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In Revit Architecture 2011 Essential Training, author Paul F. Aubin shows how to create compelling architectural designs using the modeling tools in Revit. This course covers the entire building information modeling (BIM) workflow, from design concept to publishing. It also covers navigating the Revit interface, modeling basic building features such as walls, doors and windows, working with sketch-based components such as roofs and stairs, annotating designs with dimensions and callouts, and adding 3D geometry. Exercise files are included with the course.
Like most computer programs, Revit has many user configurable settings and options. Many of the settings are configured optimally out of the box from the factory, and probably don't need to be changed by most users. So there are several settings that you at least want to understand why they are set the way they are and possibly consider making changes to them. To do these kinds of changes, we look in the Options dialog box, and we can find that from the Application menu, which again, is the big R button in the top corner of the screen, and Options way down here toward the bottom of the menu. When we do, this dialog will appear.
So here in the General tab, in the very first area, we have our Save reminders. Now if you've used a computer program for a while, you know how important it is to save. The Save reminder gives us an opportunity for Revit to remind us every so often to save our file, if we have not done so ready, and the increments that are available are as few as 15 minutes and all the way up to 4 hours, or even No reminders. Now clearly, No reminders I would not recommend, unless you are very confident in your ability to remember to save. 15 minutes may be a little too frequently and a little disruptive, because the Save reminder will pop up and interrupt your work.
30 minutes is the default, which is not a bad choice, and I would definitely recommend starting at least there. Getting much beyond that: 1 hour, 2 hours, I'll you what I tell all my other students: How much work are you willing to loose? That's basically how I would set this number. So I am going to leave it at 30 minutes. I'm going to recommend you do the same. If you want to be extra cautious, you can go down to 15 minutes. Let's take a look at a couple of quick things on the User Interface tab. If you're interested, there are actually two versions of the theme, Light and Dark, and so you can play with those and see how those appeal to you.
I'm going to come back and talk about the keyboard shortcuts in just a moment, but we have a few other settings down here that we can take a look at. This area is pretty important. When you are working in the environment, the tabs on the Ribbon will either stay on the Modify tab, or they will return to whatever previous tab you were working in. Now I think the defaults here are actually pretty good, the return to previous tab for the project environment, and in fact when we talk about the family editor in a future chapter, you may want to come back here and actually set that behavior here as well.
To have Revit continually go back to the Modify tab, I find a little disruptive. So you could be working in the environment, you click on something, you make a modification, and then you're on the Home tab, and then it jumps over to the Modify tab. I don't really care for that. So I do prefer the return to previous tab and actually, like I said, I prefer it in both cases. So I am going to make that change here, and I'll remind you of that when we talk about families in the Family chapter. Now you may have noticed the tooltips already in your work in Revit.
The default behavior is Normal, and if I open this up, there are actually 4 choices. I think None is pretty self-explanatory, but let's talk about Minimal and High. So I am going to click OK here, and even without a project open, I can actually click on one of the Ribbon tabs and expand it, and pause my mouse over a tool, and I am going to pause just over the Wall tool. Now you notice how the tooltip was small and gave a little bit of information, and then as I waited a little longer with my mouse in the same location, it expanded and gave this larger tooltip and showed a graphic along with it.
The first version of the tooltip, this one, is what you would see in Minimal, and the second version, the one that just appeared, that's what you'd see in High. When you set it to Normal, like the default, that's when it does both. It starts off Minimal, and then it goes to High after a pause. So you can choose whichever one appeals to you. If you're just getting started in Revit, I recommend leaving the tooltips set on and set to one of those three choices. I am not too concerned whether you do Minimal or High, but just that you do have tooltips enabled, because there is a lot of really useful information in here.
So get in the habit of reading these tooltips. When you become a more seasoned Revit user, and you don't really feel like you need the extra tooltips anymore, you can certainly go in to Options at that time, click on User Interface, and change it to None, if you no longer want to see the tooltips. Now there is one other really useful thing that we want to know on the tooltips, and it ties back to this item here, Keyboard Shortcuts. So let me cancel out of here one more time. Let me go over here and pause over this. Notice right next to the word Wall, in parentheses, it says (WA). That's the keyboard shortcut for the Wall tool.
So to demonstrate that actually, I can just kind of click and create a new empty project. That's not really important because I am not actually really going to draw anything, but I just want to show you how this works. Certainly if I click the Wall tool, I would create a wall. But I am going to press Escape and get out of there. If I type the letters wa on my keyboard, notice that does exactly the same thing. If I type the letters dr, that changes me to the Door tool. If I type the letters wn, okay, that changes me to the Window tool, and so on.
Now I am going to press Escape to cancel of there. So as you pause over each tool, if it has a tooltip, they are going to appear there in parentheses. Now I highly encourage you to learn the tooltips, to pay attention to those, and to get used to using them, because it can greatly enhance your productivity, and anybody who has used Revit for a while will swear by the keyboard shortcuts. Now this is a relatively new enhancement in the software, new in 2011, where we can actually customize the keyboard shortcuts in a dialog box interface. So you can use this tool for two things.
I'm not actually a huge fan of customizing them, okay so again you click here, and it brings this second window up, but this can actually be a really handy tool to find out if a keyboard shortcut exists for something. Like if I wasn't sure if the Railing Command had a keyboard shortcut, I can just type in the Search box here and see if it does. And you'll notice that Railing is listed here as a command, but there's no shortcut associated with it. If I want to change that, I could actually press the keys here and assign a shortcut to the Railing command here on the fly.
So depending on how frequently you envision making Railings, and how useful you think it might be to have a Railing shortcut, you could go through with that modification. If I click the little x, it'll clear that, and you'll see the whole list again. So as you scroll through here, this is another way where you can see all the shortcuts that are available for the various commands. So more than using it as a customization tool, which is certainly what it's designed for, it can be a great educational tool for you to learn what the shortcuts are for the commands that you use most frequently.
So I highly recommend that you do that and get comfortable with what those shortcuts are. The last thing I want to point out to you here in the Options dialog is on the File Locations, and this is actually a little bit more important, maybe to your CAD Manager if you have a CAD manager in your office. But you should at least be aware that these paths exist, so when we click over here, there's three locations here that are kind of important. The first one is the template file. In the background, when I click the New command, it opened a drawing for me.
It opened a project file for me, and it didn't really ask me any questions about that project file. It automatically used this file right here, this Revit template file, as the default. Now in a coming movie, we are going to talk about template files in a little more detail. So we will get an opportunity to discuss that, but that's where that came from. This is the default location where it will save files if I don't give it another location. So by default, it's my Documents folder. And then when you get into families, there's also templates for that. So it's kind of important to understand that these paths exist and that you can customize them, but again, I would check with your CAD manager first, if you have such an individual at your organization.
So that's just a brief look at some of the settings that are overall settings in the Revit project environment, some of the things that I think you should get comfortable with, and at least know they are there. So again, don't forget to set your Save reminders, learn those keyboard shortcuts, and you are going to find that those things are going to make it very useful for you to not only preserve your work and not loose anything, but to also be a little more productive with the way you execute the commands.
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