Saturday, June 17, 2017

Revit's Section Box Tips and Tricks

Fun fact: I wrote this post in-flight between Minneapolis and Amsterdam, in route to visit my family's past Russian exchange students--and ultimately posted this from St. Petersburg, Russia. I had mentioned this impending trip in a speaker spotlight interview for BILT-NA in Toronto.

There are a number of tips and tricks related to Revit’s Section Box feature. I will share several of them in this post. Please add any additional tips you may have in the comments section below.

A Section Box can be activated in a 3D or Camera view via Properties as shown in the image below.
Once activated, and selected, each of the six sides of the Section Box can be adjusted using the grips. The grips are always centered on each face.
About those grips… they can be hard to find and tricky to select. Knowing they are always in the center helps in locating them. If you click and miss the grip, the Section Box deselects—which is a pain. Notice the grip is composed of two arrows? If you single-click one side, or the other, the Section Box face will adjust a slight amount in the direction selected.

In addition to the six grips, there is also a quick access Rotation icon, see the image above.

For more control in sizing and rotating the Section Box, I like to adjust it in plan, elevation and section views. You can make the Section Box visible by selecting it in the 3D view and then using Ctrl+Tab to step through the open views. This requires the plan or elevation view to already be open. Additionally, the Section Box will become deselected if you step into another project or family.

Another option is to open the plan or elevation view and then right-click on the 3D view in the Project Browser as shown in the image below. Any 3D or Camera view with Section Box checked will show this option.

Once selected, you can drag a side to be more accurately centered on a wall (in plan) or above/below a floor (in elevation).
When the Section Box is selected, in a plan view, use the rotate command. The angled element in the next two images is a good example of when rotating a Section Box can be helpful.
 In this example, the floor cut aligns with the element and the adjacent columns are excluded.
Another great way to leverage the Section Box tool is via the Selection Box command. Select one or more elements, as in the image below, and then click the Selection Box command.
The result is your default 3D view is opened and the Section Box is turned on and adjusted around the selected elements as shown in the next image.
In general, I like to think of this as a “throw-away” Section Box. Seeing as it is applied to the default 3D view, I am guessing that was the developers intent as well. When done with this Section Box, just turn it off. A view does not remember a previous position of an adjusted Section Box… thus, whenever it is toggled back on, it will reset to align with the extents of the model. If you want to save a Section Box adjustment, for future review, or to place on a sheet, simply make a copy of the default 3D view.
 Of course, the Section Box can be adjusted as needed,,,
If the cropped view will be placed on a sheet you may want to turn off the Section Box visibility via Visibility/Graphics Overrides.
As long as the original element(s) is within the Section Box, it is possible to use the Displace Elements command to preposition items outside of the Section Box as shown in the image below.
Finally, the Section Box can be used to save a lot of time when rendering a still image in Revit. I talked about this in the ArchVision webinar... click here to see my post about that and watch the recording.