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ATP212

Understanding Revit Architecture


(Beginning)
Segment 1

Date: May 05, 2008

Instructor: Eric Wing


Level: Beginning
Category: Autodesk Revit

Web: www.AUGI.com

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Understanding Revit. This is the topic I choose to tackle. Just when I found my little niche in the world with
AutoCAD, along comes a new love. Ahhh! The fond memories of spending days on end…weeks! Figuring out
how to program my favorite drafting program to do what I needed it to. And it was like Christmas every year when
Autodesk invented a new way to insert a block!!!!!
Blocks. They were so cute and simple. It was so fun when they were hiding! All those convoluted file structures
that nobody in the office followed. HA! Dragging in all of the old layers you don’t use anymore.
Layers! I remember those. Do you use a CTB or an STB? Is Cyan used for text or thick lines? Thick lines? How
thick, and specifically which lines are you using it for????
Raise your hand if you are scared to death of messing up the CUI!

Ok, I could go on all day. The point here is this: Bosses, senior architects and senior engineers are finally starting
to notice something. It’s the incredible waste of time and money it takes to have an architect or an engineer
actually mark up a sketch and hand it to a production drafter using…a production drafting program. They are also
noticing the errors and misinterpretations inherited by this antiquated method. Now, don’t show up in my front
yard with pitchforks and torches just yet, or burn me at the stake as a heretic. I have been on both sides of the
design / drafting fence. Mistakes come from both angles. It’s not the fault of either party. It’s the void created
when your design physically leaps out of the software, onto a piece of paper, into the brain of a drafter, and back
into the computer.

Let’s summarize the things that can go wrong with this “application to finger to brain to application” method. A
condition commonly known as AFBA.

So the designer sketches a crude (or sometimes quite painstakingly meticulous) design on a piece of paper. She
hands it to the drafter. The drafter interprets it with his best ability, and a project is born. He prints it. She marks it
up and sends it back. All the while another designer in another firm is changing it. He finishes the mark up, and
she shows up with a new background that needs to be cleaned up and referenced into the CAD drawing.

This happens 45 times in the life of a project.

PLUS! CAD standards need to be maintained. File structures need to be maintained. Schedules need to be
produced, estimates need to be…estimated. The project manager is going back and forth between this and that.
The phone is ringing AHHHHHH!!!!!!!

If you are thinking Architectural desktop, you are getting close. Unfortunately, Arch. Desktop produces about one
in every one hundred true, 3D drawings capable of rendering, scheduling and efficiently maintaining.

Think again. Think about placing a wall instead of drawing a meaningless line. Think about placing an actual floor
instead of a note that just says…Floor.

In Revit, this is what you do. And you pretty much do it in 2D plan. But, once the plan is done so are the
elevations and sections. Schedules and estimates are just a few clicks away as well.

Let’s see how this all works shall we?

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Revit wrapped up. (What is a Revit Project)?
A Revit project is one file. That’s it. Yep. One file which contains the entire project from foundation to high roof.
There is no folder or file management involved.

That one file is broken down into views. Revit will produce as many views as you wish. This is controlled by the
project browser. Each category and name (shown below) is a view. You double click a view to open it.

Each floor plan you see has a live link with levels in elevation. If a (plan) is renamed, or added, and level is
renamed and added to the elevations. This can also occur when a level is added in elevation.

Open Revit Building.


Double click on Level 1 in the project browser.
Double click on East under the heading Elevations (Building Elevation).
You will see two level markers.
With the wheel button on your mouse, scroll in on them.
Double click the Level 1 text.
Change it to Basement.
Click yes to rename corresponding views. This is basically saying “Yes, I want my plan to have the same
name as my level”.

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Notice the Level 1 in the project browser has updated. Get used to this type of automation. This is how
Revit works.
Rename Level 2 to say Entry Level.
Save the file as: AUGI-REVIT

Note that this is not just text sitting there. Not only will the names of the levels update throughout the project but
the numeric elevations play a major role. We will soon be assigning walls to start and end at these levels. When
we change the height of the level, the walls and everything placed on that level will change as well.

