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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.
Properties are available for all elements in Revit that you create or that you select, and you interact with them on the Properties palette. The Properties palette is typically docked on the left-hand side of the screen, although you can move it to other areas, or make it floating, and so forth. There are various areas in the Properties palette we're going to look at, like Type Selector and so on. I'm working in our Condo project. Let's go ahead and take a look at the Properties palette. So, what I want to do here is I'm actually going to open up a Level 1 Floor Plan view, and we'll start here. There are two general contexts under which you'll be working with Properties palette.
Now here it is over here on the left-hand side of the screen in its default location. I'm not going to change the location of the Properties palette. I recommend you kind of leave it where it is, as well. Let's say that I wanted to draw some walls here in my project. In a previous movie, we talked about the Options bar, which gives us a lot of settings available to the Wall too while we're creating it. But notice also that the Properties palette indicates the kind of wall that we're drawing, in this case a Basic Interior Wall, indicates things like the location line of the wall, which in this case is the Centerline, what level we're drawing it on, Level 1, and so forth, and so on.
If I scroll down, you can see that there are potentially several other settings. Some are blank. We don't have any comments, for example, in this wall, and it doesn't have an area or volume yet because we haven't drawn anything. So I could come over, and I could draw some walls, and don't worry about the specifics of drawing walls right now, because we'll cover that in a future movie. But while we're actually placing the wall, items on the Properties palette do gray out, until you complete the exercise of drawing that particular wall, and then you'll notice that they become available, and I could go in and interact with, and make changes, like for instance choose a different type of wall.
Now that's while I'm creating an element, like a wall. I'm going to press the Escape key two times, which is going to get me out of the Wall command, kind of reset me, get me back to ground zero, and let's look at what happens when we select some existing element that already is in our project. So in this case, I selected an exterior wall, here on the garage, and you'll notice over here that I see similar kinds of information that I saw for the wall that I just started drawing a moment ago. In this case, I have a Basic Exterior Wallthat's Brick on Metal Studs.
It's also Centerlined, and it's also on Level 1. So you see a lot of familiar settings that we've already seen, but now we're able to go in and actually interact with that wall and make changes to it. I could change it to Exterior Insulation Finish System instead of Exterior Brick. And while we don't really see much difference here in a Plan view, we might certainly see some difference from that change here in an Elevation view. So this wall next to it is still brick, and the wall that I just changed is now something else.
So it's really that easy to select an element and then over on the Properties palette, make changes to it. If I select a window or a door, or any other element, the same will apply. Here, I've got a fixed window. It's associated to Level 1. It's got a Sill Height of 1 foot. What would happen if I change that Sill Height to 2 feet? Now, notice that nothing seems to have happened yet. Very important thing to understand about the way that the Properties palette functions. It's considered, in programmer speak, in computer jargon, a modeless dialog box.
Now what that means is that it's active, and it's onscreen all the time. Simply shifting focus, another kind of computer jargon, away from the Properties palette back to the Drawing window actually applies the change. Okay, so you notice how at that moment, that's when the window shifted up to its new Sill Height of two feet. Now I'm going to select the window next to it, and I'm going to repeat the process. I'll do a Sill Height of 3 feet. An alternative is, without leaving the context of the Properties palette, I can also move down here and click the Apply button and then apply that change at that time.
So those are really the two ways that you can apply the changes that you're making on the Properties palette. And the reason it's done this way is perhaps you want to do more than just the Sill Height. Maybe you want to change to the Mark, maybe you want to add some Comments, change the Level even. You could make several modifications on the Properties palette, and then when you're happy with all those changes, when you're ready to apply them, you can come down here and click the Apply button, or just simply shift focus back into the Drawing window, and that would apply the changes. Okay, but the thing to be careful there then, so that's a two-sided coin, is to be careful to not accidentally shift focus out of the Properties palette until you're ready to actually apply the changes.
