Documenting a Project in Revit

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This article is a continuation of the Getting Started with Revit Architecture tutorial.

We cover documenting your project. We'll start with showing how to create several styles of floor plans, elevations and building sections. These can be used to layout a sheet. We'll also look at various options for making 3D renderings of your project, including a solar study.

You can document your project Revit by creating sheets. Sheets are you layouts that are ready to be printed to paper. They can contain various elements, such as plans, elevations and sections of your project, but also detail views, schedules, 3D views and images you import into Revit.

To fill you sheet, you use the views of your project. You'll probably already have the basic views such as plans and elevations. You can create additional views as necessary. There's also a few extra view types available that may be useful for documenting your project, such as schedules and legends.

Each plan, elevation and section view has an associated scale. This is set through the properties of the view and determines the level of detail in the view, the line width and size of text for annotations, tags etc.

Creating Plans

Floor Plan

When you create Levels, Revit automatically creates the associated floor plans (unless you explicitly tell Revit not to). You can use these views for your sheet.

You may want to create additional views, for example to create a plan in a different scale.

  1. On the View tab, in the Create panel, click Revit 2011 Create Plan View.png (Plan Views) and click Revit Floor Plan.png (Floor Plan)
    Revit 2011 New Floor Plan.png
  2. By default, Revit hides the levels which already have a Floor Plan. Uncheck Do not dupicate existing views.
  3. Select the type of plan you'd like to add.
  4. Select the scale you want to use for this view.
  5. Click OK

View Range

Each plan view has a View Range that determines where the cut plane is for that view (related to the associated level). Normally floor plans are cut at about one meter above the floor level. But if you have windows that are positioned high in the wall, they will not show up on the floor plan. You can control this through the View Range of the view.

Click the view in your Project Browser. In the Properties Panel, scroll to the Extents section. Click the 'Edit...' button next to View Range.

Revit 2011 View Range.png

Using the settings of the View Range you control how the plan drawings are generated and whats will be visible.

View Range elements

A View Range (see image to the right) consists of the following elements:

1 - Top
top of the primary range
2 - Cut Plane
height at which the model is cut for the plan
3 - Bottom
bottom of the primary range
4 - View Depth Level
bottom of the (extra) view depth
5 - Primary Range
Elements within the boundaries of the primary range that are not cut are drawn in the element’s projection line style. Elements that are cut are drawn in the element’s cut line style.
6 - View Depth
Elements that are within the view depth are drawn in the beyond line style.

For each you specify an existing project Level to associate with and a offset to this level. Typically for the bottom, top and cut plane you use the Level that is associated with the floor plan and use the offset to determine the height.

The line styles referred to in the overview above can be found int he Line Styles dialog: open the Manage tab. In the Settings section, click Additional Settings and choose Line Types.


Left: View oriented to Project North, Right: View oriented to True North

Revit uses two types of 'North':

Project North
The 'north' side of your model, not necessarily the true north. Because it's inconvenient to have to work in a model that is slightly rotated, Revit defaults to a convenient north that aligns with vertical in the drawings.
True North
The true direction of north in relation to the model and its location.

To change the True north and rotate it in relation to the project north:

First you have to set your Plan View to True North orientation. Activate the Plan view, select it and go to the Properties Panel. Set Orientation to True North.

Then go to Manage Tab, Project Location Panel and click the Revit-Project Position.png (Position) fold-out and choose Revit-Rotate True North.png (Rotate True North). The Rotate Tool is automatically activated. Use it to rotate the Plan so it aligns with your True North.

To switch a Plan View back so the Project North is up, select the view and set Orientation back to Project North.

Revit North Arrow pointing to the True North

To display which direction is True North in your Plan Views, us a North Arrow. Go to the Annotate Tab, Symbol Panel and click Revit Symbol button.png (Symbol). Click Edit Type, then Load... and choose the M_North Arrow-1.rfa Family from the Annotations folder in the Revit Metric Library or any other North Arrow Family that you prefer. Click Open to import the Family. The click Close to close the Type Properties window. Place the North Arrow Symbol in your drawing. It will automatically rotate to indicate the True north.