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Elements
As I keep saying, Revit is a modeling application. Instead of drawing brain-dead lines, we place elements.
There are (5) different types of elements:
1. Host
A host element can stand alone in a project. Other elements can be imbedded within them. Host
elements are:
• Walls
• Roofs
• Ceilings
• Stairs
• Ramps

2. Component
A component needs a host to live. You cannot place a door without a wall. You can place a desk without
a floor but it is not practical. Component elements are:
• Doors
• Windows
• Railings
• Furniture
• Structural items
• Architectural items
• Site items

3. Views
We have discussed views. Views are the “file structure” of a project.
Views consist of:
• Plans
• Elevations
• Sections
• Details
• Sheets
• Callouts
• Legends
• Schedules

4. Datum
Datum will assign its numeric value to the value of the component’s level assignment. So if a footing is on
Level 1, and Level 1 is at 10’-0”, a datum symbol will reflect that elevation. If the level height changes
anywhere on the project, then so will the datum.

5. Annotation
Text. One of the things that I love about Revit is the fact that text will resize its self based on a specified
scale. No more charts and different text styles based on a line type scale, no sirree! We will get into text
in detail in the next segment!

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Families
Since Revit is element driven, it would be impossible for every element available, for every situation, to be in
existence. Therefore Revit uses what are called families to deliver elements. Families are parametric
components that can be inserted into a model. An element is broken down into these families. If I wanted a wall
for instance, I would select the wall icon, and choose from a list.

This list is a wall family. Or, I should say…A family of walls.

Of course, you will need to create your own walls. This is made very easy. But let’s hold off on that for the
moment. We have more to learn about the topic of how Revit works.

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The Revit Graphic User Interface
Revit is not AutoCAD. Nor does it pretend to be. The interface takes some getting used to. The first time I opened
it I reached for the only button that was familiar to me.

But seriously, it took me only a couple of days to get used to how it works. Just like AutoCAD, it’s a feel you need
to get used to. With Revit, the pain in learning a new program is almost shelved because what happens is this.
When you open Revit, there aren’t all that many buttons and there is NO command prompt. When you pick an
icon to insert a wall, Revit reacts to that and adds the toolbars and choices you need only for the placement of
that component. Once the wall is placed, Revit goes back to its original form.

Let’s break down the interface:

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Working with Revit
Open the file AUGI-REVIT.rvt or click the icon below to get the file.

Double click on the Entry Level Floor plan in the project browser.

On the design bar, go to the Basics tab, and click Wall.

Under the type selector, select Basic Wall: Exterior – Brick and CMU on MTL. Stud

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Click the properties button adjacent to the type selector drop down.
In the properties, set the base constraint to Entry Level, and the top constraint is unconnected. The
default for the actual wall is 20’-0”.
Click OK
In the view window, pick a point to start the wall. Move your cursor to the left. Notice there is no Ortho.
Revit will automatically align the wall. Notice also that you have temporary dimensions. You can either
“eyeball” the length or type it in. See below:

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Draw another wall up 80’-0”.
Draw a wall back to the right 100’-0”. Or, if you are paying attention to your alignments, you can align the
walls visually.
Draw two more walls, both at 15’-0”. Look at the illustration on page 11.

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Object Selection
One thing that is similar to AutoCAD is the window method for selecting objects. To complete our building, we
will need to mirror the two 15’-0” walls to the south wall. Revit uses the AutoCAD noun / verb selection
method for executing some of the modify commands.

Start the selection from left to right and you get just a box.

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Start the selection from right to left and you get a crossing window.

Mirror
Select the two walls illustrated above.
Click the Mirror icon in the edit toolbar.

