Jeff Hanson (one of our Subject Matter Experts in Techincal Publications and contributor on my blog) asked me to look into a question that he had heard the other day. Jeff was wondering what is the recommended way to link in a workshared file into another Revit project. Should you link in a Central file or a local file?
His question dealt with getting a Revit file from somone outside your company like a consult that was using worksharing and what you should do to link it into your project. A good example would be any MEP engineers out there linking in architectural Revit files to use in your designs.
I wasn't completely sure about the answer so I talked to developers with the workshring team to find out what they had to say.
The recommendation is to use central files and not local files. The reason for this is that performance might be improved by making sure the link is a central file. This is because Revit often tries to refresh permissions upon opening a file. Editing permissions are required to make changes, so that requires access to the central file. If a local file is linked in, Revit will try to access the central file to get those editing permissions. If the central file is not accessible (e.g. the server does not exist, possibly because the file you got from the consultant thinks that its central file is on the another firm's network), this can cause the Revit to be delayed as it works out that the central file in not available. Revit relies on the OS for this process and this can take on the order of half a minute or more for it to figure out.
Also, if you link in a local file, Revit is going to care about where the central file is located anyway for checking certain error conditions. You're not allowed to link a file into itself. You're also not allowed to link a central into its local, or vice-versa. Nor are you allowed to link two locals of the same central file into each other. Revit checks for these conditions when you link in a file so using central files can make these checks happen faster.
Bottom Line: If you are working with a consultant that is using a Revit workshared file, you should make sure that you are linking in a central file into your file.
To do this you may need to open the consultants workshared project in Revit first and save it as a central file on your network. This way, when you link in the file into your project it will be read as a central file and Revit won't be delayed attempting to check permissions on the file or checking for error conditions.