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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.
In this movie, we're going to talk about selection. Selecting elements is a basic skill necessary to be successful in Revit. So in this movie, we're going to go ahead and take a look at the many ways that we can select elements in the Revit environment. The most basic form of selection is to simply click on things. Before we actually select anything though, what we're going to need to learn about is what is pre-highlighting. You move your mouse over an element in the Revit environment. You're going to see the element pre-highlight. It turns bold, it turns purple, which is the default color, and a message usually appears.
This is called pre-highlighting. Now, when I move the mouse away, and I'm going to bring it back, you're going to see a message usually appear right there at the cursor. But if you wait a few seconds, it is going to disappear. That same message will always appear down on the Status Line in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. That message tells you what kind of element is under your cursor before you select it. Now, this is called pre-highlighting. If click the element, that's when I actually make the selection. So until you actually click on it, it's not actually selected.
Now once you've selected the element, a few things change onscreen. The element turns light-blue. You can see the wall there is highlighted in light-blue. On the Properties palette, on the left- hand side of the screen, we see on the Type Selector that we have a Basic Wall selected. At the top of the screen on the Ribbon tab, we see Modify Walls tinted in a green color, and that indicates that we have a wall selected. And then finally, down at the lower right -hand corner of the screen, we see the quantity of items that we have selected. In this case, it's just one item.
If I deselect the element, which I can do by clicking in the blank white space, the quantity will change to 0, and all those other indications will also disappear. So it's really that simple to select an item and deselect an item. You pre-highlight it. That's the item you want. You click on it. It's now selected. And then if you click somewhere else, it's deselected. If you select an item and then go on to select another item, it will deselect the first item in favor of the second item. Now what if I want to select an item, and not lose the selection of the first item? I can do that using modifier keys.
If I hold down the Ctrl key before I make the selection, a small Plus sign will appear on the cursor, and then I can move it over and pre-highlight the second item. All of the same indicators will appear onscreen. And then when I click, you'll see that the new item is added to the selection of the previous item. Now, in this case, I've highlighted and selected two wall elements, and therefore, the Modify tab will still say Modify Walls. The Filter icon in the lower right- hand corner will indicate that I have two items selected, and the Properties palette will indicate that both of these items are Basic Wall Interior 4 7/8 inch, because they're both the same type of wall.
Now what if I selected this toilet fixture and then held the Ctrl key down and selected the bathtub along with it? Well in this case, the Context Tab will read Modify Plumbing Fixtures because both items are in the same category of Plumbing Fixture. But if we look at the Properties palette, it'll now say that Multiple Families are Selected. Now, family is the word that Revit uses to describe elements of different kinds, and so in this case, the toilet is one family, the tub is another family, so it can't tell us one or the other, so it just simply says there's multiple items.
Now the quantity, of course, is still 2, down in the lower right-hand corner. If we select a third item that's of a different category, now you're going to see, in the Properties palette, that we have multiple categories selected in gray, on the Type Selector, and on the Ribbon, it's going to say Modify Multi-Select, because we now have items of different categories selected, so it can no longer tell us the category of item. But we do have three in our quantity. Now, selecting with the Ctrl key is certainly a handy way to add to our selection.
We can also use another Modifier key. Let's say that I have these four elements selected, and I actually decide that I want to deselect one of those items. I can hold down the Shift key. So if I hold down the Shift Key and select again, it will deselect the previous item. In addition to our Ctrl and Shift keys, we have another key that we can use to modify the selection. Let me give you an example. I'm going to move my mouse right about here, and of course, the item that's pre-highlighted under my mouse is a Single Flush Door, and again, you can see that confirmed with both of the tooltip and the Status Line.
What if I was interested in the wall that the door was actually attached to? Certainly I could zoom in, or I could move the mouse around and try and get it to pre-highlight another item, but I have another alternative. I can use the Tab key. Now in this case, it's a little different than it was with the Ctrl and Shift, because I don't want to hold down the Tab key. If I do, I'm going to get this like strobe light effect, and that's definitely not what we want. So I'm going to let go of that. With the door pre-highlighted, if I simply press and release the Tab key, you're going to see the selection focus shift to the next eligible item, and in this case that's the wall.
