BILT Speaker

BILT Speaker
RevitCat - Revit Consultant

Monday 23 September 2019

Inconsistent Units Settings UI in Revit

There are several very different ways of getting to Units Settings in the Revit User Interface.  Most of them are not very intuitive - and certainly they are totally different from each other.

Project Unit Settings

There are 3 different icons on the 'Manage' ribbon, depending on your screen resolution and size:

Largest resolution or screen
 If you are operating on a laptop or low resolution, the icon automatically reduces in size, and you may or may not get a text description:
Medium resolution or screen

Smallest resolution or screen

Once you click on the Project Units icon it takes you to the units dialog box, which has a list of different kinds of units:

Once you choose a particular unit type, it gives the project-wide 'Format' settings for that type.  Since this is the project settings, the checkbox at the top is greyed out.   Some of the checkboxes are related only to imperial measurements so would always be greyed out for metric users.

This dialog box is the one common UI that appears for all methods of accessing units - but different items are greyed out in each situation that the dialog box appears.

Dimension Units

  • Select a Dimension in the project 
  • Click on Edit Type

  • Click on the Units Setting property
  • This takes you to the Units Format dialog box where you can override the project settings
Alternatively you can access this units dialog box from the Annotation ribbon:
  • Click on the Dimensions drop-down arrow
  • Select the kind of dimension you want

Schedule Units Settings

  • In the Schedule Properties, go to the 'Formatting' tab
  • Select a field (on the left)
  • Click on the 'Field Format...' button on the right

  • Once you click on this, you get the standard Units dialog box
  • Typically the 'Use default settings' checkbox is ticked 
  • You can untick it if you want to over-ride the project settings

Tag Units Settings

Refer to Revit's Most Hidden Commands (part 2) for more detail on this.  It is quite tricky to find this setting:

  • Edit the tag family
  • Select and Edit a label

  • The parameter in the label may look like it is selected (on the left), but it is probably not
  • Select the relevant parameter (on left, even though it shows on the right)

  • The 'Properties' icon (a hand) will be enabled
  • Click on it

  • Finally you get to the units settings, which is normally defaulted to 'Use project settings'
  • It is not possible to get to this unit override setting within the project environment (unlike dimensions and schedules)


Here we have at least 4 completely different ways to access Revit units settings:

Method 1 (Ribbon in the project ):

Method 2 (Dimension Type properties in the project ):


Method 3 (Schedule formatting properties in the project ):

Method 4 (Tag properties in the Family Editor ):

Why does something so simple have to be so inconsistent, and complicated ?

Tuesday 3 September 2019

Reveal Obstacles in Path of Travel - Revit 2020.1

Revit 2020.1 Enhancement

If you place a 'Path of Travel' using the new (in Revit 2020) feature, you may encounter a situation like that shown below, where the path appears to go through an object that should be an obstruction - such as the path through sofa example below:


In addition to other Revit 2020.1 enhancements to the Path of Travel feature  - Move Start/End Points, we have a new tool that may help you out:

Reveal Obstacles in Path of Travel -

This is useful for figuring out why your path of travel is not behaving as expected. 
  • On the Analyze toolbar, click on 'Reveal Obstacles'

  • This temporarily changes the view display to show in orange all categories that represent obstacles to the path.
In the example below (Autodesk sample file), some items are not shown orange
  • The doors are not obstacles because that category is excluded
  • Some furniture is not shown in orange (obstacle) because they are below the cut plane for calculation.  The reason is that the model is split level, and the living area is 500mm lower than the rest of the house - refer to Analysis Zone follow up for more detail on Split Levels and calculation heights.
  • In the case of the large sofa family, one part of the component shows orange - this is the high back.  This demonstrates that Revit actually analyses the geometry of elements, not just a bounding box for each component - which is a good thing.

As the sofa is much lower than the main floor level, only the back projects up into the analysis zone.
  • If the sofa is raised by 200mm (8"), then the sides of the sofa also project into the zone - they become obstacles, and hence turn orange (it may not be immediate - see glitches listed below).

However, the path itself does not change - you have to select it and click on 'Update Path' for that to happen;  then the path will go around the sides of the sofa.

Obstacle Settings

If you go the the Route Analysis Settings, you can add or remove obstacles by category - for example add Furniture and Casework categories to the list that are not obstacles

Initially nothing happens, but when you update the path it will no longer avoid those categories.  These will no longer be highlighted in orange by the 'Reveal Obstacles setting

Furniture no longer an obstacle

Casework category no longer an obstacle - path not yet updated

NB. There is some unexpected behaviour that can occur with the 'Reveal Obstacles' feature:
  • If you already have 'Reveal Obstacles' mode on when you go into the 'Route Analysis' settings, then change the categories - Reveal Obstacles does not update the categories displayed orange/grey (you need to turn it off then on again for a refresh).
  • If Reveal Obstacles mode is on, and you try to select an element:
    • Initially it will highlight all of the obstacles as one item;  select it and you get Analysis results Properties (see below for more details)
    • if you tab select, it highlights a component, but still considers it part of the analysis result;  Select it and you get Analysis Result listed but without any properties;
    • Tab again and it finally selects just the element - you can then change its properties;  However, the Reveal Obstacles highlighting is not updated even when it should be - eg. if the sofa height is changed to 500mm so that the whole sofa becomes an obstacle, the sofa does not turn orange (when it should).
  • If you select the whole analysis result, you get shown properties for the Analysis Result.
  • It is not immediately clear what these properties are for.
  • If you click on the 'Edit..' button (Results Visibility), as you would be tempted to do, you get some more mysterious properties
  •  Make the dialog box a fraction wider, and one of the headings shows in full:  'Analysis Display Style' - it has a hidden button to the right of <By View>

  • Click on the hidden button to reveal the Display Style dialog

  • You can play around with the text and arrowhead settings
  • And go to the Legend Tab
  • Click on 'Show Legend'
  • The end result means not much to me, but I'm sure it has a purpose
Arrowheads and legend displayed
  •  You can move the legend on the view, if that is what you need

I am guessing that these analysis display settings are for some other kind of analysis, but have been enabled here too?
  • I am not going down that rabbit hole today!


Sadly, useful as this new feature is, it does not address fundamental shortcomings - such as what you need to do when Revit fails to generate (or update) a path at all.

We need more help to be able to deal with that situation, as the Warning dialog box is not at all helpful!