors are not properly rotated and linked.

Connector rotation is a critical part of connector placement. The connector
orientation determines the correct orientation of the objects that are automatically
inserted on the part. Although this is not as important for round connectors, it is
extremely important for rectangular connectors such as those on rectangular duct
fittings. For rectangular connectors, the rectangular connector must be oriented so
that the width is assigned to the face that is on the X and Y axes. The height is not
on these axes. If rectangular connectors are not rotated properly, the rectangular
duct fitting will be inserted improperly, creating an unexpected result. You may find
66 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
it easier to rotate connectors in a 3D view, where the part geometry is clearly
visible.

Connector arrows indicate the direction of a duct or pipe (extrusion) when it is being
created to complete a connection. It does not indicate flow direction. In most
instances, a connector arrow points outward away from the object to which the
connector is associated. Otherwise, the duct or pipe when created will pass through
the object geometry instead of away from it. You can modify the connector arrow
direction by selecting the connector and clicking the flip arrows.

Placing a Connector
Place a Connector on a Face
1. In the Family Editor, in the Project Browser, double-click Views (all) 3D
Views 3D, and spin the model to view the face where you want to place a
connector.
The first connector that you place for a specific type is assigned as the primary
connector. You can change the assignment later.
2. Click Create tab Connectors panel, and click a connector type, such as
Duct Connector.
3. Place the cursor over the face that is on the X axis. After the edges
highlight, click to place the primary connector. (By default, is already
selected.)
67 Revit MEP Components
The primary connector is placed.

4. Select the connector and specify instance properties as needed.
The sizes and orientation that you specify determines how connections are made
with compatible components. You can enter parameter values or associate them
with family parameters for the component.
Place a Connector on a Work Plane
1. In the Family Editor, open a plan view and a 3D view where you want to
place a connector.
The first connector that you place for a specific type is assigned as the primary
connector. You can change the assignment later.
2. Click Create tab Connectors panel, and click a connector type (Electrical,
Duct, Pipe, Cable Tray, or Conduit).
For example, click Electrical Connector, and click Modify | Place Electrical
Connector tab Placement panel (Work Plane).
3. In the Work Plane dialog, select the work plane where you want to place the
connector, and click OK.
In this example, an electrical connector is placed on the top work plane of a
junction box.

68 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
4. Select the connector, move it, and specify instance properties as needed.
You can enter parameter values or associate them with family parameters for the
component.
Selecting a Primary Connector
The first connector that you place for a specific type is assigned as the primary
connector. However, you can change the connector assignment at any time. You
select the connector that is placed on the X-axis as the primary connector.
1. In the Family Editor, open a view that allows you to select the connector that
will be assigned as primary.
2. Select a connector on the component, and click Modify | Connector Element
tab Primary Connector panel (Re-assign Primary).
Crosshairs display on the primary connector.
Orienting a Connector
When connectors are added, you must verify that connector arrows point in the
direction from which other components can connect, and that the width and height
are properly oriented with respect to the component dimensions.
1. In the Family Editor, in the Project Browser, open a 3D view that allows you
to select the connector that will be oriented.
2. To specify the direction for the connector arrow, select the connector, and
click the flip control.
3. To rotate the connector, select the connector, and click Modify | Connector
Element tab Modify panel (Rotate).
Linking Connectors
1. In the Family Editor, open a view containing the connectors being linked.
2. Select a connector.
3. Click Modify | Connector Element tab Connector Links panel (Link
Connectors). Then select the connector that will be linked to the first
connectors).
4. Select either of the linked connectors.
Arrows display between the connectors to indicate the link.
69 Revit MEP Components

Unlinking Connectors
1. In the Family Editor, open a view containing the connector being unlinked.
2. Select either of 2 linked connectors.
3. Click Modify | Connector Element tab Connector Links panel
(Remove Link).
The link is removed.
Deleting a Connector
1. In the Family Editor, open a view containing the connector being deleted.
2. Select the connector, and press Delete or click Modify | Connector Element
tab Modify panel (Delete).
70 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Advanced Loadable Family Techniques
After you understand the basics of creating parametric families, there are more
complex techniques that you can use when you create families, such as:
Nesting and sharing families to combine the geometry of 2 or more families
Linking family parameters
Creating work plane-based families
Nesting and Sharing Component Families
You can nest (insert) families within other families to create new families that
contain the combined family geometry. For example, rather than model a light
fixture with a light bulb family from scratch, you can create the combination-light
family by loading a light bulb into a light fixture family. Whether you share families
before you nest them determines the behavior of the nested geometry in elements
that you create with the family.
If you nest a family that is not shared, components created by the nested
family act with the rest of the element as a single unit. You cannot select
(edit), tag, or schedule the components separately.
If you nest a shared family, you can select, tag, and schedule the
components separately.
Window Family Example
For example, rather than model a combination window family from scratch, you can
create the combination-window family below by loading the Double Hung and
Instance - Fixed families into a new window family. Place the fixed window instance
in the center with a double hung window on each side.

In the sample window family shown above, an instance of the nested and
unshared family would have only one window tag and would schedule as a
single unit, as shown below.
71 Advanced Loadable Family Techniques

In an instance of the shared window family, the 3 windows would tag and
schedule separately, even though the nested family would behave has a
single component within the building model.

Nesting Restrictions
There are certain restrictions regarding the type of families that you can load and
nest in other families:
Only annotation families can be loaded into other annotations.
Only detail families and generic annotations can be loaded into details.
Model families, details, generic annotations, section heads, level heads, and
grid heads can be loaded into model families.
Nesting Families with Interchangeable Components
By applying a family type parameter to a nested component, you can create
families with interchangeable subcomponents. After you load and create an
element with the nested family, you can swap components at any time.
Creating a Family with Nested Components
To nest families in another family, create or open a host (base) family, and then
load and insert instances of one or more family types into it. The base family can be
a new (empty) family or an existing family.
72 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
To create a family with nested components
1. Create or open a family into which you want to nest a family.
2. In the Family Editor, click Insert tab Load from Library panel (Load
Family).
3. Select any families that you want to nest, and click Open.
4. Click Create tab Model panel (Component).
5. In the Type Selector, choose the component type that you want to nest.
6. Click in the drawing area to place the nested component in the family.
7. If necessary, repeat steps 4-6 to nest components in the family.
8. Save the family.
Creating a Family with Nested and Shared Components
To create a family with nested and shared components, share the families before
you nest them in a host family. The host family does not need to be a shared
family.
When you create a nested family of shared components, the first decision you need
to make is in what category the host family will belong. This decision has many
downstream implications for tagging, scheduling, and ODBC information, as
described in the examples below.
Window Family Example
A ganged window unit is created as a nested and shared family. In this case, the
large center window was used as the host family and the 2 side windows were
nested as shared families. This window is intended to be built on-site using the
subcomponents that are purchased as separate units by the builder. The family
was saved as Triple_window.rfa.
73 Advanced Loadable Family Techniques

Nested windows
When the ganged unit shown above is loaded into a project, tagged, and
scheduled, the result is as follows:
74 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Nested and shared families loaded into a project
Notice that each window is tagged and scheduled separately. However, notice the
ganged window name, Triple _window, is listed with the subcomponents. This
window also represents the main window of the 3 window set.
In the example shown below, the same triple window family was created, but with a
new window family used as the host family and both the fixed window and the
double-hung windows loaded as shared families. Notice the difference in the
tagging and scheduling.
75 Advanced Loadable Family Techniques

Ganged window family started as a new family
In the example shown above, notice the host family schedules with each of the 3
subcomponent windows. If this is not your design intent, you should follow the
previous example, where one of the subcomponents is the host family.
Bathroom Unit Example
A bathroom unit is created as a nested and shared family. The commercial toilet
was used as the host family and the wall hung urinal and sink were nested as
shared families. The family was saved as mens_bathroom.rfa

Nested urinal and lavatory sink
When the bathroom unit shown above is loaded into a project and scheduled, the
result is as follows:
76 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Nested and shared families loaded into a project
Notice that each urinal and lavatory sink is scheduled separately. However, notice
that the mens_bathroom unit, is listed with the subcomponents.
To share a family before nesting it
1. Open a family to be shared, and click Create tab Properties panel
(Family Category and Parameters).
Attention: Annotation, profile, and in-place families cannot be shared families.
2. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family Parameters,
select Shared.
Although you can set most families as shared families, it only becomes relevant
when the family is nested into another family and loaded into a project.
3. Click OK.
4. Save and close the family.
To nest shared families in a host family
1. Open the host family or start a new family.
2. Open the families that you want to nest, and share them.
3. Load and place a nested component within the host family.
4. Repeat this process for each nested component.
5. Save the family.
Creating a Nested Family with Interchangeable Components
You can create families that feature interchangeable nested components when
added to your projects.
To control the type of family within a nested family, you create a family type
parameter that can be either an instance or type parameter. After you label a
nested component as a family type parameter, subsequently loaded families of the
same type automatically become interchangeable without any further work.
If you need the nested family components to tag and schedule individually, make
sure each family that you load into the host family is shared.
77 Advanced Loadable Family Techniques
Architecture example
If you add 2 transoms to a door family, you have to position only one of the
transoms, label it as a family type parameter, and then the other transom becomes
part of the list of available transoms. If you load 5 more transom types, they are all
available for selection.

Door family with multiple nested transoms assigned to a family type parameter
MEP example
If you add 2 sinks to a bathroom unit family, you have to position only one of the
sinks, label it as a family type parameter, and then the other sink becomes part of
the list of available sinks.

