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Password Protection / read only / families protection

Password Protection / read only / families protection

Does anyone else need to have the ability to password protect their files? We are having huge issues with people modifying our work without consent, or simply copying all the custom families and templates/settings and reusing them in other firms. This seems like a really simple thing to implement to protect intellectual property and make sure that what you put in the file is what is in there and is not modified by others... I see there is only 1 post about this and i am so surprised because i find this topic on so many other forums..


... it is important to have the option in all your models from projects to families to get a password protection

... please include this into REVIT


I agree... it's like a running gag...


When I begun Architects did not want to share their CAD files for bidding. They just send their paper drawings (boxes of) by post delivery for 2 main reasons :

  1. they do not want to share the blocks they paid for (manhours).
  2. they do not want that someone cheat and send one of their drawing modified but with the same titleblock/revision.

So Adesk invented DWF as an answer... but it was too complicated for them and they send us scanned PDFs that were skewed, waved, miscontrasted and not snappable or convertible to CAD lines. 10 years was needed to finally get vector PDFs and sometimes DWFs ! 🙂 Great.... but now we're on Revit and cannot use PDFs as background ! 😞


Of course, now that Revit become a standard, they don't want to share their Revit models for the exact same reason and send us DWGs (generated from Revit... so they don't mind anymore) and when we're lucky IFCs or NWDs.



I know these NWDs and IFCs should be THE transfer format, but sincerely, when bidding and proposing project alternatives as main contractor, it's really not workable solution since IFC 4.0 DTV is not yet there and we're loosing all the BIM intelligence there !


If revit would provide a way to granularilly password-protect parameters, families or models, no one would have a (good) reason not share a model. I think too that those 2 little lines of code would really push the market to a smother collaboration at least between Revit workers.



Totally and completely agree.

A philosophy says that being a BIM software, everything shall be shareable to an extend. But since forever, the copyright matters, the invested manhours among other things, had been very important issues for many companies to keep being competitive or any other reasons.


Due to the lack of these tools, we keep sharing 3D autocads or IFC models to other Revit users such as consultants or contractors just to avoid that some families start leaking. Yes, we can have all the disclosure agreements but even so, any person in any moment, can copy a family from a project and becomes public.


If not possible to password protect the model, projects or whatever...maybe an option to export the model to a special Revit Sharing Model that doesn't allow to Edit Family in any way, or, perhaps that exports the family types modeled but strip them from all parametric functionality. The data, dimensions, and information would remain, but the dynamic behavior won't.

or, perhaps that exports the family types modeled but strip them from all parametric functionality. The data, dimensions, and information would remain, but the dynamic behavior won't

That's what exporting to IFC result's in : Parameters becomes text and Parametric Families becomes dumb in-place components you loose dimensions, views, sheets...


But I don't find that its a "BIM Leve2" way of transmitting things as they tough have to be remodeled from scratch when you want to update something. IFC4 DTV could be the solution but still on development...


So for now I would prefer to have some password protected parameters (like copyrights) or sheets and though have the opportunity make some design changes the easy way directly in the original model and show them on separate new sheets.


this is a very important and needed function...

Not applicable

Why don't you just send a PDF?  Unless the client demands your template and settings, I don't understand why you aren't just sending the 3D/BIM information anyway.


Second, it sounds really pretentious.  It's 2019, not 2009.  Revit is 2 decades old.  I sincerely doubt you have any ground breaking thing.  And if you do, why NOT share it?!  There are forums, and user groups that participate in this to benefit the industry all over the place.  What makes you so special?


If you are just creating in-house stuff to make designer workflow better, I don't understand why you have to let that out of sight.  Just keep it on your servers.


It is pathetic to assume that the collaboration on a project is best done through PDF sharing. That makes Revit useless for collaborations, why don’t you just draft in 2d then? If this is how you work - your clients are not getting the benefit of your own marketing of BIM.  But just because one is willing to share a model to collaborate with other consultants - it does not mean they are also willing to share all the components of the model and give the right for individual components to be modified. And by the way - it's a 2-way street, they might not want to share their stuff either.


It is not pretentious. That is like saying that intellectual property has no value.  So the people editing their photos should just share their ‘actions’ with other photographers. Or hell, just give the images to the world for free… why not? it's not like they can’t travel to wherever and take the same photo? Right??? The only people thinking that way - are people who never create anything.




