Wednesday, January 18, 2012

6 - Sheet Notes

I guess it's been a while since my last post, and I was beginning to feel quite guilty for starting something and not following through. Just don't hold your breath for daily posts.

For the longest time, our template used legends for general sheet notes. This worked fairly well since legends can be placed on multiple sheets and a single update affects all instances. However, our new approach is one that has greater advantages, especially for larger projects.

We created a generic annotation with three instance parameters: Grouping, Number & Text. Together with some linework, this creates a 'physical' placeholder for sheet notes within the model. Some notes are longer than others, so we've allowed plenty of room within the annotation family to accommodate long bits of text.

Once loaded into the project, a drafting view will hold all notes.

Each column represents a Grouping. For each, I've created 30 notes, most of which are blank.

Using a NoteBlock, we can now schedule every instance of this family. We'll sort by Grouping & Number. This schedule is the easiest & fastest way to make edits to notes.

We'll now duplicate that same schedule and use filters to narrow it down to a specific category & to hide blank notes. The '99' filter is used to hide a note from the sheet, while keeping it in the project. This way, for whatever reason, it can be added back easily. Any noted filled out in our main schedule will append automatically.

After some tweaks to the schedule's formatting, the end result looks about the same as our legends from before, but the advantage we now have is that these notes are parametric and therefore schedule-able. And since they are schedule-able, they are also searchable. Large projects can contain hundreds of notes, and having the ability to filter them in a separate working schedule based on a specific word or series of words is invaluable. It certainly has proved its worth already.

Edit: I created a follow up post here.


  1. Great stuff! Just what I've been looking for.

  2. Thanks Bradon! I've added a follow-up post to complete the setup.

  3. Sam ,

    This is one fantastic method of putting down the notes. Back in 2012 I ended up using schedules to create something similar, but it turned out to be a disaster (big story) and went back to text box. I just tried this out... works great. Really appreciate your efforts. - Naren

  4. How do you get the text to wrap in the drafting view boxes? I end up with a straight line across & within the family the label has "wrap text" checked. Also am I correct to assume that for the drafting view you just copied say the floor plan view and placed the sheet note family in a grid? Not sure if I was right to do that. I've got a lot of text to copy over but this system looks likes its going to be the way to go. Thanks for sharing.

  5. To get the text to wrap, you need to adjust the width of your label; just like with regular text, if you leave it the default width, it won't wrap.

    As for the drafting view, it's a drafting view (not a floor plan).

    If you have lots of notes to create, you may want to look into an add-in to import your notes via Excel. It'll speed things up quite a bit.

  6. Hi Sam,

    I have a bit of trouble getting it to work. I've created a generic annotation family but I'm a bit lost on what to do from there.

    1. Thai,

      Once you've created your generic annotation, with the labels you need, you can load it into your project and create a noteblock schedule for that generic annotation. The labels can then be added to the schedule.

      Let me know if you still have issues, and if so, I can post a sample file with schedules already setup.

  7. Thanks Sam, I'll give it a go. Is it ok to contact you privately? There is something I would like to discuss with you.

    1. Sure, respond to this post with your email address. I won't publish your response, so it stays private.