Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Create a New Local File Daily

When working in a worksharing-enabled Revit project, with a team of designers, I recommend everyone create a new local file every day. In this post I will explain why this should be done and mention one potential problem to keep in mind.

When you create a new local file you are starting with an update to date project file. Perhaps multiple people where working on the file last night... in this case, if you open your old local file, it is out of date and requires a Sync with Central (SWC) right away. Doing a SWC right away is easy to forget until you run into a rights issues and are forced to SWC.

However, whats worse than the rights issue,,,
is you may print some drawings that are not totally up to date.

Another big problem is, if you open an old local file, you may not realize the central file has been replaced, and the old local cannot (ever) sync with the new central. For example, you open an old local file, forget to do a SWC, work for about two hours and then, attempt to SWC, and then realize your local file is incompatible with the current central file that was replaced last night due to some corruption.

Also, as we will see below, following this technique provides a subtle way to verify you are opening the model in the correct version of Revit and whether you have selected a local file or a central file.

The one potential problem with creating a new local file each day also involves possibly losing work. Revit allows you to Save Local and Sync with Central. Save Local is faster, as it is saving directly to your fast local hard drive, and it is less disruptive to the project team. At the end of the day, if you Save Local and forget to Sync with Central, the automated Create New Local process overwrites your old local file, and thus your work that has not been sync'ed with central is lost.

The text and images below offer a few more details about the process in general...

To follow my recommendation, you would never click one of the preview images crossed out in the image below. These would either open an old local file, or directly open a central file. I wish there was a right-click option for each preview where we had options like: Create New Local, Open w/o/ Links, Open Central.

Same is true for the 'recent files' list on the File Tab... this would only open old local files or the central file. Another problem I have seen, is someone opening a file directly out of Windows "Previous Versions" backup system!

In the image below, when the Create New Local is active and check-able, you know you have selected a central file AND you are in the correct version of Revit for this file.

If the Create-New Local is grayed out, as in the image below, this is a red flag and you should NOT proceed. This means you are either not in the correct version of Revit for the selected file (upgrading would be bad or and newer file format simply cannot be opened) or you have selected a local file. This local file could be on your local hard drive, or someone messed up and replaced the central file with a local file (it has happened!). Thus, using this Open dialog offers a subtle way to verify Revit version and if you have selected a central file.

When you using the Create New Local file option more than once, you will get the prompt shown below. Clicking the top option (Overwrite) is where you could lose work by overwriting yesterday's local file, and clicking the bottom option (Append) will eventually fill up your hard drive. So what to do? I believe most people use the top option. If you were diligent in cleaning house, you could use the bottom option and just delete "last weeks files" every week.

I always use the bottom option if there are currently problems with the model. I want to preserve all local files as one of them, with the most work to lose, may need to be converted to the new central file.

When you use the Append option, the current local file is renamed to include today's date and then a new local file is created.

An alternative to using Revit to create a new local file is to create a script to do it for you. For example, David Baldacchino created one a while back, and you can read about here: Revit Make Local. With this method, you can have an icon for each project on your desktop, so you don't have to click through 12 sub-folders to find your central file. This will also open the correct version of Revit and rename your local file to create just one backup (the same backup is replaced each time, similar to AutoCAD).

If you have additional comments on this, add them below... thanks for reading.

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  1. Good article, always a good tip to mention to our BIM Leads every once in a while.


  2. R Menu/Files (depending on version) > Options > User interface > uncheck enable recent files at startup.

    No more more pesky local files for users to click on to open.


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