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When you're designing, you often want to explore more than one possible solution. Sometimes they are just variations of a single theme, and in other cases each scheme is radically different from the others. In traditional workflows you would often resort to performing a Save As in order to explore such design alternatives. While this is certainly possible in Revit 2, a better workflow in many cases is to use the Design Options tool. Design Options allows you to maintain and switch between multiple schemes within the same Revit model. So let's take a quick look at the overall intent of the tool first.
The first thing is that it's designed for and intended to be used in early design exploration, so typically you're going to see this tool work best in schematic design or early design development. It's assumed that eventually one of these Design Options that you develop will be accepted. In other words, the others will get removed from the model and the one that you and your client decide on will become part of the main model again. And over all, it tends to be better than save as simply because you're not creating several separate models that are not connected to one another.
So you're leveraging the parts of the model that are not under consideration to Design Options and they get used by all of the options. So you limit your edits only to the parts of the model that you're considering changes on. Now, to work with Design Options, there's a few terms you should be familiar with. Let's start with main model. Main model is the part of the model that's not changing; there are no Design Options under consideration for main model. Main model will stay the main model for all of the schemes. This is actually the main benefit of using Design Options is we get the main model for all the schemes without having to do the multiple save as and then manually have to coordinate all those different versions of the same thing.
Now as you can create one or more option sets within your project. An option set is simply an area of work. So if you were considering a couple of possibilities for the front entrance of the building, you would have a front entrance option set. If you were considering another couple of possibilities for the kitchen area, you would have a kitchen area option set. Now within each of those option sets, you could have several options. Now it's actually possible to have only one, but then you would wonder why you bothered with Design Options if you only had one scheme.
So typically you're going to have at least two schemes, but you can have three or four, or however many you need. So each option within the set is just some variation on that particular area of work. Now among those variations, one of them will be the primary option. Now all primary means is this is the one that you're leaning towards, this is the one you like the best, this is the one that you hope your client will choose, so you kind of gently nudge them towards the primary option. So the main intent of the Design Options tool is to allow for the exploration of multiple design schemes within the same model.
The advantage of this approach is that it allows you to leverage as many of the elements that each scheme shares in common while providing a convenient way to explore design alternatives.
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