Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Using embedded images to show typ wall types, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Instructor] I had a client ask me recently if there was any way that they could automatically populate a wall type detail sheet simply by having it react to the wall types that were already used in the project. In other words, if you look at this file, I've got several wall type A's, I've got a wall type C, and a wall type B, and what they want is they want a wall type sheet similar to this one right here called Wall Details and they want these three details to populate on the sheet automatically based on what the model contains.
Furthermore, if we were to go in and select one of these walls and change it to another type such that we were no longer using wall type C, so if I choose a B, for example, in that case, now notice that this one is B, this one is B, and we're not using type C anymore. They would like type C to disappear from the sheet. So, initially my reaction was that really can't be done directly in Revit because drafting views are not linked to anything, so there's no way to get the wall type to trigger the presence of that drafting view, and there's certainly no way to get a wall type to automatically place a viewport on a sheet.
That functionality is just not available in Revit. My first reaction was no, we can't do it. So, let me close this sheet and going to undo to get that back to a wall type C. I did come up with a workaround because I though about it a little, and it occurred to me that, well, what they're asking for is exactly how a schedule behaves. So if I could somehow figure out a way to create a wall type schedule that fit the bill, then we'd have a solution that worked. So, if you think about a schedule, and I've got one right here, called Wall Types, let me open that up.
A schedule just lists every item of that category that it finds in the model. In this case we're seeing all of the different walls. Now, I'm going to go to the View tab here and tile the views, then I'll just kind of make the plan view a little bit larger and reposition things so we can zoom in a little closer. And in the schedule view, you know, I've got a store front across the front here, I've got some exterior walls here, but notice that each line item in the schedule corresponds to a single object in the model, and that's exactly what it's supposed to do, right, that's the behavior of a schedule.
However, you may know that we can sort and group schedules in different ways, and so we could certainly go in and tell the schedule that instead of showing each and every wall as a separate entry, that we could show one entry for each type of wall. Furthermore, you can limit what the schedule shows based on certain criteria, so my client was only interested in the interior walls, they weren't so much interested in the exterior walls 'cause those were owned by other people, they were outside their scope, usually. Let me show you both things in the schedule, right.
So here in the Wall Types schedule I'll go down and edit the properties of that schedule, and the first thing I want to do is filter out the exterior stuff. So, if I click on the Filter tab, unfortunately there's nothing to filter on, and the reason for that is, the only field I'm showing in the schedule right now is Type, and for whatever reason Type is not eligible for filter. So I need to come up with something else to limit this schedule. Well, walls have a function property, if we add that function property, it includes things like interior, exterior, bearing wall, that sort of thing.
So, if I go to filter, that's available as a filter criteria, and then I could say does it have to equal it or not equal it, and so on. So let's leave it set to equals and then this is the built-in list of functions. So all we have to do is leave it set to Interior and say, in order to appear on the schedule, the function has to equal Interior. And when I click OK, we'll lose all of the exterior walls. So now our schedule is showing us just the interior partitions. So so far so good, that's the first thing. Now the next thing is, instead of seeing this many wall type A's, what I'd really like is just a single line item for A and a single line item for B, and C, and so on.
So how do we do that? Well, that's gonna occur on Sorting and Grouping. We could sort by either of the two fields that we currently have loaded, but the functions for everything are the same, so if we sort by Interior, it's not gonna change the schedule in any way, we're just still gonna see exactly the same thing, but the Type is what's unique here. So if I sort by Type, if I only did that, it'll put the A's first, then the B, then the C, but if we come down here and uncheck Itemize every instance, that's what's going to give us a single entry for each type.
So now it'll look across each line item and only show me the unique ones. And again, since they're all interior functions, that will have no bearing on this, and when I click OK, I now get one entry for A, there's all the A walls, one for B, and one for C. Now, let's get back to my client's original question. If I click back over here in the floor plan, this type C wall is still selected. Go to the Type selector, assign it to a type B wall, and then it changes to B here on the floor plan, but notice, more importantly, what happened in the schedule.
Because I'm no longer using a type C, that wall disappears from the schedule. So that's exactly the behavior that they're looking for, and if we change our mind and set this back to a type C, then that entry will reappear. So that's what they want. So the question is, can I somehow turn this tabular schedule into something graphical? In other words, can I get the schedule to show me images instead of text, and the answer is yes, as long as you're okay with having each wall type as an embedded image file, a bitmap image file instead of a live drafting view.
Now I would love it to be a live drafting view, but that's not supported by Revit, so the next best thing is to come over here, you may recall that I already had all those details drawn, here they are on the Wall Details sheet, right. So we can see that each one of these is available here. So I just need to open up each one of those details and export it as an image. Now you might need to do a few things before you do, like maybe you don't want to see reference planes, so I could hide that element. Maybe you don't want these borders, you could hide those elements, so just do a few things that you need to do to get the on-screen view looking exactly how you want it to look, and then you go to File, Export, come over here and highlight this little arrow to scroll it down, go to Images and Animations, and choose Image.
This will display the Export Image dialog. At the top you can tell it what folder you want to export this thing to, and then the most important thing is getting the size right. Now the default is 512 pixels, that's not gonna be nearly big enough, so what you want to do is think about how big you want this image, this rectangle here to be on the sheet, when it's finally printed out, and then multiply that by at least 300 pixels per inch. So in my case I want the width of this thing to be 6 3/4 inches wide, and I want at least 300 pixels per inch to get a nice high-quality print out.
