Family Preview Manager
Using the Family Preview Manager
The Family Preview Manager can be used to set default preview images (thumbnail). It works on components, detail items, annotations and most other Revit families that are stored externally to project. Preview images are used both by Windows to show a thumbnail in Windows Explorer and by Revit when viewing the properties of a family.
Note that some families do not support thumbnail previews such as profiles.
The previews can be set up in the following ways:
Default Appearance – if nothing is specified by category, use the view angle, display style and detail level set as default
Appearance By Category – determine the view directions display style and detail level based on category
On the “CTC Software” tab, in the BIM Manager Suite ribbon, the Family Preview Manager button will be located in the Free Tools panel.
FPM can process the current family or a file/folder in batches.
Options has the settings which determines how the previews are created.
General Settings defines how all families will be processed.
Preview Name: determines the view to use for previews. If the view doesn’t exist, it will be created.
Set as active view: the view with the preview name will be set active.
Enable preview visibility: approximates the appearance of the family as placed in a project – default values shown in labels, for example
Smooth edges with anti-aliasing: curved edges will look less pixelated
Show dimensions: when applicable, dimension objects will appear in preview
Show reference planes: entire extent of planes will be shown. May make actual objects appear very small
Show reference lines: similar effect as planes
Show levels: similar effect as planes – primarily applicable for level hosted families
Show text notes: note objects will appear in preview (not necessarily labels)
Show invisible lines: some lines normally invisible will appear in preview
Show flip controls: controls such as the direction of openings or doors will be displayed
Show room calculation points: similar effect as planes and levels – may force small object sizes
Show host elements: a door and the wall, for example
Show connector elements: the connections used in MEP elements will be shown
Show void elements: normally invisible, useful for showing clearance elements for example
Show light sources: for families with lighting, show the mesh
In addition to setting the default, it is possible to specify different settings by categories. This is especially helpful for families which differ in display such as doors (preview in elevation) versus mechanical equipment (preview in 3D from top left).
The Default Appearance options are analogous to Revit’s view type (View Angle equals plan, reflected, elevation and 3D), display styles and detail level properties. The settings chosen here will be used for categories which do not have an Appearance Template defined.
Appearance by Category has functions to create many “templates” to apply to categories of families.
To define appearance templates, first create one by clicking on the “New Appearance Template” tool button:
Choose the desired options in View Angle, Display Style and Detail level:
Finally, give the template an appropriate name and click OK to save it.
In the categories section, search for the door category and expand it in the list. To use the defined appearance template for all of the host types in the category, first, select it then the appearance template Finally, click the right-pointing arrow:
Select individual host types if desired. View types remaining in the category/type list will use the Default Appearance settings:
To save the configuration for later use, Browse to a folder and give the settings file (“*.fpmsettings”) a name.
Batch Processing Files
To add multiple families for processing, choose them individually or entire folders by using the appropriate buttons. Here, a folder was selected. Each of the families contained in the folder and subfolders are added to list for processing. The family’s current preview image is displayed (as it was when last saved).
Overwrite Family will save the family after processing.
*USE CAUTION! Revit will upgrade the family if it is being processed in a version later than it was last saved!*
Choose a location to save a copy of the family after processing. This will not modify the original but it will not re-create the same folder structure. Therefore, it is recommended to copy the families first and then choose to overwrite.
Click Process to begin:
When processing is complete, a log will show successes or failures.
Clear the list and add the folder chosen as the new location to view the result. Family Preview Manager will display the preview as it was set.
NOTE: Windows Explorer may not show the same preview image under some circumstances.