Organize with the Project Browser

I find it absolutely essential to create a solid Project Browser organization at the onset of any project or type of project. As the project grows bigger and the views and sheets increase, it become harder to keep an organized browse structure and drawing naming convention for easy access. The following are some quick options for a neat browser organization.

View Types and Groupings in the Project Browser

Let’s have a quick review of all the ways the Project Browser can sort, group and display the current project views. In the Project Browser window, R-Click on Views (all)

In the Type Properties window, under Type, you’ll notice that currently, all is selected. Let’s change that to the next one, Discipline, to see the results, in Figure 2. You’ll notice that currently, only one category is available, Architectural, and all views are grouped under it. Feel free to apply the rest of the Types to see the resulted views browser organization.

Figure 2: Views by Discipline

Creating a custom View Type parameter in the Project Browser

Often, you’ll find it very useful to create your own organizational parameters, different from the ones listed under Types, above. In the following tutorial, we’ll group all our views in two major categories: Work Views and Sheet Views. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, a category called Work Views can prove very useful, where one can store any ‘working drawing’ information that is not necessarily going to be placed on the sheets.

Views in this category could include different design options, drafting views, views created by different users, and so on. (Tip: Sorting each of your design options on a separate work view is a neat way to organize and easily access your design options. To set it up, just create as many work views as you have design options and in each view, go to Visibility/Graphics Overrides, and choose the relevant Design Option).

Work views differ from the ‘not on sheet’ option under the Type Properties above, because they are always visible under the Views category in your project browser. The ‘not on sheet’ option is a view filter that will make visible only the views that have not been placed on sheets (such as any 3D work views).

Sheet Views, on the other hand, are all the ‘submission’ views, which will be placed on various sheets.  Let’s take a look at how to create a custom parameter for our Work Views and Sheet Views.

First, we need to create a Project Parameter, according to which our Work Views and Sheet Views will be grouped. Under the Manage menu, choose Project Parameters, and in the Project Parameters window, click Add. In the Parameters Properties window, type in a new parameter name, called ‘View Group’, verify that the Discipline is Common, choose Text from the Type of Parameter drop-down menu, and Identity Data from the Group Parameter Under drop-down menu (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Creating a new Project Parameter

Click OK three times.

Check out the result in the Project Browser. If you scroll down under the Identity Data category, you’ll see the newly added parameter, called ‘View Group.’

Next, we need to customize the Browser Organization so that our new parameter can show under the list of View Types like we explored in the earlier in this tutorial. Under the View menu, click on the User Interface drop-down menu and select Browser Organization. In the Browser Organization window, click New and give it a name, ‘View Group’.

Figure 4: Customizing the Browser Organization

Clicking Ok will bring you to the next window, which now lets you choose to group your views under the new parameter.

Choose Group by: View Group, Then By: Family and Type, Then By: None, Sort By: View Name, Ascending. (Figure 5)

Click OK and place a check mark next to View Group in the Browser Organization window. Click OK to apply.

Figure 5: Grouping view under the new Group parameter

Once back in the drawing, notice that all views are now grouped under a view type that we’ve called ‘View Group’, but the view category shows as ???.

Figure 6: Views grouped under our new parameter 'View Group'

All we need to do is add our two new categories, Work Views and Sheet Views, and select which of our current views go under which category.

Expand you drawings and select your ‘work views’. Control-select them if there are more than one. Once selected, in the Project Browser, under Identity Data and in the new View Group field, type in ‘Work Views’. In the same way, for all the drawings that need to go on sheets, Control-Select the drawings, and categorize them under ‘Sheet Views’.

Figure 7: Create a category 'Work Views' under parameter View Group

Once done, your Project Browser should look like Figure 8 below. Remember how we grouped all views: first Grouped By: View Group (Work Views or Sheet Views), Then By: Family and type (Floor Plans, Elevations, Ceiling Plans, etc.), and finally we sorted them by View Name (which lists them alphabetically either Ascending or Descending, depending on your choice).

Figure 8: Views sorted in two categories, Sheet Views and Work Views, then sorted by Family and Type, then by View Name.

Quick Tip on Restoring the Project Browser: If you have accidentally closed the Project Browser, you can retrieve it by going in to the View tab and clicking User Interface drop-down button, selecting Project Browser.

You can also create a shortcut to re-open your Project Browser if you’ve inadvertently closed it. Go to the View tab, and then from the User Interface drop-down menu, choose Keyboard Shortcuts. Filter by All Not Defined, and scroll down to the Project Browser command. Select it and on the bottom of the window, assign a shortcut for it (PB for instance). Click Assign, then OK to close the window and you’re all set.

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