Revit Structure Tutorial – Problems drawing Channels and Angle

Have you ever found that when using sections such as Channels and angles the default insertion is on the centroid of the structural member? This can be very frustrating and makes accurate placement of these members very time consuming.

There is a fairly simple way of fixing this problem and adjusting the family files so the sections draw and behave in a more rational way and in this short tutorial I will reveal all!

The above image shows the problem while drawing an angle, you can see that the reference plane was my intended steel centre but the angle is drawn at a strange location. This location is actually the centroid of the steel section but is not very useful for the technician! In the below example you can see the default Autodesk angle profile with two parameters that control the centroid and insertion position. These are the x and y parameters.

What I have done for the angle is edited the x and y parameters to equal half of the section width and depth so that the section is drawn down my desired centre line. This then makes it easy to control the lateral justification as you can see in the below image:

To edit the x and y parameters effectively you will need to edit the type catalogue TXT file. This is found in the same location as your Revit Family file (.rfa). In order for the type catalogue TXT file to work it has to have exactly the same name as the rfa. See image below:

To make life easier, I like to edit the text file in Microsoft Excel as the data is then presented in neat columns and you can use formulae and other tools to help develop type catalogues very quickly. As you can see from the example below, I have used a simple formula to calculate the centre of the sections.

Once this is done you can simply save the excel sheet as a CSV (comma delaminated) file and then rename this to text file (.txt).

As this may be the first time some of you have edited a type catalogue I have made a short YouTube Video to assist your understanding.


5 thoughts on “Revit Structure Tutorial – Problems drawing Channels and Angle

  1. First off, great blog Lawrence it has been very helpful especially to a new user wanting to get into customising.
    I’ve changed the ‘x’ & ‘y’ values for the angles but rather than put the formula in the .txt file I put it in the formula cell for ‘x’ & ‘y’ in the family types dialog box in the family itself (hopefully that makes sense). Is this another way of doing it or am I on the wrong track?

    1. Hi Wayne,

      Glad your finding the blog useful! You can add this into the type properties but you would need to do this for each section which could take some time. You would also need to edit each time you create a new project.


      1. It seems to be working fine for all sections and in new projects. The families I have altered are not ones that came with Revit, they were made by our reseller to suit Australian standards and the txt files don’t have the ‘x’ & ‘y’ values in them.

  2. HI Lawrence – thanks for posting this. I’m new to Revit and believe I followed the steps correctly, however I am not presented with the option to select Type any longer within that family. It simply brings in one Type without the dialog box. (And while the text file is correct, it is not placing it on the center line either). Have the steps changed for Revit 2020?

    1. The first thing to check is that the Revit rfa and the text file have the same name. If you’ve saved as and changed the family name you need to copy the text file and ensure that it has the same name and is in the same folder as your rfa

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