You can define rooms in your plan. This is useful in your Plan Views, as each room gets a Room Tag that can be used to identify the room. But it is also used to create Room Schedules: an overview of all rooms in your project. You can list all kinds of additional room properties in a Room schedule, such as area or volume.

  1. Open your Floor Plan.
  2. On the Architecture tab, in the Room & Area panel, click Revit Room.png (Room)
  3. When you move your mouse pointer to your floor plan, Revit highlights each room in your drawing as it detects it. Rooms must be closed regions, bounded by model elements (walls etc) and Room Separation Lines.
  4. Click for each highlighted area that you want to create a Room for. Note that each room is identified by a number and a text (defaults to 'Room'). The number is automatically incremented by Revit.
  5. In the Ribbon, click Revit 2011 Modify.png (Modify) to end the command.
If Revit doesn't recognize a room, make sure it is closed entirely by walls, windows and doors and that the enclosing walls have set Room Bounding set to 'on' in their properties. Retaining walls have this option set to 'off' by default.

To add Room Separation Lines: On the Architecture tab, in the Room & Area section, click Revit Room Separation Line.png (Room Separator).

Revit creates Room Tags in each room. Double-click the 'Room' text of each Room tag to rename it to something useful. Each name results in a different fill-color. When you use the same text twice, both rooms will have the same color. If you don't have a Color fill Legend you won't see any colors yet, you will need to create one to be able to see the colors (see Room Legend ).

Make sure to set the Visual Style of your Plan View to Hidden Line (using the View Control Bar). When you use Wireframe, the room fill color will run to the centerline of the walls, effectively overlapping your walls.

Room Legend

You can add a legend to your plan that lists all colors that are assigned to rooms in the plan.

Revit Room Legend.png

  1. On the Annotate tab, in the Color Fill panel, click Revit Legend.png (Color Fill Legend)
  2. Click where you want the legend to be positioned.
  3. You'll be presented by a choice for the Color Legend. Revit can either assign different color based on the name of the room or the value of the 'Department' property that each room can have. If you didn't specify a Department value for your rooms, set Color Scheme to 'Name'. All rooms that have the same name, will get the same color.

When you select your Color Legend, you can use the Revit edit scheme button.png (Edit Scheme) button in the Modify | Color Fill Legends Tab to change the colors.

Creating Elevations


Elevations are best created in the Site Floor Plan. By default Revit creates the north, east, south and west elevations in each new project. To create additional elevations:

  1. Open your Site Floor Plan
  2. On the View tab, in the Create panel, click Revit 2011 Create Elevation View.png (Elevation)
  3. Move your mouse pointer to the position for your elevation. Revit automatically orients the elevation a logical direction for the elevation. You can select alternative directions using your [TAB] key. Click when you're satisfied. You can continue to create more elevations, if you like.
  4. In the Ribbon, click Revit 2011 Modify.png (Modify) to end the command.

You can control the width and view-depth of an elevation. Refer to Elevation Views for more details.

You can set the scale for the elevation by selecting the Elevation View in your Project Browser. In the Properties Panel, right at the top of the properties list, you'll find View Scale.

Creating Sections


Sections are best created in Plan Views. To create an elevation:

  1. Open a suitable Floor Plan
  2. On the View tab, in the Create panel, click Revit 2011 Create Section View.png (‎Section)
  3. In the Draw area, click the first point for your section line, then click the second point to complete the section.

Revit Section Selected.png

To change the length of the section line (what part of the model is being cut), click and drag the blue dots at either end of the section line.

Use the blue arrows to move the rear or side extents (crop region) of the elevation. This controls what will be visible in the section view.

To break the section line, you can use the Revit Section Gap symbol.png (Gaps in Segments) symbol. If you click it, you get additional blue dot handles to break the line in segments. This allows you to tweak the line to prevent it from interfering with other content in your drawing.

Creating a room schedule

Room Schedule with totals

You can create various schedules (overview of elements) in Revit. In this article we'll cover only the Room Schedule.

  1. On the View tab, in the Create panel, click Revit Schedules.png (Schedules) and choose Revit Schedules Quantities.png (Schedule/Quantities)
    Revit 2011 New Schedule Rooms.png
  2. In the Category list, Choose Rooms. Click OK.
    Revit 2011 Schedule Properties Rooms.png
  3. In the Available Fields list, find (in this order) Number, Name and Area. Select each and click Add to add these fields to the schedule.
  4. Click OK

A Room Schedule View is created in your Project Browser in the Schedules/Quantities section.

