How To Prevent Symbol Overlaps in Revit

When placing components such as switches, sockets and other electrical devices in Revit, it is likely that at certain detail levels they may display as symbols. If this is the case then they will certainly be annotative, which allows them to maintain size regardless of scale.

However, this can be problematic at certain scales when you need to place devices next to each other. Take a look at the example below with the two twin switched sockets next to each other.

revit symbol overlaps 1

To get around the overlap issue, we can make a slight modification to the family to allow us to move the symbol whilst leaving the component in the same place. First, open up the family you wish to edit, as I've done in the example above. Now navigate to the view where the symbol is visible (usually Ref Level floorplan) and select the symbol.

revit symbol overlaps 2

As you can see from the image above, the loaded symbol annotation family is constrained to both central reference planes to ensure that it stays in place. We need to first unlock it from the Centre Left Right plane to allow it to move, or we can drag it from the plane while it is locked, and it will give us the option to remove constraints anyway.

revit symbol overlaps 3

Once that is done, we then need to create a parameter to allow us to control the offset distance of the symbol. Place an aligned dimension between the Centre Left/Right reference plane to the centre plane of the symbol as below, then select it and create a parameter from it. Just note that this may vary depending on which release of Revit you are using.

revit symbol overlaps 4

In this example I’m calling the parameter ‘Symbol Offset’ and ensuring that it is an Instance Parameter rather than Type, as we want to have individual control of the distance.

revit symbol overlaps 5

Once this is done we can go into our Family Types dialogue box and set the Symbol Offset to zero which will reset it into the default position, or click on the symbol and edit the dimension to zero.

revit symbol overlaps 6

We can now load the family back into the project and overwrite the existing one. Once back in, we can select the device and edit the Symbol Offset on the properties palette - as you can see below, one of the symbols has been moved along by 100mm.

revit symbol overlaps 7

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