Revit Structure 2014 Tutorial – Shared Parameters, Schedules and Tags

In this tutorial we will look at the advantages of creating Revit families that utilise shared parameters rather than project parameters. Project parameters are fairly flexible and allow the user to create any information required and attach this information to many Revit objects and categories; however, you cannot tag or schedule this data which can of course be a big limitation. In this simple example we will look at a rectangular pad foundation. We will first modify the family, then create some shared parameters and then use this within a project.

  1. Start a new Structural project and then place a few default rectangular footings on Level 1 as shown below.Isolated Foundation - Pad Foundation
  2. . Select one of the Rectangular Footings and then edit the family from the mode panel as shown below.  

Modify Structural Foundations

3. On the Manage Ribbon select the shared parameter command as shown below.

Shared Parameter Icon

4. Create a new shared parameter file and save it to your desktop. Name the Shared Parameter file Foundations. (Note that you would normally save this somewhere safe for future reference but for this exercise the desktops fine.)Edit Shared Parameters Dialog Box

5. Create a new Group and Call the group Foundation Dims as shown below. By using groups this keeps our shared parameters neatly organised.Shared Parameter Dialog - New Group

6. Create a new parameter called Foundation Length as shown below. Ensure that the Discipline is set to Common and the Type of Parameter is set to Length as we are going to use this to control the Pad Foundation’s Length. Click OK

New Shared Parameter

7. Repeat these steps and create a further two parameters called Foundation Width and Foundation Thickness. Your Edit Shared Parameters Dialog should now look like the image below. Click OK

Completed Shared Parameters Dialog

8. Next you assign these new Shared Parameters to the dimensions controlling the Pad Foundation. Open the Floor Plans – Ref.Level to display the foundation in Plan as shown below.

Foundation Plan - Ref Level

9. Select the Length Dimension and then click edit Label from the pull down menu on the Options Bar as shown below.Pick Dimensions and add Label

10. In the Parameter Properties Dialog box select the Shared parameter option, ensure that the Type option is selected and that the Group parameter under option is set to Dimension (this is the default). Click the Select button to choose the Shared Parameter. Pick the Foundation Length Parameter and click OK. Also Click OK on the Parameter Properties Dialog.Parameter Properties Dialog Box

11. Repeat steps 9 & 10 for the Foundation Width Parameter by clicking the Width Parameter and replacing this with the Foundation Width.

12. Open the Front View by expanding Elevation on the Project Browser and repeat the above steps for the Foundation Thickness parameter.Foundation Thickness Parameter

13. On the Create Ribbon select the Family Types icon as shown below.Family Types Icon

Review the parameters within the Family Types dialog; it should now look like the image below.Family Types DialogYou will also notice that the Structural Material in the Materials and Finishes group is currently an instance parameter meaning that each pad foundation could have a different grade of concrete. It’s recommended to change this to a Type Parameter for ease of use. Click the Modify Button and swap the parameter from Instance to Type. Change Material from Instance to Type

12. Save your new family as Pad Foundation.Rfa in a location of your choice.

13. Click the Load into Project command to load the family into our project as shown_below.Load Into Project Icon

14. You should now be back in your project and have the Pad Foundation at your cursor location. Place a few pads on the Level 1 plan.

15. Next you add tags to the Pad Foundations that you have placed. On the Annotate Ribbon, click the Tag by Category command and place tags on the pad foundations as shown below.

Add tags to the Pad Foundations

You will notice that the default tag is reading the Type Name. This can be dangerous as the user could change the Foundation size but not update the Type Name. We will now edit the default tag to read the Length, Width and Thickness of our foundations.

16. Select one of your Foundation Tags and click edit family on the ribbon as shown below.Edit Foundation tag

17. You will now be editing the default Foundation Tag. You will see the ‘1t’ which is the sample text for the label. Select the ‘1t’ and click the Edit Label command as shown below.Edit Label

18. Next you add the Shared Parameters to the Edit Label Dialog Box. You will notice that the list of parameters does not include the three Shared Parameters that you previously created. Click the New Parameter icon in the bottom left of the dialog box to add the Shared Parameters. You now pick the Select Button and add your Shared Parameter ‘Foundation Length’. Click OK twice to return to the Edit Label Dialog.Add Shared Parameter for labels

Repeat the above steps to add the remaining two shared parameters. Your Edit Label dialog should look similar to the below image.

Edit Label Dialog After Shared Parameters Entered

19. You now add the Shared Parameters to the Right hand panel to compose the label. You will notice that the Foundation Thickness parameter has a duplicate entry. (Note that Revit has a bug which allows to Parameters of the same name to exists.) Make sure that you add the parameter that shows the edit icon as shown below, the other label will cause the edit button to grey out as this is the default parameter.

Foundation Thickness SP Bug

20. Configure the Edit Label dialog with the following settings. This will ensure that our new tag reads <Foundation Length>x<Foundation Width>x<Foundation Thickness>. If you require any data on a new line then select the break option by ticking the relevant box. Click OK when finished.

