Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Create manual tags with generic annotations, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Instructor] Creating complete architectural documentation packages involves all sorts of symbols and text and annotations throughout the various views that will be included within those packages. Now, wherever possible, in Revit, we want to take fullest advantage of all the live annotation that Revit offers us. That's the live dimensions, the tags that are pointing to individual elements, like door and window and wall tags. If those elements change, the tags update immediately, and you see the changes. So that's very powerful and it's very useful. Well, not every type of information that you need to convey in every documentation package will have readily-available information within the model.
Or, if the information is within the model, it might not be easy to come up with a hosted relationship that makes sense, in order to be able to extract that information within a live tag. In situations like that, you can use something called a generic annotation symbol. Now, we have generic annotation symbols for all sorts of graphical symbols that we want to add to our projects, for things as simple as this little center line symbol here, or this north arrow right here. Now, both of those are just simple graphical symbols. But it's also possible to create generic annotations that not only have a graphical symbol, but also convey information.
And so that's the kind that I want to talk about here in this video. So, what we're going to do is go to the File menu, go to New, and Annotation Symbol, and we're actually going to create a custom generic annotation. So we want to start with the Generic Annotation family template, and we'll open that up. Now, when it opens, you can zoom in, and you'll see this red note here, and it's telling you that you can change the family category as appropriate, that the insertion point is right here, and that you should delete this note before continuing.
So, as far as the category goes, if you go to Family Category and Parameters, and you choose one of the tag types, then you'll be creating a live, hosted annotation element. If you leave it set to Generic Annotations, you are creating a non-hosted element. You're creating a non-hosted generic annotation. Or, another way to think of that is, it's a non-hosted tag, or a manual tag, or some folks will even call it a dummy tag. However you think of it, what we're going to be doing is creating a graphical symbol that will have properties that we can type in values for, and that information will live only in that symbol.
So, let's go ahead and create a really simple example here. I'm going to go to the Create tab, and I could create static text, but I want flexible text, so I'm going to choose Label. So, Label is just a piece of text that you'll be able to input values into. Now, once again, if I had changed the category to some other tag type, door tag, wall tag, what have you, I would have a list of properties here from that host element. So I would have a list of door properties, or a list of wall properties.
But in this case, because I left it a generic annotation, I don't have anything on the list. So, I have to come down here and click Add Parameter. And I can put in anything I want here. So I'm going to call this Designation. And I'll make it a text property, and I'm going to go with Instance, for this example. Now, you might want to experiment with both Type and Instance, because they give you a slightly different experience when using them in your projects, but in this case, I'm going to keep it simple, and just stick with Instance. Now, once I've created that custom property, I can then use this button here to add it to my label, okay.
So that's this label in the background that we're going to be placing on screen here. So, I'm going to change the sample value of that label to just XX, kind of like a placeholder. And I could click OK here and finish, and then I would just simply have this designation number. So I'm going to go a step further there, and I'm going to add a couple more text properties. I'll make both of them Instance. And in this case, I'll just choose Color and Manufacturer. Now, you could put in whatever you want here. I'm not going to add these to the label. So, when you don't add them to the label, what they become is basically invisible properties.
And I'll show you what the value of those invisible properties are when we use it in the project. Let me zoom in just a touch here. Using these grips, I'm going to reduce the width of that label just a little bit, click the Modify tool to cancel, and then here, on the Create tab, I'll click the Line tool, and I'll just draw a simple box around this symbol to kind of say that that's the shape I want this tag to have. Now, of course, you can set the size of that box very precisely, but in this case, I just eyeballed it, and then I'll click Load into project and close.
Now, because this is a brand-new family, it's going to ask me, do I want to save the changes? And I'll say Yes. Now, I'm calling it Manual Finish Tag. You can name it whatever you like. Once again, some folks like to actually call it dummy tag. That will take me into the project, and it runs the Place Symbol tool. So, to place a generic annotation, you go to the Annotate tab, and you click the Symbol tool. That's how we place one of these. And then, I'll just go ahead and place a couple of these at different points on screen in that main lobby space.
Let's click the Modify tool to cancel. Now, at the moment, all I'm seeing is the big rectangle. But if I click one of these tags, notice that a small question mark appears. I can click right on that, and because I set the properties as instance properties, I can type them in directly. So I'm going to make that one PT-1, PT-2, and PT-3. Now, here's where we get to see our first glimpse of the other properties that we also created for this tag.
