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Friday, May 15, 2009

Central and Local Files

Many of the large Revit firms (HOK, SOM, many others) have developed scripts or macros to assist users in creating their Local files from the Central in Revit. Autodesk threw their hat in the ring this year in 2010 with the new "Create New Local" functionality. I am very pleased with this new feature which has mostly flown under the radar but I think is a HUGE benefit to all the firms that DO NOT have a home-grown routine. The little check box in the open box allows you to select a Central file, but when you click Open, Revit actually creates a new Local file on your hard drive with your user name appended. Very cool. Long overdue.

However, now this raises the inevitable file naming / office standards debate. The problem revolves around the word "Central" that most firms have been appending their Central file names with. Should this practice continue? It is an interesting question that I think will take some time to resolve. Here is a passage the I just penned for the Worksharing appendix in my new edition of Mastering Revit Architecture (due out soon):

BIM Manager Note: There is some debate as to what the “proper” name for a Central file ought to be. It is current common practice in many firms for the word “Central” to be added to the name. This has been the defacto standard for many years. However, with the 2010 release and its ability to automatically create a Local file (see the “Creating a Local File” topic below), some now question the wisdom of including “Central” in the file name. When you let Revit create a Local file automatically, it will use the same file name as the Central file and append a suffix with your user name. You can see an example below in Figure B.14. This may cause confusion for some since the word “Central” will now be included in their Local file name as well. The most important thing is that it is clear to all team members which file is the Central file and that they do not open it and work directly in it. The traditional reason for appending the “Central” suffix has always been to help make it clear to users which file is the Central. However, with the new functionality to create Local files, it may be a moot point. Consider that even without the “Central” suffix; the file names will always be unique because Revit will automatically append the user name to Local files. So in summary, you may now want to consider a new policy for file naming: Name the Central file without the “Central” suffix such as: ABC Office Towers.rvt. When you create a local file, it will become ABC Office Towers_User Name.rvt. further, since the Central file will always be on the network server and the Local is typically in the My Documents folder (by default), this should also further clarify the difference. What even naming convention and procedure you adopt, make sure it is clearly communicated to all project team members and that all are required to follow it.

Many other bloggers are discussing this topic as well:
Do U Revit?
Revit OpEd

Thought? Comments?

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