TipNiques: Enhancing Your Views in Revit

December 19th, 2013

One of the most common complaints I heard during my time selling Revit as a reseller, and also as a trainer, was the challenges that came after the model and renderings were produced.  I’m talking about getting that pretty little model to display correctly when producing documentation.  These challenges are not mentioned from the reseller side, as that wouldn’t help the sales representative make the sell.  They also aren’t necessarily addressed from the Autodesk side prior to purchase, as that wouldn’t add value to the Revit software.  They are challenges that can easily be ignored by others that do not have to endure them and invisible to the user until it’s too late.  Although these challenges are not brought to light and addressed on a normal basis prior to purchase, I can say with all confidence that Revit has some hidden tools that can ease your frustration and potentially invite you back on the Revit train with a smile on your face.  Revit is equipped with multiple tools that can enhance the way you display the model in views.  I would like to take this opportunity to present a couple to you.  Let’s get started…

  1. Plan Regions

One of the challenges that is most common within the documentation phase is trying to get your views to cut correctly to display all the components you desire.  Have you had a floor plan that doesn’t display a certain component (i.e. high window, soffit, floor, steps, stairs, etc.)  and if you change the “view range” (tool located within the view’s property dialog box that can adjust the top, cut plane, bottom, and view depth of the view) other components disappear?

Here's an example, imagine you are working on the first floor plan for a custom two story residence.  You have the “cut plane” at 4’-0” so it shows the windows, doors, counters, etc. correctly, but as you begin to document, you realize that the high 3’-0” x 3’-0” windows in the living room are not shown and can’t be tagged.

So you raise the “cut plane” to 8’-0,” so it will cut through those windows and show them correctly.

Well that worked…your high windows are now being shown.  But something seems to be missing…

That’s right, your doors and low windows are not showing.  This is because you raised the view range so high that you are no longer cutting these doors and windows.  Now it seems as though you are in a pickle…do you lower the cut plane back to the where it was and fake in the high windows?  Or should you create a separate floor plan so you can show these high windows?   The answer is NEITHER!  Revit has a great tool that will allow you to customize a certain area of your plan view so that it has different view range settings compared to the rest of the view.   This tool is called a “Plan Region.”  So let me use the same scenario and show you the correct way to display all windows and doors, no matter the height, using this tool.

When working on your first floor plan, maintain the normal “4’-0” cut on your floor plan which is default when you create a floor plan view.  Your floor plan will show all doors and windows that are being cut at the 4’-0” level.  Of course, as stated previously, your high windows are not being displayed.  See below.

So now it’s time to put the “Plan Region” tool to action.  In your view, navigate to the “View” tab and left click on “Plan Views.”  When clicked there should be a drop down menu where you can chose either: Floor Plan, Reflected Ceiling Plan, Structural Plan, Plan Region, and Area Plan.  Left click on “Plan Region.”

Revit will now go into a mode where it wants you to draw the boundary of this particular plan region. Go ahead and draw, using the standard line tools, a rectangle where you want to adjust the view range (this area will be where the high windows are in the Living Room).  Left click on the big green check mark.  This will create a region shown by green dash lines (Don’t worry, by default these lines will not print).

Once you have this created, click on one of the dash lines to select the plan region.  On the properties dialog box there will only be one parameter, which is “View Range.”  Left click on “Edit,” and this will bring up the dialog box where you can adjust the view range settings for this particular region.  Adjust the “Cut Plane” to 8’-0” (or however high you need in order to cut the high windows).  Click on “OK.”

If your adjusted view range is correct, you should now see the high windows.  If not, then click on the plan region again and adjust the view range, until the windows are shown.

  1. Linework tool

So now you can have any component show up in a plan view.  Great!  But what happens when your component is shown but isn’t joining properly, or doesn’t display the desired line style?  Yeah, you can potentially work on getting the correct joining and adjust the line style in the “Visibility/Graphics Overide” tool.  But what is the next step if you still can’t get the components to join and/or the line style is still not correct?  Let me introduce you to the “Linework” tool.  This tool will allow you to override a line style for a selected line in any view.  I will quickly show you how to use this but I want to clarify that using this tool will override a line style for a selected line only in the “active” view.  So if your desire is to override a specific line in multiple views, you must use this tool in each individual view.

Let’s start with a scenario where you have one wall on top of another (i.e. two-story residence).  For some strange reason these walls are joined, but the line in between them will not disappear.

This is where the “Linework” tool comes in to play, because if you have a line in your view that you do not want displayed you can override this line and make it have the characteristics of an “Invisible Line.”  Here’s how to do it…

First, make sure you have the elevation active.  On the “Modify” tab, under the “View” category, click on the “linework” tool.

You will see on the right side of the “Modify” tab a “Line Style” option pop up.  This option is telling what line style you would like to override with.  So if you want the specific line in the view to be displayed as an “Overhead” line style, then have it selected in this pop up.  Now that you have the specific line style selected (for this scenario you want to change the line style to “<Invisible Lines>”) left click on the line in the view that you would like to override.  You will see as you hover over lines they will become highlighted.  This helps make sure you are overriding the correct line. 

Using this scenario, you will notice that once you click on the line separating both walls, it doesn’t seem to have worked.  Well, with clicking on the line you have changed only one of two lines that are displayed.  If you think about it, in this elevation Revit is displaying both the bottom line of the wall above, along with the top line of the wall below.  So you will need to click on the line again to have both lines be overridden with the “Invisible Line” line style.  Once you have clicked on the desired lines to be overridden, all you have to do is press ESC to get out of the command.  It’s that simple. If you use your imagination, there are a lot of scenarios outside of this one where this tool can be a life saver!!

Lastly, if for any reason you need to revert back to the original line style for a particular model line, just use the “Linework” tool and select “<By Category>” as the override line style.

Hopefully, these two tools can help eliminate some frustration when it comes to having your documentation display correctly.  Unfortunately, Revit isn’t always perfect at knowing how you want a specific view to be displayed (if only it could read your mind).  Luckily there are tools that can assist with eliminating some of Revit’s imperfections.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions and/or how you can use these tools and/or any additional tools within Revit to enhance your views.

 

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About the Authors

Chris McNiel

Chris McNiel

Chris McNiel is a designer in Moreno Valley, California, USA and owner of A+ Design, a full service design and drafting studio.  He has been in the industry for over 10 years, with over 9 years of experience within Autodesk Revit.  Chris had the opportunity to be on the development team for the Autodesk Showcase software and present in the main keynote at Autodesk University 2008, where Autodesk Showcase was first introduced.  In the past years, Chris has also given multiple presentations on the use of Revit as well as full training sessions for local High Schools and Revit User Groups.

Contact: aplusdesign@live.com

 

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