There was an API addin available a while back, but in recent years I have used:

  • the Case Batch Export Family RFA’s tool
    This way is pretty robust, as it also gives you a list of inplace families and masses that it couldn’t save to rfas. Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to get now that Case have shut down their free app downloads 🙁 Hopefully someone in your office already has it installed? Just copy all the files starting with Case between the relevant addin folders to get it going.
  • You could also use the builtin method File – Save As – Library – Family – All Families to export the rfas, and then (for 2013 version only) the free Kiwi Codes Family Categorizer to sort them into Category folders. More on that here:

These are the steps to export the families using the builtin workflow:

Personally, I now usually use Unifi to export and manage Revit content.

Thanks to Matt Wash for prompting me to do an update post on these different methods.

I had the opportunity this week to spend a bit of time with Unifi. What is it? Well, in simple terms it is a way to store all of your Revit families in a secure location online. You just batch upload all of your current family library, and Unifi then goes ahead and indexes all of the important family related data. Then, you can do fast and intelligent searches of your entire content library whenever you want to find and load specific families into your Revit projects (using the Unifi addin for Revit).

However, it does a lot more than just ‘store’ stuff. It handles users and permissions in an efficient yet elegant manner, and guess what… because your cloud family library is now globally accessible, you can share it with project team members inside and outside of your domain or organization. You can set up different “libraries” based on their purpose (for example, the standard Revit Imperial/ Metric content can live in one library, while your “Essential” company content may be another, Healthcare families in another library and so forth). Tags can be applied to families, and the search function actually has learning algorithms, so it gets smarter as your team uses it.

What about different Revit versions, you say? Well, after you upload a Revit family from a given version (say 2012), the Unifi servers will automatically create 2013 and 2014 versions for you (automatic upgrading). In this way, there is a single point-of-truth for each family – you don’t get file folders full of different family versions with different functionality (a problem that BIM managers have been dealing with for years).

How many family professionals are in your team or company? Usually there are one or two users who are really at the top of the family tree, and they do your family development, content creation and the like. How can you quickly connect these highly skilled users with the actual day-to-day BIM technicians in your office? Unifi handles that too. Any user can “request” a new family if one doesn’t exist for a particular purpose, and this request is automatically passed onto the family creation people (by Unifi). When they login, they see a list of content requests, and can then handle them in a logical and methodical way. They make the family, upload it, and then the entire team has access to the new content.

Unifi is what Revit content management has needed for some time, in my opinion. You can easily download the trial, upload your content and see if you like it. Many Revit teams are struggling with a core set of challenges when it comes to content; Unifi provides solid answers to many of these questions.

I spent some time with Steve Germano (Director of Product Development) this week, and I was excited to hear about the plans to expand and upgrade the already-compelling feature set of Unifi (including branching out into the Sketchup realm). The development team over there clearly has a good view of what Revit users need, and they are already well on track to provide a solution that could easily become a key part of the Revit content management system in your organization. Additionally, they are listening to the current user base, and continuing to build the feature set with each new update.

If it sounds like these Unifi folk know what they are doing, it might because INVIEW labs is behind Unifi. And INVIEW labs does lots of Revit content development for Autodesk Seek. Are you getting the picture? (This is one of those times that you probably could just stop reading and go get the trial… or) Read on for a brief summary:

Unique, powerful features of Unifi:

  • your folder structure is automatically tagged onto your content when you Batch Upload it
  • batch user creation (is very fast!)
  • tracking of content requests – content creation can be centralised and distributed to key users
  • Shared Search Keywords (learning algorithm)
  • Smart Folders / Saved Searches
  • automatic upgrading of uploaded content (single point of truth for each family)
  • automatic versioning of changes to families (backup / rollback abilities)
  • extract any Revit System Family Type from an existing Revit Project and store them in the Unifi cloud – Wall Types etc (this includes complete MEP systems with required supporting families from Routing Preferences)

Latest release notes are at

A few thoughts on the UX:

  • interface is very clean and smooth, and it fits the Windows 8 “style” of frameless dialogs etc
  • simple deployment – you don’t have to set up new local database instances or deal with local domain / file permission problems
  • auto updating feature works seamlessly and quickly
  • the Unifi pane can detect which Revit version is running and adapt to the current environment

You may be interested in this:
Case study link

Some final points of a somewhat geeky nature:

  • Steve mentioned that they have no server-side concerns with handling the bandwidth of company library uploads and downloads – the actual storage space is not an issue for them. Its interesting to consider really, because its something that might currently be a struggle for your company: trying to store and backup 100gb of Revit content on your local domain, and mirror that globally between offices, and keep it all in sync. That can be hard. But uploading it to Unifi and getting them to handle it all – much easier from an IT perspective.
  • A number of large firms have already made a commitment to the Unifi system. If it makes $$$ sense for the big guys, I think it will make sense for SMBs too.
  • There appears to be some validation in place, that will stop the upload of very bad Revit families (like the Room category family I made a while back) Video here.  
  • You can open the Unifi pane in headless mode (without Revit) by using the shortcut, which will likely be installed to this path:
    “C:Program Files (x86)INVIEWlabsUnifiUnifi.exe”
    This will allow you to drag and drop from Windows Explorer to directly batch upload to Unifi without opening Revit.
  • There is some good Unifi overview at this link

Give it a go, and feel free to reply via comment to this post or tweet me @lukeyjohnson with your opinions!

