Revit Tools, Drawing and Dimensions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rectangle, Circle, Polygon
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.
Measure / Dimensions
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:
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 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.
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 icon shown next to a permanent dimension. When enabling equality, the dimension automatically becomes a constraint.