Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Show nested families on schedules, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Instructor] I was recently on one of the groups that I belong to at LinkedIn, the Revit Users group in particular and I noticed this post about scheduling nested families and it gave me the idea that maybe we should revisit the concept of nested families here in the series. The original poster here has a question about her furniture schedule, she's got a conference table with six chairs, but only the conference table is showing up on the schedule, and she was questioning how to solve that. There are several comments and you know, the solution is quite simple. You just need to make the nested elements within that family, set them as shared families, and so you can see here there are some solutions being suggested, and the original poster did figure out their original problem down here.
Let's go ahead and take a look at this within Revit, it's pretty easy thing to set up. So, to get us started, I have a really simple file here with a conference table and some chairs around it. Now this particular family is actually also flexible, so what that means is, if we take a look at it on the properties palette, under the type selector, there are several different sizes to choose from. If we choose a different size, it actually changes the quantity of chairs. So, that would make it even more important to be able to know how many chairs you have.
There is a furniture schedule in this file, let me go ahead and open that up, and then I'll go to the view tab here and tile the windows, and then let me just make an adjustment to my 3-D window, so that we can see everything clearly. Now, as you can see, the schedule is currently only showing one item, and if we click on that item, it highlights the entire conference table and all of its chairs as a single entity. Now, that's going to make it a little difficult to assign type marks, certainly going to make it difficult to know how many chairs we have, manufacturer model number might become problematic.
In a lot of ways, that's probably not the desirable behavior we want. So just like the original poster, what I would rather do is have each of those chairs be its own entry in the schedule. So to solve this is really simple. Make sure that the table is selected, and edit that family. Once I'm here, just briefly to show you how this family is being built, there is an extrusion that's used for the table itself, but then the chairs are separate nested families.
So at the two short ends of the table, we have a single task chair with arms at either end, that's the same family, and then here, we actually have array groups. So array group two along the back, and array group one along the front. And those arrays are what control the quantities of chairs. So when you go to a short table, you get a smaller array, and a long table, you get a larger array. And that changes the quantity of nested chairs there. You can select any one of those nested chairs, and either in Canvas here, I can select it directly on screen, and use edit family, or I can actually locate it on the family branch of the browser and edit it there.
But I'm going to click Edit Family and that takes me in to that nested family, and this is where I turn on the shared family feature. Which is actually really simple to do. Now make sure that nothing is selected. If you select some element, the properties are going to display the properties of the element you have selected. But if you deselect everything, then the properties is actually showing you the properties of the family itself. And if we scroll down a little bit here, you'll see a series of checkboxes, and there is the shared checkbox, right there.
Now if you read the tool tip that comes up, it explains to you what a shared family is. And it just simply means that Revit will recognize this family separately from its host and allow you to tag it, schedule it, and select it, independent of the host family within a project. So exactly what we're trying to do here. So all I have to do is check that box, and then that's all I want to do with this family, so I'm going to load it into the project and simultaneously close it. I've got two things open right now. I've got my project file and my conference table.
I don't want to load it directly into the project file. I want to load it into the conference table instead, and replace the version that's there. So I'm going to click OK, it'll ask me if I want to save the task chair with arms, and you can if you want to, but in this case, I'm just going to say no, it's not necessary, but this is very important, make sure that you overwrite the existing version. So I'll choose overwrite the existing version, and now the two task chairs at the ends are using that shared feature. Now, if we just stop there, and load this into the project, and this time I'll use load into project instead of close, so I'm going to keep it open, it will ask me again to overwrite the existing, and what we'll see is, if we return to the schedule, that we now have three items on the list here.
Now the first item is the conference table with the chairs along the sides that are not currently shared, but the two along the ends are listed separately. So that's what we're going for. So now to finish that up, we just simply return to that family and set the other nested family as shared. Now another thing I want to point out to you is right here. If we scroll down on the project browser and locate the family category under the families branch, you'll see that the task chair with arms is actually here now, as a separate family.
Which means that not only do we have access to it within the nested host family there, of the conference table, but we could actually create a separate version of this task chair if we wanted to by just simply dragging and dropping it in. Now I don't know if you can tell there, it's actually putting it on a lower level, that's what 3-D views do. So it kind of is in a goofy location here, but I think you can see that I was able to place it as a separate item, and of course, it immediately shows up on the schedule when I do that.
Now I'm just going to go ahead and delete that one. I don't really need that. Now the other thing you can do is when I highlight the overall table, it highlights the host family first, but if I put my mouse over that end chair and press tab, I'm now able to select the end chair by itself. Now it will tell me the properties of that chair, but it's all read-only. So you couldn't change anything about that item because it's nested in a host family. And if you do anything like move, copy, or rotate, it would actually affect the entire parent family.
There are still some rules governing its behavior because it's nested within another family, but the main thing we were looking for is this feature right here, where it shows up as a separate entry in the schedule, and if we were tagging, we could tag it separately as well. So let's finish it up by switching back over to our conference table family, and here, we're actually part of a group. So you really have three different ways that you can get to that family here in the group. You can either grab it right here off of the project browser, and just simply right click and choose Edit, that will do the job.
You could select this array group, edit the group, and then select it, and edit the family, or if I just hover it and tab + N, I can get to the family that way also. So there's a lot of ways you can get there, but it's the same process, you edit the family, make sure nothing's selected, turn on shared, load it into project and close, again, we're loading it back into the conference table, I don't need to save it, you can if you want to, but I do need to overwrite the existing.
Once I've done that, I'm now ready to load the final version of this back in, and I'm all done, so I can use close this time, I'm not going to save it, but again it's your choice, and I'll overwrite the existing. And now the final version looks like this. So now, we can see each and every chair is listed separately on the schedule. If you change the overall conference table to one of those other sizes, like if I choose a larger size, it'll actually add more chairs and those will be listed independently, so all of that will be interactive now, and if you just come over here to the schedule, and do a quick sort and group, maybe a little sort and group by family type and turn off itemize every instance, now we can see very clearly what we have.
We have one table, we have 12 task chairs along the sides, and we have two with arms along the ends. Turn on that shared feature, and it gives you a lot more flexibility with these nested families. So anytime you have a nested family that you want to have a little bit of its own independence, just simply turn on that shared feature, and reload the family.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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