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Understanding dimensions

From: Up and Running with Revit

Video: Understanding dimensions

In earliest schematic design phases, it's okay to rough in the locations of walls and other geometry, where you think they might go. But at some point you're going to want to refine those layouts and make them a little bit more precise. Now I'd rather do this primarily with dimensions, we have other ways, but dimensions provide a really quick and easy way. And move geometry around and so in this movie I'd like to show you two kinds of dimensions temporary and permanent dimensions. I have a file called dimensions and it's got a really rough wall layout here. It's in the middle first of all. Now I'm going to select this wall here and center this horizontal wall by clicking on it. And what you see when I click on it is two dimensions one that goes to the exterior wall down below, and another one that goes to the next nearest interior wall. Now that's the first thing that you want to understand about temporary dimensions.

Understanding dimensions

In earliest schematic design phases, it's okay to rough in the locations of walls and other geometry, where you think they might go. But at some point you're going to want to refine those layouts and make them a little bit more precise. Now I'd rather do this primarily with dimensions, we have other ways, but dimensions provide a really quick and easy way. And move geometry around and so in this movie I'd like to show you two kinds of dimensions temporary and permanent dimensions. I have a file called dimensions and it's got a really rough wall layout here. It's in the middle first of all. Now I'm going to select this wall here and center this horizontal wall by clicking on it. And what you see when I click on it is two dimensions one that goes to the exterior wall down below, and another one that goes to the next nearest interior wall. Now that's the first thing that you want to understand about temporary dimensions.

Is Revit just sort of decides what nearby geometry it thinks is the best reference. Let me deselect this wall, and the way you deselect and object is to just click an empty white space. And then I'm going to roll my wheel to zoom in a little bit. Now, I'm going to zoom in far enough that I no longer see those two walls that it was referencing a moment ago. And when I select the wall this time. Notice that Revit chooses different reference points. Which reference points to choose really depend on a variety of factors. Not the least of which is what you're zoomed in on. In this case, I actually know the distance that I want it to be off of this grid line.

So, that was actually a quick and easy way to establish that. So, with the wall still selected, all I have to do to interact with this temporary dimensions is highlight the piece of text right here and click it. Notice that will make the text editable, and I can type in whatever number I want that value to actually be. So, this in case I'm going to type 8 for 8 feet. And when I press Enter, that will actually move the wall in order to make this dimension, eight feet. Now, let me change the selection. I'm going to click an empty space to deselect, an I'm going to change the selection to this wall instead.

This time I get dimensions that reference the two vertical walls. And notice it's ignoring the grid line in this case. RevIt tends to favor the other walls over the grid lines. But if you want to, you can force it to use another reference point, like a grid line, easily enough. How do you do that? Well, you see these small little dots that appear on the dimensions. Those are witness line grips. And you can take those Dot and you can drag them and I'm going to drag it until I highlight this column grid line, grid line five, and then let go. That will tell me that the current distance between that wall and that grid line is two feet.

So I'm going to click right in that dimension and I'm going to change it to three foot four inches. Now we've talked about how to input feet, you just type the number To input feet and inches you need to either use the foot and inch symbols or you can use your space bar. Let me show you an example. I'm going to do three space four. That's going to be three feet and four inches. So, the space separates the feet from the inches. When I press Enter, it will move the wall to that new location. Let's continue with another example. Let me scroll down to here.

I want this wall to be 4 foot 8 inches from this wall. So I'm going to select it. And notice that again Revit is choosing different walls. So I can repeat the same trick. Just drag this witness line. Snap to that wall and then let's click in here and let's use an alternate method of feet and inches. I can do 4 feet symbol which is just the apostrophe mark Eight. And when I press Enter, that will be interpreted as 4 feet, 8 inches. So there's a couple different ways you can do that.

And really, they both do the same thing, so the choice is yours. Now, as you can see, I'm having to move a lot of witness lines. So perhaps you might be looking for a way to input these dimension values without having to move so many of the witness lines manually. Well, you can set up dimensions ahead of time that have the witness lines exactly where you want them to be and place those dimensions and use those to modify. We call these permanent dimensions. So let's take a look at those. Up here on the Quick Access toolbar is the Aligned Dimension button, so I'm going to click that. When the Dimension tool appears, I need to select at least two objects to be witness lines.

