Revit: A Neater Alternative to the Guide Grid

Autodesk Revit 2011 offers the possibility of inserting a guide grid to align views across the sheet set. The Guide Grid command is available under the View tab and on the Sheet Composition panel. Selecting this option will insert a light blue grid object on your titleblock. In the Guide Grid Name, you can choose to name it anything, such as Titleblock Guide Grid, and under Properties, you can change the spacing to anything you like, such as 4”.

To insert the same grid with the same location on another sheet, simply open that Sheet View and from the Properties menu, under the Other division and under Guide Grid, select the Titleblock Guide Grid that you just created.

With the Revit Guide Grid, you can align the next floor level, for instance, to the same intersection of the guide grid lines on this current sheet, Figure 1.

Figure 1: Aligning a plan view on the titleblock guide grid

You can further create several guide grids to align different type of views, such as plans, elevations, details, etc. Note that the alignment works only for Levels, Grids, Reference Planes and view Crop boundaries. Unfortunately, you cannot use walls or other geometry.

An alternative to the out-of-the-box Guide Grid

Next, let’s explore a nice alternative to the out-of-the-box Guide Grid option, which I personally prefer for several reasons. Within your titleblock template, you can create a simple grid with halftone lines, adjusted in size to fit your various sizes of titleblocks. Add a visibility parameter so you can turn the grid off from all views, before printing.

There are several advantages to this alternative: you can create a grid with different width versus height modules. You create only one grid, spaced small enough, which you can use on any type of view—plan , elevation, details. You can also draw division lines along the grid lines, if your office is used to visibly separate details with line geometry.

Let’s take a quick look at how to create our custom Guide Grid. In your title block family, create horizontal and vertical grid lines, equally spacing the entire title block into modules, per your standards or preference. It is recommended that you create a different Object Style for these lines (Manage tab, Object Styles), to differentiate them from other annotation linework (Figure 2). 

Figure 2: New Line Style for Grid Lines

Your titleblock and grid lines should look similar to Figure 3.

Figure 3: Title block with grid lines

Next, we want to add a parameter to all the lines, which will allow us to make them visible (or not) in our project set. Hence, we need a Yes/No parameter. To do this, go to the Modify tab and select the Family Types icon (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Adding a parameter in Family Types

In the Family Types window, click Add under Parameters on the right, and give it a name, such as ‘Grid Lines’, choosing ‘Yes/No’ as the type of parameter, and locating it under the Graphics division. Make sure it’s a Type parameter (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Creating a new parameter

Click OK to exit all windows. Now that we have a parameter, we need to assign it to all the grid lines. Select all grid lines and under the Properties menu, click on the little button next to ‘Visible’ in the Graphic division. Select the new parameter, Grid Lines in the next window and click OK (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Assigning the new parameter to all grid lines

Load the modified titleblock with the new grid in your project to test the result. In the project, select the titleblock and choose Edit Type under Properties. In the Type Properties window, uncheck the Grid Lines box and click OK to test the results (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Testing the visbility parameter of the new grid

This alternative grid shares the limitations of the out-of-the-box Revit grid when it comes to which objects can snap to it. Also here, we can only align by Levels, Grids, Reference Planes and view Crop boundaries. Still, as we discussed above, this grid has many advantages over the standard guide grid. Primarily, it allows for  varied width versus height grid modules, and hence, it allows for graphical linework, such as boxing out detail views. An example is shown in Figure 8. It also eliminates having to put a grid in every sheet because our new grid is part of our titleblock and the newly created parameter is a Type parameter, which means that its Yes/No visibility condition applies to all sheets.

Figure 8: Use of grid lines to box out sheet information with graphical linework

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