For the mirror plane, select the midpoint on the west wall. Remember to ALWAYS watch the options
toolbar. As you choose different commands, this is what changes to aid you in carrying out those
commands. In a way, it’s your new command prompt.
There will be two icons in the options toolbar; one which allows you to select an object for the mirror plane,
and one to draw a line for the mirror plane.
Select the draw lines option. See page 14. Also, be sure to keep the Copy choice selected.

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Select the inside finished face of the west wall, and draw a plane straight to the right.

This will mirror the two walls. Of course the intersections will be cleaned up automatically!

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Your building should look like the illustration below.

On the Design toolbar, select the Basics tab, and select wall.
In the type selector on the Options toolbar, select
Basic Wall: Exterior – Brick and CMU on MTL. Stud

In the Shape selector on the Options toolbar, select Arc Passing Through Three Points.

Draw a radial wall from the ends of the 15’-0” walls. This will close off the building. Notice that when you
get a certain distance away from the origin, Revit will snap to the tangency of the geometry you are trying
to complete. This can be very helpful.

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Once you see the green alignment circle, pick a point anywhere. The new wall will be modeled tangent to
the opening.

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Levels
Levels are one of the main elements that control Revit, and set this
program apart from .dwg based applications. Once levels are set, the
tops and bases of walls can be constrained to these levels. If the
height if the level changes, so do the walls and all items places at these
levels.

In the Project Browser, double-click the South Elevation.


This will open up an elevation view. Notice the elevation lines are not
aligned with the building.
Zoom in on the datum and text of the level markers.
Select one of the markers. Notice there is a blue circular grip. Pick it.

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You can now drag the elevation markers to an area where you can see them. Also notice that if you drag
one, all the others will drag with it.

Double-click on the 0’-0” below the basement level.


Change it to -10’-0”
Change the Entry Level elevation to 0’-0”
On the Basics tab on the Design Bar, click the Level button.
On the Options toolbar, select Pick Lines.
Make a Plan view.
Offset 15’-0”

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Move your cursor over the Level called “Entry Level”.
Notice that if you move the cursor up, a green alignment line appears above the line. If you move it
towards the bottom, the green line shows up below.
Create a new level 15’-0” above the Entry Level.
Rename it to Level 1
Make the following additional levels:
- Level 2 (30’-0”)
- Level 3 (45’-0”)
- Level 4 (60’-0”
- Roof (75’-0”)
- Parapet (78’-0”)
Once the levels are created, select one of the walls and right-click.
Select All Instances.
Once all of the walls are selected, click the properties button.
For the Top Constraint, Select Up to level: Parapet

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Hosted Walls (Curtain)
One type of wall can be imbedded within another. Curtain walls are a prime
example of this. In the intermediate class, we will examine curtain walls in
depth, but for now we will imbed a simple pre-defined curtain system into a
previously drawn wall.

Go to the Level 1 plan view.


On the Basics tab on the design toolbar, start the wall command

In the type selector, select Curtain Wall: Storefront

Click the Properties button

Click the Edit / New button

Click the Duplicate button


Change the name to 4’-0” square curtain wall

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For the vertical grid pattern, change the spacing to 4’-0”
For the horizontal grid pattern, change the spacing to 4’-0”

Select OK
Change the base to Entry Level, and the offset to 3’-7”
For the top constraint set it to Roof, and offset it -1’-0” (To compensate for any roofing)

In the Options toolbar, select the arc passing through three points button.

Trace the radial wall (I’m letting you determine how to do this. It may take a couple of passes).
You can close the warning that says the sweep is outside of the wall.

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This concludes segment 1 We have so much left
to do I would burn up another 1,000 words just listing
them. Please post your questions (and comments), and let’s team
up on this Revit thing.

