A Catalog family is a family that relies on a .txt file to define the values for certain parameters within a family. When loading the Catalog family into a Project file Revit® will automatically read the matching “txt” file and create the appropriate family types within the Project file, based on your selection. Catalog families do not save that much file size in my opinion. Their benefits are more about only having the relevant types listed in the Type pull down menu, within the Project file, if appropriate.

The .txt file will tell Revit® what values to apply to the various Type parameters within each family type so that the family types match the properties in the .txt file. A Type Catalog family is used when there are many types within a family and allows the Content creator to edit the defined values directly in the .txt file easily without even going into the Revit® family editor.


  • The Catalog .txt file must match the family name exactly and be in the same folder location as the family in order to work. E.g. Family Name: AD_Broom.rfa and Catalog File name: AD_Broom.txt
  • These families must be loaded into a project file using the “File> Load from Library> Load family “option.
  • The user does not have to load in all the types within a family and can select which they want to load from the menu list which is automatically displayed by Revit®.

© Copyright Reserved by Michelle Louw (Excerpt from My speaker notes at National Revit Technology Conference 2008.)



  1. Hi,

    I try to use this on a Window family.
    The challenge here is to get parameter type “Family Type” to work.

    Do you have any idea?
    I know these:
    Name##other## (for text & materials)

    So I need the one who lett me select a nested family.

    Kind regards,


    • Hi Matthijs
      Sorry about the delayed response. I’m not sure I have understood your question… but I am happy to respond to see if I can help you out. Ok two things I should say…
      Firstly.. you need to start the first line of the txt file with a comma. This comma represents the family type name in the following rows.
      For E.g. Lets say the top row of your catalog file read:
      , Width##length##millimeters
      Then your second row might read
      300wide, 300
      Which means the family type name will be 300wide and the ‘Width’ parameter value will be 300. So you see – the comma (from the first row in the txt file) automatically represents the Family Type name. As long as the rows that follow Row 1 have a family-type-name value, followed by a comma – then Revit will consider that the family type name. I hope that helps.
      Also… Secondly…let me say this… I am speaking at our Australian National Revit Technology Conference in a week’s time. (19th June 2009) When I return from RTC I will add my new RTC-2009 handout to this blog. (If I can… It’s pretty big in file size) I’m not sure what my limit is on this blog.
      If I do have trouble with it uploading then you are welcome to post a requst for it and I will gladly email you back my Conference handout. (This offer applies to anyone reading this response that cannot attend my talk.) I have also expanded in the RTC handout on catalog families and my new handout should help clarify things a bit more for you too in regards to catalog families.

      PS. Name##Other## also applies to Yes/ No parameters in catlaog families (Where ‘No’ is defined by a numerical value of 0 and ‘Yes’ by a numerical value of 1)

      I may even see if I can add on the mini-demo-movie I made ;-) on catalog families etc.Wish me luck for RTC.

      • HI Michelle,
        I was at the RTC and must have missed your demo.
        This is something i am trying to play with right now and keep geting errors. Can’t seem to get it to work?
        Any tutorials around for this stuff?


      • Hi Andrew I have sent you my handout via email. Hope it helps. Thanks. I hope you enjoyed the conference.

      • Hi Michelle,

        Thanks for your reply!
        I found out about it. Thanks to “Erik Lewis” and his nice blog: http://whosafraidofthebigbadbim.blogspot.com/. He told me also about the Yes/No parameter. He repeated that it’s important that the names in the text file has to be exactly the same as the parameternames. There i found out why it did’t work for me in the first place. But for “Family Type” (nested family’s) it is just like for text, materials and Yes/No parameters; Name##other##.


  2. Hi Michelle,

    I have attended your session at the RTC..I would like to congratulate and thank you for your effort, it was really a VERY interesting session, as you have highlited a lot of important topics (yes veryyyy fast) but was really good.

    Congratulations again.

    • Hi Bassem
      I am embarrassed to say… that it was a lesson learnt. Next year I’ll be a bit less ambitious and try and cover less ;-)
      I guess I’m always trying to make sure everyone get’s something from my talk. I am learning that it should be okay if some people leave my talk and learn nothing because of their high level of knowledge. Because it’s hard to cover something new for everyone. Thank you for the feedback and acknowledgement Bassem. It made me smile ;-) I’m glad you found something worth while in the talk. Regards

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