- [Paul] Sometime ago I put a post on LinkedIn for the tip series asking for any requests for future tips. And I got a lot of comments back, so thanks to everyone who replied. And one of them was this one right here where they were asking about, sort of an overview of the shared coordinate system. So specifically twofold is this question. He wants to know just the basic workflow for the initial setup of shared coordinates and then what happens when it changes. So I do want to point out that I have a whole course, actually, on the subject, and you're welcome to check that out after watching this tip for more in-depth look.
But to try and satisfy this question I'm going to give you a quick overview in this video. So let's switch over to Revit here. And I tried to keep the files really simple to just focus on the shared coordinates and not on the complexity of the geometry or the buildings or anything like that. So I've got two files. The one we're in is called Terrain. And as you can see it's just got a really simple topo surface. And I went ahead and put a building pad in here for the location of the building. So that'll make it really easy to position it where it needs to go.
So I'm going to go to the site plan. There's no requirement that says you have to use the site plan, but it's not a bad place to start. Certainly when you're linking different files together it can be advantageous to work here. In the middle of the screen are these two symbols, there's actually two symbols here. There's a circle, and if I use my tab key you can see that there's also a triangle. So the triangle is the survey point. The circle is the project base point. So I just want you to remember that at the moment they're right on top of each other in the center of the screen.
That's their default position in any new Revit file. But after we're done saving shared coordinates that may not be the case. So that's one of the clues that you'll have that shared coordinates have been established. So just kind of make note of that that right now both of those symbols are on top of each other. Okay, so the first thing we need to set up shared coordinates is, well, some files that we want to link together. So we're in our terrain, let's go find our linked file. So go to the Insert tab and then click on Link Revit, and then in this case I'm going to click this file called Simple Building.
Now down at the bottom are some positioning options. And there are several here, Center to Center, Origin to Origin. Now you may be tempted to say, well, we're talking about shared coordinates so let's use By Shared Coordinates. Well honestly, for this example, it doesn't really matter what you pick, because no matter what we pick we're going to have to move the building anyway. And then we're done save the shared coordinates. So even if you choose By Shared Coordinates and you click Open you'll get this message. And what this message is saying is that currently there are no shared coordinates saved between these two files.
So what shared coordinates is is it's just the relationship between a pair of files. And if this pair of files has never been linked together before and shared coordinates has never been saved for this pair before, then they don't know about each other. So there is no shared coordinates. That's what this message is saying. So I'm going to close this dialog, and it told me I'm going to just put it in the center, 'cause it had to put it somewhere, and so that means I'll have to move this to get it into position. So, again, I tried to keep that simple for us here by creating the building pad.
So I'm going to come over here to the Modify tab, click the Align tool, I'll pick the edge of my pad and then the front of this building wall here, and then the edge of my pad and the side of this wall right there, and that kind of snaps that building right into position. Okay, so now I've got it positioned where I want it to go. Now in many cases you should also go to an elevation view and position here as well because sometimes it's way down low or it's way up high. So you definitely want to check it in elevation as well as plan.
But in this case I built it so that it would come in at the correct height in elevation, so nothing to do there. Okay, so now I've got the building where I want it to go. Now I want to save shared coordinates, because if I don't save shared coordinates and I tried to link it again in a different pair of files or cross link to one another I would have to do the manual movement. So the whole idea of shared coordinates is it will prevent my having to do this again. Once I've set it up it's set up and it will just know what to do. So how do we set up the shared coordinates? What I'm going to do is simply select the building link and look at the Properties palette.
Now over here on the Properties palette you can optionally name it if you want to. It's just named number two right now. But I could call it whatever I want. I'm going to skip right to Shared Site. It says Not Shared. So that's the part that's the shared coordinates. So it's literally telling you currently we don't have any shared coordinates. Now when you click that you will get a dialog that will give you two options, publish and acquire. And those names kind of imply what they're going to do. You've got two files. And what this really means is the shared coordinates need to originate from one of these two files.
So do you want them to originate in the current file, the terrain model, and get published to the building or vice versa? Do you want them to originate in the building and get acquired from the building into the terrain? Now honestly you could make a case for either one, and it really doesn't matter a whole lot. But in my view, if I'm starting with a site plan or a terrain, the bigger thing usually is where I want to start from. That's where I want the coordinates to originate. So I'm going to start with the coordinates from the site and publish those to the building or buildings.
In this case I've only got one building, but if I had multiple buildings I would publish to all the buildings. So I'm going to choose publish here, and I could go right to this Reconcile button next, but there's a really important step that I want to highly recommend that you do. It's optional but down here you'll see that it says simple building.rvt, that's the name of this Revit link, and then Internal. So what it's saying is I'm going to record the selected instance at this location, the location called Internal.
Now Internal is just the default name that Revit uses. There's nothing special about that name. I like to click Change. And then either Duplicate or Rename that saved position. Now if you don't need Internal for any other reason you can just simply rename it. If you're a little nervous about renaming it and you want to keep it for whatever reason you can Duplicate it instead. It doesn't matter, it'll work just fine either way. But what I'm going to do is give this a more descriptive name. Now I'm going to call this Building A Location, assuming that eventually you're going to have a Building B and C and so on.
