In the development of Families, the choice of Object Styles, Graphics, and Identity Data usually receive careful attention, but the file name may be neglected. The inevitable result is eye/brain strain that may lead to slower read times, which slows production time,which leads to lower profits. Now we have your attention. After reading this post you will hopefully realize the need to implement well-defined, easy-to-read Family naming conventions to keep your projects running smoothly.
Keep it simple and spell it out
File names should be kept as short as possible as long as they convey their content. Avoid using dates, numbers and special codes. Instead, use simple abbreviation to decrease the numbers of letters in the words. The Door Families in the image below uses commonly understood architectural abbreviations used for naming the materials for door frames. “HM” is the abbreviation for Hollow Metal. A list of some common architectural abbreviations may be found here.
Break it up to stack it up
Notice how the names in the sample above have the ability to stack up according to Revit Category then by the type of door (swing, sliding, overhead or rotating) with the number of panels and finally the material followed by the type of the frame. This type of hierarchy is easy to memorize as it is simple and literally spelled out to the user.
Note: It is acceptable – and may be useful – but not necessary to include the Family Category in the name, unless it is in one of the following Browser Categories:
All Annotation (Tag, Title Block, etc.) fall under the same folder in the Project Browser.
Curtain Panels as they may be “converted” to Doors or Windows in the Family Editor.
Profiles as their Profile Usage may be “converted” in the Family Editor.
The next example uses Specialty Equipment abbreviation prefixes as it encompasses the largest selection of building products on any given project and often contains the largest number of Families located in the Project Browser. The first part of the name is based on AIA sheet order which may be found here. Next is the type of equipment, followed by the manufacturer and model number. By using simple organizational logic the eye is quickly directed to very specific names.
Note: The system used below uses CamelCase to spell out the name of the manufacturer. Feel free to use this on any of the conventions you may create as it is a real space saver.
It is OK to use spaces
Unless you are using an operating system that does not support spaces, there is no reason you can’t use them! Reasons to not use spaces would be if you were pipelining Families or adding a Family to a URL for direct download as opposed to adding it to a zipped file. The bottom line is that Windows and Revit support spaces for Family names and that using spaces is easier on the eyes.
- Keep names as short as possible so long as they convey their content.
- Use natural language instead of special codes like the MasterFormat.
- Use headline style, also known as title casing.
- Do not use Categories for naming unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Be creative when setting up your system based on stackability and users needs.
- Use hyphens (-) and or CamelCasing to create groups for formatting
The mission of Family and Detail Warehouse is to maintain the world’s best, non-manufacturer specific library of standard Revit Families and Details… so you don’t have to.