How to Reference Multiple Detail Views from a Single Revit Callout

Revit multiple detail callout heads with one callout boundaryOne of the great things about Revit is that annotation is linked to the objects it annotates, whether that is a component, view, etc. The Callout tool allows us to draw a boundary and directly reference the view, or detail, that this refers to.

Sometimes, however, you might have more than one detail that is pertinent to that callout area. This often happens when keynoting, but can happen for detailing purposes as well. So, how can you add multiple Revit callout symbols to a single callout?

This seems like a pretty straightforward request, but the problem is that Revit doesn’t allow you to simply place an annotation symbol that links to a detail view without actually drawing the rectangle that defines the callout area. In this case, we don’t want multiple boundaries — just one. What we want is to have multiple callout symbols to allow us to point to different details.

Some firms have created a separate annotation symbol that contains a parameter that can be manually set to reference the detail number. I don’t care for this method as it’s very non-BIM. If the detail view ever gets moved or assigned a different number, the callout does not automatically update, but has to be adjusted manually.

The trick — albeit a fairly kludgy hack, is to draw the boundary, which Revit forces us to do, but make the rectangle as small as humanly (should I say, Revitly) possible. You then have to adjust the leader to shrink that down as well. It still leaves behind a trace of itself, but this generally doesn’t show up on plots.

Yes, it’s a hack, but it works, and the great thing is that it keeps its hyperlinked association with the view that it references. All go for BIM.

Check out the video for the step by step:

Multiple Detail Callout Symbols on a Revit Callout Boundary from Patrick Villella on Vimeo.

Sometimes, when trying to get Revit to do something we want it to do but it really isn’t designed for, you have to wonder that maybe the designers imagined a different workflow than we are hoping to achieve. This is one of those examples. While explaining this method to a good Project Architect friend of mine, he brought up the point that maybe you shouldn’t ever be referring to more than one detail with a callout to begin with. His point, which I think is well founded, is that if you need to reference the info in both of those details for one part of the building, why not just make sure that all the needed info is in one detail to begin with. I know that builders don’t appreciate having to jump from sheet to sheet, trying to piece together the complete info they need to construct something. This might be what the Revit development team had in mind to begin with.

That being said, I think there are still times when it would be useful to reference multiple details or views and I like the flexibility of deciding for myself what is the best method to take. Maybe future releases of Revit will give us a simple Option Bar control that lets us easily choose whether we want the boundary or not — rather than resorting to a bit of a hack.