Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Converting a group to a link, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- A really interesting feature that we have when working with groups is we have the ability to actually convert a group to a linked file. There's some interesting implications to doing that. What I'd like to do is walk through the process of taking a group here in this really simple file, and taking that group then and converting it to a link. I'm going to start off by actually creating the group. I've got this reception area here and this waiting area and it contains a number of furnishings, and I want to take all of the furnishings in this area, and convert them to a group.
These small workstations over here, these cubicles, these are already groups of their own. I'm just going to select one instance of those workstations, right-click and go to Select All Instances, and choose Visible in View, and that's going to select all instances of that workstation. Then I'm going to hold down my Control key, and going from right to left, I'm going to create crossing selections to grab all of the waiting room furniture, and then I'll do that one more time over in this area, except this time, I will go from left to right, and make sure I surround all of the reception furniture.
Then one single-click here to get that small wall. Once I have all of the furnishings selected, I'll then come up here to the ribbon and click Create Group. It'll ask me for a name and I'm going to put in Reception Furnishings and then click OK. If you deselect and then come back and click again on any of the elements within that new group, you can see that, of course, the entire thing highlights and selects as a single entity because it is now a model group called Reception Furnishings.
Now what I want to do is, with that group selected, if we look at the ribbon, you'll notice that you get your standard buttons: edit group, ungroup, and so on, but notice that you also get a link button here. This button allows you to take this group and convert it to a linked Revit file. As you may be aware, a linked Revit file creates a reference to another Revit project, and then that project gets embedded within the current project but maintains a connection back to the original file.
If somebody modifies the original file and saves it, you can reload that link here and see those changes within your file. It allows you a way of segregating work into different project teams, and it's often used for managing various disciplines. For example, here, if the Interiors Department was going to be responsible for all these interior furnishings, we might want to go through this process like we've just done, to give them this linked file that they can work in and let the architecture team keep working separately in the architectural model.
Let me go ahead and click that link button there, and that will offer me two choices. If I already have a file somewhere on my server that I want to use in place of this group, I can actually replace the current group instance with a different file entirely. That's a really interesting option. I don't actually have another file that I want to use right now, so I'll choose this first option instead, which is to replace the existing group that I have selected with a brand new Revit project. It will take my selected group and essentially export it and create a brand new Revit project from it.
I'll click my link over here to put it on my Desktop, and then I'm going to accept the default name which you'll note right here says "same as group name." In this case, it will create a brand new file called Reception Furnishings. You'll see the file appear briefly on screen and then I'm back in my project and now the item that's selected is no longer a group, it's now a Revit linked file and you can see that down here on the Project Browser as well if we expand Revit Links, you'll now see that I have a new file called Reception Furnishings that's listed there on my browser.
If you've worked with linked files before, you know that you can't have both the host and the link open at the same time in the same session of Revit. It's possible for them to be open at the same time in two different Revit sessions, so two different users can work together with the separate files, but you can't work on both of them yourself simultaneously. All I have to do is close my current project. I'll go ahead and save the changes. Then I can open, from my Desktop, my Reception Furnishings file.
Here's the file that we just created. I'm going to go to the Views here, and there's some minimal views that it creates, but there is a First Floor plan view. I'll zoom in here. I'm going to make a really, simple modification here. Just something very slight. I'm going to take one of these file cabinets and copy it, and then perhaps I'm going to take this wall and the reception desk and I'll use my Control key to select all of those, and just sort of drag that up until it's in line with these workstations.
Then let's copy one more file cabinet. I'm going to go ahead and save that. I'll just do Control "S." At this point, we've made a modification to that linked file that we created, but let's go ahead and do the application menu here, the big "R," Save As, and save it as a project, and I'm going to create another one called Option 2. Here I'm going to make some additional modifications. Just going to take this group of furniture, and rotate it slightly.
Then I'll take this group of furniture, and also rotate it slightly. So there's another really simple modification, and I'm going to go to the big "R" and close the file, and when it prompts me to save Option 2, I'll save that as well. I now have my original. I didn't name it Option 1, but that's basically my Option 1 which has the slightly larger reception area with the couple extra file cabinets, and then I have my new Option 2, which has those changes plus that slight modification to the waiting area furniture.
Let me re-open the original host file now, and the first thing you'll notice is that it instantaneously reloaded the linked Revit file, because, by default, when you open up a host project, it will automatically grab the latest changes for any linked file that is in it. You can see here that it's got the additional file cabinets and the slightly larger reception area that's now in line with these workstations. However, the furniture here is still rectilinear.
What if I wanted to use the Option 2 instead? Well now all I have to do is come down here to my Revit links option on the Project Browser, right-click Reception Furnishings, and choose Reload From. That's going to take me to a browse window, and I'm going to go to my Desktop. I'm going to select my Option 2 Project file. Click Open and you see it'll swap in and make the change.
Is there other ways that you do this in a Revit Project? Absolutely. We've got Design Options. We could use that. For something as simple as this change, Design Options may be more appropriate, but using Group to Link, it gives you another alternative, and particularly if the elements that you're modifying belong to another discipline, another project team entirely, like the Interiors Department or the Structural Department, then using the Group to Link process is a real easy way to take some basic elements in your project and create a completely separate project that automatically lines up with and is linked to your original host project.
It allows you to manage those elements, and give them off to that other project team, so that everyone can continue to work together, and see each other's changes as the project progresses.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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