Bathroom family with multiple sinks assigned to a family type parameter
1. Open a family or start a new one.
78 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
2. Load the components that you want to nest within the family. For example, if
you are in a door family, load several transom types.
3. Click Create tab Model panel (Component), and select an element in
the Type Selector.
4. Click in the drawing area to place the first component at its desired location.
Note: In the door family example, you would also want to tie the width of the
transoms to the width of the door. Depending on your specific circumstances, you
may want to consider a similar action. This ensures that as components swap, they
remain in the same position and the same size.
5. Select the nested component.
6. On the Options Bar, for Label, select Add Parameter.
Note: When adding a parameter in the Family Types dialog, click Add Parameter,
select Family Type as the Category, and select the category from the Select
Category dialog. When you add the parameter using the Options Bar, the
parameter is automatically assigned to Family Type and the respective family
category is assigned.
7. In the Parameter Properties dialog, under Parameter Type, select Family
Parameter.
8. Under Parameter Data, enter a name for the parameter, and select either
Instance or Type parameter.
9. Select a value for Group parameter under.
This designates under which heading the parameter displays in the Instance (or
Type) Properties dialog.
10. Click OK.
11. Save the file and load it into a project.
12. Add the component to the building model, and select it.
13. Click Edit Type to display the Type Properties dialog, or view the instance
properties on the Properties palette.
14. Locate the family type parameter, and select a different component from the
list.
Associating Family Parameters
By associating family parameters, you can control the parameters of families
nested inside host families from within a project view. You can control instance
parameters or type parameters.
To associate parameters, they must be the same type. For example, associate a
text parameter in the host family with a text parameter in the nested family.
You can associate a host-family parameter with more than one nested family
parameter of the same type. Also, you can associate this parameter with multiple
nested families.
To associate family parameters
1. Create a family with instance parameters or type parameters of the available
types.
2. Save the family and load it into a host family.
79 Advanced Loadable Family Techniques
3. With the new family open, click Create tab Model panel
(Component), and place as many instances of the loaded family as desired.
4. Click Modify tab Properties panel (Family Types).
5. In the Family Types dialog, under Parameters, click Add.
6. Follow the steps for creating a new parameter of the same type as the
parameter you want to control in the nested family.
7. Click OK to close the Family Types dialog.
8. Select an instance of the loaded family in the host family.
9. To edit an instance property, use the Properties palette. To edit a type
property, on the Properties palette, click Edit Type .
For instance properties and type properties, the column on the right has an equal
sign (=) in the column heading. Gray buttons next to certain parameters indicate
that they can be associated with other parameters.
10. Click the button next to a parameter that is of the same type as the one you
created in Step 6.
For example, if you created a text parameter, you must select a text parameter
here.
11. In the dialog that displays, select the parameter you created in Step 6 to
associate it with the current parameter, and click OK.
Note: When you associate 2 parameters, an equal sign appears on the button:
12. Click Apply in the Properties palette, or OK to close the Type Properties
dialog.
13. Continue creating the host family, and save it.
14. Load the family into a project, and place a few instances of it.
15. Select an instance of the family.
16. Locate the type or instance property you created.
To edit an instance property, use the Properties palette. To edit a type property, on
the Properties palette, click Edit Type .
17. Specify the desired value, and click Apply in the Properties palette or OK in
the Type Properties dialog.
The nested family changes according to the value you entered.
Associating Parameters for Model Text
If you place model text into a family, it acts like a nested family. You can create
parameters in the host family to control the text, text size, and depth, and to toggle
between bold and italic for the model text in the project.
To control text
To control depth
1. To place some model text in the host family, click Create tab Model panel
(Model Text), and then type the text in the Edit Text dialog.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types), and add a family
parameter that is of type text. This will be the parameter that controls the
text of the model text in the project.
80 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
3. In the Family Types dialog, enter some text in the Value field for the new
parameter. For example, if you created a parameter called Mtext, you might
enter default.
Note: Do not leave the Value field empty. If you do, Revit issues a warning.
4. Click OK.
5. Select an instance of model text in the family, and on the Properties palette,
for Text, click .
6. In the Associate Family Parameter dialog, select the parameter you created
to associate with the model text parameter.
7. Click OK twice.
8. Continue creating the host family and save it.
9. Load that family into a project and place a few instances of it.
10. Select an instance of the family, and for an instance parameter, edit the
model text parameter on the Properties palette; for a type parameter, click
Edit Type to open the Type Properties dialog to edit the model text
parameter.
The model text updates to the new value. If you created an instance parameter, just
the one instance changes. If you created a type parameter, all current and future
instances of the model text change.
Controlling model text depth is similar to controlling text, except that you create a
family parameter that is of type length. Follow the above procedure to associate
parameters for model text depth.
Loading Generic Annotations into Model Families
You can nest generic annotation families inside host model families, so that the
annotations appear in the project. This is useful if you want to include a label with a
model family and display that label in the project.
Generic annotations hosted by model families scale with the view when they are
loaded into the project. When you place these generic annotations on a sheet, they
display at the same size, regardless of view scale. For example, a 3/32'' text label
in a model family always prints at that size on a sheet, even if that label appears on
the sheet in a view with a 1/8" = 1'0" scale or a view with a 1/4'' = 1'0'' scale.
You can also control the visibility of generic annotations in the project separately
from the host model family.
Adding a Generic Annotation
You can create a generic annotation family or load one from the available
annotation families in the Revit library. This procedure uses an existing annotation
family.
Note: Though this procedure uses specific family files, the steps are common to
any generic annotation you may want to add to a model family.
1. Click Open Family.
81 Advanced Loadable Family Techniques
2. Open the microwave.rfa family from the Specialty Equipment\Domestic
folder in the Imperial library.
Metric users: The microwave from the Metric library is in the same folder and is
called M_microwave.rfa.
Note: For international users with localized versions of the product, family names
and paths may be different than those specified in this procedure.
3. Click Insert tab Load From Library panel (Load Family).
4. Navigate to the Annotations folder, select Label Annotation 3-32.rfa, and
click Open.
Metric users: Navigate to the Annotations folder, select M_Label Annotation.rfa,
and click Open.
5. Open a floor plan view in the microwave.rfa file.
You can place a generic annotation in plan only.
6. Click Annotate tab Detail panel (Symbol), and place an instance of
the label at the intersection of the 2 reference planes in the center of the
microwave.

Label snapping to intersection of reference planes
Next you associate this label with a parameter in the host family.
7. Click Modify | Place Symbol tab Properties panel (Family Types).
8. In the Family Types dialog, under Parameters, click Add.
9. In the Parameter Properties dialog, under Parameter Type, select Family
parameter.
10. Under Parameter Data, for Name, type Label.
11. For Type of Parameter, select Text.
This parameter will be stored by type.
12. Click OK twice.
13. Select the label instance you placed on the microwave, and on the
Properties palette, click Edit Type.
14. Locate the Label parameter.
15. In the row for the Label parameter, click the button under the equal sign (=)
column.
16. In the Associate Family Parameter dialog, select the parameter Label. This
is the parameter you created in steps 8-12.
82 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
17. Click OK twice.
18. If desired, you can set at which detail level the label appears in a project.
Access the instance properties for the annotation. Next to the
Visibility/Graphics Overrides instance parameter, click Edit, and then select
coarse, medium, or fine. If you leave a particular detail level unselected, the
label will not show in a project view set at that detail level.
19. Save the microwave.rfa family and load it into your project.
20. Open a plan view, and click Architecture tab Build panel
(Component).
21. Select the microwave from the Type Selector, and place an instance in the
project.
22. Select the microwave, and on the Properties palette, click Edit Type.
23. In the Type Properties dialog, for Label, enter MW.
24. Click OK.
The microwave displays with the specified label in the view.

25. If desired, change the detail level of the view to change the visibility of the
label.
Note: You can also change the visibility of the label by turning off Generic
Annotations on the Annotation Categories tab of the Visibility/Graphics dialog.
Creating a Work Plane-based Family
You can create a family that is hosted by the active work plane. This can be very
useful both in a project environment and within a nested family where you may
need a nested sub-component to reside on a particular plane. You can make any
non-hosted family a work plane-based family.
1. Open or create a non-hosted family.
Note: Only non-hosted components can become work plane-based families. Doors
and windows, for instance, are hosted by walls and cannot become work plane-
based components.
2. In the Family Editor, click Create tab Properties panel (Family
Category and Parameters).
3. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family Parameters,
select Work Plane-Based.
4. Click OK.
Note: You can make a family both work plane-based and always vertical. Examples
of both are shown below.
In the nested family below, the rectangular extrusion is a work plane-based
component. On the left, the extrusion is work plane-based but not always vertical.
83 Advanced Loadable Family Techniques
On the right, the same extrusion was reloaded into the family after designating it
work plane-based and always vertical.

Creating Vertical Families
The option to create vertical families pertains only to families hosted by floors,
ceilings, roofs, and site surfaces.
You can specify a family component (such as a tree, an air conditioner, a
chandelier, or a water heater) to Always Vertical. After it is loaded into a project, the
component remains vertical regardless of the slope of the host.
In the case of a car, a park bench, or a sprinkler, you can specify the Always
Vertical option to No, which lets the element adapt to the slope of the host.
Examples

84 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Example of Vertical and Non-Vertical Families; 3 trees are set to Always Vertical, 2
trees are not.

