Manage This!

I am guilty of it. A new building assignment, a fresh Revit® project, and all you want to do is get in there and start modeling! Then, partway through you realize there are some things Revit should have had before you started the project. Some things that can wreak havoc if you have to go back and change them after you have already started modeling. Here are a few things to check before you start modeling.

Manage Tab

Just my very humble opinion, but the Manage tab should be first in the Revit lineup. You can change any of the tab locations on your ribbon by holding the CTRL button and dragging the tab.

Figure 1: Manage tab first!

This creates a subtle reminder to check project settings first.


Working across the Manage tab, the first panel is the Settings panel. Materials and Object Styles can be set in a template file by your BIM manager. There will also be additional Materials created that are project specific, so those can be revisited later as you go along. Snaps are something I’ve only changed a few times in the many years I’ve been working with Revit, but you can set your preferences here. Snaps may be turned on or off globally, or Snaps may be turned on or off individually. Snap increments for both linear and angular dimension snaps can be modified as well.

Project Information lists parameters that are specific to the current Revit project—project name, owner’s information, typical title block fodder. Energy Settings for analysis purposes can also be set in the Project Information, or on the Analyze tab.

The middle section of the Settings panel is dedicated to Parameters—Project Parameters (those specific to the current Revit project), Shared Parameters (applied to multiple projects and families), and Global Parameters (used to control other parameters). Set as many of these as possible before starting, especially if you are using Global Parameters to drive the values of dimensions or other parameters. If you are collaborating with a team, you will want to make sure everyone is using consistent Shared Parameters. Otherwise, schedules and tags will become very cumbersome.

Transfer Project Standards is a fantastic tool when used properly. With Transfer Project Standards, you can copy Family Types, Object Styles, and many other settings from one project to another. Unfortunately, many users abuse this by copying from one project to another, over and over. It is important to have a system in place to manage items that continually are reused. Data that is continually reused in a legacy fashion is more likely to become corrupt. If objects are continually reused, consider incorporating into templates or libraries.

Figure 2: Settings panel of the Manage tab

PURGE UNUSED… my favorite command available! When a user comes to me and complains that the model is running slow, the first thing I’m going to ask is if they have purged lately. And the answer is usually something like, “I don’t want to lose anything.” Okay, key word here is “unused,” meaning you’re not using it! So, get rid of it! It’s bogging down your model, and you don’t need it. Chances are you won’t need it, and even if you do, it’s not that difficult to reload a family. Also, you can select which families to purge, so if there is something you really have a grip on, uncheck the box and it won’t be removed from the project. Purge often!

Project units are usually fixed. The one thing I usually check is the accuracy of the length units. For those of us stuck in Imperial units, set the length accuracy to 1/256”. This will ensure that your model is accurate, and will eliminate errors due to rounding, especially critical with steel measurements.

Structural Settings

Hidden in a tiny button on the Settings panel are the Structural Settings. Before starting structural modeling, check these settings.

Figure 3: Structural settings

This will save you from headaches later. Cutback Distances, Symbolic Representations and Load Calculation, and Analytical  settings all reside within this tiny button that’s often overlooked.

Figure 4: Structural settings dialog

And the Rest…

The remainder of the Manage tab includes other general settings that will most likely be managed by templates or company standards. The one command I will highlight is the Phases button. If at all possible, set the Phases at the start of the project. Phases must be consistent through linked Revit projects (Architecture/MEP); otherwise, visibility controls and project management will be utterly impossible.

Start Well, End Well

The more you can set from the beginning of the project, the easier it will be to continue and complete the project. If something needs to be adjusted at the start of every project, consider making those settings permanent in a template. Management doesn’t mean a higher status in the company… management means taking care of your projects from start to finish. Manage this!

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