Tutorial – Working with Grids and Levels

I have had so many questions regarding the visibility and control of grids over the last few weeks that I thought I had better create a blog post and video outlining some best practices when working with Revit grids. To most, the creation and management of grids may seem fairly basic but Revit does have a surprising number of tools to assist with grids and levels. A fairly long post but hopefully worth it!

I will cover the following topics:

  • Renumbering Grids
  • Working with DWG’s and Propagate Extents
  • Working with Radial Grids
  • Multi-Segment Grids
  • Using the Scope Box
  • Using ‘dummy’ grids

 Lets first start with the renumbering of grids; you can of course do this manually but this can be quite time consuming, especially on large projects. If you are simply adding a supplementary grid then this poses no problem as shown below, you would just need to edit the witness line on the string of dimensions to incorporate the new grid.

If the grid has not yet been established then it would make more sense to add the new grid and renumber the remaining grids. This can be achieved with the Excitech Toolkit, see my previous post for download details:


The toolkit is found on the Add in tab and you will then see Renumber Elements on the Excitech Tools ribbon.

Once the tool is running you use the Pick Objects tool to select the grids you want to renumber in the selected order. You can then set the start number and select Run, the toolkit will then renumber the existing grids.

Working with a DWG Grid and Propagating Extents

Sometimes you will want to import an Architects drawing that shows the setting out of structural grids. It is obviously very important to check the accuracy of the imported drawing and also make sure that the rotation and angles of the grids are accurate. If there is a slight inaccuracy then Revit will report that the Grid is slightly off axis.

Once you have established the accuracy of the drawing you can then use the Pick Lines tool to pick the line work representing the grids. This is a very fast and effective method of creating a grid arrangement in Revit.

Below is the grid in Revit with the background drawing hidden. The position of the grid heads is controlled by the DWG file. You can control the grid head visibility and get the arrangement how you want it on this plan.

To match the setting out of Level 1 to other levels you can use the propagate extents tool. Select all the grids on the correct level and then click the propagate Extents tool.

You then select the views to match to the original. This will also work with Levels.

Working with Radial Grids

When working with Radial grids you will typically find a couple of problems. The first issue you will find is that the grids will not show on new levels. This is because the grids need to be elevated to cut through the levels and a grid is not shown unless a view is perpendicular to the grid as shown in the image below.

The only solution I have found is to create a sectional view that is perpendicular to each grid. I create a new section type called grid control which helps when you need to hide these section marks. It also keeps the browser tidy. I also create a detail line to help set the grids out as shown below.

Creating Multi-Segment Grids

A new feature of Revit 2013 is the ability to create a continuous grid line with the same reference called a multi-segment grid. The grid is simply drawn with a series of lines and arcs and then when the sketch is finished the grid is created. It is worth noting that the grid cannot be controlled with a Scope Box (Covered Below).

Using Scope Boxes

Scope boxes can be useful to help control grids and levels both in plan, elevation and sections. The Scope box will improve the ease of setting grids in elevation and plan and especially useful then part of the structure is rotated as shown below. Note that the grids and levels are quite messy the elevations.

The Scope box command is located on the View Ribbon within the Create panel. Unfortunately the Scope box is always a rectangular shape (Not very useful for our radial grid problem earlier), but you can rotate this once created. It is recommended to use the Rotate command from the modify ribbon and not to use the in-built rotate command as this is difficult to control accurately.

You then draw the Scope box around the grid and then name the Scope box and set the view properties as shown in the below image.

Prior to creating the Scope box you should get the grids set the correct distances and basically make sure that everything is set out neatly. The Scope box will then control the setting out. As you can see in the below image the 3D control point is automatically on the Scope box, this will control all the plan views. The 2D view can be independently controlled for each view. Note that you will have to adjust the visibility of the Scope box for new views.

Thats it!




Autodesk Revit LT 2013 – An early guide for Structural users

Autodesk recently announced the imminent arrival of Revit LT 2013 which is positioned as a entry level 3D modelling tool to bridge the gap between 2D and a fully enabled BIM tool.

I have reviewed the comparison matrix with the full Autodesk Revit 2013 release and looked at the potential problems that Revit LT 2013 may pose for new and existing structural customers considering this new product. Below is an extract of the features that I feel would directly influence a potential structural users purchasing choice.

Based on the above list, the biggest problem would be the linking of the Revit model to structural analysis applications such as Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis. The LT version does not support an API which means that all third party structural analysis tools would not link into Revit LT 2013. I have yet to find out if you can author family files in Revit LT2013?

It is still very early to make a full assessment of Revit LT 2013 but I can see potential problems for medium to large users of Revit LT 2013 based on the omission of Worksharing, exports, In-Place Modelling and the API tools. I personally see this version being too restrictive even for the small or occasional user of Revit based on the current features.

I would be interested in other views of Revit LT 2013, is it a good thing or a potential headache for medium to large users?

For a full comparison guide see the following link below:

Revit 2013 – Revit LT2013 Comparison Guide