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ATP212
Understanding Revit Architecture
(Beginning)
Segment 2

Date: May 12, 2007

Instructor: Eric Wing


Level: Beginning
Category: Autodesk Revit

Web: www.AUGI.com

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On to part two. Although part one basically only consisted of…walls, we have learned quite a bit in terms of how
Revit works, and how it differs from AutoCAD and ADT. The first and most important aspect is the fact that you
simply are placing components in 2D. Sure you can do that in ADT is a similar fashion, but are you ever sure
where you are snapping to in respect to a 3D plane? I’m not. And how about scale? Sure the new AutoCAD 2008
text scale feature rocks, but it just isn’t the same. Do I even mention Project Navigator? Ok, sore subject I know…

In this segment, we are going to be adding floors, roofs, ceilings, doors and windows. Then we are going to be
creating sheets. I can hardly wait.

Authors note: When you see articles that start with a rambling dissertation about absolutely nothing this is the
writer trying to burn down their word count. By mentioning that, it was worth 34 words.

Open up the file we have been using fro segment 1. If you do not have it….WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?
Just kidding. If you do not have it, you can pick it up in the ATP forum.

Open up the Entry Level floor plan. We need a floor slab.

On the Basics tab of the design toolbar, click floor.


Once we initiate the floor command, the design toolbar
will reconfigure itself to include sketch options specific
to the floor command. Remember that the options toolbar
also changes to aid you in the placement of the flooring system.
Click the Floor Properties button

In the properties dialog, select Edit / New…

Click Duplicate

Click rename
Call it 6” composite slab.

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In the construction category, select the Edit… button in the Structure row.

In the properties dialog, select Edit / New… This drills in to the actual composition of this building
component.

At the bottom of the dialog, there is a preview button. Click it.

In the Layers area (Please don’t get confused with AutoCAD layers) select the <By Category> cell under
the material column. A small builder button will appear . Select it. (The figure on page 4 is simply a larger
view of the edit assembly dialog).

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This will invoke the materials dialog. (We will cover materials in-depth next month).

Select: Concrete – Cast-in-Place Concrete

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Click OK
Change the thickness to 6”
Click OK three times.
Select the Pick walls button

Cursor to the inside face of a wall.


Notice it will highlight. Once it does,
Select it. There will be a magenta line
On the inside face of the wall.

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Select all of the inside faces of the wall. When doing this, you must be conscious of the fact that Revit
needs a completely enclosed space. There can be NO gaps or overlaps. Soon we will discuss the object
modification tools.

Once all of the edges are selected, pick Finish Sketch.

For this type of wall, the slab would normally protrude into the wall cavity. Any block or brick façade would
run full height (We will discuss providing relief angles with Revit Structure in the advanced class). Interior
framing would be placed from floor to floor. So for the question Revit asks about cutting the overlapping
geometry, say yes.

Hey! Wait a second. Are we actually talking about construction methods? This type of conversation NEVER
comes up in AutoCAD classes.

The slab is now in place.

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Go to Level 1 in your project browser.
Start the floor command again.
Follow the procedure for the entry level, but only select the 4 wall edges as shown below.

On the Tools toolbar, find the trim command. It looks like the AutoCAD fillet. It essentially does the same
thing.

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Select Finish Sketch
You have a first floor slab. Click the 3D icon to see your handiwork.
Select the slab on the second floor.
Go to Edit > Copy.
Go to Paste Aligned.
Select Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4.

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Doors and Windows
In the first segment we mentioned families. Doors and windows are perfect examples of how when a family is
introduced to a host component such as a wall, the wall will automatically imbed the new family.

Doors

Switch to the Entry Level floor plan.


Start the wall command (hint, you can type wa as well).
Select: Basic Wall: Interior – 6 1/8” Partition (2-hr)

Draw the partitions as I have them illustrated below. I don’t care about dimensions.

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Zoom in on the intersection illustrated below.
Select the Align button from the Tools toolbar.

Select the finish inside face of the exterior wall.


You will see the green alignment line.
Select the finish inside face of the interior partition.
The walls will be aligned.

