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Thread: type catalogues and look up tables 2014

  1. #1
    Forum Addict elton williams's Avatar
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    type catalogues and look up tables 2014

    I'm trying to set up some new structural families and I have never used type catalogues.

    So far-

    When I load a structural family (OOTB) for the first time into my project I don't get the type catalogue dialogue, even thought the txt files exist as and where they should be in the same folder as the family.

    I've read the help files, searched the net, RFO and blogs, watched videos etc....Every piece of information I've found so far has the author selecting a pre-existing .csv file. When I click the look up tables' "manage" button I can only import (other buttons greyed out) and I can't find a proper .csv file to import into my family and I can't figure out how to even create one in the first place. I've exported family types and tried to change the file extension also inserted the text file into an excel table and saved it out there but still no joy.

    As there are loads of different sizes (types) for a given structural member family I was hoping to use a type catalogue and I have started with an OOTB family assuming it would (should) work ok. I've been reading all I can find on the topic but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be me much out there and I'm a little lost on how to actually implement this. Now I find out about lookup tables being like a type catalogue hosted within the family negating the need for an external reference file, apperently the come from MEP side of things. Can I even use a lookup table in a structural family (or any other category?)

    I've been thinking about starting another thread about Revit to Excel links as I am currently evaluating Bimlink and a couple of others, however regarding families is there an addon to export, edit and reimport family types?

    edit- ok, I've managed to export my family types txt file to excel, save it as the correct .csv extension and import it back into my revit family through the manage lookup table dialogue. Doesn't do anything though!!

    edit #2 - seems to get the type catalogue to show up I need to load the family from the project environment (load family button). When I do I'm now getting an error about unaccaptable list operators so my .csv file is obviously screwy....blah...
    Last edited by elton williams; May 8th, 2013 at 06:41 AM.

  2. #2
    French Moderator jbenoit44's Avatar
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    Hi Elton,

    I think you're not far from getting it right. steps are:


    1. create a family with parameters
    2. export type catalog, a .txt file
    3. open this txt file in Excel, with correct settings to get columns and rows
    4. for future use, save this file as a .csv file (and keep it in a safe place)
    5. add rows and edit parameters values
    6. for family type parameter, as they where not exported (thanks ADSK for failing), you will add them manually: ParameterName##OTHER## as column header, and familyname:typename as value
    7. save the .csv file
    8. copy paste in the correct location (same folder as family)
    9. change extension .csv for .txt
    10. done


    should work. and it's awesome for content management.

    extra step is to clean all types in your family, and use Steve Stafford's trick, rename the last one : CatalogFileNeeded od smth similar.

    good luck!

  3. #3
    Forum Addict elton williams's Avatar
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    Thanks Julien, I didn't realise your step #9, and my import cells to excel needs a bit more thinking...I will try that again!

  4. #4
    Mr. Revit OpEd
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    You are probably are getting close, here are a few extra comments.

    A CSV file isn't absolutely required, many use it as a more friendly or convenient editor. You can just edit the information in a text editor, Notepad ++ is a cool free one.

    A Type Catalog does not technically need all the parameters that are part of the family, only the ones that vary from type to type. Values that are not in the Type Catalog will be passed on to the family from the default family type. For example you could put height, width and depth in the type catalog only if those are the only values that really change for each type. A type catalog can be quite simple to manage (without involving CSV files) when you only include the necessary values.

    A Type Catalog can include instance parameter values, these are the default value assigned to the parameter, the user can still change them once they are in the project.

    If 24 inches is a more useful input value a type catalog will allow that even if the units are feet and fractional inches. Just change the ##units from Feet to Inches.

    A family using a type catalog must be loaded properly, either with Load Family while placing a component or via Load from Library, or using a right click > reload in the Project Browser.

    Do not use Edit Family (from inside a project) with famiies that have type catalogs, it puts all the loaded types from the project in the family. A family that has a type catalog really ought to only have one "default" type. Lately I have settled on using the name: "This family uses a Type Catalog". If I find that type in a project I know it has been loaded at least once improperly. That type will never appear in the project if the catalog is used.

    Do not use load into Project while working on the family, it does not offer the type catalog.

