Category: Revit, Visibility

Revit View Filters 101

If you are new to view filters, then this post is for you! There are a few things I want you to understand up front. To begin, there are two kinds of view filters – rule-based filters and selection filters. Rule-based filters are created in the Filters dialog (View ribbon, Graphics panel) by defining rules. That is what we will focus on in this post. Selection filters are created by selecting elements and creating a selection set, so there’s not much to it.

After view filters have been created, they can be added to views. This is done in the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog on the Filters tab. Both rule-based filters and selection filters can be added here.

Once filters are added to a view, the Visibility of the filter can be turned off and the graphic display can be adjusted. Since this series is focused on visibility, I will focus on that aspect for now. A critical thing to understand is that after filters are added to a view, the main function they provide in terms of visibility is to turn the Visibility off. There is not an option to isolate or only show the elements meeting the filter criteria. When learning about filters, many people create them thinking about the elements they want to show. However, you must create them with the intent of elements you do not want to be visible. Maybe this comes natural to you, but I have to reverse my thinking because I always think about the elements I want to show.

Inclusion and Exclusion View Filters

When creating rule-based filters, you define a set of rules. The elements in the project that meet the criteria will be picked up by the filter. When the filter is added to a view the visibility of those elements can then be turned off. I like to think of filters as either an inclusion filter or an exclusion filter. Technically all filters include elements that meet the criteria. So really what I’m referring to are the filter rules. Looking at the image above, you can see there are four filters – two inclusion and two exclusion. I add “NOT” to my exclusion filters.

Quick note: there can be filters that have both inclusion and exclusion rules since you can have multiple rules and multiple rule sets. To begin our discussion on filters, we’ll stick with these two high level groupings.

Inclusion Filters

For me, inclusion filters are those that use operators such as equals, contains, begins with, and so on. These filters include the elements that meet the filter criteria. In my templates, I like to create inclusion filters for each system type and name them accordingly. That way, when added to a view, users know that when they turn the visibility of the filter off, they are turning off the visibility of elements in that system.

Exclusion Filters

Exclusion filters are those that use operators such as does not equal, does not contain, does not begin with, and so on. While these filters also include the elements that meet the filter criteria, the rules are excluding elements. In my templates, I like to create exclusion filters for the main system types and even system disciplines. As stated above, I add “NOT” to the filter names. That’s much easier than trying to add everything that isn’t included. However, depending on the filter the naming may need to be different.

Using View Filters

Now to tie it all together. The workflow I recommend is to use inclusion filters for working views and exclusion filters for documentation views. What this does is allow users to control the visibility of multiple systems while they are modeling and coordinating. Then on the documentation views you can exclude everything except for what you want to show on that plan.

For example, with piping, you may have HVAC piping, plumbing piping, and maybe even fire protection and med gas in the same model. You can have inclusion filters for each system type or groupings of systems, such as chilled water supply, chilled water return, plumbing drainage, plumbing service, med gas, etc. Then on your documentation views, you can have exclusion filters to match the plan, such as HVAC piping, or even chilled water piping. Just make sure that you plan accordingly because you can have filters that are in conflict.

In the next post, we’ll take a closer look at creating rules and how conflicts can arise.

To begin, there are two kinds of view filters – rule-based filters and selection filters. Rule-based filters are created in the Filters dialog (View ribbon, Graphics panel) by defining rules.

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