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Uncomplicating Autodesk Revit Parameters

Revit is a data-driven program, intended for use in Building Information Modeling (BIM). Often we hear that BIM is all about the “I” (information), when in reality it is a complete process through the entire building lifecycle. Data within a Revit project is applied using “parameters”. There are a variety of parameters and different applications for each.

At the very core are Family Parameters. These parameters are applied specifically to Revit Families, both System Families (Walls, Floors, Roofs, etc.) and Component Families (families which reside in an external .rfa file, loaded into the project). Family parameters can be classified as either Instance or Shared Parameters. Instance Parameters apply only to specific placements of a family object within the project. Instance Parameters are shown in the Properties dialog box. For example, the Sill Height of a window family is an instance parameter. Each window can be placed at a different sill height in the project.

Type Parameters are applied to all objects of a particular family type in a project. Changes made to a Type Parameter affect all placements of that family type in the project. Type Parameters are shown in the Type Properties dialog box, accessible by the Edit Type button on the Properties window.

Shared Parameters can be either Instance or Type Parameters. Shared Parameters reside in an external text file (.txt). These parameters may be applied to multiple Families or Project Parameters. Shared Parameters can be scheduled and tagged in a project.

Project Parameters are also either Instance or Type Parameters, but are project-specific. Like Shared Parameters, Project Parameters may be applied to multiple Family Categories. Project Parameters may be scheduled.

A relatively new player to Revit are Global Parameters. Global Parameters are also project-specific, but not associated with a particular family category. Global Parameters may be used to drive other parameters and dimensions using formulas, Boolean statements, or other project criteria.

Managing parameters can be a Revit user’s nightmare. Whether Instance or Type, Project or Shared, Revit Parameters can make or break a project.

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