Non Model Based Schedules

Disclamer

I share this with you with some reservation. This is one of my favorite “tricks” within Revit. It is also one of my worst Revit purist tricks as well. As we have all grown to love or hate, Revit keeps everything within it’s database connected. I am going to circumvent this.

Introduction

If you know me outside of the interwebs, you may know that I am a big fan of Revit schedules (yes, despite their many issues). As we progress away from using Revit for purely documentation reasons and start to leverage the data within our projects, schedules become the bread-and-butter within Revit to access that data. This connection is fantastic and being able to extract accurate information is why I am still a huge fan of Revit.

All that being said, there is a limitation that I would like to address here. Often we have static information that does not need to be modeled, placed or otherwise connected to the model. Revit doesn’t really like to do this, and there are some hacky (said with much love and respect) ways to incorporate this data into a Revit database. You may have used this methods in the past; Note Block families, Schedule Keys, Imported CAD, Drafting views with lines and text. The list is long, so I will stop there. They all serve their purpose and can be utilized with varying levels of success.

Although those methods work, they often can cause issues with reuse across projects. Either they take extensive rework, loose graphic fidelity or just plain are stuck in the project they were created. I won’t take credit for coming up with the approach that I am going to explain below, because I don’t know who did it first but I will say that I find it to be be the best approach to things like:

  • General Notes
  • Background Information
  • Project Team Listings
  • Common Symbols (ALT + Codes)
  • Coordination Notes
  • Project Images

Final Product

Admittedly, this is not the prettiest example I could present but it is the most generic condition that I could provide that didn’t have some intellectual property. Use your imagination and I bet you can make it with this approach.

Non Model based Schedule - Example (sheet)

Approach

The approach to creating these schedules is pretty easy once you understand the logic of what is happening behind the scenes.

Note: This will only work on Revit 2014 or newer!

Creating the Schedule

Using the standard “Schedules / Quantities” command begin to create a new Schedule.

Creating a new "Multi-Category" Schedule

Any Category will work, but Multi-Category works too… so why change it!?

Add the following field to the schedule. Yes, it takes only one.

  • Assembly Description

Setup Assembly Description Field

Swap over to the Filter tab and set the following filter up:

  • Filter by: Assembly Description
    • Equal To:
      • Some crazy string that you will never find.

Filter by some crazy string

One last Step… Head over to the Appearance Tab:

  • Turn off Headers
    • nothing else hear really matters for this process.

Turn off Header Appearance

Click OK. You should be presented with this awesomeness:

Blank Schedule

Looks awful. I hate it. Actually, This is exactly what we want. Now its a playground for us to pull off some coolness. It’s up to you how you want to format this puppy. What do you mean, you might be asking….

Formatting

First step. Lets make that Title work for us without renaming the Schedule in the Project browser. This is not unique to this Approach, feel free to use this step in your standard Revit schedules as well.

Remove Automated Title

On the Schedule’s Contextual Ribbon Panels, Select the “Multi-Category Schedule” cell and then find the following command:

  • Titles > Clear Cell

Clear Cell

You now have an empty Cell to do your bidding.

Use the Tools!

The Tools

Revit 2014 / 15 / 16 contain tools on the ribbon for manipulating the Columns / Rows and Titles within the schedule environment. These can all be put to use within the Title area of the schedule. In fact, this is really the magic portion of this approach.We have complete control of each cell, row and column here.

Rows / Columns

We can manipulate all of the Text and Borders within each cell and set it to whatever we would like to use. I caution some restraint on this one! Stick with your company standards. I hope to never see Comic Sans in any of these schedules. (Unless that is your company standard, and in that scenario, please contact CASE ) As far as borders, you have the ability to use any of the linestyles in your project for this, which is a blessing and a curse if you are prone to using a ton of AutoCAD Imports….

Fonts Borders
Fonts Borders

The last topic to bring up in formatting is the use of images. As you may know in 2014, Revit now has support for images in their schedules and we can leverage them here. A good thing to remember is that the images will retain their proportions and will shrink and scale based off the cell size. As you can see below, this can give you mixed results.

Images in the Working View

With that, you pretty much can format these things to your hearts content and do some really cool things.

Usage

Usage of these schedules is really simple.

  • The Cells are sized in true 1:1 fashion.

  • The cell size can be manipulated and set to whatever size you would like.

  • The grip on the edge of Column “A” determines the overall size of the schedule on the sheet and if you manipulate that grip on the sheet, it will retain the scaled relationships you set during the setup.

  • Just like any schedules in Revit, you can place as many instances of these as you wish without any issues.

  • Additionally, You can copy these schedules to the clipboard and paste them to a new project. It will retain all formatting and images!! (Awesome!)

Caveats (you know there had to be something)

This does not have any connection to the elements in the model. I know that this is the point, but seriously, you are working in a BIM authoring environment, please don’t use this for anything that should be managed by modeled elements. Luminaire Types, Key Plans, or Fixture Type schedules should not be done in this fashion. Just saying.

The other thing to note, is that Revit will not automatically adjust cell heights based on content. You will need to adjust those manually. If text is longer than the cell it is in, Revit will replace the hidden text with “…”

Thats it.

Conclusion

I hope that this is new to you, and if it is not, I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please let me know if you find a good use case for this method. I’d love to hear and see what you have done!!

-Matthew

UPDATE!

I made a video to help if any of this was confusing. Enjoy!