Using Family Tools
Family Tools makes it easy to work with files commonly used to create Revit Families. Family Tools provides functionality to:
Delete the “backup” files Revit creates when working on families
Copy comma-delimited “csv” files to equivalent “txt” files, which makes type catalog creation easy by leveraging Microsoft Excel to do most of the editing
Compare the contents of two shared parameters files
Safely merge selected contents from one shared parameters file to another
List which version of Revit was used to create one or more families
Starting Family Tools
Click on the “CTC Software” tab in the ribbon and then click on the “Family Tools” button.
Delete Backup Files
This tab makes it easy to find and delete selected backup files that Revit created.
IMPORTANT: Files that are deleted using this tool are deleted permanently. They will not be available in the Recycle Bin.
Use the “Browse…” button to find the top-level directory to be searched. If the “Recursive Search” checkbox is selected, subdirectories will be included in the search for backup files. The “Refresh List” button forces the tool to read through the directory again, displaying the current list of backup files that exist in case the list of files has changed since the last time it looked.
Once it is done finding backup files, simply deselect the backup files that should not be deleted and then use the “Delete Selected Backup Files” button to delete the remaining ones that are checked.
Type Catalog Tools
Type catalogs are comma-delimited text files that Revit reads when loading a family file into a project. They must be in the same folder as the family being loaded, and they must have exactly the same file name as the family file, but instead have a “.txt” file name extension. Typically the easiest way to edit type catalogs is by using a tool that can create comma-delimited text files, such as Microsoft Excel. However, Excel’s native file name extension for these is “.csv” instead of “.txt”
One practice is to create master type catalog files in Excel and save them as “.csv” files from Excel. Simply double-clicking on these files from Windows Explorer will usually automatically open them again in Excel for later editing. Once the files are done being edited in Excel, they can be copied and renamed to the equivalent “.txt” file name.
However, this copying-and-renaming process can be very tedious, especially if many family files are being created or edited.
The “Type Catalog Tools” tab automates this copying-and-renaming process:
As with the “Delete Backup Files” tab, files to not be copied-and-renamed can easily be deslected before the “Copy Selected CSV Files to TXT Files” button is clicked.
IMPORTANT: This process will silently replace any existing txt files with the contents from their source csv files.
Compare Shared Parameters
Shared parameters files are specially-formatted text files that define the names and data types for special parameters that are used in Revit. For example, a shared parameter called “Voltage” might exist that is defined to be of the Revit data type “Electrical Potential.” Each of these parameters has other information, such as what group they belong to and, most importantly, a special property called a Globally Unique IDentifier (“GUID”), which is a special set of characters that uniquely identifies this parameter from all others that might be created by anyone. For example: ee1f8bb8-e503-49a8-bd5b-170d64400d82
Sometimes multiple shared parameters files come into play. For example, one company may create shared parameters for use in the families that represent its products, whereas a design firm that is using these Revit families may have their own shared parameters. Managing multiple shared parameters files can be difficult.
The “Compare Shared Parameters” tab makes it easy to see the differences between two shared parameters files:
In this example, at the bottom we can see the “Width” parameter defined in each file conflict with each other. This means that Revit will treat them as two separate parameters, with different meanings, when it is likely the intention is that they have the same meaning. Near the “Compare” button is a “Generate Report” checkbox. When checked the results will also appear in a pop-up window as a report that can be easily copied to the clipboard.
Merge Shared Parameters
There are times when it is desirable to combine parameters from one shared parameters file into another shared parameters file. When done, this will provide a single shared parameters file that can be referenced by Revit.
Autodesk strongly recommends that shared parameters files NOT be edited manually using a tool such as Notepad. This is because it is very easy for a person to make a mistake, which would result in a corrupt shared parameters file.
Fortunately, the “Merge Shared Parameters” tool makes it easy to safely copy shared parameters from one file to another. This tool takes care of things like ensuring the parameter from the source file ends up in the correct group in the destination file, even if the group IDs in the files are different. It also prevents the importing of parameters from the source file that are in conflict with existing parameters in the destination file.
In this example, the 4 checked parameters seen plus the “Width” parameter were selected for importing. Only two were found that didn’t already exist in the destination shared parameters file and didn’t conflict with any existing parameters in the destination shared parameters file.
IMPORTANT: Clicking the “Merge and Preview” button DOES NOT update the destination shared parameters file. It only does the merge in memory. You must explicitly click the “Save Merged Results” button in order to get the final shared parameters file to be created.
If the “Sort Saved Params” option is checked when saving, the final file will have the parameters sorted by their names.
Family File Version Detector
This detects of the version of Revit that was last used to save family files. This is useful for determining if upgrading of family files is needed, or perhaps if a family can be used in projects that are not on the current release of Revit.
If there are families that appear in the search results that should not be evaluated, simply Ctrl+click on the row header to select multiple items in the list and click the “Delete” key on the keyboard. This will not delete the family files, but instead will simply remove them from this list.
Once the files have been found, click the “Detect Versions” button to have it analyze the families on the list and then display the results:
The “Copy Grid to Clipboard” button can be used to copy the data into the clipboard, which can then be pasted into other applications, such as Microsoft Excel.