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Top 12 Tips for Utilizing Revit Groups

Using groups in Revit seems to be a no brainer; we create groups for elements that are repetitive and yet we are still able to quantify them as if they were individual elements. Modify one instance of the group and it will be updated everywhere in the entire project. One can even exclude an element from a group instance to make an exception.

Over the years, Autodesk has improved upon this awesome tool, but has not made it more flexible. If we create a group the wrong way, Revit gets upset. You don’t want to see Revit upset. In actuality, Revit actually gets confused. The main problems occur when groups contain elements that are constrained outside the group. In the simplest form, if one was to create a group of elements including a door, the wall where the door is hosted would need to be within that group. And in many instances the wall could have a top constraint that is not applicable for all instances. It is also common to create groups for casework that rely on the walls for placement, but the walls are not part of the group. In class, you may have heard me say, groups should be “self-centered”. These types of constrained can also cause problems in Design Options.

That being said, yes, there are restrictions that one should be aware of when implementing the use of groups throughout a big project. Here are some tips.

  1. Put elements and their hosts in the same group.
  2. Ensure all elements in the group are hosted to the same level.
    1. Some elements may not behave correctly. Line based families for instance.
  3. Don’t constrain elements outside the group. There are many kinds of constraints.
  4. Large numbers of elements in a group will hinder performance, and possibly cause corruption.
  5. It is better to have many small groups than a few large groups.
  6. Don’t nest Groups. Don’t have groups inside groups.
  7. If you see a warning asking you to fix the groups, don’t. Fixing the group really doesn’t fix the group. It actually explodes it or creates a new group that is no longer referenced to the first group.
  8. Name groups correctly. Don’t make copies of groups called Group1.
  9. Although we are now able to mirror groups, some elements with constraints still cause problems when mirrored. Ceilings in groups get confused when mirrored.
  10. Take ownership of the group type workset when editing
    1. All elements in a group reside on the group instance workset.
    2. Be Aware of the ownership of type properties.
  11. Be cautious putting floor or stairs in groups. Don’t lock the sketch lines to other objects.
  12. Groups can be used to distribute elements and then can be un-grouped.

In a previous post, I discussed “What Causes Revit Data Corruption?” and some model maintenance suggestions, “Revit Project Maintenance Guidelines”. I hope you find this article and those listed here helpful. Reach out with questions or comments anytime.


Best Practices with Revit Groups: Rule #1

About Best Practices for Groups Autodesk Knowledge Network

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Revit Error: Too many elements missing

The ‘too many missing elements’ error in Revit is one of the vexing errors in Revit where the application does not allow one to open the project file. In this case, the file is practically unrecoverable and the team will have to consider restoring a previous version of the file. However, it is possible to ‘catch’ this error earlier when it appears only when the ‘audit’ option is checked by opening the file. If corrupted, one can prevent the corruption from progressing to the next stage that renders the file unusable.

This article assumes that one is able to open the model and that the error appears when ‘Audit’ is checked when opening the model. If the user is unable to open the model, then there is not much one can do other than restoring a backup or opening a support case with Autodesk and attempting to recover the file.

The following are two images of the error message from the original Autodesk Article.

There are two published solutions to this Revit Error thus far:

  1. Locate the missing elements and copy / paste them from a previous (un-corrupted) version of the model as described in this help document:
  2. The second option (that seems to work) is to restore an archive.

Why Don’t Existing Solutions Always Work?

The first solution usually may not always work for two reasons:

The journal file does not provide a complete listing of all the element IDs involved in the error.

Journal showing suppression of complete listing of missing elements

Secondly, Element Ids are not constant between Revit sessions. This means that the element ID for an element missing today will not be the ID for the same element from an archive saved yesterday. This effectively makes the copy/paste solution practically impossible to implement.

The second solution is to simply find an archive of the project that will open without the error (when Audit is Checked) and restore the same. This may result in loss of work and is not anybody’s favorite option.

Solution 3:

This solution was originally suggested by Autodesk Support. The premise is that this error is caused by one or more corrupt family components. So the solution was to extract all families from an un-corrupted archive of the model (un-corrupted here means that one is able to open the model with ‘Audit’ check) and load those families into the corrupted version of the model. This overwrites all family definitions including corrupted versions and thus rids the project of the error. Family extraction from a project can be automated by going to Save As > Library > Family.

The challenge with this approach is that large projects contain hundreds of families and loading them manually becomes tedious unless the process is automated either by using a macro or a dynamo script.

Solution 4:

This solution attempts to identify and delete the corrupt family or families by editing (Right-click > Edit in the Project Browser) each family in the corrupt project individually until Revit crashes when attempting to edit the corrupt family. Once again the challenge with this process is the tediousness of the task given the number of families in the project. However, a free tool like the Family Size Reporter does the exact same action automatically.

When the crash does eventually occur, the user can note the last family that was being processed by the Addin to identify the corrupt family (boxed in red in the image below). The tool does require a bit of babysitting in order to clear any errors that may pop up during processing.

Family Size Reporter

Once the corrupt family has been identified, one can re-open the model and locate the family in the Project Browser and delete the family (via right-click) or replace the family with an un-corrupted version from the library or archive. The project should open without error after this (when ‘Audit’ is checked). If there is more than one corrupt family, this process will have to repeat as many times as needed since each run of the Family Size Reporter will crash when processing first available corrupt family.

The advantage of this solution is that there is no need for an archive and the recovery process is relatively quicker with minimal loss of work.

Source: Revit Error: Too many elements missing when Audit is Checked

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