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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 levels, grids provide organization and structure to your project. They typically serve to locate the structural columns in a project and provide key reference points for dimensions and views and other things. Unlike levels, not all buildings need grids. For example, most residential buildings wouldn't have any need for grids, because they don't typically have structural columns, but most commercial projects probably would have a structural column grid. So depending on the kind of project you're creating, will determine whether or not you need to add grids or not. So the Grid tool can be found on the Home tab.
I'm here in a file called Grids, in the Chapter03, Exercise Files. It has some simple walls in it, just to give us a frame of reference. Walls are not required to lay out grids, but they'll certainly make it helpful in this exercise. So here on the Home tab, we can find the Grid tool over here on the Datum panel to the right. I'm going to go ahead and click that tool. The first thing I'd like to point out is that there are a few different shapes in which you can draw grid lines. The default is a straight line, but it's actually possible to draw them as curved lines as well. Now, for the first one I'm going to just start off to the side.
Click a point down toward the bottom of the screen, and then click another point up toward the top of the screen. Now, I chose my points on purpose, from low to high, because I know from experience that the second point you click when you're placing a grid is the one that will default to having a bubble turned on. Now, it is possible to actually change that behavior after the fact. One of the reasons that I drew this grid off to the side was to kind of point out some of the controls. Similar to what we had in levels in the Levels movie, we have the little open circles that we can use to change the length of the level.
Talking about the bubbles, we have these little check boxes. Now, the little check boxes actually appear in levels, as well. So you can do the same trick there. If we want a bubble to appear at the bottom, we can simply check the box, and it will show a bubble. Likewise, if we want to hide a bubble that we previously showed, we can check the box, and it will hide the bubble. So if you want them at both ends, you can have them at both ends, or at either end. However, if you can anticipate ahead of time where you want the bubbles to occur, and just remember that the first point you click has no bubble, and the second point has the bubble, then that's usually a little bit faster and easier.
Now, like our levels, we also have the little squiggly. So if we need to, we can add a little elbow on the grid lines, as well. Now, I'm going to delete this one. I'm deleting it on purpose, because I want to show you a behavior that you need to be aware of. I'm going to add the next grid line here in the building footprint. Then I'm going to click my Modify tool to cancel out of the command. That's the easiest way to cancel out of a command, but there is a shortcut for that. You can press the Escape key two times if you like, as an alternative, but that basically resets you to ground zero, no command active.
Now, let me just do a little zoom in over here and point out that even though we deleted the previous grid, Revit remembers where the numbering left off, and it automatically goes to grid number 2. Now, that may or may not be the behavior you're after. So if it's not, it's very important that you stop what you're doing, click on the bubble, and edit that value before you continue, because otherwise the next one will be 3, and the next one will be 4, and then you'll have compounded the problem and you'll have a lot more renumbering to do.
If you catch it right away, and in this case I want to use letters across the top instead of numbers, then the next one would be B and C and so forth, and it will make my job a lot easier. So just kind of keep that in mind. So I'm going to go back to the Grid tool. I will add a second one. Watch for the dashed alignments, because when you click on them, like levels before, they will now drag as a unit. So when you stretch the endpoints, it doesn't matter which endpoint you stretch, they will all stretch together.
So as long as you snap them to one another, you'll get that behavior. So I'm going to go ahead and just add a couple more, again, making sure they line up, like so. Now, I want to add grids in the other direction. This is again where I need to stop. The default, remember, I can press Escape two times, or I can click the Modify tool; either one is going to cancel the command. I'm going to click on the letter F. I'm going to change that to a number 1, because I now want numbers in this direction.
And then when I return to the Home tab and click my Grid tool and begin adding additional grids, they will now number instead of letter. So I've gone ahead and just added some basic grids where I want them to occur, but it's kind of sloppy. I've kind of laid everything out, just sort of by eye. I want to get a little bit more precision. The reason that I started this file with some walls in there is to give me some context, so that I could facilitate that precision, and the way we're going to do this is with something called Temporary Dimensions.
So you may be noticing that when you select items in Revit, that in addition to all these little controls that we've been talking about, like the open circles and the check boxes, we're also seeing a lot of numbers. These are called Temporary Dimensions. Now, let me go ahead and click this first one that we added a little bit earlier. I'm going to zoom in on this area right here. You'll see these numbers appear across the screen. So we have two dimensions: We have a dimension going to the wall on the left and another one going to the wall on the right. They also have these little square grip points on them that are called Move the Witness lines.
The way these works is if you click on them, they actually toggle among the available points on the wall. So it will go from center of the wall, to face of the wall, to opposite face, and then back to center. So each time I click it, it will shift its position. So the grid line needs to be 2" off the inside face of the wall. So I want to click the little square until the witness line gives me the inside face of the wall, and then I click right on the number. That makes the text of the number editable.
I can type in whatever value I want. Now, in Revit Architecture, feet is the default unit. So if I just type 2 and press Enter, Revit is going to see that as 2'. So if I want 2", I need to type 2". I have to use the key right next to the Enter key with the Shift held down, the little double apostrophe. That's the inch symbol, and that will give me 2". So very important that you remember that. Again, not a big deal. If you do it by mistake, you can just edit it again, but it can get frustrating if you put in feet instead of inches continually.
So try and get in the habit of remembering to type inches when you want inches. So I'll just do a couple of these just to give you an idea of how this works, and, like so. Now, that's if you have a wall nearby. Let me do one more referencing a grid line off of another grid line. So let me start by taking grid line C here. I'm just going to kind of move it first to the inside of this wall and then click the witness line to make it go to the inside face, so that I can make that one 2" as well.
Once I have that positioned correctly, I want to put grid line D at 31' 8" away from grid line C. So I don't want to measure it from the nearby wall, which is what Revit is trying to do; I want to actually measure it from the other grid line. If you click on the little square until it highlights and then start dragging it, so I've still got my mouse pushed in, I've still got it held down, then highlight the nearby grid line and let go, it actually moves it to the grid line, and then I can type this number right here and put in 31' 8".
Now, the way that you do feet and inches is to put 31 and then a space and then the number of inches, 8 in this case. Revit will see that as 31 feet 8 inches. The alternative is to do 31' 8". Both work, but I like the space 8, because it's a little bit less typing, and so both of those methods will work. So of course you could go around and fine-tune the placement of the remaining grid lines, like so. So if you're working in a commercial building, or any building that has a structural column grid, we can use the Grid tool on the Home tab to lay out the grid lines wherever they need to be.
We can reference those grid lines off existing geometry, like walls, or we can reference them off one another. We can use the Temporary Dimensions to give us precision and the locations of those grids.
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