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AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #44 (July 29, 2009)

A Workaround for Tagging Components in Legends in Revit

Carl Gibson
Autodesk Certified Revit Professional

Most of the epiphanies I have while writing tips come from helping people trying to solve unique Revit problems. You've seen them before. There's something that your boss is asking for, constantly pushing the boundaries of what we are doing with Revit and adding to the ever growing wish list. This little trick to tagging items in a legend is just that type of boundary pushing we like to do!

The Legend Schedule

Looking up Legends in Revit Help will indicate what Autodesk had in mind when they created Legend views: symbolic model representations with descriptive text, floor and wall sections with material tags, and so on.

What about a visual door type legend? Excellent, place a picture of the door and ... type all the information? Well, that's not very Revit-like. What if we just want to tag the door so that if the information on the door changes, the legend updates automagically? Let's see what we can do.

Creating the Legend

This is the easy part. For this demonstration, let's just place a few Door types onto the Legend View.

At this point, we would normally type in a bunch of information that we have to change every time we update the doors!

Let's just tag it instead. Except, we can't. The Tag command, while selectable, does not actually land a tag on our door!

This calls for a workaround.

The Material Tag

You may have noticed that the only tag you can actually use in the Legend View are Material Tags. This is where the workaround comes into play. All that is really needed is a material for each door type that contains a parameter for a new material tag to read. Make this a Shared parameter if you want to make this improper use of materials as proper as possible, or you can cheat and use the Comment or Description parameter. The parameter will be text and contain the information we want the "tagged" door to contain.

Obviously, this is not going to work for a project that has too many door types. But it works well if you have 10-20 door types in your project. Let us see how.

The simplest way to start is to place a Material Tag in the legend.

Then, with that tag selected, choose Edit Family.

This will open the family for editing and allow us to assign our own parameter to the label in the tag. Select the label and choose Edit Label to access the parameter list for this label.

For this example, I'm going to use a Shared Parameter (SP), so we are going to either need to add to your existing Shared Parameter file or create a new Shared Parameter file. To do this, you will need to create a new parameter using Add Parameter in the parameter list.

Then choose Select... to access your Shared Parameter file.

If you already have an Shared Parameter file loaded, you will see your Shared Parameters available here. Most likely you do not have a parameter for this, so click Edit... to add one.

If you already have an Shared Parameter file, use it (unless you don't want to add new Shared Parameters to your file). If not, then go ahead and create a new Shared Parameter file and place it somewhere you will remember the location of. Add a New Group to the file called Door Information. Then place a New Parameter called Door Type MatTag using Text as the parameter type.

Now that you have created this parameter, you can load it into the tag family and place it in the label. Click OK to go back to the Shared Parameters dialog, then find the parameter you just created, select it, and click OK again to load it into the family. A final OK will bring you back to the Edit Label dialog. Remember to remove the old parameter from the label. Your final Edit Label dialog should look like this.

Click OK to finish editing the Label.

With the new tag now parameterized and labeled up, we will save it as our own material tag (giving it a name that makes sense) and load it into the project. Select the tag and swap in the new tag we just created from the Type Selection drop down.

The Material Parameter

You will see that the new tag still has a giant '?' next to it. This means that we are not done yet. We need to load the Shared Parameter we created into the project. Be sure to place this parameter in the Materials category.

Now we can see that our parameter shows up in the Materials > Identity tab.

If we modify this parameter, it updates in our Legend. However, notice that it updates all of our tags!

This is where the real work comes in, if you want to used this tagging method. You will need to create a new material for each of the door types you want to tag. You can simply duplicate the material, and change its Door Type MatTag parameter.

Now we need to update the door type to reflect the correct panel material (since we tagged the material in this case) so that the tag reads the correct parameter. If the tag turns back to show the '?' after you change the material, simply re-tag the door in the Legend view using the Material Tag to get the information back.

That's all you need to do to be able to tag legend components in your legend view. The process might seem somewhat tedious, but if ever your client/boss/manager needs a schedule like this, you now know how to go about it.

About the Author

Carl Gibson is an Autodesk Certified Revit Professional and has 5 years experience in implementation of Revit systems and succesful production of projects using those systems. Currently between jobs, Carl uses his free time to maintain his Revit Tip of the Day blog ( and teaches Revit Family classes at Carl is still in pursuit of his Architectural degree, but has taken a slight break to shift his priorities to the care of his soon-to-be firstborn son. He plans to publish copies of his Revit TotD resource in book form as well as a Beginner level Revit handbook in the near future.

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