We pay our employees to design families or create standards. It should be the firm’s choice to share that with other firms and or clients. It should not be assumed that in the sake of making the process much more efficient and streamlined and saving money and time to the end client, you are supposed to just give everything up. It is also securing the jobs of employees that are actually knowledgeable in the software.


We install components where they are supposed to go and create parameters for components the way they are intended to be in the design. If a part of the team goes in and changes the parameter slightly without notifying anyone - this is NOT ok. And there is no way of tracking that either. It is not “pretentious” to ask for password protection. Acrobat does it… No one said that acrobat invented typing…. or that it is so special that no other software can do this. But it is a needed implementation for the ease of collaboration, liability and quality control of projects.

On a separate note - I am personally a believer in sharing your knowledge and helping the community. I am too a part of multiple forums and groups on Revit and I do share my own models or families or tips. BUT that is MY choice to do so, it is not taken from me. There is a huge difference.


You are so consumed by being “marketable”. It is not about marketing. I don’t “sell” idea to the client that I have a fancy model or a unique family. But my efficiency and productivity are marketable. If you don’t see the value in that - then you don’t understand the subject.


I totally agree with you @katechka. Autodesk has to provide a solution for protecting our productivity. Most of the companies using BIM are competing about the efficiency and productivity not how fancy the model can be. 


when i download family form some site, i often have to modify it - as i need to at least change their visibility according to our standards, add / change parameters so i can schedule them. when all this is locked, i cant use them. Sad.


@vojtech.zufnicek I totally understand. And I do the same. But the feature doesn’t have to be always on “locked” or “protected”. One does not have to send out an Acrobat file with a read only function all the time. 

I am only suggesting to give us (users) a choice which we can then apply according to the situation.



There is potential both ways.  A new company could skim "borrowed" content to quickly set up their own library that another company spent years investing in, and be competing at nearly the same level.  Not a situation that is very desirable.


On the other hand, security/password features can be mis-used or deliberately abused.  Passwords can be forgotten, not shared or not documented internally resulting in unusable content.  New users may lock up their work accidentally.  Others employees may deliberately protect content to protect their job, while external intruders may using locking as part of a ransomware or "political action" scheme.  A engineering company may lock down their content with the intention of forcing clients to come back to them for future work.


In the end, what is really important is your clients understand your concerns, and ensure you are working with contracts that spell out details.  If you aren't required to provide intelligent models, then don't - provide 3D PDF, or Navisworks, or similar review files along with the end drawings.  If you have to provide intelligent content then ensure the contract has the correct language to protect your IP and handle things like establishing "content of record" to protect against unauthorized changes.


Protection against accidental change sounds good, but what is accidental change and what is change done intentionally? This protection should be done through the whole model,  by some levels of permissions, not just locking the families.

About protecting intelectual property... what makes my (or yours) revit family so special, that it is necessary to protect it? When i work with supplier, and ask for informations, they gave me them. Details, technical drawings in dwg, so i can use them, without silly passwords. This is part of their customer support, marketing, advertising, whatever.

For me, at this stage, better keep families as they are, no passwords.

Not applicable

I've been using Revit since version 8.  We have used BIM exclusively as a firm since 2007, I don't need any lectures about sharing and collaborating in Revit.  I'm a huge proponent of Collaboration for Revit, it's been a tremendously useful tool.  And we all have access to everyone's model on the team at any given moment.  No one gripes about their "IP".  In the beginnings, I thought how you do.  But now it just seems passe.


Tesla, Google, Microsoft etc all embrace open source software and property in many respects.  They aren't worried about anyone stealing their stuff, they just want to advance the technology.


1) It sounds like your team members need to be versed in how to use Revit appropriately.  Locking it down for them doesn't do them any good.  Heck, if they knew more about the parameters and functionality, they might even be able to help promote even greater efficiency.  You never know who will have a great idea.  But you need to give them the chance.


2) Maybe I trust people too much, I sincerely doubt there are people out there that work on a project team just trying to score Revit stuff.  I can't imagine anyone is thinking "yes! we just saved 100 hours by stealing this template!"  If they are, something tells me they won't be that successful as a firm.  A lot of clients do demand the final BIM model, it's their property, not yours.  You were hired to create it for them for facility management etc.  Heck, we've been hired sometimes to only create an open BIM model for Universities etc use.  You can't lock that down, it's now theirs.