Example of vertical water heater
To set the Always Vertical parameter for a family
1. In the Family Editor, click Create tab Properties panel (Family
Category and Parameters).
2. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family Parameters,
select Always Vertical.
3. Click OK.
85 Creating Specialized Families
Creating Specialized Families

Creating a 2D Line-Based Detail Component Family
Detail components are pre-drawn line-based 2D elements that you can add to
detail or drafting views. They are visible only in those views. They scale with the
model, rather than the sheet.
For example, in the following drafting view, the studs, insulation, and siding are
detail components.

Revit allows you to create a 2D detail component based on a line. By selecting the
start and end of the line, you can place the detail. Suppose you want to place a
plywood fill pattern in a section. By selecting the start and end points of the detail
component, you can place the detail with the thickness and fill pattern that was
created in the 2D detail component. For example, if the plywood is drawn at 1/2 in
the 2D detail component, this procedure would place a piece of plywood along the
length of the drawn line at 1/2. If you wanted to adjust the thickness of the
plywood, you would first have to edit the 2D detail component.
Before reading this topic, familiarize yourself with families. See Creating Loadable
Families.
The following is the general procedure for creating a 2D line-based detail
component family. Your steps may differ depending on your design intent.
1. Create a new family using the Detail Component line-based template.
86 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
2. Use tools on the Create tab to create the shape of the detail component. A
detail component is displayed in a symbolic form and is not shown in 3D.
Click the Line tool to sketch the symbol. Create the component between the
2 reference planes to have elements contract or expand based on the
length.
Tip: You can change the sorting order of objects in the family by using the detail
component draw order tools. For more information, see Sorting the Draw Order of
Detail Components.
3. For lines, select the line and click Modify | Lines tab Mode panel
(Visibility Settings), and select the views in which the object will be visible.
For filled regions, select the filled region and click Modify | Detail Items tab Mode
panel (Visibility Settings), and select the views in which the object will be
visible.
4. Save the detail component.
Creating an Annotation Symbol Family
An annotation symbol is a tag or symbol applied to a family to uniquely identify that
family in a project. The tag can also include properties that appear on schedules.
See Creating a Schedule or Quantity.
You create annotation symbols by selecting the family category with which you
want to associate the symbol, sketching the symbol, and applying values to its
properties. Some annotation families are for tag purposes. Others are generic
annotations used for varying purposes.
This is a general procedure for creating an annotation symbol. Your steps may
differ based on design intent.
Specify sample text
1. Click New (Annotation Symbol).
2. In the New Annotation Symbol dialog, select the Annotation Symbol
template for the project, and click Open.
The templates are all very similar. Some may already have predefined properties
and values.
Revit opens the Family Editor.
3. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Category and Parameters).
See Family Category and Parameters.
4. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, select a category, such as
Generic Annotations.
5. Specify the Family Parameters, and click OK.
Note: Parameter options vary depending on family category.
6. Click Create tab Text panel (Label).
7. In the Type Selector, select the label type.
8. On the Format panel, select the vertical and horizontal justification.
87 Creating Specialized Families
9. In the drawing area, click to position the label.
For example, in a generic model tag template, place the cursor at the intersection
of the 2 reference planes.
10. In the Edit Label dialog, under Category Parameters, select the parameter
you want in the label, and click (Add parameter(s) to label). If necessary,
you can add a new parameter.
If you select a numerical or dimension value, you can specify the formatting of the
value.
11. Click OK.
12. To modify the placement of the label, click Modify, select the label, and then
drag it to the new location.
13. Select the label, and click Modify | Label tab Label panel (Edit Label).
14. In the Edit Label dialog, edit the Sample Value for the Description
parameter, and click OK.
15. Sketch the shape of the tag symbol, such as a circle. Click Create tab
Detail panel (Line), and then select a Draw tool.
16. Save the annotation.
Note: Generic annotations have multiple leader options when loaded into a project.
Creating a Callout Head Family
The callout head is the symbol that displays to identify a callout bubble in a parent
view. You can create a callout head family to specify a desired format or to include
specific information.
88 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Callout tags that use different callout heads
To create a callout head family
1. Click New Annotation Symbol.
2. In the Open dialog, select Callout Head.rft or M_Callout Head.rft.
3. Click Create tab Detail panel (Line), and sketch the shape of the
callout head.
See Sketching Elements.
4. If desired, click (Text) to add text to the callout head.
This text remains constant for each callout that uses this family.
5. Add labels to the callout head.
A label represents a variable field value that displays in the callout head. For
example, the default callout head includes a detail number and sheet number.
When you place the callout view on a sheet, the callout head in the parent view
updates to show the detail number and the sheet number for the callout.
To add a label to the callout head, do the following:
a. Click Create tab Text panel (Label).
b. Move the cursor to the drawing area, and click where you want the
information to display in the callout head.
c. In the Edit Label dialog, under Category Parameters, select the field
to place in the callout head.
d. Click (Add parameters to label).
e. Click OK.
89 Creating Specialized Families
6. If desired, add filled regions, masking regions, or other details to the callout
head.
7. On the Quick Access toolbar, click (Save), and specify a name and
location for the new callout head family.
8. To load the callout head family into open projects, click (Load into
Project).
Creating a Curtain Wall Profile
You can nest a detail component within a host sweep profile family (wall sweeps,
roof fascia, gutters, and slab edges) and use the visibility controls to specify when
the detail component displays within a project. When the sweep is cut in the
project, the detail component displays depending on the visibility settings you
specified within the host sweep family file. You can also have multiple detail
components display at particular visibility levels for a specific view cut host sweep.

Example of curtain mullion with nested detail component
Tip: You can also import a detail, such as a DWG file, and apply the same visibility
controls to it.
See also Nesting and Sharing Component Families.
To load a detail component
To add the detail component to the host sweep
To specify detail component visibility
1. Open or create a host sweep family.
2. Click Create tab Detail panel (Detail Component).
3. Click Yes to load a detail component family.
90 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
4. In the Load Family dialog, select a detail component family, and click Open.
5. Click in the drawing area to add the detail component to the host sweep
family.
6. If necessary, use alignments or dimensions to constrain the location of the
detail component.
7. Select the nested detail component.
8. Click Modify | Detail Items tab Visibility panel (Visibility Settings).
9. In the Family element visibility settings dialog, specify the detail level
(Coarse, Medium, and/or Fine), and click OK.
After it is loaded in a project, the host sweep detail displays when cut and at the
detail level you specified.
Creating a Detail Component Family
A detail component family consists of components added to detail or drafting views,
and they are visible only in those views. They scale with the model, rather than the
sheet. Detail components could include a 2X4, a metal stud, or a shim.
Before reading this topic, familiarize yourself with families. See Creating Loadable
Families.
The following procedure is a general procedure for creating a detail component
family. Your steps may differ depending on your design intent.
1. In the Family Editor, sketch reference planes for placing the detail
component.
2. Use tools on the Create tab to create the shape of the detail component. A
detail component is displayed in a symbolic form and is not shown in 3D.
Click the Line tool to sketch the symbol.
Tip: You can change the sorting order of objects in the family by using the detail
component draw order tools. For more information, see Sorting the Draw Order of
Detail Components.
3. For lines, select the line and click Modify | Lines tab Mode panel
(Visibility Settings), and select the views in which the object will be visible.
For filled regions, select the filled region and click Modify | Detail Items tab Mode
panel (Visibility Settings), and select the views in which the object will be
visible.
4. Save the detail component.
Creating a Division Profile Family
Use this procedure to create a division profile family that you can apply to part
edges when dividing a part or editing an existing part division.
1. Click New Family.
2. In the New Family - Select Template File dialog, navigate up 2 levels to the
Data directory.
91 Creating Specialized Families
3. Double-click Imperial, double-click Family Templates, select Division
Profile.rft, and click Open.
A plan view opens that includes 2 reference planes. There are no other views
available in which to sketch geometry.
4. Click Create tab Detail panel Line, and sketch the desired profile.
5. To specify the detail at which the profile family displays in the project, select
any of the lines of the profile sketch, and click Modify Lines tab Visibility
panel Visibility Settings.
6. Select the desired detail levels (Fine, Medium, or Coarse), and click OK.
7. On the properties palette, ensure that the value for the Profile Usage
parameter is <Generic>.
8. Save the family.
Creating an Entourage Family
You can create an entourage family that does not use RPC content for render
appearances. For example, if you have already used AutoCAD or other design
software to create a render appearance for the object, use the following procedure.
Note: To create a Revit family for entourage that uses RPC content for render
appearances, see Creating an RPC Family.
To create an entourage family
1. Click New Family.
2. In the New Family Select Template File dialog, select Entourage.rft or
Metric Entourage.rft, and click Open.
3. In the drawing area, sketch the geometry to represent the entourage in 2D
and 3D views, or import a CAD file that contains the geometry.
See Family Editor or Importing or Linking CAD Formats.
4. Specify visibility settings for the entourage placeholder.
To specify visibility settings
a. In the drawing area, select the placeholder.
b. Click Modify | <Element> tab Mode panel (Visibility Settings).
c. In the Family Element Visibility Settings dialog, select the desired
settings.
See Setting Family Geometry Visibility.
d. Click OK.
5. Create family types, and specify their parameters.
See Creating Family Types.
6. Specify a render appearance.
By default, for an entourage family, Revit uses the family geometry (that you
imported or sketched in the drawing area) to represent the object in a rendered
image.
If desired, you can specify an RPC file to define its geometry, instead.
92 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
To specify an RPC file
a. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Category and
Parameters).
b. Under Family Parameters, for Render Appearance Source, select
Third Party.
Note: If you want to use the geometry that you create or import for a render
appearance, for Rendering Appearance Source, select Family Geometry.
c. Click OK.
d. Specify the render appearance.
See Specifying a Render Appearance for an RPC Family.
7. Save the family.
8. Load the family into a project.
Creating and Modifying Lighting Fixtures
In Revit, lighting fixtures are model elements that are defined by families. Revit
provides several lighting fixture families, which you can use in projects or as the
basis for custom lighting fixtures. To create or modify a lighting fixture family, use
the Family Editor.
Creating a Lighting Fixture with One Light Source
1. Click New Family.
2. In the New Family - Select Template File dialog, select a light fixture
template.
The names of all lighting fixture templates include the words Lighting Fixture. Be
sure to select the appropriate template for the type of lighting fixture that you want
to create. For example, to create a ceiling-based fixture for metric projects, use
Metric Lighting Fixture ceiling based.rft.
Revit opens the Family Editor. The template defines reference planes and a light
source. For ceiling-based and wall-based fixtures, the template includes a ceiling or
wall to host the fixture.
3. Define the geometry of the light source for the lighting fixture.
4. Sketch solid geometry for the lighting fixture.
Tip: If you want the surface of the light bulb to display in a rendered image, create
geometry for it. Then apply a material to it, and, for its render appearance, select
Light Bulb - On from the Render Appearance Library. This render appearance
models the surface of a light bulb that is turned on. It is white, shiny, and emits the
appropriate amount of light.
5. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Types.
6. In the Family Types dialog, specify values for the parameters.
7. Click OK.
8. Click Load into Project to load the light fixture into the current project, or
save the fixture and exit the Family Editor.
93 Creating Specialized Families
Creating Lighting Fixtures with Multiple Light Sources
To create a lighting fixture that uses multiple light sources (such as a chandelier or
a set of track lights), create a nested family. The host family represents the
hardware that supports the light sources (for example, the hardware for a
chandelier, or the track for a set of track lights). Then you create another lighting
fixture family that defines the light source (for example, the candles in a chandelier,
or the can lights for a set of track lights). This family is nested into the host family.
For more information about nested families, see Creating a Family with Nested and
Shared Components.

