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Linked Files: Reference Types

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In this tutorial we are going to take a look at the two different types of referencing systems (Reference Types) that you can use when linking one Revit project into another. This system is the same no matter what combination of Revit projects files you link. ie Revit MEP into Revit Architecture, Revit Structure into MEP, etc.


The two Reference Types that are available to you when linking Revit files are: Overlay and Attachment. In order to keep this tutorial to a reasonable length and to convey the concept as efficiently as possible, I am going to demonstrate the difference between the two Reference Types by means of a worked example.

For this, I am going need 3 Revit Project files. I'm going to use Revit Architecture Project files for all 3. But as stated previously, you are free to mix and match between the various flavours of Revit.

My 3 project files are:-

File 1 (The site)

File 2 (The building shell)

File 3 (The furniture)

So let's start with the Reference Type "Overlay". First of all I am going to Link in File 3 into File 2 as an "Overlay". In the image below you can see the furniture file has linked into the house shell...

Now I am going to take a look in the "Manage Links" control panel. You find this on the "Manage" menu...



In this panel you will see a list of all project files that are Linked into the current one. In our case there is only one linked file- File 3. The thing I want you to note (as it is the topic of the tutorial!) is the Reference Type.....



You will see that by default the linked file has come in as an Overlay. Dont worry what this actually means because I am going to show you now by use of an example. I am now going to Link File 2 into File 1. As soon I use the "Link Revit" command, BOOM.......


....there we have it! Revit tells us now that it is not going to display "File 3" because it is set as an "Overlay". So I proceed and Link File 2 in. Here is a Floor Plan View taken from File 1....

and true to its word, you can see that Revit has hidden File 3 (ie the furniture).

NOW: Let's go back and open File 2 and change the Reference Type for the "File 1" Link to "Attachment"....



The Linked File is still visible from within this file (File 2). But if we now save this file and open File 1....

Ah!!! Now we CAN see both File 2 AND File 3 from within File 1 This is because File 3 is now an "Attachment" with regards its Reference Type.


Hopefully the above example has explained the differecne between the two Reference Types: Overlay and Attachment. If you are only linking "one deep" ie one file into anther, you dont really need to worry about this concept. But if you are "sub-nesting" Linked Files- use the most apropriate Referecne Type to suit whether you wish the sub0nested files to be visible from within the master Host file. This is most useful when you are linking in MEP/Structure files into your Architectural model AND THEN linking your Architectural model into a site file. You probably dont need to see the MEP/Structure in the site file- hence you would chose "Overlay" as your Referecne Type.

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