How to offset structural framing members


Link to YouTube video tutorial:

Many projects require the offsetting of structural framing members in the horizontal direction and Revit Structure provides only one tool to enable the Horizontal offset of a structural frame. This is called lateral justification and is often quite limiting as it only offsets the member about the analytical line and does not allow full control.

You can try this by selecting a universal beam and choosing lateral justification and setting Centre, Side 1 and Side 2 and see the results. Make sure that you have the analytical model switched on so you can see the physical and analytical positions.

It is possible to create your own parameter to control the horizontal offset of the physical framing member whilst keeping the analytical model unchanged. Of course, you can edit the analytical model if necessary.

To begin, select your universal beam and choose edit family from the right click menu. This will open the family editor. You will see the 3D model of your beam. You are actually seeing two 3D sweeps, one model for the medium level of detail without a root fillet radius and the fine model which contains the root fillet.

Select both models as shown below and then choose the associate family parameter command.

In the associate family parameter dialog box, choose Add parameter. Add a parameter called Horizontal Offset, make it an instance parameter and group this under Constraints as shown below.

Click OK to both dialog boxes and then load this into your current project. Select a universal beam and you will now be able to control the horizontal offset as shown below.

Note that you will also have to edit the symbolic lines (Hidden detail) to make the beam look correct in a plan view. I will create a video at a later point to show this process.

Here is the link to my YouTube video tutorial:

Hope this helps,



About lawrenceh

I am employed by Excitech, one of the largest Autodesk resellers in the UK, to provide training and other services such as implementation and project support to our clients. The main products I get involved with are Autodesk Revit Structure, Dynamo & Autodesk Inventor. My personal interests include aviation, engineering and walking.
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10 Responses to How to offset structural framing members

  1. Vladimir says:

    Thank you for excellent tip. I follow your instruction and everything works. Unfortunately, all steel framing plan views are usually done in a coarse detail level. I am not able to find a line in the beam family that represent beam in the coarse plan view. When switching to coarse view, the methods you describe make no effect. Do you have any tips of how to make it work?
    Thank you

    • lawrenceh says:

      Hi Vladimir,

      Glad you found the tutorial useful! To answer your question you will need to edit your framing family and set the symbolic representation to ‘from Family’ in the family category and parameters. You then draw your symbolic line using the sub category Stick symbol projection. You can the control the offset in the usual way.

      Hope this helps,


  2. Vladimir says:

    Thank you Lawrence,

    It work exelent


  3. Vladimir says:


    I did run into two problems. 1.An automatic cut-back distance is shorter than in the regular steel beam family. What should the symbolic line to be constrained at the ends to in order to have a cut-back distance the same? 2. Symbolic line would disappear if the beam is sloped. Should I use a model line instead of detail line?

    Thank you


  4. lawrenceh says:

    Hi Vladimir,

    I will have to test this out and let you know. I haven’t tried this with a sloped member. You can control the cutback with a parameter that you could call symbolic offset and constrain this to the end of the physical beam.

  5. Vladimir says:


    I converted a detail line to a model line with a visibility setting “show only in coarse mode”. It works for sloped framing. The line become visible in 3D, but only if 3D in coarse mode (which is nobody really using in 3D).

    Thank you for your help


  6. Peter Read says:

    Lawrence can you do the same for vertical offset ie so you can drop members but still have their analytical lines at the same level. thanks, Pete

  7. Peter Read says:

    Scrub that thanks Lawrence, followed same procedure for vertical offset, just forgot to put a negative number in (to drop the physical member) within the model. thanks

  8. James Gregory says:

    Hi Lawrence.

    Just been reading this blog and it is very useful. Did you every create a video or blog on how to edit the symbolic lines (Hidden detail) to make the beam look correct in a plan view?


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