A nested chandelier family

A nested track light family
The nested family (that defines the light sources) can be shared or not shared,
depending on whether you want to be able to schedule the light sources and
control their photometric parameters individually. See Sharing a Lighting Fixture
Family.
Sharing a Lighting Fixture Family
The nested family that defines the light sources in a chandelier or set of track lights
can be shared or not shared. Sharing the nested family affects how the lighting
fixture is scheduled, and how parameters for the family can be changed, as follows.
(For information, see Creating a Family with Nested and Shared Components.)
Nested family is... Impact on scheduling Impact on changing family
parameters
94 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Nested family is... Impact on scheduling Impact on changing family
parameters
Shared Individual light sources can be
listed separately in a lighting
fixture schedule. For example,
for a set of track lights, can
lights can be listed individually,
grouped, or totalled.
If needed, each light source in
the fixture can have different
settings. For example, you can
change the initial intensity of
each can light in a set of track
lights.
Not shared In a lighting fixture schedule,
the entire fixture (and its light
sources) are listed as one item.
For example, for a chandelier,
the individual candles cannot
be listed individually, grouped,
or totalled.
You can change settings for
the entire lighting fixture as a
whole, but you cannot change
settings for individual light
sources. For example, you
can change the initial intensity
for the entire chandelier, but
not for its individual candles.
To share a lighting fixture family
1. Open the lighting fixture family in the Family Editor.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Category and Parameters.
3. Under Family Parameters, select Shared.
4. Click OK.
To make a lighting fixture family not shared
1. Open the lighting fixture family in the Family Editor.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Category and Parameters.
3. Under Family Parameters, clear Shared.
4. Click OK.
Creating Track Lights
The following procedure describes a general method for creating a set of track
lights. You can also use this procedure to create a lighting fixture family that has
multiple light sources that you want to schedule individually or to control lighting
parameters individually. The specific steps required will vary, depending on your
needs and design intent.
95 Creating Specialized Families

To create a set of track lights
1. Create a lighting fixture family to represent the light source.
For example, create a family that describes a can light in a set of track lights.
Create the geometry for the can fixture, and define its light source.
See Creating a Lighting Fixture with One Light Source.
In the following steps, this family is referred to as the light source family.

2. For the light source family, turn on the Light Source and Shared parameters.
How?
a. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Category and
Parameters.
b. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family
Parameters, select Light Source.
Turning on the light source allows you to specify photometric parameters for it.
c. Select Shared.
Sharing the light source family ensures that a lighting fixture schedule can display
information for individual lights, and that you can adjust lighting parameters for
individual lights.
96 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
d. Click OK.
e. Save the light source family.
3. Create the host lighting fixture family.
How?
a. Create the geometry for the lighting fixture.
For example, for a set of track lights, create the track on which the can lights will be
mounted. See Creating a Lighting Fixture with One Light Source.

b. Create reference planes that can be used to position the light
sources and lock them to the lighting fixture (the track).

4. For the host lighting fixture family, turn off the Light Source and Shared
parameters.
How?
a. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Category and
Parameters.
b. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family
Parameters, clear Light Source.
When you turn off the light source for the host lighting fixture family, photometric
parameters are not available for it. Instead, you define the photometric parameters
in the light source family (for example, for the can lights).
c. Clear Shared.
d. Click OK.
e. Save the lighting fixture family.
97 Creating Specialized Families
5. Load the light source family (the can lights) into the host lighting fixture
family (the track).
See Modifying Families in a Project (or Nested Family).
6. Place one or more instances of the light source family into the host lighting
fixture family.
How?
a. If needed, open the host lighting fixture family in the Family Editor.
b. Click Create tab Model panel (Component).
c. Select the light source family from the Properties Palette.
d. Click in the drawing area to place instances of the light source (the
can light) in the lighting fixture (the track).
Use the reference planes to position the light sources correctly.
e. Lock the light sources to the reference planes.

7. Save changes to the host lighting fixture family.
Now you can place instances of the lighting fixture (the track light set containing
multiple can lights) in the building model. See Using Lighting Fixtures in a Building
Model.
Creating a Chandelier
The following procedure describes a general method for creating a chandelier. You
can also use this procedure to create a lighting fixture family that has multiple light
sources, and for which you do not want to schedule the light sources or control their
lighting parameters individually. The specific steps required will vary, depending on
your needs and design intent.
98 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

To create a chandelier
1. Create the host chandelier family.
How?
a. Create the geometry (hardware) for the chandelier.
See Creating a Lighting Fixture with One Light Source.

b. Create reference planes that can be used to position the candles in
place and lock them to the chandelier.
99 Creating Specialized Families

2. For the host chandelier family, define parameters.
How?
a. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Category and
Parameters.
b. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family
Parameters, select Light Source.
c. Clear Shared.
d. Click OK.
3. In the host chandelier family, create one candle (light source).
How?
a. Create geometry for the candle.
b. Put the candle in the desired position on the chandelier, and lock it in
place.
c. Define the geometry of the light source.
d. Define its parameters.
e. In the drawing area, move the light source symbol to align it with the
candle as appropriate, and lock it in place.
4. Create a lighting fixture family to represent a candle of the chandelier.
Note: You will nest this family into the host chandelier family, and place multiple
instances of this family (that is, multiple candles) in the chandelier. So this family
should represent a single light source or candle.
How?
a. In this family, create the geometry of the candle. If desired, you can
copy and paste the candle geometry that you created in the host
chandelier family.
Note: In the sample chandelier shown previously, the candle does not have any
geometry. Instead, it defines the light source only.
b. Define family parameters: Click Create tab Properties panel
Family Category and Parameters. Under Family Parameters, select
Light Source, clear Shared, and click OK.
c. Define the geometry of the light source.
100 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Geometry of the light source for the chandelier candle
d. Define parameters for the light source.
e. Save the light source family.
In the following steps, this family is referred to as the candle family.
5. Load the candle family into the host chandelier family.
See Modifying Families in a Project (or Nested Family).
6. Place one or more instances of the candle family into the host chandelier
family.
How?
a. Open the host chandelier family in the Family Editor.
b. Click Create tab Model panel (Component).
c. Select the light source family from the Properties Palette.
d. Click in the drawing area to place instances of the light source
(candles) in the chandelier.
Use the reference planes to position the candles correctly.
e. Lock the candles to the reference planes.

