Revit Options

Revit options have been a mystery for me for quite a long time, so I decide to write a few lines about it in order to better understand their possibilities.

To do so, let’s model a small house, nothing fancy, but enough to have some possibilities for evolution. This house is drawn in the Main Model, and will be common to all options.


Now let say I want to try something. I put try on emphasis, because, it’s really what Design Options are useful for. I open the Design Options editor, and create a new option set, which is automatically populated with a first option. I rename it like this:


I select this new option as the current one using the Option drop-down menu on the bottom of the Revit screen, and start modeling a duct layout.


To create a second routing option, I duplicate the first one, and rename it. Every elements of my First Routing Option are now duplicated in my Secondary Routing Option.


I edit these duplicated elements to create a second duct layout. In the process, I realize than families edited during option editing are actually edited for the whole model, so this kind of change will impact every other option.


I have now two different duct layouts in my model, which are displayed when I select one or the other design option in the Design drop down menu.

But these options can also be displayed on a per view basis. As you created some design options, a new panel appear on your Visibility Override, allowing you to select an option to be displayed.


This can be used to display our two options on the same sheets:


It can also be used to display the metrics of each option side by side to decide which one should be keep. For example, I show here a duct schedule and a duct fitting schedule for each option:


These data can give us powerfull insight for choosing an option. Once one of them is validated, the Design Options provides us some tools to integrate our option in the main project.

We first have to Make primary our selected option, here the second one. We can see this one becoming visible from the Main Model option.


Since linked models only display their primary options, you have to make sure that selected option are primary before using it as a reference.

Selecting Accept Primary integrate our primary option in the Main Model option, and delete every other option associated with the Option Set. Our option is now part of our model.

Revisions and Revision Clouds

To highlight modifications or issues on Revit drawings, Autodesk provide us with one of the oldest change tracking device, the revision cloud, and a set of high tech features to handle it.

The workflow promoted here is to add a handful of revision clouds wherever they are needed, and link these revision clouds with metadata describing the issue.

In Revit, every revision cloud is associated with a revision, as we can see in the Properties panel of our revision cloud.


These revisions are managed in the Sheets Issues/Revisions panel, and can be seen as issues to be addressed.


These revisions are displayed in a revision schedule, a table added to the title block family during its creation.

Every revision cloud visible in a sheet have its associated revision displayed in the revision schedule embedded in the tittle bloc. Here, I had a revision cloud on the sheet, its associated revision appears in the revision schedule of the sheet.

OneRevisionsI can also add a revision cloud directly on the view, its revision will also appear on the revision schedule.

Revision2 These clouds can be hidden on a per revision basis, in the Revision panel. This command will hide every revision cloud associated with the selected revision. However, it does not remove this revision from the revision schedule.


HideRevsion1 This allows us to keep some kind of history for every issue addressed and resolved, along with their revision cloud, without having our views obscured with outdated revision clouds.

The Per project/Per sheet numbering option allows us to define if we manage our revision numbers for the whole project, or on a per sheet basis.


Look at the revision numbers on the following example to understand how this work:



Sadly, Revit does not provided any built-in function for scheduling directly revision clouds, just like we could do with Note Block for annotation symbols. When I need a revision clouds schedule, I use Revit BIMLink from Ideate to export these revision clouds to an Excel datasheet. There is also a free tool from Case Inc. to export cloud data to a CSV file, the Revision Cloud Data Export to Text File, included in Case Revit Add-ins.

Align Tags Revit Plug-In

I just release a new add-in for Revit on the Autodesk App Exchange for aligning and sorting tags on a view.

This tool is based on the Align command you probably already know from a large bunch of software, from PowerPoint to Adobe Illustrator. It is composed of a set of commands to align or distribute tags on a Revit view, and it is pretty easy to use:


To align two or more of tags, just select them, and select one of the direction of the Align command.

For example, with the Align Left command :

Before After

Every selected tag is aligned with the left one. The alignment reference point is the tag base point (where their reference planes intersect).

To distribute three or more tags along an axis, select them and specify the direction.

For example, with the Distribute Vertically command:

Before After

Vertical space between selected tags is distributed evenly among them. The position reference point is still the tag base point.

Under the hood, everything is pretty simple. The application pick up every tag origin point, and sort them along the View.RightDirection or View.UpDirection regarding the direction you select.

Once these origin points are placed along the chosen vector, each Tag.TagHeadPosition is set to its new position.

The entire source code can be found on Bitbucket, my new place of choice for code hosting. Feel free to use it for whatever you want.

The Align Revit add-in is already available for Revit 2014 and 2015 on the Autodesk App Exchange.

Beam Annotations

An article from Line Shape Space drive me to the Beam Annotation tools, and the various possibilities to automatically tag a set of beams.
The first idea when having to annotate a set of element is the Tag All function, quite efficient, but limited only to a tag by category. Furthermore, this function does not have the possibilities to add different tags on the same object.


To annotate efficiently a large set of beams, a specific tool exist, Beams Annotations. It functions pretty much like the Tag All command, but with more options.


You start by selecting the set of beams you want to annotate (All beam or only selected one), and if you want to include linked models elements.
Things become quite interesting with the other part of the windows, which display a schematic beam with six slots:


This second part allow us to describe where we want to place Structural Framing tags or Spot Elevation on our beam.

Here the possibilities are quite extensive. On every six position of each beam (start, middle, and end, on each side), you can select different options to place a Structural Framing Tag or an Spot Elevation to display top and/or bottom elevation for the beam:


To showcase this feature, I create a set of beam, distributed on the same plane:


In just a few click, I place a tag for every beam along with a nice Spot Elevation displaying the bottom elevation of the beam.


This tool become extremely powerful when dealing with slopped beams. To showcase this feature, I create a set of beams aligned along a complex surface. To create quickly this kind of beam system, I use Grasshopper with the Hummingbird plug-in. I describe the complete procedure in one of my older post.


These beams are displayed as a grid in a plan view:


I select the Beam Annotation tool, and add a Spot Elevation at the stating and the ending point of sloped beams, along with a Structural Framing Tag on the middle.


After running the command, Revit add a Structural Framing Tag and two Spot Elevation on every beams in my view:


These annotations place themselves nicely along the beam, and a few adjustments with the setting adjust them perfectly on the view: