Revit Tools, Drawing and Dimensions

From TOI-Pedia

Revit has an extensive interface which holds a large number of tools arranged in a Ribbon structure. This page describes the most common tools that are available in Revit. Note that each tool shows a very informative tooltip when you hove your mouse over the tool in Revit, in most cases including a short video.



Revit 2011 Move Tool.png
The Move tool works similarly to dragging. However, it offers additional functionality on the Options Bar and allows more precise placement. You can create multiple copies of an element when you move it.

Move options in the Options Bar:

Restrict the movement of the element along vectors that run perpendicular or collinear to the element.
Break the association between the selection and other elements before moving. This option is useful, for example, when you want to move a wall that is joined to another wall. You can also use the Disjoin option to move a hosted element from its current host to a new host. For example, you can move a window from one wall to another. This feature works best when you clear the Constrain option.
The option is available only when the Copy tool is selected.


Revit 2011 Copy Tool.png
The Copy tool copies one or more selected elements and allows you to place copies in the drawing immediately. The Copy tool is different than the Copy to Clipboard tool. Use the Copy tool when you want to copy a selected element and place it immediately (for example, in the same view). Use the Copy to Clipboard tool, for example, when you need to switch views before placing the copies.

Copy options in the Options Bar:

See Move.
See Move.
Create multiple copies of an element every time you click in the drawing area. To exit the Multiple Copy function, press Esc.


Revit 2011 Rotate Tool.png
Use the Rotate tool to rotate elements around an axis. In floor plan, reflected ceiling plan, elevation, and section views, elements rotate around an axis perpendicular to the view. In 3D views, the axis is perpendicular to the work plane of the view.

Not all elements can rotate around any axis. For example, walls do not rotate in elevation views. Windows cannot rotate without their walls.

If you enter an angle value in the Options Bar and press [enter], Revit will rotate the element directly.

You can also specify a reference angle: The first point you click, sets a reference line from the center point of the object. The second point sets a second line. The angle between these two points determines the rotation.


Revit 2011 Mirror Draw Axis.png
Revit 2011 Mirror Select Axis.png
The Mirror tool mirrors a selected model element, using a line as the mirror axis. For example, if you mirror a wall across a reference plane, the wall flips opposite the original. You can pick the mirror axis or draw a temporary axis. Use the Mirror tool to flip a selected element, or to make a copy of an element and reverse its position in one step.


Revit 2011 Offset Tool.png
Use the Offset tool to copy or move a selected model line, detail line, wall, or beam a specified distance perpendicular to its length. You can apply the tool to single elements or to chains of elements belonging to the same family. You can specify the offset distance by dragging the selected elements or by entering a value.

Offset options in de Options Bar:

drag the selected element the desired distance
enter a value for the offset distance
the offset distance to use in Numerical mode.


Revit 2011 Align Tool.png
Use the Align tool to align one or more elements with a selected element. This tool is generally used to align walls, beams, and lines, but it can be used with other types of elements as well. The elements to align can be of the same type, or they can be from different families. You can align elements in a plan view (2D), 3D view, or elevation view.

First you select the object/line to align to (the reference), then you select a line of the object that should move to align with the selected reference.


Revit 2011 Trim Extend icon.png
Use the Trim and Extend tools to trim or extend one or more elements to a boundary defined by the same element type. You can also extend non-parallel elements to form a corner, or trim them to form a corner if they intersect. When you select an element to be trimmed, the cursor position indicates the part of the element to retain. You can use these tools with walls, lines, beams, or braces.


Revit 2011 Pin Tool.png
Use the Pin Tool to lock objects in place. When you pin a modeling element, it cannot be moved. If you try to delete a pinned element, Revit Architecture warns you that the element is pinned. A pushpin control displays near the element to indicate that it is locked.

Cut Geometry

Revit 2011 Cut Geometry.png
With the Cut Geometry tool, you can cut one piece of geometry, using the shape (profile) of another piece of geometry. For example: you could cut a hole into a wall at the position where another wall (running parallel to the wall being cut) intersects this wall. The benefit is that the shape of the opening that is cut is linked to the shape of the wall that fills the cut.

Join Geometry

Revit 2011 Join Geometry.png
The Join Geometry Tool creates clean joins between 2 or more host elements that share a common face, such as walls and floors.

Wall Joins

Revit 2011 Wall Joins.png
Use this tool to change the configuration of a join involving 4 walls or fewer by changing the type of join (Butt, Miter or Square off) or the order in which the walls join.


Shapes of elements, such as Floors and Walls for example, are defined by what is called their Boundary or Profile. Revit has various tools to draw boundaries. These tools are also used to draw other properties such as span direction, slopes etc.