7. Link the Initial Intensity parameter of the candle family to the Initial Intensity
parameter of the host chandelier family.
When you link these parameters and add a chandelier to a building model, in the
project you can adjust the Initial Intensity parameter (or other linked parameters) for
the chandelier as a whole. You cannot change the Initial Intensity of individual
candles in a chandelier.
How?
101 Creating Specialized Families
a. In the host chandelier family, select one of the candles from the
candle family.
b. Click Modify | <Elements> tab Properties panel (Type
Properties).
The Type Properties dialog displays a column with an equal sign in the column
heading . A gray button displays in this column for each type parameter that you
can link to other parameters.
c. Click the gray button in the column for the Initial Intensity parameter
(or any other parameter that you want to be able to change for the
chandelier in a project).

d. In the Associate Family Parameter dialog, select Initial Intensity (or
the parameter that corresponds to the type parameter that you
selected), and click OK.
8. Save changes to the host chandelier family.
102 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Now you can place instances of the chandelier family in the building model. See
Using Lighting Fixtures in a Building Model.
Specifying an IES File for a Light Source
An IES file is a text file that describes the intensity of a light source at points on a
spherical grid. It provides more photorealistic lighting effects in rendered images
than other types of light distribution. See Photometrics and IES Files.
Specifying an IES file for a light source is a 2-step process. First, in the light source
definition, you must specify Photometric Web for its light distribution. (To perform
this step, you edit the lighting fixture family.) Second, you must specify the
particular IES file to use. (You can perform this step when editing the lighting fixture
family, or when modifying type parameters for particular lighting fixture in a project.)
To specify an IES file for a light source
1. Obtain the desired IES file.
You can obtain an IES file directly from the manufacturer, or use an IES file
provided by Revit. The Revit IES files reside in the following location:
%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Autodesk\<product name and release>\IES
2. Specify Photometric Web light distribution.
How?
a. Open the lighting fixture family in the Family Editor.
b. In the drawing area, select the light source.
c. Click Modify | Light Source tab Lighting panel (Light Source
Definition).
d. In the Light Source Definition dialog, for Emit from Shape, select the
desired shape.
e. For Light distribution, select (Photometric Web).
f. Click OK.
g. Save changes to the lighting fixture family.
3. Specify the IES file to use.
How?
a. If you want the IES file to define light distribution for the entire lighting
fixture family, keep the lighting fixture family open in the Family
Editor. Click Properties panel (Family Types). For Name, select
the family type to modify.
b. If you want the IES file to define light distribution for selected
instances of the lighting fixture family, open a project that uses it, and
select a lighting fixture in the project. Click Modify | Lighting Fixtures
tab Properties panel (Type Properties). Click Duplicate,
specify a name for the new family type, and click OK.
c. In the list of parameters, scroll down to Photometrics.
d. For Photometric Web File, click in the Value column.
e. Click (Browse).
103 Creating Specialized Families

Note: The Browse button displays after you click in the field.
f. Navigate to the desired IES file, select it, and click Open.
g. Click OK.
h. Save changes to the project or the lighting fixture family.
In the drawing area, the shape of the light source reflects the specified IES file. (To
see the light source in a project view, you must make light sources visible. See
Displaying Light Sources in a View.)
Modifying a Lighting Fixture Family
Use the Family Editor to modify a lighting fixture family to change the design of the
fixture or to define its light source.
To modify a lighting fixture family
1. Open a lighting fixture family for editing, using one of the following methods:
Open a project that contains instances of the lighting fixture. In the
Project Browser, expand Families Lighting Fixtures. Right-click the
name of the lighting fixture family to modify, and click Edit.
Click Open Family. Navigate to the location of the lighting
fixture family (RFA) file. Select the file, and click Open.
The Family Editor opens, displaying the lighting fixture family in the drawing area.
2. Modify the lighting fixture family as desired.
To change the hardware of the lighting fixture, edit its geometry.
See Family Editor.
To change the light source definition, select the light source in the
drawing area. Click Modify | Light Source tab Lighting panel
(Light Source Definition). Select the desired Emit from Shape and
Light distribution values, and click OK.
To change parameters for the lighting fixture (including
photometrics), click Properties panel (Family Types). For Name,
select the family type to modify. Change the parameters, and click
OK.
3. To save changes to the lighting fixture, click Save.
4. Load the lighting fixture into a project.
See Loading Families.
104 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Defining a Light Source
The light source is the part of a lighting fixture that emits light. To ensure that a
lighting fixture emits light and to define the type of light, use the following
procedure.
The following procedure assumes that the lighting fixture family is open for editing
in the Family Editor.
To define a light source
1. For the lighting fixture family, turn on the Light Source parameter, as follows.
(This parameter is usually turned on by default.)
a. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Category and
Parameters).
b. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family
Parameters, select Light Source.
c. Click OK.
2. Define the geometry of the light source (that is, the shape of the light that
emits from the fixture).
3. Define parameters for the light source.
Defining the Geometry of a Light Source
The geometry of a light source determines the shape of the light that emits from the
lighting fixture. For example, the following image shows 2 different geometries for
light sources.

Note: The Family Editor is the only place where you can define the geometry of a
light source in a lighting fixture family. You cannot change the geometry of a light
source for a lighting fixture in the context of a project.
To define the geometry of a light source
1. Create a lighting fixture family, or open a lighting fixture family for editing.
2. In the drawing area, select the light source.
In the Family Editor, the light source is generally represented by a yellow outline or
shape.
105 Creating Specialized Families

Note: If the light source does not display in the Family Editor, the light source is not
turned on. To turn it on, click Create tab Properties panel Family Category and
Parameters, select Light Source, and click OK.
3. Click Modify | Light Source tab Lighting panel (Light Source
Definition).
As an alternative, on the Properties palette, for Light Source Definition, click Edit.
The Light Source Definition dialog displays.
106 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

4. For Emit from Shape, select the shape of the light to emit from the light
source: Point, Line, Rectangle, or Circle.
5. For Light distribution, select the pattern of light distribution for the light
source: Spherical, HemiSpherical, Spot, or Photometric Web.
Tip: If you plan to specify an IES file to define the photometric shape of the light
source, select Photometric Web.
The middle image changes to illustrate the combined settings. These settings
determine the parameters that are available for the light source.
6. Click OK.
The outline shape for the light source may change in the drawing area, depending
on the selected light source definition settings.
7. Save changes to the lighting fixture family.
Defining Parameters for Lighting Fixtures and Light Sources
The parameters that you can define for a lighting fixture and its light source vary,
depending on the light source definition settings that you specify. (See Defining the
Geometry of a Light Source.)
Note: In addition to defining these parameters for a lighting fixture family in the
Family Editor, you can also change many of them for an instance or type of lighting
fixture in a project. See Changing a Lighting Fixture in a Building Model.
To define parameters for a lighting fixture and its light source
1. Create a lighting fixture family, or open a lighting fixture family for editing.
107 Creating Specialized Families
2. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types).
3. In the Family Types dialog, for Name, select the family type to modify.
You can define different parameter values for different family types. See Creating
Family Types.
4. Define parameters as desired.
5. Click Apply.
6. (Optional) Repeat this process for other family types defined for the lighting
fixture family: For Name, select another family type. Define its parameters.
Click Apply.
7. Click OK.
8. Save changes to the lighting fixture family.
Parameters for Lighting Fixtures and Light Sources
You can change parameters for lighting fixtures and their light sources when
defining a lighting fixture in the Family Editor, or when modifying a lighting fixture in
a building model.
Parameter Description
Electrical - Lighting
Calculate Coefficient of
Utilization (default)
A value used by Revit MEP to indicate that the Coefficient
of Utilization will be calculated for the lighting fixture by
default. In a project, you can change this default behavior
by changing instance properties.
Coefficient of
Utilization (default)
A value used by Revit MEP to define the efficiency of a
lighting fixture in transferring luminous energy to the work
plane in a particular area. This value shows the
percentage of lumens that reach the work plane after light
is lost due to the fixtures efficiency at transmitting light, the
room proportions, and the ability of room surfaces to reflect
light.
If you select Calculate Coefficient of Utilization (default),
this parameter is read-only. If you clear Calculate
Coefficient of Utilization (default), you can enter a value
between 0 and 1, or enter a formula.
In a family, this parameter defines the default value for the
lighting fixture. In a project, you can change the default in
instance properties.
Electrical - Loads
Apparent Load A value used by Revit MEP to define the real and reactive
power used by a fixture. To determine Apparent Load,
multiply the apparent current by the voltage. This
parameter is measured in volt amps (VA).
108 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Parameter Description
Dimensions: These parameters do not affect rendered images.
Light Source Symbol
Size
The size of the symbol that represents the light source in
2D and 3D views, extending from the boundary of the Emit
from Shape outwards. For example, suppose you define a
light source with an Emit from Shape of circle and an Emit
from Circle Diameter of 500 mm. If you specify a Light
Source Symbol Size of 200 mm, in a 2D view, Revit shows
a light source symbol that is 900 mm in diameter
(200+500+200). This parameter is available when the Emit
from Shape setting is Circle or Rectangle. (See Defining
the Geometry of a Light Source.)
This parameter does not affect the light in a rendered
image.
Light Source Symbol
Length
The length of the symbol that represents a spotlight in 2D
and 3D views, extending from the spotlight outwards. This
parameter is available when the Light distribution setting is
Spot.
This parameter does not affect the light in a rendered
image.