If I press Tab again, it turns out that there is a third eligible item in this case, which is actually something called the Chain of walls. Now a Chain of walls or lines, as you can see in the Status Line, is walls or lines that are connected end-to-end. So in this case, you can see the two walls that are highlighted are connected in a chain, and so they share endpoints, in other words, and so they are pre-highlighting together. If that's the selection I want, that's when I need to click my mouse. That's very important because a lot of folks get the tabbing part, but they often forget the clicking part.
So if I come over here and I tab, tab, oh yeah, that's the selection I want, and then I move my mouse away, I lose the selection because all I had done was pre-highlight the items. I didn't actually select them. So again, remember, tab, tab, then click. You don't have a selection until you actually make the click. Now, let's look at another chain selection. Now in this case, you can see the chain is much more dramatic, because the chain actually connects end-to-end, and goes from one wall to the next, and goes all the way around the entire floor plan.
So depending on the shape of the elements and how they touch end-to-end, your chain could be quite a few walls, and this becomes a really convenient way to select the exterior walls on most buildings. So again, don't forget to click to actually make the selection. So those are modify keys that we can use to make selections, but there are other ways we can make selections, as well. Two very important ways are the Window and the Crossing. Now both involve clicking and dragging with the mouse, but whether or not you drag from left to right or right to left, changes the way that the selection is made.
So let's go ahead and do the Window first, which is click and drag to the right. Now notice as I move to the right, the elements don't pre-highlight until I've actually completely surrounded them. So in this case, it's just the plumbing fixtures, then the door gets added, then the door and a small wall and then another small wall and the two sidewalls, and then finally, if I release, all of those items will be selected. Notice of course, that the two horizontal walls, the long ones, do not get selected because they are longer than that Selection window.
So if I wanted to add this wall and this wall to the selection, I would need to use other methods, like the Ctrl key, to add them to the selection. Now what about the Crossing selection? The Window was, again, left to right and notice the edge of the boundary was solid. The Crossing selection goes right to left, and notice the edge of the boundary is dashed, and notice again that this one begins to select items as soon as they are touched or crossed by the Selection Window.
So you only need to touch the item, instead of completely surrounding it. Now you can completely surround it as well, but just touching it is all that's required to make that selection. So again, a Window, you have to completely surround. A Crossing, you just have to touch. Now all of these methods actually work together. You can make one Crossing selection, hold the Ctrl key down, add a Window selection to it, click over here, use your Shift key, deselect, use your Shift key and deselect with a crossing, and so forth and so on; all of the methods work together.
You can even come in and do a Chain selection, but again, don't forget to hold down a Ctrl or a Shift key before you click because otherwise, you'll lose whatever else you have previously selected. Now once I've made a complex selection, it may be that I have almost exactly the selection I want, but there's just one or two elements that are in there that I didn't want, like looking at this selection, I say, you know I am happy with the selection, but I really only am interested in the walls that I have selected. Now I could go around and painstakingly, with the Shift key, deselect the toilets and the doors, and so on, but there is a faster way.
On the Ribbon, when you have a selection, you will get a Filter button. This Filter button will display a dialog that shows you, by category, all of the items in your current selection. Now there is some useful information in here. There is a Count column that tells you how many items of each category you have. So in this case, I have 11 walls and three plumbing fixtures and so on. By simply deselecting the check boxes for the categories you are not interested in and clicking OK, you remove those items from the selection. So a very powerful Revit way to select is to make a selection that's too big, then go to Filter, in this case doing Check None is going to be the most efficient thing to do.
That will remove all the check boxes, and then I'll only select Plumbing Fixtures and Specialty Equipment. And you'll see, from that selection, I now have just the equipment selected instead of all that other stuff. So that becomes a very powerful and useful way to select. So please keep all of these selection techniques in mind. You're going to use these constantly in all of your Revit projects and all of your Revit work. Practice them, get comfortable with them, because you're going to be using these every day in everything you do in Revit.
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