Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Consider variations in design with groups, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Narrator] Let's say you're using groups in your project to manage unit design. So, for example, I have this condominium building here, and I'll open up the level two floor plan, and you could see that I've got groups that are used to create each of the apartment units and this particular floor plan is using the same apartment unit four times, and each of those is configured as a group. So if you're doing any kind of unit design, apartment buildings, dormitories, you're probably working this way. What you may or may not be aware of is that you can actually export these groups outside of the project, which will give you a little bit more flexibility when working with variations.
So let's say that the designer wants to consider a variation of this two bedroom condominium unit, and they'd rather not work directly in the live project. For one, if you're constantly making changes in the live project, you're having to wait for all those changes to regenerate and, you know, for two, you know, it might be disruptive to the rest of the team, as you're just working through variations. Also, the other reason that this approach is going to be valuable is, there's this temptation to kind of just copy it off to the side and kind of work over there, but that's really not a good idea either because when you copy stuff off to the side in a Revit project, it's visible in all views and it's going to be in the way for everybody else in the team, so much better to get it out of the project entirely into its own environment, and then the person working on it is free to do whatever they want.
And only if they decide that they like something that they've worked on can they then bring it back in to the main project. So let me go through the process with you, it's very easy to do. There's two ways you can export a group from the project. The first way is to go to the application menu here, go to save as, library, and then group. Browse to where you want to put it and then down here, there'll be a drop down that will show you all of the groups in your project. Choose the one you want, in this case, my two bedroom unit A, and right below that, there'll be an option to also include any detail groups as separate views.
Now, this is valuable if you've got detail groups because that information will come across as well. So I'm going to leave that checked. And then finally here, you can choose what you want to call the group, but it's suggesting that you keep the same name. Which, I think is a pretty good idea, so I'll accept that and click save. Now this will take a few moments while it's exporting the information. You will see it appear on screen temporarily while it's kind of creating the group, and then it will close it out and bring us back to our original project. So now I have this exported group. So that's one way that you can export the group, using the application menu.
The other alternative is to do it here on the project browser. Scroll down, locate the groups branch, expand out, and then you can right click the group object and choose save group. So that's exactly the same command with all the same options, so it's really a matter of your preference. So now that I have that file, I can open it up and you'll notice that it contains only the information that was part of that group. So it's sort of like a completely purged version of this group, and that applies to the views and everything else.
So if you look at your view structure, there's only a few views here. I've got one sort of clean look at the file, and then I've got another one here called room tags, which was that attached detail group that it asked about with the check box down below. So here you could see all the tags are included. So you can work in whatever view is appropriate, and make whatever changes you like. Now here's where it gets interesting. I could make changes to this group, save it, and then go back and reload it in the project, and it'll all update, or if I want to consider another possibility, I can do a save as instead.
And I can vary the saved as version, and I can load that one back into the project. And if I do it that way, I'm preserving the original just in case. And in fact, I've already done that by creating this two bedroom unit B here. And when I open that one up, this one has a different configuration of the kitchen area. So let's say that I'm leaning towards this design and I want to show this to the client. So we're going to close out of both of these groups here and then back here in the project, I'm ready to bring that information back over to the project team. Ok, I've decided I want to bring this over.
How do we do that? Well, all you have to do is come over here on the project browser, locate the group in question, in this case two bedroom unit A, right click on it, and there's a reload option right here. So we're going to click that, browse out to the location where the file is, and this time, instead of choosing unit A, I'm going to choose unit B. Now if we had changed unit A, we could certainly choose it and it will update all of the unit A's, but in this case, what it's actually going to do is swap out all instances of unit A with unit B.
Now, occasionally you'll get a message like this that's telling you that you might end up with a duplicate family somewhere. So in this case, I'm going to have another version of my encasement window, which is unfortunate, but sometimes unavoidable. So we'll let that reload and when it's done, you're going to see that all the instances on the entire floor plan are now using the new design for the kitchen. So we take this to the client meeting, we talk about it, and if they like it, great. We keep going forward. If they don't like it, because we saved version A as a separate file, we can always just do the process again to reload version A back in its place.
Well, maybe after you discuss it, the decision is that we want both. We want some unit B's and some unit A's. How do we do that? Well, we can go to the insert tab now and use this button here to load a project as a group. So load as group, you click that, browse to the original unit A, and load that in. Now that won't place it anywhere, and that won't replace anything, but what it does do is it adds unit A to your list now as one of your possible groups. Now, you can be more selective.
Select just the instances of the groups that you want to change, come over here to the type selector, and choose the unit A in that case. And then when I do, you'll see that will go back to the original kitchen design in those locations. So, using this technique, you get a few advantages. Your designer is able to work completely separately from the project team until they're ready to share the results. You can easily save as and create multiple variations of the same group. You just have to make sure you're working within that same shell so that it doesn't have an adverse effect when you load it back in to the rest of the project.
And you can actually mix and match by loading in different variations of the group and swapping them out individually. So, how does this compare to design options? Well, you can do a lot of the same things with design options, but not in exactly the same way. So I'm not suggesting that you use either this or design options. Frankly, you could use either or both techniques. I think this is just another tool in your toolbox here that allows you to manage a variety of variations of a particular group, and just allows you to work in that independent way, off on the side, separately, which a lot of folks like to do, and only incorporate it in the project when you're ready.
Design options, you're working right in the thread of the main project and you're, you know, kind of seeing it in context. So if the work that you're doing requires the context of the surrounding building as you're working, then design options is probably a better approach. But if the work that you're doing can be done independently, and then loaded in when you're ready, then exporting the groups might be the way to go.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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