Revit – Transition from AutoCAD
About Lesson

In this lesson I will briefly explain to you what the working environment of Revit looks like. It resembles AutoCAD in some segments, which is not unusual because both programs come from Autodesk, although there are also big differences.

To begin with, I would like to show you how the so-called Recent Files section because it will actually appear on the screen as soon as you start Revit. In the previous lesson I showed you how you can use templates and now I would like to draw your attention to these white squares in which different objects are shown. These are shortcuts to recently completed projects, which means that only one mouse move is enough for one of them to reappear on the screen.

If you want to start a new project, it is enough to click on the New option and select the appropriate template in the box that follows. The Open function is used to open one of the existing files, and I will use the opportunity to show you one of the examples for practice. To that end, I will first go back to the Desktop and then look for a file that contains a Condo Unit. As soon as I click the OK button, the selected content will appear on the screen, so I can show you what the complete working environment looks like.

At first glance, it can be concluded that there are certain similarities with AutoCAD, which means that in the upper left corner there is a so-called Application menu, while shortcuts to the most frequently used functions (Quick Access Toolbar) and standard toolbar are placed along the upper edge. The real novelty is represented by the so-called Project Browser and it is usually located on the left. Unlike AutoCAD where different attachments are placed in separate files, Revit keeps all the information that is important for a project in one place. It is precisely for this reason that it is necessary that they are sorted in an appropriate manner, and the Project Browser allows you to select what you need in one go. In other words, if you want to select a plan from the complete project, it will be enough to click on a specific item from the Floor Plans section. The same applies to the display of ceilings (Ceiling Plans), spatial projections (3D Views) and facades (Elevations), and I will use the opportunity to select the northern facade (North). If it turns out that this projection does not contain the element I wanted to show, I can easily switch to a spatial view or go back to the plan again.

For each of the selected modes, there is a separate set of accompanying functions, and they will be displayed in the lower part of the screen. To prove it to you, I’m going to click on the middle icon and thus enable the simultaneous display of several different frames. As you can see, each of them in the lower left corner contains a special palette that allows you to change the operating parameters completely independently. Among other things, this implies a different factor of scale, and I used the opportunity to show the plan and the facade in a different relationship. This parameter is also important for displaying certain details related to the project itself. In order to show you what it is actually about, I will use the wheel on the mouse to enlarge this part of the plan a little and show more clearly the markings on certain parts of the furniture. Their size is aligned with the scale factor, which means that they will automatically change as soon as I choose a different ratio from this list.

If, as a long-term user of AutoCAD, you are used to following the flow of a function via the command line or even entering certain parameters directly, you must be wondering how all this works in Revit. Before giving you a more precise answer, I would like to emphasize that in Revit, most functions can be started by selecting the appropriate icon. In practice, this means that in order to create a new wall, it is necessary to start the Wall function and determine its position directly. If you have changed your mind and want to add a new door instead of a wall, it is enough to press the Esc key and click on the appropriate icon – in this case the one that says Door.

You must have noticed that when you select a function, a large part of the working environment changes automatically. This means that as soon as I start the function to enter a new wall, the parameters will immediately appear on the screen that allow me to determine its characteristics more precisely. They are distributed in several different locations and one of them is the so-called Option Bar located below the toolbar. In this case, there are options through which I can precisely determine its position and dimensions (Modify Place Wall). In addition, additional functions are shown in the continuation of the toolbar, which serve to make it easier to design a new element.

If you want to get a complete insight into the characteristics of an element, you can do it through the so-called Properties palette. It is usually on the left and is very similar to the parameters table you know from AutoCAD. You can get additional help in your work if you pay attention to the segment located at the very bottom edge of the screen. There is the so-called The status bar and its content mainly consist of instructions related to the course of the currently selected function. In this case, the program instructs me to determine the position of the starting point of the future wall with one click (Click to enter wall start point), and I will listen to it and draw a new segment with a few strokes. You must have noticed how the content of the status line automatically changes when doing this, which is completely in line with the steps I need to take and will continue to do so until I stop this feature.

You will also find great similarities with AutoCAD when choosing one of the existing elements. This means that it is enough to place the cursor over it for additional information to appear on the screen. They will be removed soon, but the same data will be displayed on the status line, in the lower left corner of the screen. All these parameters will be available to you before you actually make a selection, and to prove it to you, I will first place the cursor above this door and then move it to the bed.

From everything I have just shown you, it can be concluded that the lack of a classic command line in Revit is effectively compensated by the multiple display of all necessary parameters – on the Options Bar, the Properties palette and the Modify section.

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