Update 1:
Some people have expressed concern with having to download their families from the web to insert them into projects. Consider the following points:

  • you never have to deal with the upgrade screen as Unifi always inserts the native Revit version of the family (a good time saver)
  • Unifi has a local cache of any family you’ve downloaded (it internally stores the last 50 families you’ve downloaded) so you insert these from local HD anyway.
  • if you’ve already inserted a family into your project from Unifi, the next time you use Unifi to “insert” that family into your project it actually knows if the family in your current Revit project is the same revision as the one on the cloud, and it simply starts the family place command, it doesn’t actually download again. No reason to as it is already in the project
  • office to office bandwidth may be extremely expensive compared to internet bandwidth. Multi-office AEC firm CTO’s may prefer the fact that Unifi uses internet bandwidth and not their network bandwidth.
  • Unifi provides monthly full database downloads for customers, meaning that a rare internet outage is likely a very low risk to affect workflow.

Update 2:
If you want to clear your upload queue for Unifi, go to:

Close the Unifi Pane, then delete all of the files in this folder. After restarting Unifi, your upload queue should be clear.

Update 3:
Download Unifi admin tutorial here:

    These Dropbox links are copied from the Autodesk Community Russia site:

    Project Template  2012
    2014 & 2015 NEW!!!
    Doors Семейства
    Window Семейства
    Escalators 2013 Семейства
    Moving walkways 2013 Семейства
    Garbage chute 2013 Семейства
    Fence 2013 Семейства
    Lifts 2012 NEW!!! Семейства и руководство пользователя

    Forum page

    via borissofff at
    Source page (translated)

    I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself… after the RVT and DWG link into RFA post over here, I had to try linking an IFC into an RFA file in Revit 2015. Guess what? It works.

    1. Download and extract this
    2. Copy the IFC you want to link into the same folder, and rename it to
      source RVT to IFC.ifc
    3. Open the RFA file
    4. It will come up with a link not found message – Open Manage Links, switch to IFC tab, select the row, use Reload From and select the file named
      source RVT to IFC.ifc
      (side note: this is probably the only time you will see a Manage Links dialog in the Family Environment, so I guess this is a added benefit of the current post)
    5. It will convert and link in the IFC using the usual method.
      (I’m not sure how errors are handled at this stage, such as “unjoined geometry” etc)
    6. There you go – IFC linked into Family

    All of the usual caveats apply for linking things into RFA files, as per the other post. Additionally, you can’t Bind, Copy From, host elements, or Pick edges of the linked IFC. Its only real use at this stage is for modelling context.

    Let’s say you have exported all families in a Revit project to a bunch of folders by Category, but you want to get them all into one folder so you can drag-drop and load them all into a new project all at once…

    Copy the following into a batch file:

    @echo off
    set source=”E:tempEexport”
    set destination=”E:tempEexport2″

    ::Not sure if this is needed
    ::It guarantees you have a canonical path (standard form)
    for %%F in (%destination%) do set destination=”%%~fF”

    for /r %source% %%F in (.) do if “%%~fF” neq %destination% ROBOCOPY “%%F” %destination% *.rfa /COPYALL /R:0

    Now, change the text in red to suit your source and destination (my destination folder was empty).  Run the batch file and you should have a stack of RFAs all sitting in that folder.  Note: results may be a bit unpredictable if you have duplicates of particular files in the source directory tree.

    Read more:
    file – ROBOCOPY – Copy folders content to a single folder – Stack Overflow

    I saw this message from Revit today and I wanted to share it with you:

    RVG files used to be Revit’s way of saving Groups out, until RVT became the standard for saving Groups.  From the message, it looks like this occurred circa version 9.

    The .rvg file you have attempted to load is no longer supported by Revit. If you wish to use the data in this file, you need to load it as a group into release 2008, where it can be saved out as an .rvt, or load it into release 9.1, where it can be saved out as an upgraded .rvg file. If you need help, please contact Autodesk Support.

    So, if you have any old-school RVG files kicking around, you probably should upgrade them before it becomes too much of a pain to do so!

    In the past, a workflow was available in which you could rename older RFT files to RFA, then upgrade them to the most recent version of Revit (perhaps using a batch upgrade tool), then rename back to RFT.  This was one way to upgrade your customized family template files.  This method does not always work in Revit 2013, due to newly introduced restrictions.

    There are still a few ways to upgrade your Template files, however:

    • Use the free File Upgrader add-in.
    • Make a new Family using the RFT file that you want to upgrade.  Then, save as RFA.  Navigate to the folder, then rename the RFA to RFT.  This is a slow, one-at-a-time method.

    In some cases, you can still use the original workflow (rename the RFT to RFA and then open) – but this likely will only work on 2011 and older RFT files, not 2012 RFTs.

    Confused yet?

    Please comment if you have any tips or workarounds related to upgrading Template files.

    Personally, I like the Component Commander and Open Folder tools.  Open Folder is a button that simply opens Windows Explorer to the folder of the currently active Project or Family – very handy!  (This is also a good way to find out the internally saved file location of a family – just click Edit Family from the Project Browser, then hit the Revved Open Folder button…)

    ReVVed is a collection of Revit extensions that have been designed with the draftsperson in mind. ReVVed turns repetitive tasks into one click commands. These commands work with architecture, structure and MEP flavors of Revit. Commands like:

    • Text Tools – merge multiple text notes into a single note or change the case of notes.
    • Component Commander – allows loaded components to be searched and found easier.
    • Web Link – opens a web browser to the URL stored in Revit components.
    • Polyline – adjust the total length of end-to-end lines. (Like travel distances)
    • Open Folder – opens Windows Explorer to the folder where the project or linked file is located.
    • Project Commander – store critical information about the currently open project in a handy place.

    You can download  ReVVed 2011 or ReVVed 2012 for free.
    Current versions are 2011 release 4 and 2012 release 2.
    Find out what’s new!