Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012

Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012

by Patrick Davis

ISBN: 9781118029961

Publisher Sybex

Published in Calendars/Automotive, Calendars/Architecture

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Sample Chapter

Chapter One


Views are an essential part of your building project. Autodesk Revit Architecture is basically a large database, and many of your projects will consist of a single model or file (unlike AutoCAD projects, which can consist of hundreds of drawing views). For this single model to work effectively, you need a system to create different views of your building project. With Revit's view tools, you can create views of your model—such as floor plans, ceiling plans, detail views, section views, and schedules—to graphically display that information.

The views that you create display specific information related to your building project, and Revit provides you with view property controls to specify what information is represented and how it is represented.

In this chapter, we will discuss the various view types, their relationship to the model, and how they are organized in the Project Browser. You will learn how to create views and how to use view controls to edit and manage the display of elements in the views. We will discuss view properties, view templates, and best practices for working with views.

This chapter covers the following topics:

* Zoom and Pan tools

* View properties

* Other view controls

* Adding new views

Zoom and Pan Tools

You can use the Zoom and Pan tools to assist in navigating and editing elements in the building model and to change the viewable area in a drawing window. The Zoom tool provides the means for changing the magnification of the view, either increasing or decreasing. The Pan tool in a 3D view moves the camera left or right. In a 2D view, Pan scrolls the view in the direction you move the cursor. Revit provides the following zoom options:

• Zoom In Region

• Zoom Out (2X)

• Zoom To Fit

• Zoom All To Fit

• Zoom Sheet Size

• Previous Pan/Zoom

• Next Pan Zoom

Revit provides several methods for accessing these tools, one of which is the navigation bar (Figure 2.1), displayed in the upper-right corner of the drawing window. You can also access the ViewCube and SteeringWheels, described in a moment, from this navigation bar. If the navigation bar is not active, do the following:

1. Click the View tab.

2. In the Windows panel, click the User Interface drop-down list.

3. Select the Navigation Bar check box to activate the navigation bar.

Deselecting the check box will hide the navigation bar.

Zoom In Region

You use the Zoom In Region tool when you need to zoom into a certain area or window. To zoom into a region, you must specify a rectangular window by identifying diagonal opposite corners. Here are the general steps:

1. Start the Zoom In Region tool.

2. Move your mouse pointer, and click at the start point of your rectangle.

3. Move the mouse pointer to define the opposite diagonal corner of the Zoom In Region window, and click.

Notice that as you define the window, a dynamic window is created (Figure 2.2).

The region within your Zoom In Region area is enlarged in the current view (Figure 2.3).

One-Click Zooms

One-click zooms are quick actions you can take to change the magnification or range of your view with a single mouse click:

Zoom Out (2X) Use this tool when you need to zoom out of an existing view by twice the size of the current view. In other words, when you use this tool the new view is going to show twice the length and width of the original view.

Zoom To Fit Use this tool when you want to display the entire extents of the model and annotation elements in the available view space on the screen.

Zoom All To Fit This tool works the same way as Zoom To Fit but in all the views that are open.

Zoom Sheet Size Use this tool when you want the drawing window to match the print size based on the scale of the view. This tool is useful when you want to make sure that you are showing the correct level of detail based on the scale of the drawing.

Previous Pan/Zoom Use this tool when you need to revert to the last view displayed using the Zoom and Pan tools. You can think of this tool as an undo function for zooming and panning.

Next Pan/Zoom Use this tool when you want to undo the previous pan/zoom operation.


The ViewCube is a persistent tool that can be used to switch between standard and isometric views. When the ViewCube is displayed, it is shown with one of the edges, faces, or corners highlighted. This represents the current orientation of the view. Clicking one of the faces, edges, or corners will switch to that view.

The ViewCube has two display states:

• When inactive, it appears in halftone so that it does not interfere with the view of your model.

• When active, it is opaque and may obscure the view of the model.

The ViewCube also acts as a compass and indicates which direction is north for the model. When you click the cardinal direction letter on the compass, the view will rotate. You can also click the compass ring and interactively rotate the view around the pivot point.