Spotlights with different light source symbol lengths (plan
view)
Identity Data
Keynote
Keynote for the lighting fixture. Enter text or click to
select a standard keynote.
Model Model number or code assigned to the lighting fixture by
the manufacturer or vendor.
Manufacturer Name of the manufacturer of the lighting fixture.
109 Creating Specialized Families
Parameter Description
Type Comments User-defined comments or other information about this
family type for the lighting fixture family.
URL URL of the Web site for the manufacturer or vendor.
Description Description of the lighting fixture.
Assembly Code Uniformat assembly code for the lighting fixture.
Cost Cost of the lighting fixture.
Electrical: These parameters do not affect rendered images.
Ballast Voltage Voltage required to operate the ballast. A ballast is an
electrical device that provides the starting voltage and
limits the current to sustain lamp operation. (This
information is used by Revit MEP.)
Ballast Number of
Poles
The number of leads in the circuit. Enter 1, 2, or 3. (This
information is used by Revit MEP.)
Lamp Number and type of light bulbs used in the lighting fixture.
(This information can be useful in schedules.)
Wattage Comments User-defined information about wattage requirements for
the lighting fixture.
Photometrics: The following parameters affect rendered images. You may be able
to obtain parameter values from the manufacturer of the light source. Check the
manufacturers website.
Photometric Web File The IES file that defines the light emitted from the light
source. This parameter is available when the Light
distribution setting is Photometric Web.
To specify a file, click in the Value column, and click .
Navigate to the IES file, and click Open.
Note: Revit does not maintain a link to the IES file. If you
change or update the IES file on disk, you must also
update this parameter by navigating to the new version of
the file.
Spot Tilt Angle The angle to tilt the light source to direct its light. Enter a
value between 0 and 160. This parameter is available
when the Light distribution setting is Spot or Photometric
Web.
Spot Field Angle The angle at which the light intensity reaches 10% of the
peak intensity. Enter a value between 0 and 160. This
110 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Parameter Description
parameter is available when the Light distribution setting is
Spot.
Spot Beam Angle The angle at which the light intensity reaches 50% of the
peak intensity. This parameter is available when the Light
distribution setting is Spot.
Light Loss Factor A value used to calculate the amount of light lost (or
gained) due to environmental factors, such as dust and
ambient temperature. Click in the Value field to display the
Light Loss Factor dialog.
Initial Intensity Brightness of the light before environmental factors reduce
or change the quality of the light. Click in the Value field to
display the Initial Intensity dialog.
Initial Color The color of the light source before it is affected by color
filters and environmental factors. Click in the Value field to
display the Initial Color dialog.
Emit from Circle
Diameter
The diameter of the light source that emits light in a
rendered image. This parameter is available when the Emit
from Shape setting is Circle.
Emit from Rectangle
Width
The width of the rectangle that represents the light source
in a rendered image. This parameter is available when the
Emit from Shape setting is Rectangle.
Emit from Rectangle
Length
The length of the rectangle that represents the light source
in a rendered image. This parameter is available when the
Emit from Shape setting is Rectangle.
Emit from Line Length The length of the line that represents the light source in a
rendered image. This parameter is available when the Emit
from Shape setting is Line.
Emit Shape Visible in
Rendering
Select this option to make the shape of the light visible as
a self-luminous surface (glow) when the camera (of the 3D
view) is aimed directly at the light source. This parameter
is available when the Emit from Shape setting is Rectangle
or Circle.
In addition to setting this parameter, when defining render
settings, you must select the Soft Shadows option on the
Render Quality Settings dialog. See Defining a Custom
Render Quality and Render Quality Settings.
Tip: If the Emit from Shape setting is Point or Line, the light
source does not display a self-luminous surface in
rendered images. To see the light source in rendered
111 Creating Specialized Families
Parameter Description
images, use a thin rectangle shape or a small circle shape
instead.
Dimming Lamp Color
Temperature Shift
Specify whether the color and intensity of a dimmed light
source change based on predefined curves. For example,
incandescent lights typically become more yellow when
dimmed. Select Incandescent Lamp Curve or none.
To see the effect of this parameter, you must dim lights in
the building model. See Dimming Lights.
Color Filter Color used to change the light emitted from the light
source. Click in the Value column. In the Color dialog,
select the desired color, and click OK.
Defining the Light Loss Factor
The light loss factor is a value used to calculate the amount of light lost due to
environmental factors, such as dust and ambient temperature.
You can define the light loss factor for a lighting fixture family file (as follows). In a
project, you can change the light loss factor of an individual lighting fixture. (See
Changing the Light Loss Factor for a Light Source.)
To define the light loss factor
1. Open the lighting fixture family.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types).
3. For Name, select the family type to modify.
4. Scroll down the list to locate the Light Loss Factor parameter, and click in its
Value column.
The Light Loss Factor dialog displays.
5. Specify the calculation method for Light Loss Factor:
Simple calculation
Specify as follows:
a. For Method, select Simple.
b. For Total Light Loss Factor, move the slider to adjust the
value between Dimmer and Brighter.
c. Click OK.
Advanced calculation
Specify as follows:
a. For Method, select Advanced.
b. Under Value, adjust the sliders for each parameter, or enter a
value in the text box.
See Light Loss Factor Parameters.
c. Click OK.
The Family Types dialog displays the new Light Loss Factor value.
112 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
6. Click OK.
7. Save changes to the lighting fixture family.
Light Loss Factor Parameters
When you turn on a lighting fixture, light travels through the light source (lamp or
ballast) and the lighting fixture (such as a lamp shade or lensed troffer), until it
reaches the work plane where it is needed. Along the way, the amount of
transmitted light is reduced, obscured by the light source, the lighting fixture, and
other environmental factors. The Light Loss Factor measures the reduction of light
as it travels from the light source.
When defining the Light Loss Factor for a light, define the parameters as follows.
Check with the lamp manufacturer for the appropriate Light Loss Factor values for
a particular type of lamp.
Parameter Description
Temperature Loss/Gain Factor For fluorescent light sources, a measure of the
amount of light lost or gained due to deviations
above or below the ideal operating temperature.
Valid values are between 0 and 2. A value of 1.0
indicates that no light is lost or gained due to
temperature changes. Values greater than 1.0
indicate an increase in light. Values less than 1.0
indicate a loss of light.
Voltage Loss/Gain Factor A measure of the amount of light lost or gained
due to fluctuations in voltage delivered to the light
source. Valid values are between 0 and 2. A value
of 1.0 indicates that no light is lost or gained due to
voltage changes. Values greater than 1.0 indicate
an increase in light. Values less than 1.0 indicate a
loss of light.
Ballast Loss Factor Lamps and ballasts experience losses when
operating together as a system. The Ballast Loss
Factor is the percentage of a lamps initial rated
lumens that is produced by a given ballast. Valid
values are between 0 and 1. For example, a value
of 0.95 indicates that the ballast produces 95% of
its initial lumens and loses 5%.
Lamp Tilt Loss Factor For metal halide lamps, a measure of the amount
of light lost due to the position of the lamp. A
decrease in light occurs when the angle of the
lamp shifts the cold spot of the bulb. Values less
than 1.0 indicate a loss of light.
Surface Depreciation Factor A measure of the amount of light lost due to
deterioration of the surfaces of the lighting fixture
as it ages. For example, blemishes and discolored
113 Creating Specialized Families
Parameter Description
shielding materials change the amount of light
emitted. Values less than 1.0 indicate a loss of
light.
Lamp Lumen Depreciation As a lamp ages, it produces decreasing amounts
of light on a predictable curve. A typical strategy is
to use an average Lamp Lumen Depreciation
(LLD) value at 40% of its life. Valid values are
between 0 and 1. For example, a compact
fluorescent has an LLD factor of 0.85, indicating an
average output at 85% of its initial lumens, losing
an average of 15% over its life as the lamp ages.
Luminaire Dirt Depreciation A measure of the amount of light lost due to
environmental dirt and dust that is trapped by the
lighting fixture. Valid values are between 0 and 1.
For example, a value of 0.9 indicates that the
fixture produces 90% of its initial lumens and loses
10% due to trapped dust and dirt.
Total Light Loss Factor A measure of the amount of light produced by a
lamp, taking into account various environmental
factors that obscure or reduce the emitted light.
When the Method is Simple, use the slider or text
box to specify a value. When the Method is
Advanced, this parameter displays a read-only
value, which is calculated by multiplying the values
of the other parameters. Valid values are between
0 (total light loss) and 4 (light gain up to 400%). A
value of 1 indicates no light loss (100% of initial
light intensity).
Defining the Initial Intensity
When defining a lighting fixture, you can specify the initial intensity of its light
source. The initial intensity is a measure of how much light is produced by the light
source in ideal conditions. (The actual light emitted by a light source may be
reduced by light loss factors. See Light Loss Factor Parameters.)
You can define the initial intensity of a light source in a lighting fixture family file (as
follows). In a project, you can change the initial intensity of an individual lighting
fixture. (See Changing the Initial Intensity of a Light Source.)
To define the initial intensity of a lighting fixture family
1. Open the lighting fixture family.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types).
3. For Name, select the family type to modify.
4. Scroll down the list to locate the Initial Intensity parameter, and click in its
Value column.
114 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
5. In the Initial Intensity dialog, specify values for the parameters.
See Initial Intensity Parameters.
6. Click OK.
The Family Types dialog displays the new Initial Intensity value.
7. Click OK.
8. Save changes to the lighting fixture family.
Initial Intensity Parameters
When defining the Initial Intensity of a light source, define the parameters as
follows.
Parameter Description
Wattage A measurement of the electrical power consumed by a light
source.
Tip: When adjusting Wattage, it is also important to consider
Efficacy. If you change Wattage alone, you may make the
light source unintentionally bright. Luminosity is defined as
Wattage (W) times Efficacy (W/lm). Luminous Efficacy for a
100 W tungsten incandescent (110 V) is 175, while a 32 W
fluorescent tube (T8) is 60.
Efficacy The amount of light (luminous flux, measured in lumens)
produced by a light source as a ratio of the amount of
energy consumed to produce it (measured in watts).
Luminous Flux The quantity of light energy per unit of time arriving, leaving,
or going through a surface. The lumen (lm) is the unit of
luminous flux in both the International System (SI) of units
and in the American System (AS) of units. If you think of
light as particles (photons) moving through space, then the
luminous flux of a light beam arriving at a surface is
proportional to the number of particles hitting the surface
during a time interval of 1 second.
Tip: In general, Luminous Flux provides more accurate
lighting in rendered images than Wattage and Efficacy.
Luminous Intensity The light energy per unit of time emitted by a point source in
a particular direction. Luminous intensity is used to describe
the directional distribution of a light source, that is, to specify
how the luminous intensity of a light source varies as a
function of the outgoing direction. The Candela (cd) is the
unit of luminous intensity.
Illuminance The luminous flux incident on a surface of unit area.
Illuminance measures how much energy has fallen on a
surface. This quantity is useful for describing the level of
illumination incident on a surface without making the
115 Creating Specialized Families
Parameter Description
measurement dependent on the size of the surface itself.
The lux (lx) is the International System (SI) unit of
illuminance. The American System (AS) unit for illuminance
is the footcandle (fc), equivalent to 1 lumen per square foot.
At a distance of Illuminance is a function of the distance from the light
source. Specify the distance at which the illuminance is
measured.
Defining the Initial Color
When defining a lighting fixture, you can specify the initial color of its light source.
The initial color is the color appearance of the emitted light, before it is affected by
color filters or environmental factors.
To define the initial color of a light source
1. Open the lighting fixture family.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types).
3. For Name, select the family type to modify.
4. Scroll down the list to locate the Initial Color parameter, and click in its Value
column.
5. In the Initial Color dialog, specify values for the parameters.
See Initial Color Parameters.
6. Click OK.
The Family Types dialog displays the new Initial Color value.
7. Click OK.
8. Save changes to the lighting fixture family.
Initial Color Parameters
When defining the Initial Color for the light source of a lighting fixture, define the
parameters as follows.
Parameter Description
Color Preset Select a value from the list, or select Custom to specify a
Color Temperature.
Color Temperature The color appearance of the light produced by the light
source, expressed on the Kelvin scale (K).
Creating a Profile Family
A profile family contains a 2-dimensional shape (usually a closed loop) that you can
load into a project and apply to certain building elements. For example, you can
116 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
sketch the profile loop for a railing and then use that shape on a railing in your
project. Loaded profiles display in the Project Browser under Families.
To create a profile family, open a new family, and sketch a profile using lines,
dimensions, and reference planes. After you save the profile family, you can load it
and apply it to solid geometry in the project.
This procedure describes creating a generic profile shape that is available to
multiple building elements in the project. Your specific building and design
intentions may differ.
To create a profile
1. Click New Family.
2. In the New Family - Select Template File dialog, select a profile template,
and click Open.
The Family Editor opens a plan view that includes 2 reference planes. There are no
other views available in which to sketch lines.
3. If necessary, sketch reference planes for constraining the lines in the profile.
4. Click Create tab Detail panel (Line), and sketch the profile loop.
5. If necessary, click Create tab Detail panel (Detail Component) to
place a detail component into the profile family.
Tip: You can change the sorting order of any detail components in the family by
using the detail component draw order tools.
6. To specify the detail at which the profile family displays in the project, select
any of the lines of the profile sketch, and click Modify | Lines tab Visibility
panel (Visibility Settings).
7. Select the desired detail levels (Fine, Medium, or Coarse), and click OK.
Tip: You can specify the detail level for detail components using the same methods.
8. On the Properties palette, under Other, for Profile Usage, click in the Value
field, and select the profile type.
For example, if you are creating a mullion profile, select Mullion.
Tip: This setting ensures that only relevant profiles are listed when using profiles
within a project. For example, when selecting a mullion profile, stair nosing profiles
do not display.
9. Click Apply.
10. Add any dimensions required.
11. Save the family.
Examples
117 Creating Specialized Families