Now, it's not the end of the world if you do. You can always come up here to your Quick Access Toolbar, your QAT, and simply undo the change, and it will return to its original location. But it's just it can be frustrating if you shift focus accidentally when you didn't really intend to. Now let's take a look at one more aspect of the Properties palette - well two more, actually. Number one is what to do if it goes missing, okay. We talked about this in a previous movie, the Project browser movie, and it's the same solution to get this palette back. You go to the view tab, you go over here to the User Interface dropdown button, and you simply choose Properties.
Now it actually turns out there is a faster way. We're going to talk about keyboard shortcuts in a future movie, but let me just point out to you briefly right here that next to the word Properties on the tooltip, you're seeing letters PP in parentheses. So an alternative way to get the Properties palette back is to just simply type the keys PP on the keyboard. You don't press Enter, or anything. You just simply type P and then P. So those are the two ways you could get the Properties palette back, if it were to accidentally go away on you. Now let's talk about View properties.
So we've talked about Element properties, where you have something selected or when you're drawing something, and it clearly says here that that's a basic wall. But I want to direct your attention right beneath that, to this little dropdown menu where it currently says that we have Walls, and in parentheses, the number 1. That's telling me I have one wall. Now, Selection will be a topic for a future movie, but I'm going to go ahead using my Ctrl key right now to select two walls, and you'll see that it says Walls and the number two. So the number is always the quantity of items, and then the word before that is what you actually have selected.
Now, I'm going to click anywhere in the empty white space. That will deselect everything I have selected, and notice that it now says, Floor Plan: Level 2. So, the Properties palette is still there, it's still active, and it's clearly still showing me some properties. But what are these properties? These properties are now the properties of the Floor Plan view that I'm looking at, as opposed to any selection of items. So, for example, at the very top it says View Scale 1/4" = 1'0".
This particular Floor Plan view is at Quarter Inch Scale. If I came over here and I change this to 1/8" = 1'0" and then I click Apply, same procedure or shift focus off the palette, you're going to notice that the Floor Plan has clearly changed. The effect is that all the tags suddenly got larger. Look at my Room tags. Look at my Elevation marks. If you didn't see it, let me go ahead and show it again. Here, I'm going to go back to 1/4". Watch very carefully at the Room tags.
Notice how they now appear to be half the size. Okay. So these properties are the properties of the Floor Plan view. Now if you have something selected, you can actually use this little dropdown menu and change your focus of the Properties palette to either be the selection, the Wall or the Floor Plan itself, Floor Plan: Level 2, by just simply choosing it off the list, and then that gives you access to those properties. Now some of these other properties that are on here for Floor Plans, we have a future movie where we'll talk about some of these settings.
For now, I just want you to be comfortable with the notion of changing the focus of the Properties palette away from the selection and to the view itself, and understanding that views have properties as well as objects. Pretty much everything in Revit has properties. The last point to make: Some items actually have type-level properties. The difference is basically this. This is an individual wall. If I select it and make a change, it only affects that wall. Here's a better example here. If I go back to Level 1 Floor Plan, and I select this wall right here, this was called Exterior Brick on Metal Stud.
This wall here is also Exterior Brick on Metal Stud. Now, these are clearly two separate instances of that wall. If I select one wall and make a change here, it only affects the wall I have selected. But if I were to click this button, Edit Type and make a change here, this dialog, which is not modeless by the way, again computer speak for "always available," you have to actually click OK to get out of it. If I made a change here, that change would apply to all walls that share this type.
So if I were to, for example, go in here and apply a core Skill Fill pattern and make it a nice bright red color, and click OK, you're going to see all of the exterior walls, with the exception of the one I changed earlier, changed to this red color. That's an example of a Type property. So, we'll see more of that in line, in context as we work through the training series, but I just wanted you to understand that there is a difference between an Instance roperty that affects just the wall you have selected, and a Type roperty which is global and affects every wall of that type throughout the entire project.
So for nearly every operation you can perform in Revit will require some interaction with the Properties palette, as we have seen. Having it available onscreen all the time is definitely a must, and it's a big help in this regard. So please don't close it. If you do close it, remember that you can get it back by either typing PP, or going to the View tab on the User Interface dropdown, and just get in a habit of looking at that Properties palette all the time for feedback as you work, and it will keep you productive and working well.
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