The real power of the ViewCube, though, is revealed when you right-click it. When you do, you can quickly create 3D sections, plans, elevations, and so on. The ViewCube context menu has the following options (Figure 2.4):

Go Home Restores the home view saved with the model

Save View Allows you to save the current view

Lock To Selection Uses the selected objects to define the center of the view when a view orientation change occurs with the ViewCube

Set Current View As Home Defines the home view of the model based on the current view

Set Front To View Allows you to define a new front view from a predefined list

Reset Front Resets the front view of the model to its default orientation

Show Compass Toggles on and off the ViewCube Compass

Orient To View Lets you select from a set of preset views to reorient the model's current view

Orient To A Direction Lets you select from a set of preset view directions to reorient the model's current view

Orient To A Plane Lets you specify a new orientation plane to reorient the model's current view

Help Launches the online help system and displays the topic for the ViewCube

Options Opens the Options dialog box where you access options for adjusting the appearance and behavior of the ViewCube


SteeringWheels are special tracking menus that follow your mouse pointer as you move it across the drawing area. In theory, these wheels can save you time since they combine multiple navigation tools into a single menu. Typically these wheels allow you to zoom, rewind, orbit, and so on. Because different types of operations have different view requirements, there are seven SteeringWheels (Figure 2.5) for navigating and orienting models in different views.

In the next example, we will walk you through the process of utilizing the Zoom and Rewind functions from the SteeringWheels:

1. Click the SteeringWheels icon on the navigation bar (Figure 2.6).

2. Move the SteeringWheels to an area in the drawing area you want to zoom in and out of.

3. Place your mouse pointer over the Zoom tool. Notice that as you move your mouse pointer over a function, it will highlight.

4. Click and hold the Zoom tool. Moving your mouse forward zooms in, and moving the mouse backward zooms out. Notice that varying the mouse speed varies the speed of the zoom.

5. Release the mouse button to stop the Zoom command and return to the SteeringWheels.

Now that you have used the Zoom tool, you will use the Rewind tool to return to your previous zoom state. As you perform zooms and pans, Revit keeps track of these actions. When you use the Rewind tool, Revit displays a strip of previous zooms and pans.

1. In the SteeringWheels, move your mouse over the Rewind tool.

2. Click the Rewind tool.

3. Move your mouse pointer over the rewind strips (Figure 2.7). Revit will change the zoom or pan location.

4. When you find the view that you desire, click, and you are returned to the SteeringWheels.

The SteeringWheels also offers a wheel menu (Figure 2.8). You can use this menu to switch between the big and mini wheels that are available. The behavior and options available in the wheel menu are dependent on the current wheel and program. Table 2.1 lists the complete wheel menu options.

View Properties

You use view properties (Figure 2.9) to set the various settings for the active view. These settings consist of the scale, detail level, underlay, phase, and so on. Table 2.2 lists some common view properties and a brief description of how they function.

Overriding Visibility/Graphics

As you work on your building project, there will come a time when you find that you have too much going on in the view and you want to turn on or off certain element categories, such as all furniture or all columns. You may also want to change the way that different element categories display in the view. Most of the time you will use the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog box (Figure 2.10), usually just called Visibility/Graphics or VG, to control the visibility per view. Therefore, you want to be very familiar and comfortable using this dialog box. There are a few other methods of controlling the visibility of objects in a view, and we will cover those in this section as well.

When you start a new project, the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog box is broken up into five tabs. Additional tabs will be displayed if you enable phasing, link files, or worksharing. The first tab in Visibility/Graphic Overrides is Model Categories. On this tab, you have the ability to turn on and off model categories in the view and to override the cut, projection and surface, halftoning, transparency, and detail level of an element category. Generally speaking, model elements are the geometry or 3D objects that make up your building project, such as doors, walls, windows, and floors.

The Visibility column contains a list of all the Revit element categories available. You can display subcategories for each element category by clicking the expand button. For example, Doors is a category, and when you expand Doors, you are provided with several door subcategories, including Elevation Swing, Frame/Mullion, and Glass.

Next to the category or subcategory name is a check box. When you select the check box, the category or subcategory will be displayed in the view. Deselecting will turn the visibility off in the current view. Turning the visibility of the category off will also turn off the visibility of the subcategory items.

In the exercise that follows, you are going to override the first floor Visibility Graphic Overrides settings to hide the furniture and plumbing fixtures. This will allow you to explore the Visibility Graphic Overrides settings.

1. Open the source file Dataset_02_01.rvt from the book's web page ( introducingrevit2012).

2. Save the file elsewhere, naming it 02_01_VG.rvt.

3. Switch to the First Floor, Floor Plan.

4. Zoom into the southwest corner of the building where the bedroom and bathroom are located.

5. On the View tab's Graphics panel, click Visibility/Graphics.

6. In the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog box, deselect the check box next to the Furniture and Plumbing Fixtures categories.

