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Up and Running with Revit
Illustration by Richard Downs
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Opening and navigating a project


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Up and Running with Revit

with Paul F. Aubin

Video: Opening and navigating a project

So you're ready to start exploring Revit, this amazing tool for creating and documenting architectural projects. And it begins with opening a project. So I'm here in Revit, and I'm looking at the recent files screen. This is what greets me when I first launch the software, and I don't have anything open just yet. Now, there's two areas of the recent files screen. We've got a Projects area here at the top, and then beneath that, we have a Families area. So there's two basic kinds of files that we can open in Revit. A project file is your building file. It contains all of the geometry, all of the information and features that make up a building project.

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

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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

Opening and navigating a project

So you're ready to start exploring Revit, this amazing tool for creating and documenting architectural projects. And it begins with opening a project. So I'm here in Revit, and I'm looking at the recent files screen. This is what greets me when I first launch the software, and I don't have anything open just yet. Now, there's two areas of the recent files screen. We've got a Projects area here at the top, and then beneath that, we have a Families area. So there's two basic kinds of files that we can open in Revit. A project file is your building file. It contains all of the geometry, all of the information and features that make up a building project.

You can see some examples here in these little preview windows. You can see we have the entire building sitting in that single project file. Now, down here under Families, the icons kind of give you a little hint of what they're for. Families are little individual parts and pieces that you populate your buildings with. So you can see I've got a simple little table there, or a truss. And we can bring those parts together, and assemble them into our larger building structures. Now, you can use both areas to either create or open existing files. So there's an open link and a new link in both locations. And in this movie, we're going to open up a project. And we're going to take a look around.

So we can see what Revit has to offer. Now, one choice is to click this open link here which will open up a browse window. Or you can go up here to the application menu, this big R, as folks refer to it. And when you click that, it opens up the file menu. Move your mouse down, but don't click yet. If we hover over the Open command, it will highlight and it will give us choices on the right, and its the same basic choices. We can open a Project or a Family. So, either way, whether I use the open link back in recent files, or whether I do it this way here. I'm going to get this Browse window that's going to let me open up a file, so I'm just going to go to my exercise files folder and in the chapter one, I have this file here called Restaurant.

Now, if you have file extensions turned on in Windows, you'll see that Revit files have this RVT extension, and you could see that confirmed down here under files of type, Revit is looking for an RVT file. So I'll simply click open, and that will load this file up into Revit. Now, when the project first opens, it presents me the last open view that was saved with this project. In this case, it's a Level 1 floor plan view. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, All of the things you would traditionally think of as drawings in a traditional set of architectural documents. Floor plans, elevations, sections, 3D views. These are going to be views in a Revit project. So, if we look over here on the left hand side there's this pallete here called project browser.

And, right at the top of project browser is this item called Views and in parentheses it says All. That just means it's showing me all the views. It's not filtered. And you could see that beneath that, there's categories we've got structural plans and floor plans and ceiling plans and so on. Right here, you could see that Level 1 is bold and that's my Level 1 floor plan view. That's the view that I'm looking at currently. So let's look at some of the other views that are available in here. I'm going to scroll down a little bit and I've got ceiling plans and I've got 3D views. Now, 3D views are really interesting because of course they give me a three dimensional look at the entire building. Now, I've got a couple to choose from here. 3D View 1 is a nice perspective view standing at the street level, and this one that just says 3D with the little curly brackets around it, that's an axonometric. I'm going to open up 3D View 1 by double-clicking on it. And you could see it's as if we're standing at the street view, and we're looking up here at the corner of the building. Now, let's continue down a little bit.

Let's say that you wanted to see an elevation of this wall right here. Well, that's going to be the east elevation. So you can see here under Elevations, if I just double-click East, now I'm looking straight-on at that elevation view. Now, the views are not limited to just floor plans, elevations and 3D views. We also have Schedule views in Revit. Now, schedules as you might be aware, are just lists of items that are in your project like maybe a list of doors or a list of windows and it's normally this laborious process of laying them out one line at a time and typing in all that information. In Revit, a schedule is actually just another live view of the model. And so, what do I mean by that? Well, here you could see I've got a Door Schedule, a Room Schedule, and a Window Schedule. Well, we're looking at several windows right here, so let's go ahead and double-click this Window Schedule and open that up. And what you're going to see is not only that collection of windows that we looking at, but actually all of the windows that are in this building are listed here in this list automatically.

To really kind of get a handle on how powerful that is, what I'd like to do is take all these windows that I have open right now And tile them together on the screen. If you've used any kind of modern piece of software, maybe Microsoft Office or what have you, you've seen a ribbon interface. So you've seen that most software these days has these ribbon tabs across the top. And when you click on them, there's a series of icons. What I want to do is click this View tab right here. And that changes the list of icons that are available here. And way over on the right hand side there's this button called Tile Windows, and I want to click that. Now, when I do, that'll take the four windows that I currently have open and it will just tile them onscreen so I can see them all at the same time. Now, I want to adjust what I'm seeing, so I'm going to click in the 3D View window here.

It doesn't really matter which one I click in. And If you look over at the right hand window there's a little ghosted out toolbar. And as I move closer to it, it will light up. So I come over here and I'm going to click this small little drop down. And the command I'm looking for is Zoom All to Fit. Now, if it's already got a check box next to it, all I need to do is click this little icon. And that will run that command. And it does exactly as its name implies. It zooms all of the view windows to fit their frames. So now, we can see all of them simultaneously. Now, let's take a look at just how powerful this building model that we're looking at is here in Revit. We are seeing a virtual model of our building. We're seeing it in 3D, in elevation, and in plan. We're even seeing it here in a tabular format in a schedule. Now, watch what happens if I just click in this schedule item here. This first line item.

And notice what happened in the other three views. Over here, this window lights up in blue in all three locations. Now, it's a little tough to see in the planned view. But you can see it a little more clearly in the 3D and the elevation. As I click through different items here in the schedule, you'll see them light up accordingly in the various views. That item that I have selected is that window. So if I were to do something dramatic with that window selected like, for example, if I came up here to this Rose panel and clicked Delete, Revit will warn me that I'm actually deleting the object from the model. And if I'm undeterred by this warning and I click OK, watch what happens in the two graphical views.

Notice that that window is no longer there. Okay, so that kind of proves to you, or shows you, that these are live views of the model. If I were to select one of the windows here in the elevation, I can change the kind of window that it is, interactively on the fly. So I've got it selected. And then, over here I've got a palette called Properties. Now, at the very top of this palette it says that that's a fixed window that's 36 inches by 72 inches. I'm going to open up that drop down list and I'm going to choose a really small size so, it'll be really obvious what just happened. So, I'm going to choose the very first one on the list here, 16 by 24. Notice that the window becomes tiny here in the elevation, but notice also in the schedule that the size immediately changes. These two things cannot get out of sync because they're not separate drawings, they're just part of the same overall building model. So when you open a project in Revit, it's as if you're stepping into the actual building.

And just like, in real life if you went over and picked up a chair and moved it or you brought in a new piece of equipment. It would be there, everywhere, for everyone to see. The same is true in a Revit project. So as we explore Revit further throughout this course, keep that in mind that that's one of the most powerful benefits of using the Revit software package.

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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