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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 snapping. There are a couple of different ways that Revit allows us to snap. What snap means is basically a predefined level of precision that Revit can automatically associate geometry to. So we have a few different ways to snap. We have linear snaps, where Revit will automatically associate the length of geometry to length increments that we designate. We have angular snapping where it will snap to increments along a compass angle, you know so many degrees, and we have object snapping where we can actually snap to key geometric points on existing objects with other objects.
So let's take a look at a few examples. I'm working in the Adding Walls file, which you may already have opened from a previous lesson. If you have some geometry in your version of the file, just go ahead and delete it. We don't really need the temporary walls that we did in the previous movie. We just want to start with a clean file here. Be careful not to delete these Elevation markers. Okay, so if you make a selection, just make sure that if you are unsure, that you click the Filter tool and you select only Walls. Okay, we want to make sure that's all we're doing.
Okay, so let's take a look at snapping. First thing we've got to do is look at the Manage tab and the Snaps dialog. So I'm going to click that tool on the Manage tab. Let me just show you what we're going to be working with. We'll start with Length Dimension Snap Increments. These are user definable settings. They are project-wide. The default behavior is to snap first to a 4' increment, then to jump down to a 6" increment, then finally 1" and 1/4". Now it's easiest to explain what that means by just showing you.
So, let's go ahead to the Home tab. We're going to click the Wall tool. For this example, it doesn't matter what settings we use in the Wall tool. So I'm just going to leave all the defaults. It's a Line. I don't care about the Height or the Location Line or any of the other settings. I'm just going to click any point onscreen and start moving my mouse. Now notice the dimension that appears. More importantly, notice the increment in which the dimension is snapping to. You'll notice that it's snapping in a 4' multiple. So if I were to click my mouse right now, I'm guaranteed that that wall is exactly 36' long.
If I were to go in this other direction, I'm guaranteed it's now 48' long. So that is the snapping behavior in action. It doesn't matter where we started drawing the wall from, but relative to that first point, the length of that wall is exact. We can even do it along an angle here. So notice that the angle is 25 degrees, but the length of this wall is exactly 48'. So I'm going to undo a couple of those walls and start again. I just did Ctrl+Z to do that undoing. This time, I'm going to click my first point.
Before I click my second point, I'm going to roll my wheel mouse in a little bit. That will zoom me in a little bit closer. Now you'll notice that the snap increment has suddenly gotten finer. We're now snapping to the nearest 6" as opposed to the nearest 4'. So it's as precise as the other one. It's just using a more intricate increment than it was a moment ago. If I roll my wheel in further still and then begin to move my mouse again, you'll see that at some level of zoom, it will begin snapping now to the 1" increment.
So now I'm getting 5" inches and 3". It's no longer just every 6". So again, 2'7", that's an exact number. I can count on that number being as accurate as I need it to be. It's just within a 1" tolerance. Then finally, if I zoom in further still - and I might need to get a little closer to my endpoint here. There it goes, right there - you can see that now we're snapping to the nearest 1/4". So this is a really handy feature that we have built-in to Revit.
It's with us all the time. Now I'm doing it in the context of walls, but if we were drawing lines, or if we were sketching floors, or whatever other tool we were using, that method would still work. Now I'm going to type ZF, which is the shortcut for Zoom to Fit. That's going to back me out. I'm going to delete those objects. Let's say that I wanted a different increment. Perhaps I don't want to go from 4' all the way to 6". Maybe I want to go 2" in between that. All I have to do is come in here and type in 2" and separate it by a semicolon. When I click OK, Revit will now jump from 4' increments to 2' increments.
Actually, I got to be back out here. There's 4' increments. Zoom in. There is my 2', okay. Then if I keep zooming in, I'm at 6", and then 1", and so forth, and so on. So you can customize the increment that's being used to suit your needs. You can do that on-the-fly. I mean, it's not a one time thing. Anytime you need to change the increment, you can come in here and change it. Now the same applies for angles. You can see that there the increment goes from 90 degrees to 45 to 15, all the way down to 1.
So the same behavior applies there. Then here is Object Snaps. So I want to just talk about this a little bit. If you've used other CAD software, this concept is familiar to you, but if you totally new to computer-aided design software, then this concept would be new. What this allows you to do is actually snap geometry to key geometric points on other geometry. So in the case of where I have a wall here, that wall has an endpoint at this end, an endpoint at this end, and a midpoint right here. If I were coming in and drawing another wall, Revit will either snap to the endpoint, and it will indicate that by a little square ,or the other endpoint over here, or the midpoint, which it will indicate by a little triangle.
Now in both cases, a tooltip usually appears onscreen to indicate that. We can always override the behavior we're getting by using a keyboard shortcut. So in the dialog that we were just in, all the keyboard shortcuts were listed, and the one for midpoint, for example, was SM, for snap to midpoint. So if I type the letters SM, you'll notice that it will ignore all the other potential snaps, and wherever my mouse is along the wall, it will be looking for midpoints. Then when I click, it will snap to the midpoint. As soon as you click, it goes back to the default.
So I do highly encourage you to open up the Snap dialog and pay attention to each of these hotkeys and memorize them, I guess, if you will, so that they become easy for you to use. So in summary, there are a few different ways that we can snap to things in Revit. This behavior works across the program. I've demonstrated it here in the context of walls, but it can be used for any kind of geometry. But you have your length snaps, which snap to certain length increments depending on your zoom level, your angular snaps, and your object snaps, which snap to key geometric points along the geometry.
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