Revit Fails to Update the Central File

June 30, 2011

Ever get this message?  “”Revit cannot reconcile the differences between your local and the central file”  Well we have, here at Breckenridge.  Patrick at CADsoft offered the following steps to aviod this situation as well as dealing with it when you encounter this message:

1. Make sure no one EVER edits a Central file directly, once local files have been created. If you do, you will need to recreate all the local files from the new Central file.

2. Make sure that everyone in your team is saving and syncing to Central at least every 30 minutes. If you have a very large project (over a few hundred MB), you may want to have a schedule when people save, like, so-and-so saves at 1/4 past and 1/4 till every hour and so-and-so saves at half past and on the hour every hour. This will keep you from having to wait on each other when the sync process is going on.

3. If the Revit cannot reconcile the differences between your local and the central file error pops up, immediately stop working on all your local files. If you have a lot of work done on a particular local file that you don’t want to lose, you might choose to create a new central file from it. You will then have have other users create a local file from the new central.

4. If there are new elements or work you don’t want to lose in one of the local files, you may be able to cut and paste elements into your local and then sync up to central.

Autodesk recommends that everyone in your team create a new local file from Central every single day. I don’t find that necessary, but doing it at least once a week will prevent any corruption from creeping into your project.”

Thanks Patrick, I deemed these words of wisdom worth sharing with the SARUG members.

On our end we believe this error resulted from limited operating RAM on the computer where this occured.  The system only has 3 gigs of RAM and had been returning memory limit errors that increased as the project file size grew.  The other A.I.T. working on the file has 4 gigs of RAM and had not been getting any memory warnings or error messages.  Fortunately the local file from the offending machine was intact so the data wasn’t lost.  The changes just have to be painstakingly found and recreated in the central file.

One caveat:  Ideally you would want to open the local file and the central file in the same instance of Revit and just do copy / paste operations to transfer the data; however, you cannot open a local file and the central file in the same instance of Revit.  But you can create another central file with a different name from your local file and open both central files within the same instance of Revit.  You only need to have sufficient RAM on the system to hold both versions.   

Best of Luck

P.S. 7-12-11 

Steve Stafford is a regular reader of the SARUG Blog and recently posted some additional advice on this subject at his blog (Revit OpEd) that you should read.  Thanks Steve for monitoring the blog.  Your comments are always welcome. 


  1. Carl,
    Your caveat is a bit misleading and dangerous. When I read it the first time warning sirens were going off in my head! Refer to your #1 rule from Patrick. This is a well known rule and should be strictly followed.

    I have a ton of experience using central files and have never lost data we could not recreate or find on someone’s local file. A copy and paste into the same spot will salvage any lost geometry (including a roof I once was responsible for deleting and then saving to central) DOH!.

    Most of the problems are “user errors” and typical include deleting various elements out of a project and then saving to central or saving a local copy over the central file.

    2012 has some nice visual integration of worksharing which is welcome and may be useful in the team environment.

    Happy syncing with central.

  2. Thanks Jake,

    I should have added that editing the Central file should be done while no one else is working on the project and as Patrick says once you’ve C/P’d the appropriate data you have to recreate all the local files.

    We should probably cover working with Central Files again at one of the SARUG meetings.

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