Revit Families: Adding details
In this article we'll explain you the basics of adding details to your Families. First we'll show you how to create a detail component by either importing an AutoCAD drawing or creating one yourself. Next we'll explain how to place this detail component in your previously made Family and how to set the different detail levels.
Creating the detail component
To create the detail we can either draw the detail within Revit or import an AutoCAD drawing, or a combination of both.
The first step is to create a new detail component.
- Click the Application Button, New, Family
- The 'New Family - Select Template File' Windows opens:
- Find and select the Metric Detail Item.rft file (In C:\Program Data\Autodesk\RVT 20##\Family Templates\English)
- Click Open.
The file opens and shows a simple cross of two dotted lines. These lines indicate the origin of the Detail Component.
We can now draw or import our detail.
Drawing the detail
For drawing the detail we basically have three useful tools that can be found on the Home tab.
- The (Line tool) gives us the possibilities to draw lines. We can change the appearance of the lines by changing the subcategory either in the Modify tab or in the Properties window.
- The (Filled Region tool) gives you the possibilities to draw closed areas filled with a pattern (hatch). Keeping your mouse hovered above the button loads a video with a clear explanation of how this tool works. To change the appearance of the borders of the Filled Region, we need to choose a Line Style before drawing our region.
We can also change this after drawing our Region by selecting the Filled Region, clicking Edit Boundary in the Modify tab, selecting the lines we want to change and choose a different setting for the subcategory in the Properties window. Clicking Edit Type in the Properties window of the Filled Region opens the Type Properties of the Filled Region.
Here we can change a few settings for the Fill Pattern, like the actual Fill Pattern to be used, the Background (Opaque or Transparent), the Line Weight and the Color. However, setting the Fill Pattern to Opaque doesn't mean you can draw hatched regions on top of each other. Only the Solid fill will actually be Opaque, and hide the Region underneath it.
- The (Masking Region tool) gives you the possibilities to mask certain areas. This is useful to hide parts of the geometry the detail is linked to. This may be necessary as the detail is obviously more detailed than the geometry of the Family or project the family is used in. A Masking Region hides parts of the objects in the project, so you'll only see the lines of the detail component you draw there.
Keeping your mouse hovered above the button loads a video with a clear explanation of how this tool works. This tool doesn't mask things in the Detail Component, but only in the Project the Detail Component will be used in. To hide parts of the Detail Component itself, we'll have to use a Filled Region with a Solid Fill.
By default, the borders of the masking area are visible. To be able to hide the border lines of the masking area we need to set the Line Style to Invisible Lines before drawing our area.
We can also change this after drawing our area by selecting the Masking Region, clicking Edit Boundary in the Modify tab, selecting the lines we want to change and choose a different setting for the subcategory in the Properties window.
Importing an AutoCAD drawing
To create the detail component, we can also import an AutoCAD drawing. Before importing the AutoCAD drawing we must first clean up the drawing in AutoCAD and make sure we are using the right scale. Once we have done that we can proceed by importing our drawing.
- Go to the Insert tab and click (Import CAD) to select the drawing. Make sure the Import units are set to the actual units of the AutoCAD drawing. Leave all the other settings as they are.
- Align the drawing to the origin by clicking (Align) in the Modify panel. First click the vertical reference line and then click a line of the drawing that should match with this reference line. Do the same for the horizontal reference line.
- Turn the drawing into Revit objects by clicking the drawing and the down arrow on the Explode button. Then click Full Explode. The warning that might pop up can be ignored!
We can now edit our Detail Component the same way as if it was drawn in Revit. We can change the hatch patterns, line weights and line types just like described above in the Drawing the detail section. We can off course also add objects to complete the Detail Component by drawing inside Revit.
Finishing the Detail Component
To make our detail appear correctly in our project, we might have to mask certain parts of the objects in the project. For that, we need to create the necessary Masking Regions in the Detail Component. We can for example hide parts of walls or insulation to make room for the extra detail information we need. Because not all detail information should be placed at the same position for every wall type, it is good practice to use parameters for the position of certain detail information. We could also use parameters for other elements of the detail. It is good practice to add Reference Planes when working with parameters. Reference Planes will not be visible in the project.
A cleaned up version of the detail might look like this.
We might also want to change/add different Line Weights and Styles. By clicking (Object Styles) in the Manage tab, the following window opens:
We can add and delete styles here, but also change the appearance (Line Weight, Line Color, Line Pattern) of the different styles. It is good practice to remove the AutoCAD styles (in this case the lower two).
To finish our Detail Component, select all the detail objects and click their Visibility/Graphics Overrides in the Properties window to change the visibility in different Detail levels. Only check the Fine detail level.
Our Detail Component is now ready and can be saved to be used in a Family.
Adding the Detail Component to the Family
To add the Detail Component to the Family we have have to open our Family. Go to the corresponding view (Floor Plans - Ref. Level for horizontal sections and Elevations Left or Right for vertical sections) and set the Detail Level in the view Properties to Fine. Now select all the objects that shouldn't display in Detail Level Fine and Edit the Visibility/Graphics Overrides in the Properties window. Un-check Fine, so these objects won't show in Detail Level Fine in the project. The objects will turn grey in the view, when set to Fine.
Importing the Detail Component
We can now load our Detail Component in the window Family. Go to the Insert tab and click and select your Detail Component. Once the Detail Component is loaded, we go to the Annotate tab and click (if more than one Detail Component is loaded, you can select the right one at the top of the Properties window). The Detail component should now be visible. Place the Detail Component at the right position and constrain it for example to the front of the window frame.
We can now do the same for the top of the window.
Connecting the top and Bottom
After importing the top and bottom of the window, we are still left with a gap between the two. We will need to fill that gap by drawing lines and constraining them to the ends of the Detail Components. First we create a new Reference Plane at the ends of the Detail Components. To make sure these are locked to the to the ends of the Detail Components, we create an Aligned Dimension in the Annotate tab between the new Reference plane and the existing, which defines the bottom of the window. Make sure we lock it.
When we now go to the Annotate tab and create Symbolic Lines between the two Detail Components, we can lock them with their endpoints to the reference planes defining the ends of the Detail Components.
If the window size changes the gap between the two Detail Components will automatically be filled.
Although our Detail might need some fine tuning, the basic setup is done. Switching between Detail Levels in the views will change the look of the window. Now we can save our window Family and reload it in our project to create the details we need.