Lines versus groups

For those of you who have read my post on the linework tool in Revit “lines versus overrides“, you’ll know I rarely use it. It’s a handy tool to make errant lines disappear (using the <invisible> linetype) but apart from that I find it too unstable. Another area I was taught to use the linework tool was to display the extents of floors\roof above the plan I’m working on. It didn’t take long before I realized the same drawbacks applied here. Fortunately, because Autodesk products are designed to suit as many users as possible. There is almost always more than one way to do things. So I came up with another method.In my project file I always have a view dedicated to AutoCAD exporting for non-Revit users.  So as revisions and changes happen I need to resend floor plans for the these people to use as backgrounds. Also a typical project will have site plans, overall 1/8″ scale floor plan and 1/4″ scale quadrant plans, all for the main floor. It’s important to keep information coordinated between these view, if the linework edits are removed I need to redo the work on four plans.

Instead of using the linework tool, I use detail groups for my overhead lines. Detail groups act like AutoCAD blocks, when you change one block you change all the instances in the project. This a huge time saver. Here are the steps I use:

  1. In a reflected ceiling plan view, use the detail line tool with the “pick edge” option to quickly draw dashed lines on whatever you need to see in the floor plans.
  2. Select everything in the reflected ceiling plan and use the “filter” command to select only the dashed lines.
  3. Group the lines together and give them a name line “main floor overhead lines”.
  4. Switch to a plan view and find the detail group you created in the project navigator. It should be down at the bottom under the “Groups” heading.
  5. Drag the detail group onto the floor plan and use the “origin” snap. To make sure it is properly placed.
  6. Repeat step 5 in all you plan views you need the lines.

One of the benefits to this method is you can go back to your reflected ceiling plan and instantly see if you overhead lines need updating. If a floor has been changed the dashed line will show where the floor was. Just edit the detail group in the RCP view to the new layout and all the detail groups will update throughout the project.


  • It may also work to lock the detail lines to the floor edges so if the floor changes so will the linework. I haven’t tried it myself. I think you’ll just get constraint error when you try to edit the floor. Personally, I only use locks in families.
  • It may also be a good idea to pin the detail groups as you place them. I don’t but I’m a careful CADDer. I can see that this may also cause errors when you try to edit a group that has multiple instances pinned in other views. You might have to go and unpin all the instances first.

Well that’s all for today. Remember if there are any ideas you would like me to blog about leave me a comment on the blog or send me an email from my “Contact” page OR post a comment on my Facebook page.

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Revit and Building Information Modeling