7. Click Apply and then OK to close the dialog box.

After deselecting the Furniture and Plumbing Fixtures categories, the bedroom furniture and bathroom plumbing fixtures are turned off. Remember that when you deselect a category in the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog box, that category is turned off in the current view only.

Another shortcut for controlling the visibility of elements in a view is to use the Hide In View tool. To use this tool, select an element in the view in which you want to turn off the visibility, such as a door. Right-click and choose Hide In View (Figure 2.11).

You are then presented with three options:

Elements Only the element or elements selected will be turned off. For example, if a single chair is selected, only that chair will be turned off.

Category This will turn off the entire category for the element selected. For this example, if you select a single chair, all the furniture elements will have their visibility turned off in this view because a chair is part of the Furniture category. This is the same as going to the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog box and turning the category off.

By Filter This will turn off the group of elements that you defined in your filter. We will discuss filters in more detail later in this chapter.

Click Category. All of the doors in the view now have visibility turned off.

In our previous exercise, we turned off all the furniture and plumbing fixtures in the view. You may want to turn them back on. If you turned off the entire category, you could simply go back to the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog box and turn the category back on. But if individual elements have been hidden, how do you find them? Revit provides a tool called Reveal Hidden Elements. This tool displays any elements that are currently hidden in the view. To reveal hidden elements, continue using the file from the previous exercise and follow these steps:

1. On the View Control bar, click the Reveal Hidden Elements icon [??].

When this icon is active, the lightbulb on the View Control bar will have a red border and the lightbulb will be on [??]. The border of the drawing window will be in red, indicating that you are in Reveal Hidden Elements mode. All the hidden elements will be displayed in red, and the visible elements will be in halftone (Figure 2.12).

2. Select the elements you want to unhide.

3. On the ribbon in the Reveal Hidden Elements panel (Figure 2.13), click Unhide Element or Unhide Category.

4. When you have unhidden all the elements, click the Toggle Reveal Hidden Elements Mode button on the ribbon to turn off Reveal Hidden Elements mode. You can also click the lightbulb on the View Control bar to exit Reveal Hidden Elements mode.

5. Save and close the file 02_01_VG.rvt.

Another method of restoring the visibility of elements while in Reveal Hidden Elements mode is to select an element, right-click, and choose Unhide In View.

In addition to being able to control the visibility of element categories, Visibility/ Graphics also enables you to override the visibility and graphic display of model elements, annotation elements, imported elements, linked Revit model elements, and workset elements for each view in a project. These settings that you are overriding are those specified at the project level. If you want to change the settings for all views in the project, you should modify them in the Object Styles dialog box.

Using Visibility/Graphic Overrides to Poche Walls

In this example, you are going to override the visibility and graphic display of walls in the view. You will first duplicate a view and then apply a transparency to faces on model elements, and then you will poche the exterior walls.

1. Open the source file Dataset_02_02.rvt from the book's web page (

2. Save the file elsewhere, naming it Views_Poche.rvt.

3. In the Project Browser, make the {3D} view active.

You are going to duplicate this view and then apply your transparency.

4. Right-click the view name (Figure 2.14).

Right-clicking any view name in the Project Browser and highlighting Duplicate View provides you with three duplication options:

Duplicate This option makes a copy of the view without any annotation objects with the exception of levels, grids, and reference planes. Model changes made in the original view will appear in the duplicated view. Annotation changes (with the exception of levels, grids, and reference planes) made in the original view will not appear in the duplicated view (Figure 2.15).

Duplicate with Detailing This option makes a copy of the view with the annotation objects. Model changes made in the original view will appear in the duplicated view. Annotation changes (with the exception of levels, grids, and reference planes) will not appear in the duplicated view.

Duplicate as a Dependent This option makes a complete or exact copy of the view, including all annotations. The copy of this view is also dependent on the original view. Any changes in the model or annotation made in either of the two views will appear in the other view.

5. Choose Duplicate View Duplicate.

In the Project Browser, a new view named Copy of {3D} was created. Let's rename this view to something more meaningful.

6. Right-click the view called Copy of {3D}, and select Rename.

7. Name the view Transparent Walls and Floors.

You will now begin the process of applying transparency to model face categories.


Excerpted from "Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012" by Patrick Davis. Copyright © 0 by Patrick Davis. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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