Revit Structure: Tips on Training

How Training Has Evolved

I remember when I first started using AutoCAD® in 1986 release 2.5. I worked for a commercial furniture company and my main role was to produce as-builts for the designers to lay out furniture cubes.

When the company first said they were switching from the drafting boards over to this thing called “CAD,” no one was interested in getting trained. I threw my name out there to go for training. There was a local Autodesk reseller called Micro CAD Managers, who I eventually went to work for, that offered seven different AutoCAD classes. I took them all, and I was hooked.

Each class lasted 8 hours per day for two to four days. This type of training was just a huge brain dump of information and often you would forget at least half of what you were taught.  Still, classroom face-to-face training is still a very effective method of delivery.

Over the past 25 years, I have delivered training in many forms, the 8-hour-per-day cram session, the twice weekly college course, two hours per week, webcasts, recorded video training, and others. All of it is effective to a point, but my number one recommendation is a blended learning approach. For example:

  • Start with a Revit Structure LinkedIn Learning class.
  • Follow up with working on a project and have an experienced Revit user look over your shoulder a couple hours a day to help you along.
  • You will need to have some workflow training that is more geared towards your companies’ standards.
  • Attend events such as Autodesk University to be motivated.
  • Get involved with the AUGI organization and possibly start your own local user group if one does not exist in your area.
  • Repeat the process—taking on intermediate and advanced course topics.

Figure 1: Blended learning is essential for success

Challenge Yourself

There comes a time where you become a veteran of your trade and you think you know it all. If you have been paying attention to Autodesk and technology, then you are 100 percent aware that the rate of change is getting difficult to manage. It is way beyond keeping up with the newest release of Revit on a yearly basis. The analytical space, the cloud computing, the VR/AR, the way we share and collaborate, the digital age, and so on. All of this is changing almost weekly and you need more focus than ever before.

Do not even get me started on focus! With all the distractions we have these days with our phones and social media? It amazes me sometimes that we can still get jobs out and maintain a profit. When you are at work you need to be obsessed with your job—always looking for opportunities to engage in some sort of learning experience. A few thoughts that may help get you engaged:

  • Find a repetitive task and try to write a Dynamo script to automate that task.
  • Scan your start-up project templates and find something to fine tune—could be a name of a family, cleaning up or adding standard line types, etc.
  • Create an SOP (standard operating procedure) to help your project team for the various tasks that cause issues with new users.
  • Schedule meetings with people who have your same job function and have a roundtable brainstorming session on how you can be more digitally efficient.
  • Are you a good communicator? If not, take a class on composing emails, running a meeting, etc.

Training today extends far beyond the use of technical tools.  You need to set aside time for your learning. Just because you may not have time during the workday or your company will not pay for you to take certain classes, you cannot afford to stop your quest to gain knowledge. If you take your focus off learning for a year, you will find yourself two years behind.

Revit Structure Lesson

People learn different ways. For example, I like step-by-step tutorials and short, topic-based video clips. I find that I can absorb more information if I take it in small chunks. Below I lay out a step-by-step tutorial to create a ledge on a concrete wall using a basic stacked wall and an adaptive component family. I will keep the steps basic, but at the end I have a link to the same lesson on YouTube.

Figure 2: Angle ledge on concrete wall

Step 1

Create a Stacked wall using an 8” concrete wall as the base and 5” concrete wall as the top.

Figure 3: Stacked wall

Step 2

Create an adaptive component family starting with the Generic Model Adaptive.rft family template.

Step 3

For this sample we will make a four-point adaptive family that will allow us to select four points along our stacked wall to place the angle ledge. From the Create ribbon, select point and place four points on your screen.

Figure 4: Four points placed

Step 4

Next we will make these points adaptive. Select the four points with a window selection and then select “Make Adaptive” from the ribbon.

Figure 5: Adaptive points

Step 5

Next we will draw a reference line connecting the four points with 3d Snapping turned on.

Figure 6: Reference line

Step 6

This reference line represents the path in which the angle profile will sweep along. The four adaptive points will determine the path in our model. So now we need to place a point along our path that we can anchor our profile sketch to. From the Create panel, select point and place a point along the path.

Figure 7: Place point along path on reference line

Step 7

Now we need to sketch our angle profile.  For this example, we will sketch a 3x3x1/4 angle. First you need to select the point you placed along the path and set it as the current plane.  Then from the Create panel, select reference line and proceed with your sketch without using 3d Snapping.

Figure 8: 3x3x1/4 angle sketch at point placed along path

Step 8

We will now convert the Sketch and the path into a solid form. Select the sketch and then the path. Once selected, pick Create Form from your ribbon panel. There is a drop-down to select solid or void. Select solid.

Figure 9: Created solid form

Step 9

Assign material to your form. For this example, I am going to make mine red so it shows up on the wall. Typically, you would use the correct material for the solid form angle.

Step 10

Save your family and load it into your project.

Step 11

Place your Adaptive component family by dragging it in from your project browser and selecting the four corresponding points along your wall. Do this from a 3D view.

Figure 10: Four point selection

This is a typical step-by-step approach of learning a task with visual aid. Every detail was not specified, assuming the student knows some basic Revit®. This method of learning is beneficial to have these handouts to refer to from time to time. When working on projects we may not need this knowledge on a day-to-day basis. That is why it is important to have a blended learning approach having more than one resource to fall back on.

Topic-Based Video Training

My favorite way to deliver training is by producing topic-based training videos. This allows the student to focus on one task, one command, and one workflow that they need now.

To be effective, these videos typically are less than 10 minutes. Below is a link to this same lesson on YouTube.

Stacked Wall and Adaptive Component Family


Put together your own training plan to keep yourself accountable. Review it every week to make sure you are staying active with your learning. Be a thought leader of your work life and never stop learning.

Philip Russo began with AutoCAD version 2.5 in 1986. Through the years he has held positions in the CAD industry as CAD Draftsmen, CAD Manager, Sr. Applications Engineer, and is a Certified Autodesk Instructor. Phil’s focus has been on the implementation of standard practices for the Revit Platform. He currently holds the position of Head of Digital Design and BIM-Americas at Ramboll, a leading engineering, design, and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. He has professional certifications for Revit Architecture, MEP, and Structure. Phil can be reached at

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