    I only use CSV to change column order because that is a lot easier to do in Excel. A friend says that we can see the "matrix" when we look at the .txt file. so we don't need Excel. I discard CSV after using them, changing their extension to .TXT does that, but you have to delete the older txt file first. If I need a CSV again I just open the file with Excel and set the delimiter options. Revit only cares about the .TXT file so no point confusing others with a pile of "irrelevant" files in the library folder.

    I put the parameters that match the family type name in front of the list (first coloums) in the catalog in the order of the naming in the type name, like 600H 800W 150D. So 600,800,150 are the very first values after the type name. I only include values that we want to set during loading and put dimensional values before informational values (text).

    ---- inserted later:

    The new export family types feature is quite nice to make sure you have the parameters and units properly defined, especially for MEP content. It does not put parameters in a logical order, at least not one that I find satisfying. It also exports all the parameters in the family types dialog and I don't always want them all but it is easy to remove the ones I don't need.

    ----

    If you want to explore Lookup Tables, reverse engineer some pipe fittings to see how Revit needs you to define the relationships between parameter and lookup source. The source file is similar to type catalog but how you call out the reference in the family is quite different. Once you have working lookup table data, you can import it so the external source file is not needed by the family. Keep in mind that it will load all the data which is not why we use a type catalog in the first place. I think the lookup table is better suited to resolving complicated conditional requirements instead of trying to make sense of them in the family formula column.
    Last edited by Steve_Stafford; May 8th, 2013 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Added another paragraph

  5. #5
    Forum Addict elton williams's Avatar
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    Thanks for your advice Steve. After discovering the concept of lookup tables I was thinking it would be more comforting to not have an external reference file. When you say "Keep in mind that it will load all the data which is not why we use a type catalog in the first place." Do you mean a lookup table contains ALL the information for each type and not just the unique data for chosen parameters? I look forward to getting to work tomorrow to pull apart a pipe fitting family!

  6. #6
    Autodesk JeffH's Avatar
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    Seems as if you have this pretty much sorted out at this point. But just in case you want another referecne there is an article in the community section of the wiki help on this topic. There is a video too.

    Export and Use a Type Catalog - WikiHelp
    Last edited by JeffH; May 8th, 2013 at 12:43 PM.
    Gabriel Black likes this.

  7. #7
    Moderator mark b's Avatar
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    if you are using Kiwicodes Family Browser they have built into FB a Type Catalogue Creater with a very nice UI to create,edit and update catalogues.

    Family Browser - Type Catalog Creator - YouTube

  8. #8
    Mr. Revit OpEd
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    Quote Originally Posted by elton williams View Post
    ...Do you mean a lookup table contains ALL the information for each type and not just the unique data for chosen parameters?...
    Whatever data you put in a lookup table will be embedded in the family, if you use that feature in 2014. The pipe fittings use the lookup table to figure out what values various parameters should be when attached to a certain diameter pipe, on the fly in the project. Familiar with the reporting parameters? These can be used to tell a family how thick a wall is so the family can adjust according to conditions that vary in the project. Similar concept except a pipe fitting doesn't have a host family in the editor to "report" on.

    I meant to add this to the earlier post, the new export family types is quite nice to make sure you have the parameters and units properly defined, especially for MEP content. It does not put parameters in a logical order, at least not one that I find satisfying. It also exports all the parameters in the family types dialog and I don't always want them all but it is easy to remove the ones I don't need.
    Last edited by Steve_Stafford; May 8th, 2013 at 02:26 PM.

  9. #9
    Forum Addict elton williams's Avatar
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    I opened a pipe fitting family today to get to the lookup table, hmmm, indeed there is a lot going on in there!
    I was aware of the family browser type catalogue creator (which is brilliant), however I like to learn how stuff works if I can before I take shortcuts

    So today I spent a couple of hours bouncing between Revit and Excel creating my own type catalogues from manufacturers' specs...until I found some OOTB structural column/ beam families with EXACTLY EVERY TYPE ALREADY AVAILABLE. Just gotta decide which types to load! Haha...hey this structural thing is new to me ok???

    Thanks to you all for helping me get my head around this one

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