Sample profile sketch

Sample crane rail profile sketch
118 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

Note: Notice that the metal deck profile is not a closed loop. This is an example of a
special profile that does not require a closed-loop sketch.
Creating an RPC Family
Use the Family Editor to create a Revit family for entourage, including people, cars,
plants, and office clutter. In an RPC family, you can specify an ArchVision RPC file
to use for the render appearance.
Note: To create a Revit family for entourage that will use a source other than an
RPC file for the render appearance, see Creating an Entourage Family.
To create an RPC family
1. Click New Family.
2. In the New Family Select Template File dialog, select RPC Family.rft or
Metric RPC Family.rft, and click Open.
By default, a placeholder for a person displays in the drawing area. (You can see it
more clearly in an elevation view.) However, you can change this entourage family
to be any type of object, such as a tree, chair, or car. When you select a render
appearance for the entourage (described in Step 4), the drawing area displays an
appropriate placeholder for it.
3. Create family types, and specify their parameters.
For example, suppose you want to include a variety of red ash trees in a project, so
you create an RPC family named Red Ash. You define 3 family types named Tall,
Short, and Autumn. In the type parameters, you can specify a different height for
each tree type.
How?
For instance, to create the Tall family type for the Red Ash tree family, do the
following. (Repeat these steps to create family types for Short and Autumn.)
119 Creating Specialized Families
a. Click Create tab Properties panel (Family Types).
b. In the Family Types dialog, click New. In the Name dialog, enter Tall
and click OK.
In the Family Types dialog, Tall now appears in the Name field. (As you define
more family types, they appear in the pull-down list for Name. Choose the desired
family type name from the list to define or modify parameters for it.)
c. In the Family Types dialog, for Height, specify 50' (15.24 m).
d. Click Apply.
4. For each family type, specify the render appearance.
How?
a. In the Family Types dialog, select a family type from the Name list.
b. If needed, click the Identity Data header to display its parameters.
c. For Render Appearance, click the button in the Value column.
d. In the Render Appearance Library dialog, for Class, select <All>.
e. Select the desired render appearance, and click OK.
f. Click Apply.
For example, for the red ash tree family, you specify Red Ash as the render
appearance for the Tall and Short types, but Red Ash [Fall] as the render
appearance for the Autumn type.
When you specify the render appearance, the drawing area displays a placeholder
for the object in 2D and 3D views. The detailed render appearance displays only in
rendered images.
For more information, see Specifying a Render Appearance for an RPC Family.
5. Specify visibility settings for the entourage placeholder, as follows:
a. In the drawing area, select the placeholder.
b. Click Modify | <Element> tab Visibility panel (Visibility
Settings).
c. In the Family Element Visibility Settings dialog, select the desired
settings.
See Setting Family Geometry Visibility.
d. Click OK.
6. Save the family.
7. Load the family into a project.
Section Head Family
When creating a section head family, you define the section head symbol. The
section head symbol you create should indicate the viewing direction. You set a
viewing direction by sketching an arrow head. The symbol should also include a set
of double arrow mirror controls to reverse the viewing direction, if necessary.
Tip: The intersection of the 2 perpendicular reference planes represents the origin
of the symbol. The origin is the point at which the symbol attaches to the section
line. Sketch the lines accordingly.
120 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Creating a Structural Column Family
You create column families by defining what the column looks like in plan view,
elevation view, and 3D view.
For detailed information about creating a family, see Creating Loadable Families.
The following image shows what a column may look like in a 3D view.

3D view of structural column
Starting a Structural Column Family
When you start creating a column family, you see one of 3 views: a front elevation
view of a lower reference level tag and an upper reference level tag with reference
planes, a plan view with reference planes and 2 sets of equality dimensions, and a
3D view. The view in which you start creating geometry does not matter. You can
define geometry in any of these views. You may want to add an overall width and
depth dimension to the plan view and label it. This is useful if you are going to have
a list of different-size columns.
When you create a column, Revit automatically adds a rotation control symbol to
the lower left corner of the geometry in the plan view. You notice it when you add
the column to a project. You can rotate the column in the plan view by clicking
Modify, selecting the column geometry, and then dragging the rotation control
arrow.
The following procedure is a general procedure for creating a column family. Your
steps may differ based on design intent.
1. Click New Family.
121 Creating Specialized Families
2. In the Open dialog, select column.rft from the templates folder, and click
Open.
3. Create the geometry for the family. For more information on creating solid
geometry, see Creating Solid and Void Geometry.
4. If desired, label any permanent dimensions that you may have added. Place
the cursor over the dimension text and right-click. Click Edit Label and enter
a name for the dimension. This name appears in the properties of the family.
You can modify the name to change all occurrences of that family type in
the project or you can use it to create other family types with varying sizes.
5. Set the reference planes and sketch lines properties for Defines Origin and
Is Reference properties.
6. Save the family by clicking Save. Revit saves the file with an RFA
extension.
Specifying How a Structural Column Displays in Plan View
Revit Structure
For a column family, you can select the option Show family pre-cut in plan views, in
the Family Category and Parameters dialog. When you select this option and load the
family into a project, the column displays in a plan view using the cut plane specified in
the plan view of the family.
1. Open a column family or start a new column family.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Category and Parameters.
3. In the Family Category and Parameters dialog, under Family Parameters,
select or clear the Show family pre-cut in plan views parameter.
If you want the column to display in
plan view...
then...
based on the cut plane of the projects
plan view
clear the parameter.
consistently, regardless of the cut
plane of the projects plan view
select the parameter. The column displays
using the cut plane specified within the
Family Editor plan view.
4. Click OK.
5. Save the column family.
After you load the column family into a project, the column displays based on the
parameter settings you specified within the Family Editor.
Example
The following image shows a column family loaded in a project with "Show family pre-
cut in plan views" not selected. The horizontal line was added to indicate the plan view's
cut plane.
122 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide

In the following image, the column family was saved with "Show family pre-cut in plan
views" selected. It was loaded into a project and a horizontal line was added to mark the
plan views cut plane. Notice the cut plane of the projects plan view has no effect on
the display of the column.