So I'm going to name this Building A proactively. That changes the name Internal to Building A. I'm just describing this position on the site. So this position that I'm saving to I'm describing as building A. I'll click OK and now I'll click Reconcile. At that point, if you look over here on the Properties palette, notice that the shared site now says Building A location. If we hadn't renamed it it would say Internal. So it's fine if it says Internal. If says anything other than not shared you've got shared coordinates.
Uh, but not so fast. There's one final step. If I don't save this right now it's not permanent. Now that may be an obvious statement, but sometimes it's easy to forget that that's required. Now when I save it a really important thing is going to happen. So let's come up here and click the save icon or do control S. Now the Location Position Changed dialog will appear. And what it's saying is you've changed a position, the current position, inside the simple building rvt file.
In other words, you've changed something inside this file. What do you want to do? You could Save it, you could not save it, or you could turn off shared positioning. Well we don't want to turn off shared positioning. The whole point of this video was we want to save shared positioning. And do not saving it kind of postpones it, but it doesn't really do what we need it to do, so the only option is to save it. If you don't save it it's not permanent. So let's click Save right here. So now we've saved the shared positioning.
Okay, now let me show you what that looks like. Now if you've worked with Revit links before you know that you can't have both the link and a host open at the same time. So I can't just go open this building without closing or unloading or something like that. So I'm going to close, control w, the terrain model. When I do that I'm now back to the Recent Files screen. Now I'm going to go to Open, and what I want you to see here is the first clue that we've actually saved both files.
Notice that next to Terrain I have a backup and next to Simple Building I have a backup. Well backups get generated when you save. So it not only saved the Terrain when I did control s, but it also saved the Simple Building when we clicked Save in that second dialog. So I'm going to open the Simple Building file. And here you can see that it's oriented horizontally to match the screen, and if you imagine the project team working on this building, that would be the most convenient orientation for them to work in.
They wouldn't want to work at this strange angle. It's more convenient this way. Now let me open up the site plan, and do you remember how I told you to remember the position of those two markers on screen? Previously the circle and the triangle were right on top of each other. And I said that was the default for every new Revit project, right? Well, we didn't open this file initially, but had we opened it you would have seen that they were right on top of each other. But as soon as we saved the shared positioning, they've actually shifted.
So now your next clue that we've saved shared coordinates is if you click on either one of these, I know these numbers are a little tough to read on my screen, but focus on this number right here, Angle to True North is 24 degrees. So as we can see we're oriented horizontally, but if you remember back in the other file it was at an angle. What angle? 24 degrees. And then if you click this thing you'll see that angle again which is now the XY axis is rotated at oh, looks like about 24 degrees, and this is at 0, 0. So this is the site 0, 0, the survey point, and the building's base point is offset from that by a distance that matches the amount we moved and rotated by in the other file.
Now here's the really powerful part of shared coordinates. Let's say that I want to bring the site plan in here for coordination purposes. So I'll go to Insert, Link Revit, select the Terrain this time, leave it set to Auto By Shared Coordinates and click Open. And the building will know exactly where to go. That's the whole point of shared coordinates. It comes in in exactly the right spot without your having to do anything else. Now this next part is sometimes a little bit confusing, but if I click on this link and look over here it says Internal, and you're like, wait a minute, Paul, we renamed Internal.
No we didn't. We renamed Internal in the building. And we're now inside the building. We didn't rename Internal in the terrain. So if you go to the Manage tab and look under Project Location here's the Location button, click that. It's Location Weather and Site. Click the Site tab. This is the one we renamed. So you see how it says Building A Location. So Building A Location is part of the building file, but the site file, the terrain model, still thinks of its location as Internal.
Now if you wanted to you could go to this dialog back in the terrain and rename it. It would work perfectly fine and you could call it something else. But it is called Internal, 'cause as we said, Internal's just the default name that Revit uses. Okay, so we've got our shared coordinates all set up right now. They're going to continue to work just perfectly. But what happens if somebody makes a change? The client says, oh, we need to move the building or we want to change the orientation of the building a couple degrees or something like that. I'll demonstrate that by just taking the site plan here and moving it.
When you move something that has shared coordinates it will immediately tell you hey, you're messing with a saved location, okay? So you can read through this whole message here and you've got two options. You can click OK and dismiss the warning and say I'll deal with it later, or you could click Save Now which will update the shared coordinates instantly. If you did Save Now then the next time you opened the other file, the Terrain file, the building will move over the appropriate amount, 10 feet I think it was in this case.
Whatever amount I moved it. If you click OK you're kind of postponing that. Sometimes it's a good idea to click OK and you want to keep working and maybe make a few more changes, like for example if this needed to move some more it won't warn you again. But when you're finally done moving it you still need to save. So at this point if I save the file we get this message again. Because before it's going to let you finish out of this file it's going to want to know what you want to do with that saved positioning. And your choices are save it and it will update everywhere or disable it.
Okay, so if you disable it you can turn it off, that's perfectly fine, but then you don't have shared coordinates anymore. So I would need to click Save, and then if I reopen that other file it will shift the building the appropriate amount, which we can see here on the site plan, okay? Now obviously I would have some work to do here in this file to make the building pad match the building, but you can see that updating the shared coordinates is as simple as just saying yeah, re-save them, and everything will update. So I hope that gives you an idea of not only the steps involved in setting up shared coordinates, but also what some of the value and benefit of using shared coordinates can be.
Notes: The exercise files included with this course can be opened in the latest version of Revit. If you are using an older version, some files may be incompatible. Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
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