The Drawing Status

The drawing status is maybe overlooked as something simple, but there are many different ways to approach it, some being more cumbersome to mange than others.


First we have the instance based checkbox. It’s a great method if you have something like Ideate BIMLink available to you, or a well developed Dynamo graph, but if you don’t have either of these then the manual checking of boxes across a project becomes tedious quite quickly.

Even with these tools to speed up your work, setting the status of these titleblocks can become quite the chore if you have a lot of statuses to work with like the above example and you have differing statuses from sheet to sheet.

rows and rows and columns and columns and rows and rows..

Even though you can copy cells in Excel, I wouldn’t want to be the person given the task of ensuring the accuracy of these status stamps.

So how do we improve on this?


The next approach to managing instance based on/off visibility, the integer. I’ve discussed the use of integers to control visibility in the past and it certainly makes management of visibility much easier.

As you can see in the above example, we have a single integer value controlling the visibility of all the status options. As you can see, we have a series from 1-10 and another series from 21-28, this is differentiate between statuses in different geographical regions. But we can do better than that!

Although it’s slightly more complex and gives an additional integer to define, if you have consistent statuses between regions that need to be displayed differently, then you have the benefit of both regions having the same status code, such as 4 for tender issue.

Sure you need to either have a list in front of you or at least remember what number corresponds to which status, but both of these solutions are much easier to manage in an Excel based workflow as you simply need to export one or two parameters in addition to the sheet number.

Another simple alternative to controlling the region setting is to have the integer as a type based parameter and create a titleblock type per region or office, that way there is no need for the end user to set the integer controlling the region within the titleblock at all.

Checkboxes and Family Types

The family type parameter method is another way to approach this simple task, however it makes things a little trickier as the parameters aren’t easily manipulated with BIMLink.

Often I’ve seen titleblocks using this method to still use yes/no visibility check boxes within the nested family. The nested family types can then be controlled using an instance parameter in the titleblock, which provided that you name your nested family types in a simple easy to understand manner, it gives the end user an easy to understand way to control the status on a per sheet basis.

The Free-for-all Instance Label

An option that is rarely used and probably for good reason is the free-for-all label. This is where the status is controlled by an instance text parameter tied to a label in the nested annotation family. The instance parameter is then linked through another instance parameter to the status family.

As status stamps are something that are standardised and shared parameter labels by their nature are a free for all text box, it’s a good reason to not use a label. However, if you have a good BIM or drafting lead overseeing the project and ensuring the correct standards are being applied, then there is no reason why using labels should be out of the question. There will always be that risk of inconsistency though.

Labels and Family Types

Finally, probably the best option is the nested annotation symbol with a label that is controlled by a type parameter. This method is both easily controllable in an Excel or Dynamo based workflow and is a clean and lightweight option.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure it’s easy for the end users to adopt and if there is anything at all that needs to be documented, make sure it’s documented clearly and concisely.

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