Creating a type catalog for new families in Revit

When creating large Revit families which have a number of types / variations (e.g. size) of the same model, it may be useful to create a ‘type catalog’ to accompany the family in your project. In short, a type catalogue will reduce the amount of data going into your model when you import a new component / family. Rather than loading all 6+ types of the same family into the project, it will allow you to pick from a list (your type catalog) which size or modification of your family that you need loaded in this particular instance. This is particularly useful in families where you have 6 or more different types which could significantly slow your project down.

If you are using a family from the default library, you are able to export the families attributes as a type catalog, by simply exporting the family types as a .txt file as shown in the image below. As you will see, all of the work is done for you and every new family type you add will automatically update in the .txt file, proividing you re-export every time you make a change.

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If you want to create your own custom type catalog rather than just exporting from Revit, then you will have to create your own .txt file which you will use as your type catalog. To get an overview of what information goes into this .txt file it could be a good idea to export some type catalogs from the families stored in the default Revit libraries and explore for yourself how different attirbutes are stored and named. Here are a few key points to consider when creating your Type catalog.

  • Give your family a simple name, using no spaces or unusual characters. Use _ to connect words and – between a range of numbers.
  • Ensure your Family and .txt file have the SAME NAME excluding the extension.
  • Place your Family and the .txt file in the same folder on your computer.
  • Be consitent and list parameters in the same way everytime you create a new catalog.
  • Only create type catalogs for families with over 5 variations.
  • TEST your family and type catalogs before sharing with others.
  • If you are having problems defining parameters, check an existing family that is working correctly for tips.

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Once you have your family created and all editable attributes added as parameters, it is time to start creating your type catalog. For every defining parameter you have, you will need to add this in the type catalog. Most parameters are names specifically, e.g. Length, but for the more obscure you would use the parameter ‘OTHER’.

Open up a notepad or your personal preference of .txt editor. The first line of your code, depending on your parameters should look something like this:  ,Keynote##OTHER##,AssemblyCode##OTHER##,Depth##LENGTH##MILLIMETERS,Material##OTHER##,
Height##LENGTH##MILLIMETERS,Width##LENGTH##MILLIMETERS.

This is storing Keynotes, Assembly Codes, Length, Width, Depth, Material and the units. Parameters in Revit are usually listed in the following way:

Parameter Name(Length) ##Parameter Value(100) ##Unit (millimeters) – Although it may look confusing to start with, once you understand the way they are formulated, it is easy to add and edit existing values using the above method. Use the ‘,’ parenthesis when seperating different parameters.

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Once you have created your family and type catalog and try and load it into Revit, you may receive an error similar to the one listed above. This particular error is informing us that 7 values or parameters were expected, yet only 6 of them were found, or defined in the type catalog. If you receive a similar message, go back and review your family to check you haven’t missed out one or more of the types created in the catalog. Once your family has been created succesfully you  will see a dialogue box appear similar to the one shown below when you load your family into your project, this is what you want to see!

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Once again load your family into your project and check that each of the variations are working as you would expect. Once you have tested all variations, you are ready to share your family with the rest of your team. If you have any problems or more questions about type catalogs, feel free to get in touch and I will see if I can help. Hope that this will be useful for someone who is having problems with creating type catalogs.

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About Ben Malone

Information Manager for BIM.Technologies in London

2 responses to “Creating a type catalog for new families in Revit”

  1. Revir Training says :

    Thanks Ben Malone for sharing this type catalog for new families in revit it will be help me a lot i was searching from many days.

    Keep posting…………

  2. thinkrevit says :

    Use concatenation in excel for large Type catalogs. Do not include common Values. Other words if you had 500 types and they all have the same value for “product page url”, you would not included in the type catalog.

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