So, if we do that math, that's 2025 pixels in the horizontal direction. Now I'm gonna leave it to horizontal, actually vertical in my case would be the same because my details are square, but in your case, if yours is wider than it is high, then just make sure you're choosing the appropriate dimension. You can set either the vertical or the horizontal, but just make sure you're doing the math correctly. Now, as far as the format, I personally like PNG. I'm not a fan of JPEG for this because JPEG is a lossy format, and it will make the edges fuzzy, and you want it to be nice, and crisp, and sharp.
So either choose PNG or TIF here, to get the best results. So I'm gonna choose PNG 2025 and then I'll click OK. Now that'll export this view, and then I need to repeat that for each of the other details. I'll close this one and I want to just come back to the sheet here for a minute and hover over each of these viewports. That one is nice and square. That one is nice and square, but notice that this one has this little excess over here. If you open these PNG files that are generated in an image editing program like Photoshop or any other image editing program, you're gonna have this big chunk of white space off to the left-hand side.
Now, you could use your image editing program to crop that out easily enough, or what you can do is figure out why it's doing that in Revit and fix it in Revit ahead of time. This particular view is this one right here and the reason it's doing that it's 'cause there's some geometry that extends past this rectangle over here that's invisible. So you just need to make sure that you remove any of that invisible geometry before you export or go into your image editing program and crop it out there.
So in this case the ceiling tile I can just choose a type that's a little bit smaller, like this one right here, and you see that brings it in just before this line and then I can take this mask right here and just make that a little bit smaller and now if I exported that image again, it would be square, and I wouldn't have that extra overlap. So I just wanted to point that out that sometimes you're gonna run into issues like that. So I don't want to imply that this is gonna be a quick process or necessarily even an easy process, especially if you have lots and lots of details.
But the good news is, if these are standard details that you use in every project, you only need to do this work once. You export all those image files and then once you have them, you're done. You don't need to export them again. And I'll just close this sheet here. Now, the next step is to go back to the schedule and load in the Type Image field into the schedule and then make sure that there's a type image loaded for each wall type in your project. So, how do we do that? Well I'm in the schedule, I'll scroll down, I'll go to Fields, scroll down here on the list of fields, and you're looking for Type Image.
This is a built-in property that's available to every object in Revit. I'll load that in and let's click OK, and now you'll see right here that I get a new field and notice that I've already filled it in for type B and C, but type A, it's currently set to None. I can do it on screen by selecting it here and go to Edit Type, or I can even do it right here. Click this little browse button, that brings me to the Manage Images dialog and if you have an image loaded, you can just choose it off the list, like if I wanted to assign it to the same details type B, I could, or you can click Add down here and I've provided an image for A, B, and C.
So I'll simply select image A, open that up, that loads it in, and then I'll click OK, and then it says, this change is gonna apply to all instances of type A, which is exactly what I want, and I'll click OK, and it's now filled in there. The schedule is text. How do we get that to show graphics? So it turns out that the image field only appears when you place it on a sheet, so that's our final step, we just need to place this on a sheet and then we'll see all of the graphics instead of the text.
So let's make a few more final modifications to the schedule, and then that's what we'll do. If we go back to Fields, we currently have these three fields loaded. Now you may be tempted to get rid of these two because all we want is the type image, but remember, each of these is serving a purpose. The Function is what we're using to filter the schedule, and the Type is what we're using to sort the schedule. So you want to keep both of those fields in there, but we don't want to see either one. So just select both of those and make them hidden fields.
And then click OK. So in this field that remains, the Type Image field, you can click in here and then on the ribbon you've got some options and what you can do right here is click this Resize button and currently it's only one inch wide, which is gonna compress the size of those PNG files. Remember, our size was 6 3/4 inches, so I'll put that in here, that'll make that column significantly wider, but until you place it on a sheet, it won't make sense what we just did.
So our final step is to place it on a sheet, I've got a sheet here for that purpose, A102 - Wall Images, let's open that up and let's give this some room here. And then zoom in, and now what we're gonna do is take this Wall Type schedule, drag it and drop it on the sheet, and because we pre-sized that 6 3/4, they'll show up nicely there in the correct size. Now there is some resizing buttons here, but in my experience it works better when you do it directly in the schedule the way that I just showed you.
Even though these buttons are tempting, I tend to avoid those. So now we have these detail images displaying for each of the wall types we're actually using. Now, to put the whole thing to the test, let's come back over here to our floor plan and one more time let's take one of our existing walls and change it to something else. So you can do this either with wall type B or C, which each appear only once, and notice that when I change both of those to B, it automatically removes wall type C. If I change my mind and set it back again to wall type C, wall type C detail will automatically reappear.
It's a little bit of work to set this up, you've got to create these details, you've got to export each one into an image file, you potentially gotta do some post-processing in an image editing program just to get it all correct, then you've got to assign all those images to all your wall types. But, once you've got all that set up, then it sort of just takes care of itself, and the only potential downside here is what we're actually printing, is an embedded image file, but if you set the resolution of that image file correctly, then it should be barely noticeable from live geometry.
So where this is gonna work best is for those firms that have standard wall type details. So if your firm is like that, and you have lots of standard partitions and lots of standard details, and it's always the same ones from one project to the next, then you can build all of this directly into your project template and then it will just behave accordingly for all of the users in your firm. So it can be a very powerful way to do it that gives you this kind of interactive behavior between what we're displaying on the wall type detail sheet and what we're actually using in the model.
Now, is it gonna work for every firm and for every situation? No, there definitely are some limitations to it. But I challenge you to give it a try, see if it will work for your firm, and you might find that it gives you a very powerful tool that otherwise you'd be handling in a very manual way.
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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