Revit 2011 Line icon.png
Draw a line by specifying the points. The line consist of straight segments. You can specify each point either by clicking in the draw area, or by using temporary dimensions or angle and distance values.

Pick Lines

Revit 2011 Pick Lines icon.png
Select existing lines to use. In the Options Bar you can optionally specify an offset, perpendicular to the length of the selected line.

Rectangle, Circle, Polygon

Revit 2011 Rectangle.png
Draw a complete rectangle by specifying two opposite corners of the rectangle.
Revit 2011 Circle.png
Draw a circle by specifying the center point and the radius. You may set the radius numerically using the Options Bar, or graphically by selecting a second point.
Revit 2011 Polygon Inscribed.png
Revit 2011 Polygon Circumscribed.png
Draw a polygon by specifying the center point, a radius and the number of sides. The number of sides is set in the Options Bar.

Polygon inscribed circumscribed.png

There are two polygon tools: one for an 'inscribed' polygon, which has the corners on the circle with the specified radius, or an 'circumscribed' polygon, which has the centers of each edge on the circle.


Revit 2011 Arc 3point.png
Start-End-Radius Arc: Draw an arc through 3 points you specify. First select the start point, then the end point and last a 3rd point through which the arc passes.

Revit 2011 Arc centerpoint.png
Center-ends Arc: Draw an arc with a specified center point. First select the center point for the arc, then the start and end point. The end point will be limited to points on the circle formed by the center and the radius specified by the start point.
Revit 2011 Arc tangent.png
Tangent End Arc: Draw an arc which is tangent at the start to the line on which the start point lies.

Revit 2011 Arc fillet.png
Fillet Arc: Rounds an existing corner. First select the two lines that form a corner, then specify a radius for the fillet.


Revit 2011 Spline.png
Draw a curved line. The points you specify form the control points that 'pull' the line into its curved shape. They are not the points through which the line passes.


Revit 2011 Ellipse.png
Draw an ellipse. First you select the center point. Then you specify the radius in one direction and finally the radius in the perpendicular direction.
Revit 2011 Partial Ellipse.png
Draw a half ellipse. Select the center line (start and end point of the ellipse), then you specify the radius in the perpendicular direction.

Measure / Dimensions

A Temporary Dimension in Revit

When you draw in Revit, temporary dimensions are created on the fly to determine positions and distances. These dimensions reappear when you select an existing object to modify. You can either modify a shape by dragging points, or by changing the values of any of the temporary dimensions.

Change dimension relations - Move witnesses

In many cases the relations of temporary dimensions don't exactly meet the requirements you need. For example: the reference of the position of a wall is determined to another wall than the one you'd like to reference to. You can change the reference Revit uses for any dimension, by dragging the Move Witness handle and snapping to another reference:

Revit Dimension Move Witness.png

Chances are that you want to keep this new reference. If you deselect the element and come back to it later, you may find that the references for the dimensions changed back again. To prevent this from happening, you must make a dimension permanent.

Permanent dimensions

A Permanent Dimension in Revit

Permanent dimensions create 'hard' relations between objects and are always visible. By default, permanent dimensions are unlocked, so they don't function as constraints. For example: when you move a wall that has a permanent dimension with a relation to another wall, the distance value of the dimension will be updated as the wall moves; it won't cause the other wall to move with it (keeping the distance value the same). If you want the latter behavior, you must change the dimension into a constraint.

To remove a permanent dimension, simply select it and press [Delete].


When you lock a (permanent) dimension or alignment, it forms a constraint. For example: when the position of a wall is specified by a dimension that has become a constraint (locked), whenever the element it is referenced to moves, it will move with it, keeping the dimension length the same as it was.

These are explicit constraints that you can create and modify yourself. Other examples of constraints in Revit are: the Base Constraint of a wall in its properties, tying its base to a level or when you connect the top of a wall to a floor above.

Constraints are very powerful. When applied well, you get a very flexible building model, where changes propagate automatically to all elements that are constrained. This enables you to quickly apply changes, without having to modify your design manually. The computer takes care of applying the rules you set by specifying constraints.

The downside is that setting up constraints well may be challenging. You may end up with conflicting constraints or endless loops. But Revit will warn you when that happens. The usefulness of constraints varies from project to project and how much changes you expect to make to the design.


Dimension Equality

A special option for multi-segmented dimensions is to enable Equality. This will keep a chain of dimensions at equal values. When the total length changes, each individual dimension value will change so they are distributed equally. You enable equality by clicking the Revit 2011 Dimension EQ.png icon shown next to a permanent dimension. When enabling equality, the dimension automatically becomes a constraint.

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