BILT Speaker

BILT Speaker
RevitCat - Revit Consultant

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Revit 2021.1 and Load Autodesk Content

Revit 2021.1 was recently released by Autodesk - for those waiting on the first 'point release' before upgrading to Revit 2021, this might be time to go for it.

But wait - there is a new feature in 2021.1 that you need to know about:

"Load Autodesk Family" Technology Preview

When you install Revit 2021.1 there will be a new icon on the Insert tab:


'Load Autodesk Family'

This is a "Technology Preview", which means it is a finished product that is released early for any Revit subscriber to test - refer to the Autodesk Blog.  It is a cloud-based (only) tool that lets you search for and download the latest Autodesk Revit families - but it is currently restricted to that content only.
If you click on the icon it will firstly ask you to log in to your Autodesk account - that means it will only work with named licenses (which Autodesk is forcing us towards anyway).
Once logged in, the Technology Preview dialog box opens:

This content is located somewhere on an Autodesk server(s) - at this stage we have no ability to select where the content is.  We can assume that this will eventually be expanded to include other content in locations that we can choose - it is not clear whether it will have to be on the 'Cloud' or our own company servers?

This content can be filtered and searched in a number of ways:

1.  First choose your region, from the World icon

2.  Filter by Category - but sadly we can only choose One category at a time or All ('Any') - surely it would make sense to be able to choose multiple categories?


Families can also be searched for by category name or keyword:

The resulting list of families can be viewed in a grid or a list, by clicking on the list format icon:


Well, what do you think?

If we had been offered this by Autodesk about ten years ago, I might have been excited - but I think that Autodesk are about a decade late to the party.  There are now so many third party content browsers out there on the market that it seems very strange for Autodesk to put any of its valuable development resources into this product at this time.  Most of those third party solutions already offer way more capability than this Technology Preview - it has a huge amount of catching up to do.
As noted, this is currently limited to Autodesk content.  Most companies have a policy to use only approved content - and that excludes Autodesk families and most third party families.

As a BIM Manager, you will almost certainly want to prevent your users from accessing this Technology Preview.  Luckily the Autodesk development team listened to the beta testers, and they have provided us with a way to disable the 'Load Autodesk Family' icon:

Add the following to your company Revit.ini so the button and the technology preview will not display:


Make sure that you do this before you roll out any version of Revit 2021 - even if you don't yet plan to install 2021.1.  Then it will be in place in advance.

Get Autodesk Content

There is another new icon in the 2021 Insert ribbon: "Get Autodesk Content"

The purpose of this is for BIM Managers to be able to download the Autodesk content that is no longer part of the install process - refer to upgrading to Revit 2021
If you click on this button it takes you to the content download web location.  
  • Scroll down and find your region content.

  • Select either Family or Family Template content, and download:

Obviously you do NOT want your users to be doing this!  This is either a BIM Manager task, or no task at all if you don't want the content - most likely once you have developed your own company content.   The only exception is that you may want the latest family templates because Autodesk have a habit of sneaking little updates and fixes into the family templates.  The only way to get some of those fixes is to use their templates and recreate your own from those.

Currently there is no way to disable this functionality in the Revit.ini file (Revit 2021 or 2021.1).