Example
The following image shows a column with corbels family depicting Show family
pre-cut in plan views enabled (left) and disabled (right). Notice the cut plane of the
123 Creating Specialized Families
projects plan view has no effect on the display of the column. The horizontal arrow
marks the cut plane for the section views to the right.

Structural Column Family Parameters
To access the Structural Column Family Parameters in the Family Editor, click
Modify | Structural Column tab Mode panel Edit Family Properties panel
Family Category and Parameters. Verify that Structural Columns is selected as the
Family Category. The Family Parameters display at the bottom of the dialog.
Parameter Value
Structural Material Type Controls hidden view display of the
structural column family.
See Material Structural Classes.
Symbolic Representation Determines whether the Symbolic
Representation of the structural column
is defined by the family or the settings of
the project in which its placed.
See Symbolic Representation Settings
Tab.
Always export as geometry Ensures that the structural column family
is exported as geometry at all times. This
overrides the Export as Architectural
Desktop and Building System Objects
124 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Parameter Value
option in the Export Options dialog.
See Exporting Structural Members.
Beam cutback in plan Determines whether the symbolic
representation of a beam is cutback from
the column bounding box or the physical
geometry of the column.
See Beam to Column Joins and
Cutback.
Display in hidden views Defines the structural column family
rules for displaying edges in hidden
views. See Showing Hidden Element
Lines.
Shared Denotes the structural column family as
a shared family. See Loading Families
with Shared Components into a Project.
Show family pre-cut in plan views Displays the structural column family in a
plan view using the cut plane specified in
the plan view of the family. See
Specifying How a Structural Column
Displays in Plan View.
Creating a Truss Family
A truss layout family consists of lines that define truss elements such as chords and
webs. Chord and web members are created such that their center lines (local x
axis) will lie along the layout lines that you define in the truss layout family. The
entire layout will be transformed such that the distance between the 2 end
reference planes will be determined by the truss instance based on its shape in the
project. The Length parameter may be used in your truss layout family to perform
calculations to specify the exact location of vertical web members or to calculate
the number of panels to create in the project environment.
Truss family editor tools
Click Create tab Detail panel Top Chord to draw the location and
geometric configuration of the top chord layout lines.
Click Create tab Detail panel Bottom Chord to draw the location and
geometric configuration of the bottom chord layout lines.
Click Create tab Detail panel Web to draw the location of vertical and
diagonal web layout lines.
Click Create tab Properties panel Family Type to select the types of
structural framing families used for chords and webs.
125 Creating Specialized Families
You may create different types of the same layout family. Differences between
these types include the following.
The types of structural framing families used for chords and webs
The member rotation of chords or webs about their local x axes
The member end releases
Creating a New Truss Layout Family File
1. Click New Family. Navigate to the Imperial or Metric template
directory and select the Structural Trusses.rft family template file. Click the
Open button to open a new family file.
2. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Types. In the Family Types
dialog, click New and provide a name for this truss type. Repeat this step for
each planned type of this truss family. Click OK to close the dialog.
3. Click Insert tab Load from Library panel Load Framing Family.
In order to specify structural framing families for the truss layout family to use, you
must load them in your truss layout family. Navigate to the Imperial or Metric family
directory and select the structural framing families for chords and webs. These
must be structural framing families or generic annotation families. Repeat this step
to specify for each type of truss.
4. Click Create tab Properties panel Family Types. For each truss family
type, select the desired framing type for top chord, bottom chord, vertical
webs and diagonal webs. Click OK to close the dialog.
5. Click Save As. Provide a name for the new truss family and click
Save.
Adding Truss Family Parameters
1. In the Family Editor, click Create tab Properties panel Family Types.
2. Under parameters you have the option to add, modify, or remove
parameters from the family type. Adjust parameter settings and click OK.
3. Enter formulas and define the parameter settings. See Creating Family
Parameters.
If you leave the structural framing type blank in a truss layout family, the truss will
behave as follows:
The value for truss members in the truss type will show Set Framing
Type, which means that the truss will use the default, or most
recently created structural framing type in the project.
When set to Set Framing Type, Revit will not change the values for
framing members in the family type properties when a truss is
created in the project environment. The value remains set to Set
Framing Type, the default setting, until you change it in the family
type properties.
126 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Sketching a Truss Family Layout
The structural truss family template provides 5 permanent reference planes: top,
bottom, left, center and right; the left and right planes indicate the span length of
the truss. Truss layout lines which end at these planes or are coincident with them
will maintain this relationship during layout transformation in the project
environment.
To sketch truss chords
Sketch a truss web
1. Click Create tab Detail panel Top Chord.
2. Sketch along the top reference plane to define the top chord. For more
information, see Sketching.

3. Click the lock symbol attached to the line to lock the chord to the plane.
4. Click Create tab Detail panel Bottom Chord.
5. Sketch along the bottom reference plane to define the bottom chord.
6. Again, click the lock symbol to lock the chord to the plane.
7. Click Create tab Detail panel Web.
8. Sketch the panel webs.
9. If needed, place additional dimensions between sketched lines and
reference planes.
10. Save this file to your Family directory. The truss type is now ready for
loading into your model.
11. Click Create tab Family Editor panel Load into Project.
Note: Remember to drag the truss into a plan view, not an elevation view.
Creating a Type Catalog
A type catalog lists all of the types in a family, allowing you to select and load only
the types you need for the current project, resulting in a smaller project file size.
To create a type catalog, you create an external text file (TXT) that contains the
parameters and parameter values that create the different types in a specific family.
You place this file in the same location as the family file so that when you select to
load the family, the type catalog displays.
Notes
Create type catalogs for families that contain 6 or more types.
Parameter names are case sensitive.
For system parameters, the parameter within the family must have a value
previously defined for the type to load the value from the catalog properly.
127 Creating Specialized Families
To have inch marks display in the type name, you must include 2 double
quote symbols in the type catalog (see table).
To display the type
name...
In the type catalog, enter...
48" x 60" 48"" x 60""
3' - 6" 3' - 6""
The easiest way to create a type catalog is to use the Export Family Types tool on
an existing family. Using this tool, you create the base type catalog and then modify
the text file in a text editor.
Create a type catalog using the Export Family Types tool
1. Open a family that contains all of the parameters and data for one or more
of the base types.
Note: Only parameters that have values in the family are exported to the type
catalog.
2. Click Export (Family Types).
3. In the Export As dialog, verify that the type catalog has the same name as
the family, but with a .txt extension, and that it will be saved in the same
directory as the family file.
4. Click Save.
5. Open the .txt file in a text editor.
The first line in the text file is the parameter declaration. The syntax will be similar
to the following:
,Length##length##inches,Width##length##inches,Height##length##inches
Syntax Description
, The first character of the first line in the file is the
delimiter. This character is used to separate each
parameter definition.
Length##length##inches Defines a parameter in the family (Parameter
Name##Parameter Type##Units).
6. Define additional parameters as needed, making sure to use the delimiter
and syntax specified.
7. Review the second line in the type catalog. This line defines the first type.
For example, the syntax for a type could be similar to the following:
36x12x36,36,12,36
Syntax Description
36x12x36 Type name.
, A comma is used to separate the type name from the list
128 Autodesk Revit 2014 Family Guide
Syntax Description
of parameter values, and is also a delimiter for each
parameter.
36,12,36 Length parameter value = 36, Width parameter value =
12, Height parameter value = 36
8. Duplicate the type syntax, and modify the type name and parameter values
to create additional types in the catalog.
The following table includes a sample of the types of parameters supported in a
type catalog.
Type of
Parameter
Parameter Declaration Notes
Text param_name##OTHER##
Integer param_name##OTHER##
Number param_name##OTHER##
Length param_name##LENGTH##FEET
Area param_name##AREA##SQUARE_FEET
Volume param_name##VOLUME##CUBIC_FEET
Angle param_name##ANGLE##DEGREES
Slope param_name##SLOPE##SLOPE_DEGREES
Currency param_name##CURRENCY##
URL param_name##OTHER##
Material param_name##OTHER##
Yes/No param_name##OTHER## Defined as 1 or 0 with
1 equaling Yes and 0
equaling No.
<Family
Type>
param_name##OTHER## Family name:type
name with no file
extension
Metadata parameters :
Keynote Keynote##OTHER##
Model Model##OTHER##
129 Creating Specialized Families
Type of
Parameter
Parameter Declaration Notes
Manufacturer Manufacturer##OTHER##
Type
Comments
Type Comments##OTHER##
URL URL##OTHER##
Description Description##OTHER##
Assembly
Code
Assembly Code##OTHER##
Cost Cost##CURRENCY##
Sample text file and type catalog
Following is a sample type catalog TXT file:
,Manufacturer##other##,Length##length##centimeters,Width##length##centimeter
s,Height##length##centimeters
MA36x30,Revit,36.5,2.75,30
MA40x24,Revit,40.5,3.25,24
When loading the corresponding family in a project, you would see the following
type catalog:
Type Manufacturer Length Width Height
MA36x30 Revit 36.5cm 2.75cm 30cm
MA40x24 Revit 40.5cm 3.25cm 24cm