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Thread: Shared vs Nested family

  1. #1
    Junior Member alfakappa's Avatar
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    Shared vs Nested family

    Hi, this may seem primeval to some. I have been using Revit for architecture but now, transgressing into BIM, I need to understand how a nested family differs from a nested shared family. In this blog it says if a family is just nested, it isn't really there (in my parent family or project) it is just symbols, the definition is not loaded. What is a nested family definition (is a nested family's .rfa file not associated to the parent .rfa or .rvt?). When I test this, still without switching the 'shared' parameter on (in the nested family's category and parameters) I DO find it in the project browser, which seems to oppose Steve's post in the link above.

    I am using Revit Architecture 2014

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    Member irneb's Avatar
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    Think of a nested family as similar to linework / models you've created directly inside the main family. I.e. from the project you cannot adjust much about them, and they're not actually loaded as some family in the project either.

    Nested shared however allows 3 extras over normal nested:
    1. The nested shared families are also available as normal families inside the project.
    2. If you've setup a type parameter in the main family you can now change which nested shared family displays by changing a parameter of the main family (or instance thereof) inside the project file.
    3. You can schedule on those nested families, e.g. having a urinal array family with the array count dependent on the length - you can schedule each nested shared urinal bowl as a separate item.
    Last edited by irneb; November 13th, 2014 at 01:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chris.macko's Avatar
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    I'd also add two more advantages to shared families that I use quite a bit.
    You can have the same shared family nested into multiple parent families and control them globally. For example if you have 4 different toilet stall families with all the accessories nested in and you need to change a parameter or property of the toilet paper dispenser, any changes you make to 1 will affect that accessory in the other 3.
    Along those same lines, the individual shared family can be tagged independently from the parent family.

  4. #4
    Junior Member alfakappa's Avatar
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    thank you, that was one thing. I figured out that I had tested the 'shared' switch all wrong: I made a non-shared family and put it directly into a project. This of course does show on schedules and in the project browser. I then nested a family (famA) into a parent family (FamB) that I put into a project and there I could see the difference between whether it (famA) was shared or not.

    I am also trying to get my head around the notion of how Revit saves content to .rfa files.
    Nested: It seems, once you load a .rfa file into another (or a .rvt file at that matter) it does not need to refer back to the first .rfa any more. I tested this by removing the nested .rfa from its original folder.
    Shared: Now if I edit a shared .rfa that is in two parent .rfa files, as Chris mentioned above, any changes will affect the others. Although if it cannot find the nested shared family, it will continue to use it was it was before any changes were made.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Forum Addict jmk's Avatar
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    Shared and nested families behave the same - once loaded into the project they are unique. The difference is that shared families will update in all families within a project and a nested family would not.

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    So, there are some ambiguously stated things in this thread, that i think need to be cleared up:

    1. Nesting a Family means loading one family in to another. A Nested Family can have itself set to be Shared, in its Family Categories and Parameters dialogues. It then behaves differently. So there is Shared Nested, and Unshared Nested families.

    There are MANY differences between them.

    2. Type Definitions

    A Shared Nested Family has its Type Definitions controlled in the Project. Lets say i have Family1 and Family2, and i have FamilyA. I load FamilyA in to both Family1 and Family2. Then i load Family1 and Family2 in to my project. In the Project, i TAB select FamilyA, and i can click Edit Type. I can edit Type properties here. If the Type properties change the size (or whatever) of FamilyA, it will change BOTH versions, that are loaded in to Family1 and Family2.

    An unshared Nested Family has its Type Definitions in the Parent Family. To edit Type Properties of FamilyA if it is unshared, you would have to open Family1 and/or Family2 to do it. If you opened Family1, and edited a Type Property of FamilyA, then reloaded Family1 in the project, the instance that was nested in to Family2 would NOT be affected or changed.

    Because of that, an UNshared nested family can have its Type Parameters "linked" to the parent family. Shared families can only have Instance parameters linked.

    3. Scheduling

    Shared Nested families show up as themselves, IN ADDITION TO their Parent Families, in the project environment. They are taggable, they schedule, and can have their own categories and subcategories. Unshared Nested families do not. They exist only as a sub-part of the parent family.

    Shared Nested families can be tagged, and have their own data available in the Project, where unshared Nested families can not.