So, I'm going to select this wall right here and this wall right here. Now it's important that you don't click again on the same locations because if you do, you'll just remove that witness line. Make sure you only click each witness line one time. The final click in placing a permanent dimension is you have to place an empty white space. So I'm going to come down here, and I'm going to click in the empty space to place that dimension where I want it to go. Let me make another one. I'm going to go from this wall here to this column grid right there.

And click an empty white space to place it. Now I'm going to get out of that command with the Modify tool. And notice that these dimensions are left behind, as actual objects on the screen. You could certainly use permanent dimensions when you actually want to report how big something is. And print it out that way. But the other way that we can use these permanent dimensions is to help us control the temporary dimension behavior. Now, what you don't want to do is select the dimension and go right to the text. Notice that that brings up the dimension text dialogue. That's not what we want here.

I'm going to cancel that, you still want to make sure that you select the object that you want to move. I still want to make sure that I select this wall. And then notice how that lit up that dimension text? Watch it again. I'm going to deselect, I'm going to select this wall, and watch the text of that dimension. You see how it changes color and it kind of lights up? Now I could modify that value and make it 9 feet. Let's do it again with this one, I'm going to select this wall. Notice how that dimension lights up. I'm going to click in there, and I'm going to change that to two feet. So, the permanent dimensions give you even a little bit more control, because you can place the dimensions in exact, precise locations where you want them to go, and then use them as temporaries to move your geometry around.

So let's look at another example. Up here, I want to configure these two toilet rooms in this storage room area. And I want to do all that very precisely. So I'm going to go back to the permanent dimension tool, and notice the default behavior that we're getting here is that Revit is highlighting the centerlines of the walls, right? We get the center line here. We get the center line here. Now, it is possible to move your mouse to the face of that wall, and press the Tab key. When you press the Tab key, grab it will change selection. It'll cycle through the available options. If you press Tab again, it'll go back to center, but each time I press Tab, it'll cycle through the different options.

I'm going to click to get the face of that wall. It's actually not necessary to keep tabbing each time. You could if you wanted to, but if you look over here on the Options bar, there's a drop down here and we can change the focus of this dimension to select the faces of these walls instead of the centers. Now, notice that I've just placed several witness lines in the same string of dimensions. But remember, to complete the dimension, to finish it, you have to click an empty white space.

Don't click again in one of the witness lines' locations, because if you do, you're going to just be stuck in that command. Alright, let's do one more dimension here. To here and place it out here. Let me cancel out of the command with the modify tool and let's clean all this up. For this location right here, I want this distance to be 15 foot eight. I'm going to change selections to this wall. For this distance right here, I want to clear five feet. So I'm going to click in that dimension, and put in five, and press Enter.

And then, for this location here, I want the size of this restroom to be nine foot ten. I'm going to do 9 space, 10, and that sizes all of those. Now I could add a new dimension to move this wall. I want it right in the middle to divide this space equally, but let's look at another option. I'm going to simply select the wall. You don't have to do all the movements with temporary dimensions, you could do the math here and try and figure it out, but I don't want to do that. Instead, notice that when I select an object, Revit takes me to the modify tab. On the modify tab, there's a bank of modify tools. Among those modify tools, we find the Move command, so I'm going to click that. And Revit is very good at finding Key reference points. We call these snap points.

For the start point of my move, I want the end point of this wall, that's a snap point. And for the end point of this move, I want to move up slightly, until it gives me a little triangle shape and says the word Midpoint. And then I want to click again and that's going to snap exactly to the mid point in that location. Let's look at another quick example, another way you can use the move tool is to select your object go to move and I am going to pick any base point this time somewhere on the wall, I cam going to start moving to the left.

When you move, it doesn't matter how far I move. Notice there's a dimension there, and that dimension is lit up in a blue color kind of like a temporary dimension. Revit calls this a listening dimension. And if you start to type, your value will go right into that dimension. So in this case, I want to just make sure that I'm going exactly horizontal. It doesn't matter how far, Type 1 and press Enter. And notice the result was, that that wall moved exactly one foot to the left. So there's a few different ways that you can move things around to fine-tune your layout and make things more precise. You can use permanent dimensions, you can use temporary dimensions or you can use the Move command.

The basic process: you lay things out close to what you want them to be, and then you come back and refine them with these various tools.

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Up and Running with Revit

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Paul F. Aubin
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