Remember I said they'd be like invisible properties. Well, they're invisible with respect to the onscreen display here in the floor plan, but notice that if you've got the tag selected, you see Color and Manufacturer listed over there in the Properties palette. And you could type in whatever you want here. So I'll fill in a manufacturer and a color, and then move on and do that same thing for each of the others. Now, where would we get to see that information? Well, that information can be displayed on a special kind of schedule called a note block.
Now, this is the part that's a little confusing about this. It's not really clear to me why they call this a note block. But if you go to the View tab, and you click the Schedule dropdown, and you come over here to Note Block, hover over it, and wait for the tool tip, it says, this creates a schedule of annotations added using the Symbol tool. In other words, these things. So, it's the only schedule in Revit that will actually create a schedule of a particular family only. All of the other schedules in Revit are linked to a category, and they'll show everything in the category.
But when we choose Note Block here, notice that instead of it giving us a list of categories, it gives us a list of families. Now, I suppose you could make a note block of your center line symbols, or your north arrow symbols, but I don't think those would be very interesting. Let's do Manual Finish Tag. Now, over here, I'm going to call this Finish List, and I'll click OK, and now, you're not only going to see the designation, the visible designation, let's go ahead and add that one first, but you're also going to see each of the invisible fields as well.
Now, I'm going to add both of those, and then I'm also going to add the count, okay, and I'll show you the advantage of having that momentarily. So I've added each of these fields. Let's click OK, and now you get a list of all of the manual finish tags that you've placed in the project, complete with those hidden fields and the information that you inputted in each one of those. Now, I'm going to click the Restore Down icon here, click back over into my floor plan, and then type WT to tile the windows. Don't try and tile the windows when the schedule view is active on screen, because if you type WT, it'll start editing the fields in the schedule.
All right, so now, if I click through any of these, you can see that they actually select the corresponding element there on screen. Now, what if I selected one of these and copied it somewhere else, like over here into this stair area? Well, now, that gives me two entries for PT-3. So this is where you could just customize the schedule a little bit further, go to the Sorting and Grouping tab, tell it to sort by designation, and then turn off Itemize every instance.
When you do, notice that you now get PT-3 here, with a total count of two. Now, selecting it will actually select both of those tags here on screen. Now, once you've done all of this work, to kind of do the finishing touches in the floor plan view, you have two options. You could select the tag and add leaders to it. So this is a really handy feature, because now, I can just simply use these leaders, make adjustments to them, and point where this tag actually references.
And you can add multiple leaders, but unfortunately, each leader can only have two segments. So, if you want a tag that has more segments than that, like, let's say that this PT-3 starts over here, in this corner, but it's going to continue to wrap around down along this location here, well, what I could do is just use detail lines instead.
And I could come down here and kind of go all the way around, and then point it in where it needs to go, and let's change that from a dashed line to maybe something like a thin line instead, okay. So, that's how you could kind of make a multi-segment. Now, keep in mind that this is all view-specific, because these are annotation elements, just like dimensions or live tags. The only difference is, those are not live tags. Those tags contain the information themselves, but, as you can see, it's a really quick process to go in and indicate where these finish breaks are, generate a nice finish list, and keep track of everything that way.
Now, you may be wondering, at this point, well, this doesn't seem very BIM-like. Why would I do this? Well, it would be very challenging to build a live tag that did what I've just done there, that kind of goes along several walls and columns and says, this is the same paint along all of that called out in a floor plan. There may be a way that you could pull off something similar to that, but it would be very challenging to do. And so, what you really have to do is weigh the pros and cons of doing things always, quote unquote, by the book, and doing it in the model, versus taking a few liberties and doing some of these manual approaches.
The downside, of course, is it's manual. So, when you need to update these finish designations, you're having to do that directly in the tags. The schedule will certainly help you do that. For example, I still have this other PT-3 here, and what's really nice about this is, if I wanted to change the designation of the color or the manufacturer, or even the PT designation, it's as simple as modifying the fields directly in the schedule, and those updates will be reflected on screen.
So the only real difference is, the information is a direct link between the tag and the schedule, and there's no model elements involved. So, yeah, it may feel a little bit non-BIM, but it could be just the thing you need for very specific and focused documentation tasks.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.