Using nested and shared families is quite a simple process; however, for new Revit users or even just users that haven’t explored the power of this process, it can initially be a little daunting. Once you understand these features of Revit you will wonder how you ever lived without them, and not only that, the possibility of endless customisations of many of the RevitHQ families’ opens up to you.
To begin with, let’s break down the terms nested and shared, how they are different, and why you should utilize these powerful features.
Nested families are families that have been ‘nested’ in other families, exactly like it sounds. Any good family creator will utilise nested families. They greatly simplify the family creation process by compartmentalising different elements of the model. An example of this could be a table, the legs of the table could be created in one family, the table top in another family, and the two could then be combined in a third family.
While it would be possible to model both of these nested elements in the same family. Using this method means:
Furthermore, any parameter created in these nested families, whether they be instance based or type based, can then be linked to the parameters in the hosting family. Thereby giving you the ability to either use their constraints in equations or have their size influence other nested families.
Any family can be made into a shared family and it will have a number of effects that a very important to be aware of:
Share families points of confusion
I made my family shared and loaded it in but how do I change it back to just a standard family?
I've made my family shared, loaded it into my host family, but can’t link the type parameters.
When in the family editor environment and nesting a shared family in a host family, the type properties of the nested families won’t be able to be linked. Only the instance properties of a nested family will be able to be linked. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use type parameters in the nested and shared families; type parameter will still be adjustable in the type settings of the family when inserted into your project. We will cover this in more detail in another post, as it is a great way to compartmentalize large amounts of adjustable parameters, reducing complexity and increasing customization potential.
The real fun / advanced use of nested and shared families:
The detailed procedure for the creation of custom nested and shared families for RevitHQ families can be found on the RevitHQ ‘Creating Nested & Shared Families’ page. This uses the door family as an example, but the process detailed there is useful for creation of your own custom families too.
Founder of RevitHQ
A professional working as an Architectural Technician with almost a decade of experience using Revit and currently acting as the Revit BIM manager in an Australian architectural firm. Chris utilities Revit on real projects on a daily basis, and actively stages work forums on improving company practices and Revit knowledge. In his free time, Chris focuses his efforts on RevitHQ, continually working on refining Revit content for the Architectural community.