Creating a Sheet

Sheets are the layouts that you can use to combine multiple views. Sheets can be printed or exported to PDF. You can also add other elements, such as images or other external files.

  1. In the Project Browser, right-click Sheets (all), and click New Sheet.
  2. For now we're going to use one of the standard title blocks. Click Load.
  3. In the file dialog, browse to Metric Library\Titleblocks and select one of the A4 - A0 metric titleblocks
  4. In the New Sheet dialog, click OK.
  5. In the Project Browser, expand Sheets (all), right-click your newly created sheet, and click Rename.
  6. In the Sheet Title dialog, for Name, enter Presentation, and click OK.
Depending on your needs and preferences for your presentation, you may find the standard title block a bit to elaborate. Refer to Create Your Own Sheet Title Block Family (Revit Architecture) for instructions on how to create your own.

Adding Views to your Sheet

Elevation and Section symbol that show the Sheet Number and Detail Number where the corresponding Elevation and Section can be found

Next you'll want to add views to your sheet:

  1. Make sure your sheet is opened
  2. On the View tab, in the Sheet Composition panel, click View.
  3. Select a view from the list
  4. Click Add View to Sheet
  5. You'll see the outlines of the view while hovering your mouse over your sheet. Click in your sheet where you want to position the view. Revit creates a Viewport on you sheet with the selected view and creates a title for the viewport.

Note that all views that you've added to your sheet are listed in your Project browser when you click the plus to expand your sheet's content in the Project Browser

When a View is placed on a sheet, for example a Section, Revit will show the Sheet Number and Detail Number (drawing number on the sheet) in the corresponding Section symbol in Views where the Section is indicated.

Aligning Viewports

Aligning views

When you place or move Views to your Sheet, Revit will show you when two views are exactly aligned. This is indicated by a blue dashed line and you will notice Revit snaps the positioning to favor aligned views. For Elevations and Sections this means that the levels are vertically aligned. For Plan Views this origin of the model is exactly aligned.

Viewport Title

Viewport Title with detail/drawing number, title and scale

When you place a View on a Sheet, a Viewport is created with a title. By default the title shows the name of the view. You can change this by selecting the viewport and then clicking on the Title. Or you can change it in the Properties of the View, Title on Sheet parameter:

Revit view properties identity data.png

To move the Title without moving the entire Viewport, make sure the Viewport is deselected first and then directly select the Viewport Title. When you hover your mouse pointer over the Title, a move cursor appears and you can drag it to another location.

When you select the Viewport, you can change the length of the Viewport Title using the blue dots

To change the length of the Title line, you must first select the Viewport. The Title is also selected and two blue dots at either end of the line are shown. You can drag these to change the length. It's strange and counter-intuitive, but that's the way is works in Revit oddly enough.

Resizing Camera Views on your Sheet

Crop Region Size dialog to change the size of a Camera view on your sheet

When you add a Camera View to your sheet, you may want to change the size of the view on the sheet. Select the Viewport on your sheet and click Revit Size Crop.png (Size Crop) in the Crop panel on the Modify | Viewports Tab. In most cases you'll want to change Scale and not Field of View (Crop Region).

Adding Images to your Sheet

You can also add external images to your sheet, for example to include hand drawn sketches or photos in your presentation.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Import panel, click Revit Import Image.png (Image).
  2. Select an image from your hard drive in the file dialog
  3. Click Open
  4. You'll see the image while hovering your mouse over your sheet. Click in your sheet where you want to position the view.

When you select the image, you can use the blue dots to change the size of the image. Your image will always be scaled proportionally. If you want to crop or change your image in any other way, you should do this in an external program and re-import the image.

When you select an image, in the Modify | Raster Images contextual tab, you can use the Arrange buttons to change which view or image is obscured by the image or whether the image is shown in the background.

Note that images can be imported into any 2D view, so you could also use this technique to use images as an underlay when modeling your project.

Sheet Properties

A sheet has several properties. The Sheet Number and Sheet Name are the most important for now, but properties that specify the designer, revision etc. might also be interesting.

