Saturday, August 15, 2015

Worksets for the Small Project

It is not uncommon to hear that people who are able to work on projects alone choose to ignore using worksets. Choosing to avoid adding any unnecessary complexity to the experience is one reason I hear. Another is, "Worksets are only required (and therefore useful) when people have to work on the same model together at the same time." It's true, I have written as much.

If this person is you, there are a couple of subtle benefits you might want to consider.
  1. Opening inter-linked files in the same session
  2. Selectively loading worksets while opening the file
Regarding #1 - It is not uncommon to work on projects alone and have multiple buildings involved. Revit does not like it when we choose to open a file that is already linked and loaded in a model we already have open. We get the message that the file needs to be unloaded first.

One way around this is to open more than one session of Revit. Each Revit session uses a separate Windows Clipboard, in memory set aside for each session of Revit. That makes it harder to use Copy/Paste to pass things back and forth if necessary.

If we use Worksets instead we are working in a Local File. We link files based on the central file though. The consequence of this is that we can open any number of other linked files in the same session of Revit now because we'll be opening a Local File, not the Central File. Revit doesn't object to that condition. NICE! It's enough reason for me to enable Worksets on every project, at least every one that will be involved in linking with other RVT files.

Regarding #2 - Choosing which worksets to open when we open a project is quite helpful because we can be creative with worksets and linked files and find ourselves able to choose which linked files should be opened too. Otherwise we have to wait until the file opens and then use Manage Links to Unload them or frequently use Visibility/Graphics to turn them on/off as required.

The trick is to create a unique Workset for each linked file we'll be using. Then we can choose which one to open when we open the project itself, demand loading of linked files via Worksets...since we can't manage links until the file is fully opened and all links are loaded. It starts here when you open a project (see image below).

When Revit begins to open the project the first thing it will load is the Worksets dialog which will give us a chance to decide which of them should be opened or closed. Anyone who has worked on projects with several (or many) large linked files knows how each file increases the initial opening time required for a project. Why put up with that at all?

Have I convinced you to give it a try? I hope so!


Unknown said...

Another great reason is faster saves as the entire file does not need to be duplicated to create that backup copy. Only the modified content gets saved and thus can significantly be faster than waiting on a +50-100MB model to create that backup.


Emmanuel A. Garcia said...

Another reason to use Worksets is to protect yourself from yourself.

Matthew said...

Not to mention the best side-effects of using Worksharing: Increased performance and redundancy. These benefit every project, no matter the file or firm size. the first thing I do is workshare every project, even personal ones sitting on my home machine.

Revit files get very large, and pushing that file across even a 1 Gbps pipe is like drinking a McDonald's milkshake through a coffee stirrer. Worksharing means all saves are local, and SWC operations only synchronize the changes across the LAN, not the entire file.

Second, you create plenty of local backups in case something goes seriously south on the central file. Corrupt Revit databases cannot, in 97% of cases, be fully resurrected even by Autodesk, and it will take forever to even try. With worksharing you can always find a solid latest and greatest local file, and minimize the chance of catastrophic data loss very quickly.

Third, you have plenty of server-side backups (the default is 20) that allow you to roll back changes made by multiple users.

trevorpan said...

Hi Steve,

This dialog box came up last week right when your email came out.

Procedurally, when I am in a central model, I create a workset "Arch Bldg-1". I closed the file. When I open the central model again, I hit specify, as your post shows, select "Arch Bldg-1" and then it creates the local file.

After that, I went to open "Arch Bldg-1" and it gave me that dialog box again.

can you help clarify where I'm going wrong?

Thank you

Steve said...

If I understand what you've written, in a separate project file you enabled worksets and then created a workset so you can assign a linked file to it...and that Arch Bldg-1 is the workset for a linked file by that same name?

Regardless that has nothing to do with the dialog...assuming...

...when you write that dialog you mean the warning about unloading a linked file?

It sounds like the file you've linked to your project is the central but that you are opening the Central file and not creating a Local File instead. If so that's why you're getting the warning. You ARE opening the same file that is linked.

My post is advocating that you create a Local File once worksets are enabled and the central file is created. You close the central file and then open the project but make sure the Option Create New Local is checked.

Btw, did you assign the linked file to that workset? Both the Instance AND Type parameter for the link?

trevorpan said...

got pulled away from this job today. I'll definitely try and resolve this monday.

have a good weekend, thank you

trevorpan said...


Ok great. Under revit links, I assigned the arch model to workset "arch - bldg 1".

When I opened the central architectural model "arch - bldg 1" I made a local copy, and the error did not display!


Very helpful when you want to look at the arch model and have the structural one open.

Still getting acquainted with worksets. Thank you for the post.

Peter in Maryland said...

Mr. S.:

We a re mid-sized firm working on medium to larger projects (100k to 300k sf), and we have been using Worksets on all of our projects since starting out with Revit projects in 2008. At this point, our Workset list includes things like M-Piping, M-Piping Shaft, M-Duct, M-Equip-Non-Powered, etc. We use Worksets primarily for visibility control, along with coordination between disciplines.

Now however, a move is afoot to change our company standard, and use View Filters for all visibility controls, and only use one Workset per discipline. This seems odd - what say you?

Thanks for your time.