Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Getting familiar with the user interface, part of Revit 2020: Essential Training for Architecture (Metric).
a grand tour of the Revit user interface. So, our aim is to just simply get you familiar with the various pieces of the interface, name each one, and get you a little bit of comfort with working in the software. So, if this is the first time you've launched Revit, then the first thing you're likely to see is the Recent Files screen. But we can also use this screen to open other files that we haven't opened recently, or to create new ones.
So, it's organized into two panes, left and right. And on the left, it's Open and New and on the right are all of the recently opened files that you want to reopen again quickly. So, in both cases, you have a MODELS area and a FAMILIES area. So on the left, you would use those buttons to either open an existing file that would display a browse window or you could go out to your hard drive and locate the file. Or you could click New to create a brand new file. If you would rather reopen a file that you worked on previously, then as long as it's listed over here in the Recent File screen you could just simply click it.
Now, if you're like me, and you just installed the software and you're launching it for the first time, then what will show in the recent files area are the sample files that are installed with the product. I'm going to open up the sample architectural project by clicking this link right here. If you have access to that file, go ahead and do the same. If you don't, you can open up any file on your system. It doesn't really matter what you have open, for us to be able to talk about the user interface. So once you open that, we're now in a model file or a project file.
This is the most common type of file that you are going to work in Revit. We also have family files back on that Recent Files screen but we'll talk about those in the future. For now, we're going to be working in the project environment only and this is what the general user interface looks like. So let's just sort of walk through each of the overall pieces of this user interface to get you familiar with it. Let's start at the very top on the left hand side. You have a bank of icons referred to as the QAT or the quick access toolbar and it includes lots of shortcuts to standard common commands.
Things like open, or save, or print. And it just gives you quick access to those commands as the name QAT implies. Now there's a few additional buttons at the top of the screen They're over on the far right. We've got things like search, sign in to your Autodesk account, open the Autodesk app store, and a help menu. So you can find each of those in the top right. Now, below those groups of icons is the ribbon. Now the ribbon goes across the full width of the screen. It starts with the File Menu here on the far left and then you have the architecture, structure, steel, systems, all the way over to Modify Tabs next to that.
Now there are various icons available on each tab. This is the primary way that you would interact with those commands. If you want to run a command, you find it on the various ribbons tabs and you click the appropriate icon or menu. Now, what you'll notice on my screen is that most of my buttons are currently grayed out and unavailable. This has everything to do with the kind of view that I currently have open. Let me explain. One of the most important things that you want to know about the Revit user interface is it's context sensitive. This means that what's available for you to do at any given moment completely depends on the current context.
What mode are you in, are you editing something, are you creating something, are you in the right kind of view. Let's talk about views and where to find them next. If you look at the left hand side of the screen, I've got two palettes stacked on top of each other. There is the Properties Palette and then right below it is the Project Browser. Now Project Browser is like the contents of the project and it will have several different items available for us to open and they're all called various views. So here's views, and we've got floor plans.
to enable the functioning of most of those commands. So one of the most important take-aways then is to keep in mind that the context is very important to being able to achieve various tasks in Revit so you have to be in a correct context that allows for that operation. Now let me show you another tool that also reacts to the context, the Properties Palette that is right above Project Browser. So currently you'll see that it says Floor Plan here at the top.
If I click back on this title Sheet tab, notice it will say Sheet at the top. So simply clicking between the two tabs changes the context and therefore what properties are available. I'll click back here to the Level 1 tab. Now in addition to switching between views, if you select things or start commands, that will also have an impact on properties. So if I come over here into this model and select one of the elements on screen like this wall here, notice that the properties is now telling me about that selected wall and all of its properties.
If I click an empty white space, it deselects that wall, and just goes back to telling me about the floor plan. So another example of this sort of context sensitive nature of Revit. Now, if you run a new command, say for example the wall command. So instead of selecting an existing wall, let's say I wanted to draw a new one. So I click the wall command and that will execute that command and notice that has a big change on the interface. The color of the ribbon changed and the properties palette is now showing us properties of walls again but this time instead of it being an existing wall, it's showing me the properties of the wall that I'm about to create.
And then that exposes the next area of the user interface, the options bar. So again, it's not important that you know what all those options mean right now. It's just important that you notice that they're there. So simply running a command like the wall command now gives us all these various options that are available to us while that command is active. Now I'm going to cancel the command without actually drawing a wall and to do that I'll use this modify tool right here. Think of that as just like a reset command. It'll just cancel the current command, kind of reset the interface and I'm sort of back where I started from.
Now, each view window like Level 1 in this case has a bank of icons at the bottom left hand corner which control the settings of that view in particular. So that's the called the View Control Bar and you can see things like scale, and level of detail and is the view shaded or not and a variety of other temporary display modes and what you'll see here is if you click back to the Sheet tab again, notice that there are only two icons but if I go to Level 1 there is several more. So another example of the context indicating what's available to us.
Now finally, at the bottom of the screen we have the status bar and really that's in three main areas so on the left you actually have messages that appear. So if your mouse is over some existing object like in this case this wall, the message will tell you about that wall or it might tell you about some other object like this grid. If you were out in empty space then the message will tell you something about selection. So think of those little message as just sort of a little feedback mechanism that Revit uses to kind of tell you maybe what to do next or what you might expect there.
Now in the middle we have some icons and those are various controls that we could access for more advanced features in Revit, and we'll come back to those in the future. On the far right we've got the selection toggles. And those just control what classification of elements is currently selectable so there are certain groups of elements that we can kind of turn off their selectibility and that's going to be indicated by whether those icons have a little red X on them or not. So sometimes that kind of object is selectable, sometimes it's not, and you have control over that with those toggles.
So the main takeaway for this video, other than just getting familiar with the Revit user interface, is to pay close attention to how the interface changes as you work because sometimes it's very subtle and sometimes it's much more obvious but often it has to do with what you're currently doing at any given moment and that will completely impact what tools and techniques and settings are available to you at any given time in Revit.
- Understanding BIM and the Revit element hierarchy
- Navigating views
- Creating a new project from a template
- Adding walls, doors, and windows
- Adding plumbing fixtures and other components
- Linking AutoCAD DWG files
- Rotating and aligning Revit links
- Working with footprint and extrusion roofs
- Adding openings
- Adding railings
- Creating stacked and curtain walls
- Hiding and isolating objects
- Adding rooms
- Creating schedule views and tags
- Adding text and dimensions
- Creating new families
- Using reference planes, parameters, and constraints
- Plotting and creating a PDF