Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Array tips, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- If you've used the array command before, you know it's a really powerful way to make a series of copies of elements and more importantly keep those copies linked together in a parametric way. So, I'll be able to go back and actually modify the quantity of elements in my array at any time. And the way that that is achieved is when you move your mouse over an arrayed element, you'll notice that it's actually an model group. And so that's how the array command actually achieves the parametric behavior because what it does is it actually groups all the elements within the array and associates those with the parameter.
So, for example, here you can see that I have this long row of chairs and that's model Array Group 2 and then here's my quantity of ten. And I could go into that quantity and I could change it to 11 for example and it will re-space everything and just put them all a little bit closer together but introduce an 11th row. Now, I could possibly do a 12th row, or even, maybe, a 13th, but I think 12 might be about the maximum before this first row here, they start getting a little too close together.
Now if I edit that array group, what we're going to find is that the spacing in this direction is also an array but that one just happens to be a linear array. So, when I select one of those items you can see that that is also an array group, that happens to be Array Group 1 that contains just the individual chair and then here's a quantity of ten and again, I could put in 11 or I could put in 12, and it will add a new row at the end. So, this particular array, the spacing is kind of fixed between the two chairs and then it just keeps that spacing and adds and removes from the end.
So, if you went to a number smaller than ten it would remove the last two rows, and greater than it would add to them. So, I'm going to go back to ten and I'll finish out of there. And so, that's the two arrays that we currently have here. Now, I've got this diamond-shaped assembly space and so, I've got the big open space over there on the right and it seems logical that I want to take what I have down here on the left and copy it up to the right. So, if you want to do that, you have to make sure that you do it carefully. So, I'm going to make a window selection around all of the chairs.
And if you just, sort of, go right to copy with all the chairs selected it's not actually going to work quite correctly and I'm actually going to use the mirror to copy this. And I've got a guideline right here, this green guideline, and I'll just use that as the mirror axis. And that makes all of my copies. Now notice, it looks the same. These are all instances of Array Group 2, so it seems like it's all fine but when you select one of them notice that you don't get the quantity. So, the array now only works in the linear direction along the radial, it's no longer a parametric array.
We've, sort of, lost that association. So, is there a way to preserve that? Well, there is, you just got to make sure that when you make your copy you do it correctly. So, let's go ahead and undo a couple steps here to remove that copy. I'm going to select all of the chairs again with the window selection but the most important thing is to make sure that you also include the array. So notice this little pie-shaped item right here. That's the little array itself and that element is just invisible when nothing is selected.
But if you move your mouse, it's over there. It'll highlight and you can select it. So, I'm going to select all the chairs, hold the CTRL key, select the array and then I'm going to mirror it around my diagonal guideline. And now, over here, you can see that I have a parameter again and if I change the quantity I can adjust the quantity along that curve. So it's preserved that as a parametric array. Now, of course, this is a nice schematic and it, kind of, illustrates how you want to copy an array.
Make sure you select both the arrayed elements and the array itself before you do a copy. But, if you look carefully at these chairs here, they're really not the best way that it's been done because you can see that the spacing between the chairs gets much wider out here, than it is over here. So, initially, I had arrayed all of the rows, to keep the row spacing but then selected them all together to create the radial array. Now, you can certainly do that, but it might be a little bit better if it looked more like this.
Now in this case, what you see is, that these are all separate arrays here. So, each row is its own array and that one has 14, this one has 15, that one has 16. Now, it's a little bit more work to do it that way, but it definitely gives a better result. So, let me show you how that is done. I'm going to select these two green guidelines here and the first vertical group of chairs there. And I'll just copy that, to this empty space right here. Now, I'm going to take this group and I'm going to ungroup it because I want to get back to the original chairs here.
Now, there's still an array. I'm going to leave that, so you can still see that there's a quantity here that I could modify, so I'm going to leave those as an array. But I'm going to select these now one at a time, and make my polar arrays, okay? So, here's my first item and I'll go to the array command. And I want to make sure that the array type is set to radial and make sure that it's set to group and associate. That's very important, because that's what makes it parametric. Put in your quantity. I want ten.
And then I want to go to the last element, now what's very important is the center of the array and that's this point out here which is why I copied those guidelines. So, I'm going to click place right there and snap right to that location and that's the center-point of this array. Then, the start angle is along this green line and the end angle is along that green line. And it will fill in with ten chairs along that curve. And now you just repeat. So, if I select this one, go to array, again radial group and associate but this one time I want 11 chairs, place the center-point, click right there, start here and end here.
And then I would continue in that fashion. So it's going to take a little bit more time to set it up but it's definitely going to be a much more satisfying layout that's going to be a little bit more logical in terms of being able to maximize the number of chairs. Now, let's look at a couple things over here on this, kind of, final version right here. Notice that the last row there's a little gap here right at the end. Now, the way that I achieve that was very simple. If you select any element in the array, there are these little grip controls at either end of this ark along the array.
And you can select one of those little grip controls and drag it. That will compress the entire array. Now, if you drag it the other way, it'll stretch that array out. So, the quantity remains the same, and then, they just equally space along the length of that new ark. Now, to try to set the exact spacing between the elements, is a little bit trickier. So, while it's fairly easy to adjust the overall length of the ark and to get them to re-space. Trying to say that you want the chairs to be exactly X number of units apart from one another, that's going to be a little bit more difficult to do along the ark, because the way the array is spacing things is really based on an angle.
So, you can do some calculations or maybe, draw some guidelines to measure the distance between a few diagonal lines and then try and figure out what the angle is. So, for example, if I come in to the very first row here, or really we're working with the second row here. So, we've already got two rows here -- Here's the third row right here. So, let's work over here on the third row. And I'm going to take this one and let's add another chair. Let's do 13. That's still kind of close. Let's try 14.
15. So, let's say that that the spacing that I want here, so this distance right here, I'll just measure that real quick. That's about, just shy of six inches. So, that seems pretty good to have about six inches in between those two chairs. So what I need to know now, is the angle actually between those two objects. So, I'm going to go to my dimension and I'm going to choose an angular dimension and go from here to here. That's about 2.7 degrees, so I'm going to round off to that amount and let's come over here and look at what we can do.
So, I'm going to cancel out of there, select this chair, zoom out so I can see my center-point again. Go to my array, radial array, group and associate, maybe about 14 chairs here. I'm going to go to the second element this time, instead of the last element, place my center-point, and then I'm going to type in that angle that I measured. 2.7 degrees. And then at this point, what you'll see is that it will create the 14 items, but they're all going to be 2.7 degrees apart.
Now, if I change this value to 15, it adds to the end, if I change it to 13, it removes from the end. So, it's a different way of setting up the array, but it all is based on the idea that these chairs are 2.7 degrees apart. So, unfortunately, you have to, kind of, figure out what that base angle is and again you can do a sketch off to the side to kind of figure that out or use another way of calculating that. But once you've determined what that angle should be, then it's fairly easy to set up the array using that angle.
So, these are just a few different tips that you can use when working with arrays, particularly polar arrays, that'll help you gain a little bit more control and flexibility when using these arrays in your projects.
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