To equally distribute the partitions, we will actually dimension them. Dimensions cannot be typed over,
however they can be use to physically move objects.
Start the dimension command. The icon is located on the Basics tab on the design toolbar.
On the options toolbar, set the preference to Wall centerlines, and pick Individual References.

Dimension all of the walls starting from the exterior walls. Notice that when you put your pointer on a wall, the
green alignment lines indicate that you can select the wall.
Pick a place to set the dimension, but do not press escape or enter. You will see an icon with a “no” line
through it. Click the EQ icon, and the walls will be moved into position.
On the Basics tab of the design toolbar, pick the Door icon

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In the type selector, select Single-Flush: 36”x84”

Aim for the partition Shown below. Zoom in on it if you have to. Notice that when I’m placing the door,
temporary dimensions appear. Also when you move from one side or the other on a wall, the door flips.
Further, if you hit the space bar the door will flip its swing.

Place doors as illustrated below.

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Start the door command again.
In the options toolbar, select Load…

Open the doors folder.


Find Double-Glass 2.rfa

Back in Revit, select the largest one from the type selector, and place it in the wall shown below.

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Windows
Windows are exactly the same as doors.
On the Basics tab of the design toolbar, select the Window command
Place any size window in the locations shown below. You decide how to center them in the rooms. (Hint: if
you type SM while placing the windows, they will be centered on a wall).
Mirror the partitions, doors and windows to the other side of the building. Remember that process from the
first lesson?

Select all of the interior partitions, doors and windows and copy them to the clipboard. Select Paste aligned,
and paste them to the First, Second and Third floors (the fourth floor will be configured differently later).
Go to a 3D view, and check out how the walls are visible through the fourth floor. We never accommodated
the height of the wall to be 6” shorter because of the floor. Simply select the floor and pick the edit button on
the options toolbar. Then finish the sketch. Revit will then ask you if you want to attach the walls to the bottom
of the slab. We do want to.

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This concludes Segment 2. We have so much left I can’t even begin to list it

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ATP212
Understanding Revit Architecture
(Beginning)
Segment 3

Date: May 19, 2008


Instructor: Eric Wing
Level: Beginning
Category: Autodesk Revit
Web: www.AUGI.com

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Normally, I would have some goofy little intro, but we have to jam SO much in here it’s not even funny. Well,
maybe a little funny.

Open the file AUGI-Revit.rvt, and lets get cracking.

Roofs
• In the project browser, go to Floor Plans > Roof
• In the design toolbar, go to Basics > Roof > Roof by Footprint

• On the options toolbar, uncheck defines slope

• Make sure the overhang is 0’ 0”


• Mouse over one of the walls
• Tab
• Once all of the walls are selected, pick. (You may have to pick the radial wall separately).

• Click Finish Roof.

• Go to the 3D view
• Check out the roof.

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Stairs
Stairs are those things that let people walk up and down between floors in a building or house. (This is an
engineer talking about stairs. An architect has a different description I’m sure).

• Open the file AUGI-Revit.rvt


• In the project browser, go to the second floor and zoom in on the radial entry area.
• In the design toolbar, go to the Modeling tab, and select stairs

• Pick a point on the second floor slab edge


• Move to the right. The stairs will faintly count down.
• Once you get to 13 risers created, 13 remaining, pick that point.

• Move your cursor straight up from that point. You will see a green alignment line.

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• Pick a point about 5 feet away from the first set of stairs.
• Return back to the second floor landing, and pick a point past the slab edge.

• Click on the boundary button


• Sketch a radial landing for the stairs
• Be sure that the green lines form a continuous boundary. Trim and delete any straggling lines. Similar
to AutoCAD.

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• Click the properties button
• Change the base level to Entry Level
• Change the top level to level 1
• Change the multi level level to level 4 (that’s a lot of levels)!
• Click OK

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• Click the Railings type button
• Select Guardrail Pipe
• Click OK
• Click Finish Sketch
• Go to 3D and check it out.

