And now on to Tip #1 - The Revit Interface
Revit InterfaceThis tip is designed to help you understand the different parts of the Revit User Interface. By learning these terms it will help us all communicate better when discussing Revit. Instead of you saying “When I click on the thing-a-ma-gig…”, you would say “When I click on the Floor Tool…”, or when I tell you to “Look on the Annotate Tab, Detail Panel and click…” you will understand what I am talking about. Below you will find a labeled screen capture of the Revit Interface and a legend with the names of the parts of the interface. These interface parts are the same regardless of what variety of Revit you use. (Arch, MEP or Struct) Below the images you will find a brief description of the pieces of the interface and the information available on those pieces as well as some tips on how to use them. This is meant to be a high level overview of the interface, so I encourage you to explore the interface for yourself and become familiar with what is available and where you can find it.
Typical Revit Interface
1) Revit Application Menu – Allows access to commonly used commands: New, Open, Save and Print. This is also where you access the export dialog in order to export your project to numerous 2D and 3D formats. Licensing information is also managed from here as well as Publishing content to Autodesk Seek. Other functions of the Application Menu include: Access to your main Revit Options dialog and accessing Recently viewed families and projects.
2) Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) – Allows you to create a group of frequently used tools into one selection area. Right-clicking on any Tool in one of the Tabs allows you to add items to the QAT. Customize your QAT with Tools that you find yourself using consistently. Your QAT settings are saved under your user name and can be transferred from computer to computer. (More on that in a later Tip) Clicking the small, down-facing arrow at the far right of the QAT allows access to further customization of the QAT including grouping and removing commands. You also have the option to show the QAT below the ribbon.
3) Tabs – Group Tools together based on their functionality within Revit. The Tabs are different in all flavors of Revit (Arch, MEP and Struct) because of different functions, but some like Home, Manage, Collaborate and View are consistent in all. Some Add-Ins to Revit will also add additional Tabs to the interface.
4) Contextual Tab – Contextual Modify Tabs are contextually revealed as an addition to the Modify Tab when specific elements are selected or when certain Tools are engaged. Contextual Tabs turn green in color when active and available Tools for the Contextual Tab appear at the far right of the Modify Ribbon. If the green Contextual Tab is active then either something is selected or a Tool is engaged and awaiting input.
5) InfoCenter – This is where you can access the online Revit WikiHelp files to search for assistance on a topic. You can also access the Subscription Center and Communications Center from the InfoCenter.
6) Ribbon – The Ribbon contains all of the Tools for designing and documenting a project in Revit. It consists of Tabs, Panels and Tools. Clicking the up-facing arrow at the end of the Tabs allows you to minimize the Ribbon to just Tabs, Panel Titles or Panel Buttons.
7) Options Bar – Is a contextually sensitive area that provides feedback and options for Tools that are being used or objects that are selected. Options vary for each type of Tool or object selected. Always check the Options Bar when using a Tool as some Options will hold their last used setting. The Options Bar provides added or enhanced functionality to basic object creation Tools as well as Modify Tools.
8) Panel – Panels identify areas of Tools grouped by functionality in the Ribbon. Panels can be pulled out of the Tabs and placed on screen so they remain available while using other Tabs. Simply drag the panel from the Ribbon and place on screen where you desire. To return Panel to its original location, click the small down arrow that is in the upper portion of the right grey bar in the Panel that was moved.
9) Tool – Tools are all the “commands” that Revit uses to create model and annotation objects as well as access all the additional settings and dialog boxes that are available to the Revit user. If a Tool has a small down-facing black arrow under the text, then it contains additional Tools similar in nature as a Flyout Tool. Flyout Tools appear below the Tool when you click the small black arrow.
10) Project Browser – The Project Browser is a project tree of all the views, legends, schedules, sheets, families, groups and links in the current Revit Project. This is your main control to change from view to view, or explore sheets or see what families or links are loaded into your project. The Project Browser can also be filtered and grouped into folders based on a number of user-defined parameters. (This will also be covered in a future Tip) You collapse or expand the Project Browser by clicking the + or – icons. The Project Browser can also be undocked and moved to a different part of the screen if desired. (or a completely different screen in dual monitor environments)
11) Properties Palette – The Properties palette contains all of the instance parameters of the object you are currently working on. Whether it is view, an object, an annotation symbol or a Sheet, most items in Revit have some form of instance parameters that can be modified through the Properties palette. You can also access the Type Selector, filter properties and Type parameters from the Properties palette. The Properties palette can also be undocked and moved to a different part of the screen if desired. (or a completely different screen in dual monitor environments)
12) Drawing Area – The drawing area is the window into your design space. You can have many “views” or windows open at one time. These “views” which could include schedules, floor plans, Sections, Sheets, drafting views, etc., are where you actually model and document your project. Windows can be tiled (keyboard shortcut: WT) or cascaded (keyboard shortcut: WC) so you can see what “views” you have open and quickly toggle between them. (Ctrl+Tab toggles between views)
13) Status Bar – The Status Bar provides useful information on objects that you hover above and immediate feedback on objects that you are performing a modification or operation on. The Status Bar provides feedback with regards to snaps while you are drawing or modifying an object. It also identifies objects that are “preselected” while hovering. When you are trying to select objects that may be obscured under other objects you use the Tab key to cycle through the available objects during “preselection”. The Status Bar tells you which object you have highlighted while tabbing through “preselections”.
14) View Control Bar – The View Control bar is at the bottom of every view except Sheets and is contextual based on the type of view that you are working in. The View Control bar contains tools to control view scale (except perspective views), view Detail Level, Visual Style, Sun Path, Shadows, Temporary Hide/Isolate and Reveal Hidden Elements. This is also where you control your visual style (Hidden Line, Wireframe, Shaded, etc.).
15) Workset Control Bar – This bar shows what the active workset for the drawing is and provides a dropdown to change the active workset, if worksharing has been enabled. It also provides a quick button to get to the Workset Tool/Dialog box.
16) Design Option Control Bar - This bar shows what the active Design Option for the drawing and provides a dropdown to change the active Option Set. It also provides a quick button to get to the Design Option Tool/Dialog box.
17) Filter Tool – This Tool gives a quick count of the objects that you have selected. If you click on the Filter button it opens a dialog box that shows the object category and number of objects in that category for your current selection. It also allows you to clear or include, via check box, objects of a certain category to be included in the appended selection.
Please get comfortable with the names and locations of these Revit Interface items. It will make communication and understanding of where to find the correct Tools, Objects or Views easier.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks, and Happy Reviting!