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Revit: Automatically Create Catalog Files for Families

How come when I want to place a 2D section of a Steel Beam or Column in my project I get the following catalog to choose from:

However, when I want to put a put a Brick or CMU section into my project Revit inserts EVERY brick shape known to mankind and now I have to sort through them in the Type drop down list in the Properties palette:

The reason is there is a Catalog Text file (.txt) with the same name as the Family file (.rfa).

The structure of the file looks as follows:

The first line sets the parameters for the types, followed by a list with these parameters filled in.

These are what appear in the Catalog dialog box when you go to add one of these detail components. But hey, I am SUPER lazy. There is NO way I’m doing this for those brick sections, so I guess I’m stuck, right?

NO!!! Let’s review the lazy person’s way to create this catalog file. I’ll begin by opening the Bricks-Section.rfa file. Now, from the Application pulldown menu (the big “R”), choose Export, then at the bottom of the fly-out menu, Family Types.  In the Export As dialog box, keep the default name Bricks-Section.txt for this file, then pick the Save button.

Opening this file, it will look like the following:

Yah, there was no way I was typing all of THAT stuff out. Ok, let’s test it. With both the RFA and the TXT file for Bricks-Section now in the same folder, I’ll open the Bricks-Section.rfa file using the Annotate tab, Detail panel, Detail Component tool.  Picking the Load Family tool from the Place Detail Component tab, Mode panel, instead of all of the types automatically loading into my project, I now get the Specify Types dialog box, and a list of the types to choose from:

Wow. That was easy. Hey, I think I get to go home early. Don’t tell my boss how quickly I did that!

Categories: BIM, Software Solutions

About the author

A Registered Architect and currently a BIM Specialist. Reid has been on the Microsol Team since January 2007. He has a B. Arch from Cornell University and M. Arch from the University of Pennsylvania. He's been married for 40 years with two daughters.