    4. Graphics

    The effects of subcategories/object styles is very different for Shared versus Unshared. There are diagrams in the article on page 38, of this magazine (kudos to the editor for not noticing they put the image in upside down, LOL):

    ISSUU - AUGIWorld by Autodesk User Group International, Inc.

    Shared Nested can also be affected by Visibility Filters, where unshared Nested families only respond to filters affecting the Parent Family.

    5. Referencing

    NO FAMILIES in Revit are ever a Live Reference (a link) to another family. Not Shared Nested, or unShared Nested. Revit families never need to be able to *see* the other .rfa files, once they have them loaded inside them.

  7. #7
    Mr. Revit OpEd
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    Aaron, thanks for clarifying and adding more information! Like all clever changes to Revit features, the more they add the more complex it becomes. The Shared concept was added because users wanted Revit to treat nested components like they really existed in the project, so they could be part of schedules and get tagged.

    Quote Originally Posted by alfakappa View Post
    ...In this blog it says if a family is just nested, it isn't really there (in my parent family or project) it is just symbols, the definition is not loaded. What is a nested family definition (is a nested family's .rfa file not associated to the parent .rfa or .rvt?). When I test this, still without switching the 'shared' parameter on (in the nested family's category and parameters) I DO find it in the project browser, which seems to oppose Steve's post in the link above...
    As you've come to realize, the only way this would happen is if the nested family is also loaded into the project, separately from the hosting family you also loaded.

    In practice many nested families do not need to be defined as Shared because they are only making it easier to create the parent family and possible to reuse the nested geometry in other families. When a host family includes nested families that also need to be accounted for as if they were placed individually in the project then changing their status to Shared becomes useful.

  8. #8
    Junior Member alfakappa's Avatar
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    Thank you, esp. Aaron and Steve, for contributing to this stream. This was very helpful

  9. #9
    Forum Addict Andres Franco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    So, there are some ambiguously stated things in this thread, that i think need to be cleared up:

    1. Nesting a Family means loading one family in to another. A Nested Family can have itself set to be Shared, in its Family Categories and Parameters dialogues. It then behaves differently. So there is Shared Nested, and Unshared Nested families.

    There are MANY differences between them.

    2. Type Definitions

    A Shared Nested Family has its Type Definitions controlled in the Project. Lets say i have Family1 and Family2, and i have FamilyA. I load FamilyA in to both Family1 and Family2. Then i load Family1 and Family2 in to my project. In the Project, i TAB select FamilyA, and i can click Edit Type. I can edit Type properties here. If the Type properties change the size (or whatever) of FamilyA, it will change BOTH versions, that are loaded in to Family1 and Family2.

    An unshared Nested Family has its Type Definitions in the Parent Family. To edit Type Properties of FamilyA if it is unshared, you would have to open Family1 and/or Family2 to do it. If you opened Family1, and edited a Type Property of FamilyA, then reloaded Family1 in the project, the instance that was nested in to Family2 would NOT be affected or changed.

    Because of that, an UNshared nested family can have its Type Parameters "linked" to the parent family. Shared families can only have Instance parameters linked.

    3. Scheduling

    Shared Nested families show up as themselves, IN ADDITION TO their Parent Families, in the project environment. They are taggable, they schedule, and can have their own categories and subcategories. Unshared Nested families do not. They exist only as a sub-part of the parent family.

    Shared Nested families can be tagged, and have their own data available in the Project, where unshared Nested families can not.

    4. Graphics

    The effects of subcategories/object styles is very different for Shared versus Unshared. There are diagrams in the article on page 38, of this magazine (kudos to the editor for not noticing they put the image in upside down, LOL):

    ISSUU - AUGIWorld by Autodesk User Group International, Inc.

    Shared Nested can also be affected by Visibility Filters, where unshared Nested families only respond to filters affecting the Parent Family.

    5. Referencing

    NO FAMILIES in Revit are ever a Live Reference (a link) to another family. Not Shared Nested, or unShared Nested. Revit families never need to be able to *see* the other .rfa files, once they have them loaded inside them.
    Excellent explanation @Aaron!! thank you so much for being so clear and to take the time to clarify this for all of us, best regards

  10. #10
    Forum Addict GMcDowellJr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    (kudos to the editor for not noticing they put the image in upside down, LOL)
    that's awesome

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