Thursday, March 15, 2012

Generic Annotation Keynotes

There are three types of Keynoting built into Revit:
  • Element keynotes extract and report data from the ‘Keynote’ field in an object’s type properties.
  • Material keynotes report the value of the Keynote field on the Identity tab of the Materials dialog. 
  • User keynotes allow the selection of notes from a predefined list

Many users find these systems to be too restrictive and cumbersome for the kind of keynoting that is used in day-to-day architectural practice. Drawing keynotes typically combine information about materials, assemblies, finishes or even the relationship between different building components. For these types of notes, the one method that predates all three current systems is the use of Generic Annotations and Note Blocks.

A generic annotation is merely a symbol with associated text fields. The symbol object contains a label assigned to the ‘Number’ parameter. These symbols do not extract data from the model, and so they are often called ‘dumb’ keynotes. Essentially this is the same method used in CAD, with the enhancement of Revit’s parametric capability.

Generic Annotation Keynotes require only three fields:
       Type Name, Number, Description.

Number and Description are the fields that will be displayed on the drawings and in note blocks. I recommend using a keyword or acronym for the Type Name field, to aid in identification. This method allows for easy re-numbering when notes are inserted or deleted from the list. No need for notes that say, “Not Used”.

Generic annotation note blocks can be managed externally using a text file or spreadsheet to create a Family Type catalog. The method for creating and updating Keynote Schedules is described in the procedure guide I've posted on Google Docs. 
Minor revisions may be made in the project, but be aware there is no link to the text file. The best practice would be to keep the spreadsheet up to date and always “refresh” the note list by re-importing the data. Because the type name is not the keynote number, the list can be easily re-ordered in the external text file and re-imported to update both schedule and symbols.

Go to the "Files and Families" tab above to download the guide and sample family. 

1 comment:

  1. Initially I liked that this seemed to be a good workaround for the default Revit Keynotes, which as you mention, are too restrictive for typical Architectural projects.

    The issue I have run into with this system, is that updating the Excel file is clunky and not intuitive. In order to make changes to the keynotes, one has to close Revit, modify the Excel file, and then reopen and reload the family in the project. This might be fine if the project is small and 1, maybe 2 people are working on it. For larger projects this is a huge hassle.

    In addition, having then to go and edit the type properties to get leaders on each and every keynote - again, the time associated with that action doesn't seem to justify the payoff.

    I'm finding it's easier to just make the parameters in the keynote family instance based and skip the excel file all together. My wish is for Revit and Excel to one day be friends, but this doesn't seem to be the case.


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