Tipniques: View Templates 101

May 16th, 2013

Within Architecture, many Architects take pride in not only their project design but their documentation as well.  And it's my belief that we should.  I have met some Architects who are on the borderline of OCD when it comes to making sure each Elevation and/or Floor Plan within the set have the same look (section cuts and grid lines shown/not shown, line weights, callouts, etc.).  As a designer I am one that takes pride in the look and presentation of my plans.  And with that being said, I must say that “View Templates” within Revit has made my life so much easier.  Instead of editing views within Revit one by one, referencing back to other views to remember whats turned on and/or off, I can make a  couple clicks of the mouse and have a clean, consistent, and accurate set of plans, to which I can take full pride in.  The magic is in “View Templates.”  Let me show you how it's done...

First let me give a quick overview of what View Templates are.  A view template is a collection of view specific properties (i.e. view scale, discipline, detail level, and visibility settings) that can be applied to any desired views (Floor Plans, Ceiling Plans, 3D Views, Elevations, Sections, Detail/Drafting Views etc) except for sheets themselves.  With this feature it allows you to apply office standards to similar views so that your set is consistent throughout and displays your desires accurately.    Thus, making your set of drawings look more professional and easy to read...which makes it look like you know what your doing. :)

So lets get to the actual application of this nifty tool.  The first thing to do is set up your templates that will be applied to each set of views.  Of course each person has their own way of presenting their design and you can adjust the templates to fit your specific desires.  But from my standpoint I have two major categories of templates, Presentation and Construction.  In the presentation category, there are templates set for the views that are created specifically to present my design cleanly and professionally to get clients and/or governing agencies approval (Schematic Design Phase). 

For example, during schematic design, my floor plans do not display a lot of detail (section cuts, callouts, labeling).  Also, elevations will be colored with shadows.  So you must create templates that have those properties set correctly.  For the Construction phase, there are templates set for the views that are created to present my design with detail (Construction Documentation Phase).  Using the examples stated already, during this phase my floor plans will show the section cuts, callouts, and labeling (keynotes, room names, elevation tags, etc.) and the elevations will be hidden line without shadows, including detail.  So different templates are needed for each phase of the project.  To start creating templates follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the drop down button for “View Templates” in the “graphics panel” on the View tab, and choose “Manage View Templates” and the dialog box below should pop up.

To give you a brief overview of this dialog box, see below.
• Discipline Filter – allows you to filter the templates categorized for each discipline within the project (Architectural, Structural, Electrical, etc.)
• View Type Filter – allows you to filter the templates categorized for each type of view (3D Views, Ceiling Plans, Elevations, etc)
• Names – allows you to choose the specific template you would like to customize
• View Properties – allows you to customize the selected template
• The buttons below the “Names” section allows you to duplicate and existing template, rename an existing template, or delete existing templates.

  1. Choose a template (out of the box, Revit already gives you templates to start with) and rename it for either Presentation or Construction (I use a “P” for presentation and “C” for Construction). 

• For example, rename the “Architectural Presentation Elevation” to “P – Elevation.”  Having shorter names makes it easier to see without having to adjust the dialog box to see the whole name.

  1. Using the “view properties” customize the settings according to how you want your presentation elevations to look.

• Please keep in mind that there is a check box labeled “Include” within the “View Properties” that toggles whether this template property will override the existing settings for a view.  So if you would like the capability of changing one of the properties (i.e. View Scale) for each elevation, but still have everything else under the template settings then leave that check box open.

Continue to create your templates using the “duplicate” button for both the Presentation and Construction phases.  I would recommend not having too many templates, as this could cause confusion for you and the rest of your team.  Your templates should look something like this:

P - Floor Plans C - Floor Plans
P - Ceiling Plans C - Ceiling Plans
P - Elevations C - Elevations
P - 3D Views C - 3D Views

 

As I mentioned before, you can add additional templates for specific uses (Foundation, Framing, Site plans, etc.) but this is just to get you through the overall concept of using View Templates and only spending time adjusting and adding templates as needed will get this feature up to its full potential using your workflow.

Now that you have your templates set, let me quickly show you how to apply these nuggets of goodness.  See below:

  1. Open a view that you wish to apply a “view template”
  2. In the “Properties” box (typically located on the left hand side of the working space) under “Identity Data” you will find a field labeled “View Template.”  By default it is set to <none>

  1. Click on the gray box where it says <none> and a dialog box will appear.  Does this dialog box look familiar?  It should look exactly like the box you spent so much time in creating your templates.
  2. Filter through the templates until you find the template you wish to apply to the view you have open.  Highlight it and press “Apply.”  Revit will connect this template to the view and apply the settings.
  3. Click “OK” and your view will be adjusted using the setting for the View Template.

Now that you have applied the “View Template” to the view, in the “View Template” in the “properties” the name of the “View Template” should appear instead of <none>.  This is confirmation that the specific “View Template” has been successfully applied to that view.  Finally, you can go through the rest of your views and apply the templates as applicable.

Lastly, if you would like to edit a template, you can go back to the “Manage View Templates” on the View tab, or click on the specific “View template” inside the “Properties” box in a particular view and proceed to edit that template.  This is when you start seeing the power of these templates in action.  When you edit these templates, you will soon realize that all your plans that have that template applied will adjust accordingly.  This has saved countless hours of editing by changing it once, rather than each individual view.

I hope “View Templates” will help you as much as it has helped me and enhance your Revit capabilities and experience.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions and/or complications and I will try and help as much as time admits.

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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