3) Imagine working on a hospital addition 10 years from now, the owner has the existing model for you.  But unfortunately you can't use much of it because there is password protection all over the place.  


4) I'm pretty sure the PDF standard has protection primarily for contract related items.  Not to prevent people from stealing a wall section





i think you are mixing some things together here and perhaps oversimplifying the issue.

First of all - i agree that one should share the model in-house, and it is absolutely the right and only way to do it.  I do disagree that there is no merit in the ability to lock or password protect editable capabilities of individual components of the model when sharing it with consultants or collaborating firms. 


Your comment about Google and Microsoft - is a very different topic. Here you are talking about open source software. The benefit of open source software is that the speed, quality and content developed through an open source project is going to be significantly better than running an equivalent project in house -in all respects. If there are contributors of course. 


This is not the same as collaborating in Revit. At least not in our experience. I don’t have a consultant calling me and saying - “hey - i just got your model, and i have this awesome family we built that is a little lighter or a little more parametric than the one in your model - so i  just upgraded you to this one!” Or “ hey - we created this in-office template and workflow - you should grab it from us, or let me load it in for you “
So this is in response to your “ give them a chance”. 


I don’t have an issue giving the client my model. I often do. However - let's not oversimplify it. The model is not their property. The model is the property of whichever party is named in your contract as the owner. It is not blanket ownership by default. But my concern is not the client. 


If the client comes to me and asks for the deliverable to be the BIM model - Great! this is something i know upfront, just like the project you are referring to for the University.  That's fine! i know what i am selling to them and the cost of my project reflects that. The problem happens when this is NOT the deliverable, but only is a portion of the regular process or collaboration and you have no way of protecting your content from changes or from copying. I don’t have an agreement with all team members that they can take any content of mine while collaborating on a project and then are free to reuse it in their other work as they please. I also don’t give them the right to accidentally or knowingly adjust content that i placed, without any way of me knowing that that has been done. 



Perhaps you have not yet had an issue with this - but it does happen. Elements get edited, changed, altered somewhere in the process and often remain unnoticed till that is an issue during construction. Who is responsible then? And absolutely - individual components, set-ups, costom families, graphiscs and settings within workflow get "exported" by others and reused on projects that have no relation to the original creator-firm. 


What i struggle to understand is why someone wouldn’t want this to be at least an option?


 If you feel like you don’t need it - great! Don’t use the password protection!… Why are you worried that someone else uses it? If you think no one ever steals or changes the models or its content without consent - then go ahead and continue as you have been.. It wouldn’t affect you at all..  just don't add a password..


Are you thinking others might use it when you don't want them to?


I'm agree with this wish, and also understand 100% your point with this @katechka .


"What i struggle to understand is why someone wouldn’t want this to be at least an option?"

Me too! Is an epidemic here.


Strongly agreed. One of our customers has made more than 6000 custom families, so I agree with her point of view. then family productivity in Japan gets better. The supplier would provide their families without any concern. 


I'm trump up for the new changes in future releases of Revit BIM MEP. Password protection or embedded functions within Revit family contents, extra layer protection is needed to protect creator hard works before it walk out the door. It can me to protect my Revit family content from someone messes up in cloud storage project.


Totally disagree.

To be sincere families are designed and suited for a company standards.

If I take a family that is not created by me, according to firm standards (Shared Parameters - Sub categories - Line styles - Materials - Line thicknesses  ) it is totally useless!

It is better to keep families free of modification beacuse no one can fit external company families to their standards,

just be ispired by them.


Welcome to the worksharing design process..


i agree with @katechka - there MUST be an option to protect your own property!

we put so much effort (money!) into building our own families. If our competitors now steal these families, they no longer have to invest anything and can offer significantly cheaper and thus damage us.  then who pays our employees? the competitor?


yes, open source exists, but not everyone has to use or provide content. within the revit world you are captured to make gifts all the time - thats not only bad, it's threatening for a company.


I totally agree! I have been wishing this for years. I create very intense custom families for many clients whom hire me to do this. They all ask me the same question about PW protection or at least the comfort of not having users be able to modify or steel them.

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