Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Revit 2D Details Part 2 - Editing Tools

This is the second post on 2D Detailing in Revit. To view the first post click here.

You should spend a little time making details look good as they look good and are easy to read. Details imported from CAD will need to work, especially to tidy up hatches and text. Revit includes great tools for drawing in 2D. Some of these are the very same annotative tools that were used to create the title block.

The tools which include:
  • Detail Line - draws lines of varying line styles
  • Regions -  There are two types of regions, filled and masking region. Filled regions are akin to hatching in AutoCAD and Masking Regions are akin to wipeouts.
  • Components - smart objects that can repeat e.g. bricks, metal studs.
  • Detail Group - like blocks, items can be grouped together.
  • Insulation - a tool to create insulation.

Detail Line

There is an important note before I begin on Lines. I spent years trying to convince users to use polylines instead of lines and now there is no polyline in Revit.Revit does have some editing tools that allow you to select a chain of lines which gives you a little more flexibility that you get with polylines.

Revit lines are quite basic and simple. You select Detail Lines from the Annotative panel, select a Line style and draw. The line styles can be edited or changed in the Manage panel under Additional Settings. I will cover settings in detail in a separate post but you can use the built in line styles which are Thin Lines, Medium Lines, Heavy Lines and Hidden Lines which should be adequate for most purposes.


To create a filled region, select Filled Region from the Region button on the Annotative panel. The default pattern will be the last one used. You can select another from the pull-down list on the Properties palette, or create a new pattern by clicking on Edit Type.

If you have completed the Title Block exercise, duplicating and editing types should now be familiar. Click the Duplicate button.

Name the new type 'Skimmed Plaster' and select Sand - Dense as the Fill pattern. Notice that there are two pattern types, model and drafting. Drafting is used for 2D views and scale according to the scale of the view whereas Model patterns have a consistent scale regardless of the view scale e.g. 100x100 grid used for tiles.

Skimmed Plaster is now you default Filled Region pattern. You can now draw the area bounding the skimmed plaster and the filled region will be applied when complete.

If you are using a pattern which requires orientation such as cross hatch, you have 3 options which are very useful.
Align with Element - The pattern will try to align with the boundary.
Orient to View - the pattern with align with the view it is in.
Keep Readable - The pattern will align to the bottom or right hand side of the sheet that the view is placed in.

Masking Region is straight forward. There is no type, it just simply masks anything behind it. You can adjust how much to the front the mask is using the Arrange tools on the modify panel. These are very similar to desktop publishing or document applications.

Tip: The typical Filled Region types that you use regularly should be included in your template to avoid rework and ensure consistency.


Components are very useful for repeating items which occur a lot in construction e.g. metal studs in partitions, bricks, blocks, purlins on a roof truss, etc. Revit comes with a number of out of the box components to get you started. There are 3 types of components.

Detail Component
Detail Components are similar to blocks in AutoCAD in that they are a number of basic objects such as lines and arcs grouped into one object. In Revit Detail Components are really 2D families and can include some dynamic features such as mirroring.

Repeating Detail Component
Effectively the same as Detail Components but includes an array feature which is extremely useful for recurring items such as metal studs, purlins, etc. Like many other objects in Revit, you can select another type from the properties pull-down list and change the type by clicking Edit Type. If you need a metal stud @600 c/c and another @300 c/c, then these will be 2 different types. use the Duplicate button to create another type.

The layout determines how the objects are spaced. The options are:

Fill Available Space - All objects will touch and fill up the space e.g. brickwork.
Fixed Distance - all studs will be a specified distance apart.
Fixed Number - A number of objects which you can specify in the Properties palette will be created within the length you specify.
Maximum Spacing - Metal studs or floor joists are a good example, you want one at the start and end and then have them spaced evenly between at a maximum spacing.

Legend Component
This is a feature for legends which I will cover separately.

Additional components can be loaded by using the Load Family button from the Insert panel. You will find the 2D families in Libraries\Country\Detail Components. The location in Revit 2013 is Libraries\Country\Detail Items. I am not sure why they changed the name of this folder from 2012 to 2013.

The UK libraries are organised by the CAWS system and the US is arranged by the Omniclass system. There are over 800 generic 2D details available which a lot of users don't realize they have. You can create and build up your own library too. You can use the Metric or Imperial Detail Component Family Template to start a new Detail Component. I feel another Post coming on.

Detail Group

A detail group is very similar to group in Microsoft Word except that you give each Group a name. Objects grouped together can be edited or ungrouped. The editor is not dissimilar to the block editor in AutoCAD. In the editor you can add or remove objects that are outside the group which is quite smart.
Detail Groups are very useful for collections of objects that repeat e.g. toilet layout, angle bracket with fixing, etc.

Insulation / Batting

Insulation is reasonably straightforward but a useful tool that was lacking in AutoCAD. There are 2 simple properties:

  1. Insulation Width - the width of the insulation
  2. Insulation Bulge to Width Ratio - If set to 1, the insulation bulge will be the same with as the insulation, if set to 3 then it will be a 1/3. A ration of 3 looks right to me.


The Detail Component feature alone is ample evidence that Revit is in fact better at 2D detailing than CAD systems. The next and last post on 2D Detailing will look at integrating a reference plane to tie in some parameters of details to the 3D model and I will also look at the reuse of 2D details so that you can manage and build a useful library that can be easily accessed by your design teams.

Necessary Disclaimer:
While I strive to make the content as accurate as possible, I make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of the information in this post. Following any advice here is done entirely at your own risk, with no liability to this site, or the site owner.


Michael Earley is a Computer Applications Developer and an Architectural Technologist. I currently maintain blogs on both of my professional interests, and