Label Configuration Dialog

21. Drag the Labels grip to control the text wrapping as shown below and then Load this family into your active project as shown below. (Note that if you see the Load into Projects Dialog Box then choose your project and not the Pad Foundation)

Drag Label and load into Project

22. Click over write the existing version and you will notice that your foundation tags now show the Length, Width and Foundation Thickness. Experiment by editing and creating new types of your Pad Foundation and note that the tags always show the correct information.


TIP: If you want to change the Pad Foundation Type then select a Pad Foundation, Click the Tag and then add your required sizes into the dialog as shown below.Control Foundation Type by changing the label

Continue the exercise by creating a Structural Foundation Schedule of your choice. Note that your Shared Parameters are in the available fields by default.






I hope that you enjoy this tutorial, If you have any ideas or requests for further topics or subjects then add a comment.



About lawrenceh

I am employed by Excitech, one of the largest Autodesk resellers in the UK, to provide training and other services such as implementation and project support to our clients. The main products I get involved with are Autodesk Revit Structure, Dynamo & Autodesk Inventor. My personal interests include aviation, engineering and walking.
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12 Responses to Revit Structure 2014 Tutorial – Shared Parameters, Schedules and Tags

  1. Many thanks for this excellent and very useful tutorial, Lawrence. Although I’m reasonably proficient in AutoCAD, I’m a relative neophyte in Revit, due to the simple and inescapable fact that I’m a long-in-the-tooth structural engineer (who started long ago with ink on vellum). Working through your tutorial was a real baptism of fire, since many of the basics that I’m sure most take for granted I had to pick up on the fly. But — it was great! I learned so much. Kudos! Keep up the excellent instruction. mjp

  2. lawrenceh says:

    Hi Michael, glad you are enjoying the blog and finding the tutorials and content useful. There is plenty more planned for the future including the new features of Revit 2015! Stay tuned.

  3. Naresh Kumar says:

    Hi lawrenceh…Great tutorial, I am working with Jacobs India and working in Revit Architecture and Revit structure from almost 8 years, Their is no doubt Revit architecture (Revit structure still need more attention by autodesk) has improved or Became user friendly from Revit 2008 to Revit 2014, but still their are many very small issue with Revit which sometime make it really frustrating to work.
    Your Tutorial was great and thanks for sharing.

  4. This was a great tutorial we used during a class session. Thanks

  5. Kim John says:

    Hi lawrenceh! This tutorial sure helps even with newer versions of Revit specifically for 2016 and 2017. I’m just bothered regarding the schedules, if for example, the foundation family you have edited was already present in the schedules/quantitoes section. Can I actually edit those parameters in the schedules especially those shared parameters you created for the foundation slab? If so, Can I duplicate them to just input all the footing foundation data I have before modelling instead of going to “edit type” when editing families and duplicating them there?
    Thanks for the help. This would gladly help coz I’m still figuring out an easy way to input datas from plans before modelling them first. Thanks a lot.

  6. lawrenceh says:

    Hi Kim, Glad you are finding the tutorials useful. yes you can create a number of duplicates and then input all the required data from the schedule including Type Marks.

  7. Kim John says:

    Hi lawrenceh!Thanks a lot. I’ll try this first if it works for me. Kudos for the tutorials. I’ll be glad to watch some of your youtube tutorials if you have some it will really help a lot of people using different versions of Revit. I haven’t seen any significant changes in 2016 or 2017 yet but I’ll try to explore if given the time. Anyway. Thanks for the help!

  8. Kim John says:

    Hi lawrenceh! I’m experiencing a problem with the “shared parameters” I made. I’m actually editing a concrete rectangular beam. I did everything but whenever I’m changing the values on the new shared parameters I made, the beam depth and beam width does not follow but instead the reference lines in the family are the ones adjusting to the values I’ve changed for beam depth and beam width. It’s not following the values I’m inputting in the family types for the actual beam. Thanks for the help.

    • lawrenceh says:

      Hi Kim, It sounds like you have not locked the sketch lines to the reference Planes. If you use the Align command (type AL) this will allow you to align and lock these lines to each reference plane.

  9. Kim John says:

    Hi lawrenceh! For the beams, I have to create a profile family for the structural framing. Then after creating it and loading it into the project, I edited a concrete rectangular beam and save as another family then I loaded the profile family I created for the beam. I don’t understand how it is with the beams though, as for your example the boundary line or edges of foundation footing and the reference lines follow each other whenever I change the values of the dimensions as per my created parameters but with the beams its different. The profile family is loaded into the structural framing family or the concrete beam and everytime I edit the existing beam parameters with regards to “h” and “b”, the reference lines are not locked into the profile already. Maybe I’m missing something here. It would be of great help if I could figure this thing out. By the way I’m using Revit 2016 version. Many thanks.

  10. lawrenceh says:

    Hi Kim, I think you need to associate the type parameters from your beam profile to Shared Parameters in the main beam family. You find the profile in the family browser, right click and choose type properties. Click the small associate button on the right and link these to your shared parameters.

    • Kim John says:

      Hi Laurence, Thank you very much for the help. That’s what I’ve been missing this whole time. I never thought it would be there, that small button just right beside the type parameters to associate the beam profile to the beam family and its parameters. This will really save time and give me accurate tagging with regards to beam schedules. Thanks a lot. I hope this could help others too.

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