Revit's Bubbles (Solutions from Synergis Tutorial)

31 Dec, 2007 By: Peter Gehring

Creating Revit sections and callouts with details.

Although not widely used in the United States, Revit's section and callout bubbles can include a reference to the sheet that the view they are annotating is placed upon.

A section head calls out a reference to the sheet that shows the view it is annotating.

If your, or your client's, standard is supposed to show this information, you may have struggled with how to do it in the past using Revit.

The process isn't difficult, but the necessary steps can be tricky. Revit has already created the families with the desired geometry and annotation parameters. The example that we will use in this tutorial is the ANNOTATION FAMILY SECTION HEAD - FILLED W SHEET-REF SHEET.RFA.


This family has a parameter for the detail number, a parameter for the referencing sheet number, and a parameter for the sheet number.

Unfortunately, you can't simply load this family into a project and find it available in the Type Selector pull-down menu when adding sections or callouts.

These annotation symbols in the project (RVT) are Revit System families, and they can't be saved in an external family file (RFA).

The Element Properties dialog box of the default loaded building section type.

If you right-mouse click a section in a plan view, pick Element Properties, and then select Edit / New to get to the Type Properties, you'll see parameters under Graphics that are labeled Callout Tag and Section Tag.

The Type Properties dialog box of the default loaded building section type.

These sections have values that can be changed. The values are looking for system families, and they can be viewed and edited from the Settings / View Tagsfly out. Of the three options, only Section Tags and Callout Tags can use a family that can be created and stored in an external family file and loaded into projects.



The section and callout view tag types.

The Project Browser also lists the annotation families that have been loaded in the project.

Viewing the default loaded view tag families in the section tag type properties.

In other words, you must have an external family for the section head annotation, load it into a project, create a view tag family for it, select the loaded family as the section head parameter within this system family, have a system family for the section, and select the view tag family as its parameter for the section tag.

Although it seem to be a complex process, it makes some sense when you realize that the section or callouts that you add are more than just parameters; they also have tails, radii on the callout boundaries, and more. Before we walk through the process, it might be helpful to look at a mind map of the relationships described so far.


Let's follow this procedure from the top of the diagram down.

First, let's load the annotation family SECTION HEAD - FILLED W SHEET-REF SHEET.RFA (from the supplied Imperial Library) into our project.

Next, go to the Settings / View Tags / Section Tags. Instead of modifying the current type, duplicate it and rename it (I named mine Section Head REF SHEET - Filled, Section Tail - Filled). Then, under the Section Head parameter, look for the annotation family you loaded and select it.

Setting the loaded view tag family in the section tag type properties.

Next, we'll start the Section tool, select the type of section we want to modify (Building Section), and before we draw the section in the view we'll select Element Properties. Press Edit / New and then Duplicate to create a new type and name it (I named mine Building Section Ref Sheet). Then, in the Section Tag Parameter pull-down menu, select the item you created in the previous step.

Setting the section tag family in the system family section type properties.

To test it, drag the section and the reference view onto some sheets. If more than one referencing view exists, it only calls out the first one referenced onto a sheet. If this view is removed from a sheet and other referencing views are on other sheets, the annotation changes to the next one placed.

You can follow this same procedural outline for the other type of section marks and callouts. For the detail view, the detail you want to load is the annotation family SECTION HEAD - CIRCLE W SHEET-REF SHEET.RFA. For the Floor Plan and other callouts, load the annotation family CALLOUT HEAD W SHEET-REF SHEET.RFA.

Typical section and detail callouts set with sheet references.

About the Author: Peter Gehring

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