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Up and Running with Revit
Illustration by Richard Downs

Dimensioning a plan


From:

Up and Running with Revit

with Paul F. Aubin

Video: Dimensioning a plan

In this movie I'd like to take another look at dimensioning. In a previous movie we looked at dimensioning but there we used the Dimension tool as a modification tool to help us move our geometry around. To get our walls placed precisely, or our doors and windows, and that's a perfectly valid use for the dimension tool. Another valid use, and a very critical use of the dimension tool, is to actually create dimensions on your drawings for the purposes of printing out those documents and reporting what those values are to the recipient. So that's where I'd like to focus on and here and this movie is how to create dimensions for the purposes of documentation. So I'm in a file here called dimensioning and I'm in the enlarged dining room plan view and I'm going to zoom in here near the top. And begin adding my first few dimensions.

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Up and Running with Revit
3h 58m Beginner Jun 20, 2013

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Autodesk Revit is one of the most popular building information modeling (BIM), solutions today. This course covers the differences between the various editions of Revit and shows architects and engineers who are new to the software how to use them. Learn how to choose a template; set up the basic levels, grids, and dimensions; and start adding walls, doors, and windows to your model. Author Paul F. Aubin also shows how to create views and documentation that clearly communicate your plans, import files from other CAD programs, and produce construction documents.

Note: The techniques shown in this course will work with any version of Revit, but due to backwards compatibility issues, the exercise files for this course will only work with Revit 2014. Unfortunately, we cannot downsave the files. Please see a Revit 2013 course for usable files.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the different editions of Revit
  • Setting up levels and grids
  • Adding doors and windows
  • Loading families
  • Working with 3D views
  • Dimensioning a plan
  • Adding a schedule view
  • Importing CAD files
  • Linking to another Revit file
  • Creating sheets
  • Plotting a set of documents
  • Generating a cloud rendering
Subjects:
Architecture BIM CAD
Software:
Revit Architecture Revit Structure Revit LT Revit MEP
Author:
Paul F. Aubin

Dimensioning a plan

In this movie I'd like to take another look at dimensioning. In a previous movie we looked at dimensioning but there we used the Dimension tool as a modification tool to help us move our geometry around. To get our walls placed precisely, or our doors and windows, and that's a perfectly valid use for the dimension tool. Another valid use, and a very critical use of the dimension tool, is to actually create dimensions on your drawings for the purposes of printing out those documents and reporting what those values are to the recipient. So that's where I'd like to focus on and here and this movie is how to create dimensions for the purposes of documentation. So I'm in a file here called dimensioning and I'm in the enlarged dining room plan view and I'm going to zoom in here near the top. And begin adding my first few dimensions.

So, here on the quick access tool bar, I'm going to click the Aligned Dimension tool. And the Aligned Dimension tool is perhaps our most versatile so we're going to stick with that. But as you can see, there are lots of other options here on the ribbon so I encourage you to look at those at a later time. What I do want to focus on, though, is the options bar right here. There are a few choices we want to consider. The first option is whether or not you want the dimension to favor the wall center lines or the wall faces. Now, I'm saying favor because even though it might to initially highlight the center line. You can always move your mouse slightly and press the Tab key to force it to give you the face or the edge so that you always have the option to tab in and get the point you want.

The point of changing this setting, is, this becomes your new default. So if I choose wall faces, for examples, it will now favor the faces of the wall, and I would have to tab to get the center. So, that's probably a little bit nicer for your documentation type dimensions. Now, there are a couple other choices here that relate to the core of the wall. Our project uses generic walls and so the core really doesn't come into play. But if you're using walls that have a core material, like maybe there's concrete block or studs and drywall, then you could use the core option to get it to dimension to the faces of stud, for example, instead of the drywall. But in this case we're going to stick with wall faces, and I want to make sure that this setting is set to individual references. We'll look at the other option under there shortly. So, I'm going to highlight this face at the wall, and then this face of the counter top and click it.

Okay, click both of those and that gives you the distance between those. Then I'll move to the next point. And then I will pull all the way over to here to the inside face of this walll. Now notice that I am able to select multiple reference points in the same dimension string. You don't have to place individual dimension strings, and when you are done the critical thing to do is you need to make sure that your mouse is not on top of any geometry when you make your last click. Your last clcik is an empty white space. And that determines where the dimension goes. So, if you click on top of geometry it'll just keep adding dimension points. So, we want to make sure that we're in empty space. Let me do a couple more.

I'm going to do this point down here, and the other end of the counter here, and then I'll place it out here with a click. And then maybe I want to see the size of this opening here into the kitchen. So, I'll do the face of this wall, one side of the opening. The other side of the opening, and maybe the other end of this wall. It's a little busy over here to place it here, so I'm just going to pull it over there and click. Lets start with those dimensions. Let me click the Modify Tool to cancel out of there. And let me zoom in just a little bit and see what we've got. So you can see the various numbers that have been placed. This one here is slightly on top of that wall there, so you can actually click the dimension and just move it slightly.

Now if it's moving too far, it's snapping too far, just use the arrow key on your keyboard. So I'm just going to nudge that down just one arrow, just to keep it from covering up that wall right there. Now, look over here and I notice this two foot eleven dimension. I'm not really happy with that and I'm thinking, I think I would have rather have dimensioned to the opposite side of this wall If you select the dimension, what you find is there's this Edit Witness Lines button right here. You don't have to erase the dimension and start over again. Just click Edit Witness Lines. All of the existing witness lines that you've already chosen will highlight in blue on the screen so you can see them there, in blue. This one, this one and so on.

