Using Family Checker
Family Checker can be invaluable whenever there is a need to evaluate the consistency, completeness and overall “health” of incoming and outgoing Revit families. As is often the case, collaboration and acquisition of useful content is complex and time consuming. Ensuring that a piece of content functions correctly and contains accurate information usually requires detailed, manual examination of each one by a content manager, regardless of the original source.
Use Family Checker to quickly evaluate Revit content from manufacturers, project collaborators, Revit content sites such as Autodesk Seek and in-house libraries. To begin checking families, declare the common shared parameter file, acceptable parameter groupings, allowable names and build the list of family files to check. The Family Checker will open, gather information and produce a spreadsheet based report without modifying the families themselves.
Based on the generated report, a content manager can identify and fix families which don’t meet the established criteria and best practices.
Click the Family Check tool button on the Manager Suite panel to start the application.
When the Family Checker opens, the main form is presented:
Family Checker Configuration
Prior to using the Family Checker, it is necessary to configure some of the application options. From the main toolbar, click the options button. The first tab displayed contains the ‘General’ options that will be used when the selected family files are processed.
User Initials: Specify what characters identify the user running the report. Click ‘Auto’ to get the logged in user.
Main Parameter File: The path to the shared parameters file which contains the shared parameters that should be used with the families being checked
SEEK Shared Parameter File: If using this tool to check families for compliance with the Autodesk SEEK service (such as content created by an equipment manufacturer specifically for distribution on the SEEK service), specify the path to the shared parameters file
The ‘Groups’ tab contains two panes which display the way parameters should be grouped in the family:
To add Parameter Types to Parameter Groups, simply expand the type and drag it to the desired group:
Hold the SHIFT or CTRL key while selecting to drag multiple types to a group:
To reset the changes made to groupings, click the ‘Defaults…’ button.
The ‘Name Rules’ tab enables Family Checker to evaluate parameters for disallowed or non-standard characters in their names:
This function can be helpful in identifying invalid characters or unwanted combinations of letters which may interfere with useful data extraction, proper scheduling, or BIM standards. The check is run by matching parts of the parameter names with the specified combinations. If a match is found, the name is declared valid or invalid, depending upon which list the character combination is defined in.
To define valid or invalid name parts, simply type each combination in the appropriate list. Press Enter or Return to add another item to the list.
Saving and Loading Configurations
It may be necessary to use different rules for checking families. Family Checker can save and load its configuration options stored in .fcs files. To save or load settings, click the ‘Load Options…’ or ‘Save Options…’ buttons on the Options dialog:
When loading options, any previously unsaved changes made will be lost. Be sure to save any configuration changes before loading settings from additional .fcs files.
Current Family: This checks the family that is currently open in Revit
Multiple Families: Use the multi-file selector interface to search through folders for families. Browse to the folder or folders where the families to be checked are located. If the families are located within subfolders of the parent folder, check the “Search in subfolder” box to see a list of all the files.
Select families from the top pane using the helper buttons or by holding CTRL/SHIFT while left-clicking.
Continue browsing and adding families until desired list is complete. Click ‘Check Families’ to begin processing
Manufacturer Content: If families to be checked are obtained from or have been developed by a product manufacturer, activate the ‘Manufacturer Content’ button to enable additional checks for consistent “Manufacturer” parameter values.
The reports produced by Family Checker contain several tables which summarize the checks and results for each family. If multiple families were checked, each will have its own tab in the report.
Family Checker reports can be saved and reviewed in most common spreadsheet tools such as Microsoft Excel. Click ‘Save Report(s)’ to choose a destination and file name for the report.
The report for each family contains the following information and structure:
Preliminary Information: properties of the family file such as name and location, Manufacturer Content, family type, family category, part properties, date of check and reviewer details (user initials)
Family Information: results of evaluation relative to the section named in the Revit Content Style Guide (link provided at the end of the Family Checker section).
Basis for Standards
Each section of the report follows the same overall structure. It will display two columns in the table with the criterion in the left ‘Section’ and the recommended action in the right column labeled ‘Comments’. The “Action Recommended” generally uses the following terms where applicable:
Optimal if the evaluated property exactly follows the rule
Action Recommended if some of the rules are met but minor violations have been found
Acceptable if rule is not violated or cannot logically be applied in this case
Action Required if evaluated property exactly violates the rule
N/A if rule cannot be evaluated for this family; i.e. no solid geometry check in annotation category
Not everything can be checked automatically. As such, the report will indicate what in the family need to be manually checked. This is generally because a proper evaluation dependent upon environment, discipline or intended use.
To set the status of a “check manually” item:
Save the report and open it in Excel (or a suitable spreadsheet editor)
Scroll down to the relevant sections, looking for “Must be checked manually” in the Comment column
Evaluate the property of the family in Revit to determine the appropriate status
In the spreadsheet, click the cell to activate the combo box list (Excel may need interaction to enable editing)
Choose the appropriate state from the list to set it in the report
Save and/or print changes to the reports from Excel
Further Information Regarding Evaluation Criteria and Guidelines Revit Content Style Guide – for section references in the report: http://blog.seek.autodesk.com/?p=119
Revit Master Shared Parameter List – provided by Autodesk: http://revit.autodesk.com/Library/RMCSG/Revit_Model_Content_Style_Guide_v2_1.zip