Sheet Number
is used in the Section, Elevation and Callout tags to specify on which sheet the indicated drawing can be found
Sheet Name
can be used by the Title Block to have a descriptive name on the sheet. Also useful for yourself in the list of sheets in your Project Browser.

Level of Detail and Best Practices

Drawings need to be readable. There are various settings that control how drawings are displayed and thereby enable you to optimize for readability:

Visual and Detail settings
Control the graphical settings of a view and the amount of detail that is shown. Overview drawings (typically 1:100 or smaller scale) should not show too many details, so Views in that scale are usually set to Coarse Detail Level. Larger scale drawings, such as 1:20 or bigger, need to be set to Medium Or Fine Detail Level to reveal the full level of detail.
Cut Pattern
Materials determine the display of an object either cut or in view. Make sure to specify suitable patterns (hatches) and colors that provide enough contrast. These are used in Medium and Fine Detail Level settings for a View. When a view is set to Coarse Detail Level, the Coarse Scale Color and Coarse Scale Pattern are used instead; these are set in the Type Settings of walls, floors, etc.
Visibility/Graphics Overrides
Each view has it's own Visibility and Graphics overrides that control which (categories of) objects and annotations are visible and allows overrides for each category, such as a specific color or pattern. This allows you to hide specific parts of your model. You could for instance hide tags and annotations in overview drawings.

Detail vs. Scale

The scale of a drawing determines the amount of detail that can be displayed and whether or not you should use detailed patterns (hatches) or not.

Some common settings (note that there are always exceptions):

1:100, 1:200 or smaller
Coarse Detail Level. No complex Cut Patterns in walls, floors and roofs, but Solid Fills (use the Coarse Scale Fill Pattern and Color in the Type properties of the walls, floors and roofs
1:50 or 1:20
Medium Detail Level. Materials should be identifiable in sections by correct use of the Cut Pattern for each material. Use Solid Fill when materials aren't determined yet (sketch design).
1:10 - 1:1
Fine Detail Level. Materials must have a Cut Pattern (Drafting).

Revit automatically scales Drafting Patterns and line weights to adjust for the scale. Which relative line weight Revit uses however, is something that you determine. Adjust these settings to get the proper result.

Exporting/printing your sheet to PDF

To export your sheets to PDF, you have to use a PDF printer. When you have the Adobe Creative Suite installed, you'll probably have the Adobe PDF already installed on your system (provided that your suite includes Adobe Acrobat Professional).

If you don't have this software, there are two options:

  • Use a computer that has; students of the Faculty of Architecture can use the faculty's computers that should have all the software installed.
  • Use a free PDF printer, such as PDFCreator or CutePDF Writer.

Main Print dialog in Revit

Use the following steps to print a Sheet to PDF:

  • Click the Application Button, under Print, click Print.
  • Select your PDF printer from the list.
  • Click Properties and select the correct paper size in the properties window.
  • Under Print Range, select Selected views/sheets
  • Click Select...

Print Select Sheets dialog in Revit
  • In the Select views/sheets dialog, select the sheet(s) you want to print to PDF.
If you want to print multiple sheets with different page sizes, you have to create separate print jobs for each page size.
  • Click OK to close the select sheets dialog.
  • In the main print dialog, under Settings, click Setup…

Print Setup Dialog
  • You will be taken to the Print setup dialog. Under Zoom, change the selection to Zoom and keep the value at 100%. This is to ensure your sheet will print at the correct scale, as the default setting (Fit to page) stretches your image, thus ruining the scale of your drawings.
  • Under Paper Placement, select Center.
  • Lastly make sure the correct paper size and orientation are selected, and choose your desired color option under Appearance.
The print setup dialog also presents you with the option to either output a vector or a raster image (under Hidden Line Views). This option is by default set to Vector Processing, which is recommended. If your sheet contains shading, shadows or gradients, a raster image will be printed regardless of this setting. Revit will give you a warning when this happens.
  • Click OK to close print setup.
  • Click OK to print the sheet(s) to PDF. Depending on the type of PDF printer you're using, you may be prompted separately to provide a location and name for the PDF file.

Each sheet will be printed to a separate PDF file. If you want to combine those into a single PDF, refer to Combine files into PDF.

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