Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 3 Window

Part Three of my Revit architecture family series will be about creating simple parametric windows. If you missed the First part or the Second part, follow the links to bring you up to date. These tutorials are starting from the very basics of family creation all the way up to detailed advanced families. If you are having problems with windows or new to window familes, use the tutorial below as a guide.

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The first task you need to perform, is to open up a ‘Generic Window template’ as a new family in Revit. Once you have this template open, you should see, in reference/plan view an image similar to that you see above. In this case, I am not going to be tiling my screen as it will be easier to work with the views as we need them for a window family.

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Now you want to navigate to 3D mode, as shown in the image above. The first bit of sketching you need to do, is to create a solid sweep following the path of your window opening. (NOTE: If you do not want your window to defined by height width, then it is essential to edit your window opening before you proceed, in this case we’ll keep it simple). Use the pick path tool and create a closed loop. The green square is representing the workplane/area that you will be creating your profile on.

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Once you have finished your sweep, and BEFORE you click the green tick to end the command, you will want to click on ‘Edit Profile’ as shown in the image above. It will now be a good idea to go into a Left or Right elevation view to create your window frame / profile.

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As shown in the image above, I am creating my blend profile in a Right elevation view. This is the most important step in creating a basic window family. The profile / sketch you draw now, will define how your window will look. Sketch a profile similar to the one I have shown in the image above. It is your choice how far you want the edges of the frame to extrude from the wall etc, so play around with this profile if your not satisfied.

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In the above image, you can see I have created two new aligned dimensions. The first, set by me to 120mm is for the internal frame of the window, and will define the thickness of that. The second dimension, with the EQ property is very important. We are measuring from the outer edge of the profile, to the MID-Point reference line and then to the outer edge of the profile. Once we have done this, click the small EQ sign above the dimensions to give an equal dimension to both measurements. This step is crucial, as this will mean we can use this window on walls of varying thickness, and not just this exact size of wall. Once you are satisfied, click the green tick twice to end the profile and sweep.

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Once you have finished editing your sweep, you should go into a 3D view and check you are satisfie with the frame that you have created. As you can see, I have chosen to design a window with a LARGE surrounding frame, what you do is your choice. The next step is to create some glass to go into our window, but before we do this, we need to make sure we are working on the correct workplane. To do this, follow the steps in the above image, click Create > Extrusion > ‘Set’ Work Plane. You want to select the Reference Plane: Center (Front/Back). This happens to be the same reference plane that you have created your EQ dimension to. This should help you understand the importance of those dimensions.

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We now simply use the ‘Pick Line’ tool in the create extrusion ribbon and make sure the ‘Lock’ option is ticked and selected. Choose the inner edge of the frame and create a closed loop as shown in the image above. You can also change the ‘Depth’ (thickness) of the extrusion here, alternatively use the element properties to define the size.

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You will now see a solid extrusion filling the space of the window, so of course, what we want to do is to change this extrusion mass to a ‘Window’ or ‘Glass’ material. We can be fairly sure that in any case we want to use this window, this layer will be Glass. For the frame, we may wish to choose a custom material depending on our project, If you don’t know how to do this by now, then simply follow the steps from the image above. Now you will be able to define the material of the window frame in a project environment.

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As when creating any family, it is a good idea to include a few extra design options as standard. This can save time and means you don’t have to go in and edit the family every time you want a different dimension of the window. Create 3 or 4 different sizes following the steps above and then save your family. It is a good idea to save all your families in the same place, once you start to create many different families it is a good idea to organise them with a good folder structure.

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Finally, load your family in to a project. As an example, the above image shows 4 of custom windows I just created. As you can see on the left of the image in the element properties dialogue, there are various design options, e.g. Sill height and ‘Window Frame’ material. And that is all, another very simple window family. I hope that this gives anyone wanting to create a custom window family some good tips and direction. Look out for part 4 in the Revit parametric families series coming soon!

Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of the Revit Family Creating series

Or Click here for Part 4 of the series – Learn to create a coffee cup in Revit


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About Ben Malone

Information Manager for BIM.Technologies in London

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