Modifying That Journal Script to Actually Reduce Family Sizes

A long time ago I was looking for a solution to automatically purge a folder full of families, if like me you had a quick search around the interwebs you would have found this purge script that utilises journals from Revit Randoms that I mentioned in my previous post about converting files from imperial to metric.

Some people however report that the resulting files saved are anywhere up to 30% larger in file size after purging, personally I have seen files more than double in size after running them through the script and considering the idea of purging a file is to make it smaller, larger file sizes are just not a result that you should accept.

Some suggested to repeat the following code at the end of the script 3 times to act like a compacted save

Jrn.Command “Internal” , ” , ID_REVIT_SAVE_AS_FAMILY”
Jrn.Data “File Name” , “IDOK”, namepath

But that never made any difference for me either.

You may have noticed though when you save a file as another name, the compact file option is automatically checked which in turn results in a smaller file by default, when simply saving the file over the top of itself, the compact file option is not selected and you can not select it using journal scripts, trust me I’ve tried!

Sure it means a little bit of extra work, but the simplest way to achieve this is to modify line 108 of the script to read

Jrn.Data “File Name” , “IDOK”, namepath & “_new.rfa”

The script is the same format of the SP.Writer code that I previously wrote about, the & “_new.rfa” simply appends _new.rfa to the end of the file name and path, meaning if you have a file named c:\upgrade\family.rfa it will be saved as c:\upgrade\family.rfa_new.rfa

If you’re upgrading files to a new release, you could even change the code to & “_2016.rfa” and when 2016 is finally released you have upgraded files without the risk of accidentally losing the previous version.

There are probably cleaner but more complex ways to do this, but for the purpose of keeping the excerise as simple as possible by only adding 10 or so characters to a single line of code, this works perfectly fine.

Helpful Tips

If you don’t add the *.rfa extension, you won’t be able to open the purged files afterward even after renaming to *.rfa.


Once the script is completed, all you need to do is separate or delete all the *.RFA files and rename the *.RFA_new.rfa files back to *.RFA, you could automate renaming the files with a tool such as Better File Renamer or a free alternative such as Bulk File Rename Utility.

The files I’ve run through the script are families that have geometry imported from Solidworks models, even though not the greatest of examples, you can clearly see the improvements of this simple change.

As shown in the screenshots below the files started out at 1.34gb, after running the unmodified script on them, the increased in size to 1.7gb, after running the modified script over the original file, they reduced to 920mb.


An extra few minutes work but the process still remains mostly automated and you have the bonus of actually achieving the desired solution of smaller file sizes which makes it absolutely worth it.