Friday, 7 June 2013

Opening Linked Models for Editing

One of Revit’s annoyances is the inability to open a linked model for editing and keeping it loaded in the host project, all at the same time. This leads users to believe they need additional sessions of Revit in order to refer to the fully aggregated model and edit the link/s at the same. Doing so causes various problems, such as reducing available RAM consumed by the additional sessions (0.35 to 0.4GB/session observed) and the potential to run out of network licenses for other users.

Open and Unload

Revit’s UI gives us the option to open a link but at the same time, forces us to unload it. Somehow Revit seems incapable of having the same file in memory (based on filename) both as a link and opened independently in the same session. To make matters worse, most of our linked models are workshared, so opening a link in the way shown above is highly discouraged as you would be directly opening the central file. Revit does have safeguards for situations like this and does not let you directly do a Sync with Central if another user has synced since you opened the central file. Regardless, the current workflow of dealing with linked models is highly problematic and not sufficiently well-developed by the Factory.

Luckily we can work around the current limitations when the linked files needed for editing are workshared. We can in fact achieve this in the same session without unloading or requiring the user to open a separate Revit session by following these simple steps:

1. Make sure to not use the right-click option shown above (obviously!)

2. Navigate to the original linked central file and open through Revit’s Open dialog in the same session. If it is a valid Central File, Revit will automatically create a Local File by appending your username to it and happily open it for editing.

3. Alternatively, use the Revit Launcher (an HOK custom tool) to create a Local File for the linked model in question and open as usual.

NOTE: If the link to be edited is not workshared, you are out of luck and need to open it in a separate session if it is important to you to keep it loaded in the aggregated model.


There is no doubt that this functionality needs to be polished further. The current implementation might be a reflection of various technical reasons/limitations, but should not be a reason to leave things in their current state. Here are some thoughts:

  • Revit should be capable of opening non-workshared links directly and leave them loaded in the aggregated (host) model.
  • If the link is workshared, Revit should recognize this and serve a UI that offers the same options when selecting a workshared file in the Open dialog so we can 1) open a detached copy, 2) create and open a local file so we can make changes and sync them with central (default), and 3) offer the option to open the central file directly.
  • Give users the ability to edit a link in-context (in-place), whether it is workshared or not. This is not necessary functionality, but would be very nice to have.

1 comment: said...

Currently in Revit 2015 both the link and the main model with the link are allowed within the same Revit session. This was not possible before with Revit 2014.