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Railings
Railings are those things that keep you from falling off of... stuff. As you can plainly see, we could use a few.

• Go to the Level 1 floor plan


• It is possible that the UP and DOWN text is in the way. If so, select the stairs and pick the round blue
grips on the text. You can then move the text out of the way

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• Select the railing on the stairs. Right click and select Create Similar.

• The thing about railings is this. You can only draw one at a time. That’s it. In this instance we will need
three separate railings per floor.
• On the options toolbar, select pick. Set an offset for 4”
• Pick the slab edge as shown below.
• You can drag the line into the interior partition by grip-editing it.
• Draw another line back from the inside edge of the stair railing. Again, see the graphic below.
• Click finish sketch

• This is going to take a few passes. Be patient. Remember this is not AutoCAD.

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• Do the same procedure for the middle and the other side
of the balcony.

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• On Level 1, select the three railings. Note that Revit requires you to hold down the Ctrl key when
selecting multiple items (Believe me, this really throws me off when I’m back in AutoCAD.
• Copy them to the clipboard.
• Go to Edit > Paste Aligned

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• From there, got to Level 2, 3 and 4

• Open the Level 4 floor plan and delete the middle railing
• Select the bottom railing and click the edit button.

• Extend the railing to meet the stairs going down.


• Click Finish sketch.
• Go to 3D and check it out.

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Dimensioning
Dimensions in Revit cannot be typed over. YES! What a horrible thing that was…in AutoCAD when you came to
the realization that a dimension was typed. Ohhhhh the tension. You can, however, use dimensions in Revit to
physically control and lock geometry.

• Go to the Entry Level floor plan


• Delete the dimensions from segment two.
• On the Basics tab on the design toolbar, click dimension.
• On the options toolbar, Pick Entire Walls, then select the options button

• In the Auto Dimension Options, select Openings, and Centers

• Pick the bottom wall, and place the dimension string.


• With the command still running, click the Options button again.
• Uncheck openings
• Select the same wall.
• Similar to AutoCAD, if you select a dimension you can grip edit it to move text into a more readable
position.

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• Zoom in on an interior door and partition
• Dimension from the center of the doors and wall in the steps shown below.
Note:
You can hover over a door while in the dimension command, and get a
centerline. Use this for this example.

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• Once the dimensions are in place, little padlocks will appear. Click on both of them.
• Delete the dimensions.
• A warning appears telling you that you are removing a dimension but it is still locked to that wall.

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Move the wall. The doors will come along for the ride.
I don’t think I need to dwell on how much of an advantage this can be.

Array
Revit array rocks the Kasbah! Not only is it extremely easy, but you can modify the count and increment at any
time

• Switch to the Entry Level floor plan, and place a Double-Glass 2: 72” x 82” door 4’-6” from the interior
partition as shown below.

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• Select the door and start the array command

• In the options toolbar, give it a number of 4, move it to last, and constrain it.

• Click the points shown to the right


• You have the choice now to specify how many doors you want.
• Hit Escape a few times.
• Select the top door
• Pick Activate dimensions from the options toolbar

• Modify the blue dimension to 4’-6”

• Click the little dimension Icon

• Hit escape
• Select the dimension again

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• Lock it

• Delete it.

• Repeat the same steps for the bottom door.


• Select any one of the doors
• Change the blue number to 5
• Go to the Drafting tab on the design toolbar.
• Select Tag all not Tagged.
• Click door tags
• Click OK
• The doors are now tagged and love is in the air.

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• Select one of the doors. Notice it is a group (We will get into groups next month)

• Click Edit Group

• Select the door and change it to Double-Glass 2: 72” x 84”


• Click finish Group
• The doors are now all bigger!
• Check out the back in 3D

This concludes the beginning portion of the Revit series. We have two more classes scheduled. Please, if you
haven’t already, sign up for two more months of fun. We have tons of stuff to cover.

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