I once built an auto-sizing Fire Pipe Fitting using a Formulaic method (where the various fitting sizes were driven by the Revit intersection variable), so I was interested to read about a similar strategy in a very good article in AUGIWorld January 2018 by Todd Shackelford.  It is really good to evaluate these different options before going ahead on a detailed Family development and creation task.

Among other things, Todd describes how to create a Type Catalog, including a list of the various data types:

He also describes how to use multiple Lookup Tables in a single Revit Family:


Overall, it is a very informative article for advanced Revit family creators.


Check out the full article online here:

page 36

Have you ever exploded a SAT or DWG in the Family Environment, and then gone looking for the Visibility Settings ribbon button for one of the resulting freeform elements? Its not there:

But, as you can see from the image above, you can still access these settings by using the Properties Palette – Visibility/Graphics button.

Revit doesn’t like to deal with an array that has 1 instanced element or component (although there is one exception). The array will break. So, the way to handle it is to have a separate single instance of a component for that scenario, and then the actual Array for whenever you need two or more instances.

To accomplish this, you need

  • some formulas to hide or show the required elements, and 
  • another formula to maintain the array at 2 or more. 

It looks something like this:

That particular example also caters for some other ‘switches’ that may turn off the array (notice the if-or formula.)

In the Revit 2015 Project Environment, you can access the tools to Manage Selections from the Manage Ribbon:

However, this Ribbon Panel is not available on the default Manage Ribbon in the Family Environment  (Build 20141119_0715(x64) Update Release 5). What to do? Well, we can just add these tools to the QAT (Quick Access Toolbar), so then at least we can use them while building families. There are a couple of ways we can do this, but here is how you can do it while staying in the Family Editor:

  1. In the Family Environment, select more than one element
  2. Right-click on the Save Selection button that appears in the contextual ribbon (the green one) and “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”
  3. Save a Selection
  4. Select more than one thing
  5. Right-click on the Load Selection button that appears in the contextual ribbon (the green one) and “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”

You can also just add these items from the Project Environment, and as the QAT is shared with both environments, they will show when you edit a family.

However, while you can add the “Edit Selection” button to the QAT, it will not work in the Family Environment 🙁

Typically when editing Revit families, if you want to deal with arrays and stop them breaking when the count is 1, you set up some IF() formulas in Revit. However, a recent comment by David over on Revit Beginners describes another possible method:
Thank you Luke. Another possible solution is to nest the element into an adaptive component family, then nest the adaptive onto a conceptual mass family surface and use the repeater tool which can have an array count of 1. 

I posted about this method a while back:

Download the example file here

Sometimes, putting a bit of thought and planning into your family design well lead to far better results than simply ‘diving in there’.  The following post shows a list of such requirements.  Essentially, you write a ‘brief’ for your family, and then seek to meet the requirements of that brief.

Example at this link

However, at times I do things the complete wrong way about – like modelling them inplace, then converting them to component families and trying to figure out the origin and constraints later on – very messy and definitely not best_practice 🙂


There are at least two distinct ways to move an item via dimension edit in the Family Editor, but they can have very different results.  See video:

My video is directly derivative of one from Steve Stafford last week.  Steve demonstrated some interesting behaviour along basically the same lines at:
Revit OpEd: Two Minutes with Constraint Quirkiness

In Revit 2013, the Properties Palette does not expose the Graphic Display Options button in the Family Environment:

However, you can still get to the Graphic Display Options by using the View Control Bar:

This is handy, because it lets you use the nice Transparency slider while editing complex families or when tracing over Raster Images.

On a side note, if you ever want to know what each part of the User Interface in Revit is officially called, check out this link.

This is kinda weird.  I opened this 2012 family in 2013 – and now when I turn things on and off in the Family Editor, they completely disappear (they don’t just gray out as you would expect). 

It is a scary little line based Casework family that I made a while back.  It has heaps of instance parameter dimensions and is a generally a bit of a nightmare – but still, why is this strange issue occurring?  Any ideas?

Watch the video below, and download the family here.

Isn’t it strange that Scope Box is a property of datums (like Reference Planes and Levels), AND its also a Property of Views (Floor Plans, Elevations, Sections etc) in the FAMILY environment, yet there is no tool to create a Scope Box available? (we are talking Revit 2012 here)

If you add a keyboard shortcut to Scope Box – it doesn’t work in the Family Editor…

If you add Scope Box to the Quick Launch toolbar – guess what?  The Scope Box tool suddenly ‘appears’ in the Family Editor – but it is always greyed out.  Remove it from Quick Launch, and it disappears just as suddenly… check it out:

How are we going to get around this one?  Simple – use this method to transfer a Scope Box from the Project Environment to a family RFA.  From there, we can copy the Scope Box from family to family as needed!

Here is another gift from What Revit Wants – a Generic Model family with a Scope Box in it that you can copy to other families:
Download family

It’s pretty funny that you can’t even Create Similar once you have a Scope Box in the family!

EDIT:  Added video showing creation process: