BIM Tutorials: URLs in Revit

URL or uniform resource locator, is a path that points to an external file or directory. These links serve as a means of connecting data in a logical way. For URLs to work properly they must follow very specific rules, a single character out of place means the URL will not work.

Adding a URL Parameter

Within Revit, URLs are added to the BIM by adding a URL parameter to a family. URLs will typically link to extended information about a real world object and will be applicable to all instances of the object. Therefore, URL parameters will almost always be a type level parameter and should seldom, if ever, be an instance level parameter.

GSA has a list of established URL parameters which must be used if applicable. Before creating any new URL parameter, you must verify that it is not on the list of Minimum Attributes. If the required URL parameter is on the list of Minimum Attributes you must pull the parameter from GSA_R5_URLPARAMS.txt shared parameters file.

Adding a parameter to the Project

Graphic illustrating how to add parameters to a BIM Project
  • Within the project, select Manage > Shared Parameters from the ribbon.
  • Set your Shared Parameters file to point to GSA_R5_URLPARAMS.txt
    Note: Project level Parameters should always be added from the URL shared parameters file.
  • Close the Shared Parameters window and select Manage > Shared Parameters
  • Click Add and then select Shared parameter
  • Click on Select... and pick the URL parameter you wish to add.
  • Under Parameter Data, set the option to Type, and the Group to General.
  • Check all Categories that may require the parameter.
  • Select OK to add the parameter to the file

Adding a parameter to a single family

  • Within the family editor, select the Family Types button from the ribbon
  • Click the Add... button to add a new parameter.
  • Ensure that Family parameter is selected.
    Note: If you are using a shared parameter, you should be attaching it at the Project level, not the Family level.
  • Name the parameter beginning with "URL", then a descriptive name.
  • Ensure that it is set to a Type parameter.
  • Select URL for the Type of Parameter.
  • Click OK to add the parameter.

Setting the URL Path

A URL within Revit will only work if the path to the data is correct. A single error within the URL will mean that Revit can not resolve the URL and no file will be opened. It is also critical to understand the nature of absolute versus relative URLs. The BIM creator should never assume that the BIM will remain in a static location. The use of absolute linking within the BIM is never allowed.

Before adding any URLs to a project, ensure that the project has been setup to use the approved folder structure as outlined in the Data Submittal Standard. Adding URLs before the folder structure is in place will lead to rework.

In this example, we will add a URL to the URL Operation and Maintenance parameter on a piece of mechanical equipment. As with all URLs, this will be a relative URL to a location within the standard folder structure.

This example assumes:

  • you have already added the project level parameters from GSA_R5_URLPARAMS.txt to the BIM.
  • you are using the standard folder structure that includes a \23 - HVAC\Operation and Maintenance Manuals\ folder.
  • that there is a PDF file within this folder name O&M Manual.pdf

Step by Step

  • Begin by selecting an instance of the Family within your model an clicking the Edit Type button.
  • Scroll down through the parameters until you reach the General section and find URL Operation and Maintenance parameter.
  • Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the (project name)\23 - HVAC\Operation and Maintenance Manuals\ folder.Graphic highlighting how to navigate to a specific parameter
  • From the top address bar, select \23 - HVAC\Operation and Maintenance Manuals and copy the text.
  • Switch back to the Revit window and paste the text into the URL Operation and Maintenance field.Graphic illustrating how to add parameters in Revit
  • Add a backslash to the end of the text.
    • Your text should appear as "23 - HVAC\Operation and Maintenance Manuals\" at this point.
  • Copy the name of the file you wish to link to, in this example O&M Manual.pdf. Paste this to the end of text in Revit.
  • Your completed path should read: 23 - HVAC\Operation and Maintenance Manuals\O&M Manual.pdf
  • Test the link by clicking the small button next to the text.
  • When you click on the link the PDF should open, if nothing happens you have an error in your path.
Graphic illustrating how to add parameters to a BIM Project
Last Reviewed: 2023-04-17