And what you notice here is that this one here is actually inside that counter top slightly. So it's not even really in the right place. So what I want to do, is, if you click an existing blue witness line, it will remove it. And if you click a new edge, it will add it. So with the edit witness lines tool, you can add new witness lines. You can remove existing ones. And then, here's the very important final click. Make sure that, again, you're in empty white space when you click, because if you're on Geometry, it'll keep adding and removing witness lines. So I want to click out here in the middle of space somewhere, and that will complete the operation.

So I'm going to cancel out of there to deselect everything. Let me zoom out a little bit, and let's consider this wall over here. For this wall, I wanted to mention the wall and the openings, but that would be, you know, a lot of clicks if I used the same technique that we used a moment ago. So I'm going to click the dimension tool And that's where this entire wall's feature could come into play. This is a very powerful feature. Now if I click entire walls, a little options button lights up next to it. So I'm going to click that options button. And here you're going to see several options that are available for the entire walls feature.

If you don't check any of these options here then it's just going to do the entire length of the wall but, I want to do a little bit better than that. So, I'm going to check this box right here for openings. Now, you can dimension all the openings in the wall like all these windows Either to their centers, or their widths. Now, I'm going to choose widths. I prefer that. You can choose centers if you like. You can also include the intersecting walls. I'm not going to choose that in this case. But I do have a grid line here and here, so I'm going to choose the intersecting grids. So let's see what those settings do for me. Let's click Okay. The way that you use this tool is instead of now picking individual witness line locations, you just highlight the wall that you want to dimension. So I'm going to click this wall.

Notice that that will create a whole bunch of dimensions. And then I'm going to move out here to place the dimension. Now one little word of caution here. Watch what happens if I move too far to the right. The dimension will disappear, so make sure that you click before it disappears, right. So I want to click inside of that mystery boundary there, and I'm going to click right there. The dimension will appear. I'm going to click the modify tool to cancel out of the command. And why did the dimension disappear when we got past a certain point? Well, that's tied back to the crop region that's assigned to this view.

So if you look down in your View Control bar, we have this icon right here that shows or hides the crop regions. So let's turn this one on to show the crop region. And you see there's the crop region right there that we drew in the previous movie. That crop region Cuts the model. That's the crop to the model itself. Notice it doesn't affect the annotation. However, there's this dash line out here that does affect the annotation. So the way this works is, if your dimension moves out too far, okay, see it.

It'll disappear. And that's because it's now outside of this dashed boundary. This little grip right here, will allow me to get it back again if I pulled it too far. So, your two remedies to dealing with the situation are to either just keep the dimension inside this dash line or just Widen that dash line. Now I'm going to go ahead and turn off this crop region, and I'm going to move these dimensions just a little bit closer to the model again, like so. Let me zoom in a little bit here and as you can see the text is a little bit cluttered here. And I have a couple remedies to that.

I can select the Dimension, and then these small little grips will appear on each piece of text. I can drag. That piece of text out and it will create a little leader pointing back to the dimension. That's one solution or the other solution is to select the dimension and over here on the properties palette I can edit its type. Now, when I click this button it will open up the type settings dialogue for these dimensions. I'm going to scroll down And you could see here next to Units Format, this big button that shows me the format of the Default units.

I'm going to click that button. The default behavior is to use the project settings from this project. Now, you could cancel out of here and go change the project settings, but what I'm going to do instead is uncheck this to let this dimension override the project settings. And the only override that I want to enable is to turn on this check box right here and suppress 0 feet. I'll click okay twice. And you'll see that now these six inch values do not display zero feet in front of them. And so they fit a little bit nicer within those witness lines. One last thing.

Let's say that you're working with a firm that's overseas. And you want to show both the imperial dimensions and the metric equivalents. If I go to edit type again. That's in the same general area of the dialogue. Right here you can see that alternate units is an option. Now, it's currently set to none. So I'm just going to open this little list of choices here, and I'll put it below the imperial value. It's going to default to millimeters by default. I'm fine with that. I'm going to click okay. And now you can see that I have the metric equivalent beneath each of my imperial values.

So, there's a lot of different ways that you can approach the dimensioning of your floor plans and of course, when you're getting your documents ready for printing and presentation, dimensions are a critical part of any architectural document set.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Up and Running with Revit.


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Q: Will Revit 2014 files work in a previous version of Revit? Will the exercise files for this course work in Revit 2013?
A: Revit file formats are not backwards compatible. A new file format is introduced with each new release. Newer versions of Revit can open older version files without issue. However, files will be upgraded to the latest file format during the initial open. Once saved in the current version, there is no way to save them back to a previous version. Therefore, it is important to consider this issue carefully and discuss it with all project team members before beginning a project. For example, it is not possible for the architect to use a newer version of the software than the consulting engineers and vice-versa. All members of the team must collaborate using the same version/file format. This course was authored using Revit 2014. Therefore, its exercise files can be used with any flavor of Revit (Architecture, MEP, Structure, or LT) 2014 and later. Files cannot be opened with versions 2013 and prior.
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