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Tips & Tricks to Make the Most of Autodesk Revit

1. Revit’s In-Built Calculator
For values of numerical parameters, you can calculate basic arithmetic by starting with an ‘=’ symbol. You can even use parentheses ( ) to order the way the value is calculated. e.g. = (100 + 50) / 2. In this example the ‘(100 + 50)’ is calculated before the ‘/ 2’.

1. Revit’s In-Built Calculator
2. Options Bar Shortcuts
While using tools such as Copy, Move, Mirror, Rotate, Offset, & Align, holding CTRL and/or Shift with toggle the options on the Options Bar.
3. Aligning Model Patterns
You can Align, Move and Rotate a Model Fill Pattern which is on the surface of an element. Place your cursor over a line in the surface pattern, then use TAB to highlight and then select the pattern.
4. Corner Windows
Corner windows can be somewhat tricky to create, especially when deciding how you might go about cutting an opening in the second wall where the window wraps around.

Users have used all kinds of tricks to make this happen, most notably the use of editing the second wall’s profile, or using the Opening By Face tool.
The problem with these methods is that they time consuming and hard to make sure the opening stays associated with the window for if the window changes size or location.

With the recent introduction of the Cuts with Voids When Loaded family parameter, this process can be simplified.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start a new, or open an existing corner window family.
  2. In the Exterior elevation, delete out the Opening element.
  3. In its place, model a Void but make sure that the void isn’t cutting any geometry including the wall host. The void will need to be the same size of the window in both directions. Refer to the image as an example.
  4. In the Family Parameters, toggle on the Cuts with Voids When Loaded parameter.

Now load the window into a project and place into a wall. You will notice that the wall will not yet have the opening cut.
Select the Cut Geometry tool and select one of the walls and then the window. Repeat with the second wall.

Now you have a window which cuts both walls without the use of any kind of opening element, and the openings are associated with the window’s size and location.

4. Corner Windows
5. Modifying Walls Lengths
When modifying the length of a wall element by using the wall’s overall temporary dimension, if you require one end to remain stationary (rather than extending both ends equally), simply start dragging (using the grips) the other end of the wall and then type the new length.
6. Painting a Parameter
Did you know that you can Paint a parameter? No?

If you need to possibly control the material on a single surface of a piece of geometry, then Paint it.

Here’s the process:

  1. Create a new Material parameter in the Family Types.
  2. Go to the Paint tool which is on the Modify tab.
  3. In the dialogue, select the Material parameter you created in step 1. It will be noted by the (param) at the end of the name.
  4. Select the surface to paint.

To extend this tip even further, you can use the Split Face tool on the geometry surface first to break it into smaller surface areas, and then paint each split area separately. Now there is no need to create multiple geometries to assign materials to individually to get the same effect.

6. Painting a Parameter
7. Consecutive Arcs
When you would like to draw a quick succession of Arcs, try using the ‘Tangent End Arc’ tool on the Draw panel.
Bear in mind though that in order to use this tool you are required to have an existing line drawn, in order to continue the first arc from.
8. ‘Working’ Views
In order to more easily and visibly identify unreferenced ‘working’ views such as sections and elevations, try putting a big ‘W’ in a view’s marker family and then assign it to a new view type (i.e. Type Selector).

8. Working Views
9. Save In-Place Families to Library
Here is a nice little workaround to help save out any In-Place families in your project to your content library.

  1. Select the In-Place family and press Edit In-Place.
  2. Select the elements in the family which you want to save out to a Family file.
  3. Group these elements using the Create Group tool.
  4. Go to the Application Menu (‘R’ button) > Save As > Library > Group.
  5. Choose where you want to save the group and press Save.
  6. Your Family is now ready to be loaded into a project.


10. Element Alignment on Placement
Before placing an element into the model, if it needs to be aligned to another element try hovering it over that other element first and then pressing the Spacebar.

TIP: The Spacebar also works after the element has been placed, and will rotate it (typically) in 90 degree increments.

10. Element Alignment on Placement

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About The Author

A2K Technologies is an industry-leading solutions, training, consulting and management firm specialising in the design technology space. With a multi-million dollar turnover and over 150 staff across Australia, New Zealand and China; A2K Technologies is Australia’s largest Autodesk re-seller.

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