If you have ever struggled with consistently applying common visibility settings across many Revit views and projects then view templates are definitely for you! What is a view template? It is a collection of settings including visibility settings, scale, shading, level of detail (and nearly any setting that you can apply individually to a Revit view) saved in a named configuration. When you have such a view template you can apply it to any similar view in your project and immediately apply all of its settings quickly, efficiently and most of all consistently.
You can find commands for creating and applying view templates on the View tab of the ribbon. To create one, simply set up a view the way you want it including any graphical settings desired. Then, on the View tab, from the View Templates drop-down choose: Create Template from Current View. This command captures all of the pertinent settings and prompts you to name the new template. Once you have the template, you can use the Apply Template Properties to Current View command to apply the settings to another view. This command is also on the right-click menu of the view on Project Browser.
This is quick and effective, but what if you want something a little more “permanent”? In other words, using the “apply” command is a one-time operation that only applies the settings at that time. It is not persistent. Therefore, users can easily make changes after the application of the view template settings thus making the current view vary from the template. Now you can always re-apply if needed, but the process is manual. So if you want the view template settings to be applied permanently you need to apply them differently. Instead of using the “apply” command on the View tab or right-click, use the View Template setting on the Properties palette for the view.
When first applying a view template this way, you will notice no difference. All of the view template’s settings will be applied and change the view as appropriate. However, the difference will be evident when you try to manually change any settings controlled by the view template. For example, if your view template is controlling the level of detail or the visibility/graphics settings, those features will be unavailable (grayed out) when you try to edit them.
At first, it will appear that these settings cannot be changed and this can be frustrating to a user that is unaware of how view templates work. But when you are using view templates as a means to help enforce office standards, this can be very powerful. This is because to modify the associated settings, you actually open the manage “View Templates” dialog and edit the settings therein. When you finish editing, the changes will be applied to ALL views that use that template. So imagine a multi-story building with say ten floors. If you have an electrical plan and a furniture plan for each of the ten floors, using view templates in this way gives you consistency across all floors of the building while simultaneously giving you a single point to edit the settings without requiring you to open each view separately.
If you use the “apply” command instead, you would have to reapply the view template to all ten views each time you make a change. So while both approaches can certainly be useful, applying the view template directly to a view’s properties give you much more global control and has a much better chance of enforcing an office standard.
If you want to see the creation and application of view templates in this way in action, check out this week’s free tip on the weekly series: Revit: Tips, Tricks and Troubleshooting: