Tuesday, March 07, 2006


More often than not, the visibility issues you are experiencing in your project are closely related to the fact that your family components are not properly categorized.

Both model objects and lines make use of “Object styles”, which is setup by default as a subcategory of the family category in every family template.

This means, the elements of any family can be broken down into layers as you would be more familiar with. E.g.: A Door Family is broken into Panel, Glass, Opening, Frame/Mullion etc. You can customize these defaults as well as add your own line styles. One I like to add in a door family is “Lintols Over” and assign it a dashed line type.

Assigning object styles subcategories, enables the control of visibility of certain elements in the project via the Visibility Graphics tool. For example, for large scales one can simply switch door panels and frames off. In a smaller scale just switch them on again. There are always instances where the visibility of objects need to differ from view to view.

Family templates such as doors and windows have a number of these subcategories set up by default. When it comes to the likes of specialty equipment, Mechanical equipment, Generic model family templates, the need to create subcategories to control visibility graphics, is far greater. You will find only one subcategory to these templates.

Picture this scenario. You have a number of Mechanical families in a project. One of them being Aircon’ units. You have to supply the contractor a plan of just A/C layout details. If you switch Mechanical Equipment off in the view, all ME is turned off including your A/C. The reason is the A/C family components are not placed into subcategories.

Subcategories can be set up in the project, however these custom subcategories cannot be assigned to a family component whilst in the project.
In order for the visibility of subcategories to work the subcategories have to be created in the family using the family editor.

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