Autodesk Revit: Rotating Elements

In this Autodesk Revit tutorial I am going to explain the use of the “Rotate” tool. If you’d like to watch the video version of this tutorial, you can do so by clicking in the window below…..



In order to demonstrate the Rotate tool we need some things to rotate! In the image below you can see that we have a very simple model- 3 wall instances, 3 window instances and 1 desk. That’s all we need to work with……


So let’s go ahead and rotate something. We’ll start with the desk first. Select the desk. Now select “Rotate” from the “Modify / Furniture” panel…..



Now that we have selected an object for rotation, let’s just take a second to look at the object itself…..



I want you to note 2 things (with reference to the image above):-

  1. The Pivot point (or centre of rotation): This will be the point at the centre of rotation, regardless ofd the angle you rotate it by. This point can be “anywhere” in your model- it doe not necessarily need to be located on the element itself. The default location for the pivot point is the centre of the element that is to be rotated. Later in the tutorial, I’ll show you how to relocate the pivot point, prior to actually rotating the object.
  2. The “Rotation Line Reference”. You can almost think of this as a big handle by which you rotate the object, by pulling it around.
Let’s go ahead and rotate the desk. To do so is a “2 click” operation. With reference to the image below: First of all click in the active window to set the start angle (1). It doesn’t really matter what angle the Reference Line (1, below) is set at to start- the important thing is the angle between the START and END positions of this line. With the start angle set (horizontal in the view in this example) move you cursor clockwise to set the DESTINATION angle (2, below). Note how the angle between the start and finish Angular Reference Lines is always displayed (3, below)…..





With regards setting the rotation angle- you basically have 3 choices:-

  1. Set it by: Just move your cursor clockwise (or ant0clockwise) in the active view and click your mouse but to set the angle and rotate the object accordingly.
  2. Use other objects to snap to- for both the start and end angles.
  3. Enter the exact angle of rotation by simply typing it on your keyboard AFTER you have first clicked to set the start angle. In the image below you can see that I have typed “42” after setting the start angle. As soon as I hit ENTER on my keyboard, the desk will be rotated exactly 42 degrees from whatever start angle I defined….


In the image below you can see the desk in it’s final rotated position…..




That was a very simple rotation. Let’s now look at the more advanced options you have when rotating elements. As soon as you activate the “Rotate” command, you’ll see the following options available to you on the Options Bar….





Let’s take a look at each of these options in turn (please refer to the image above):-

  1. Disjoin: This allows you to to disjoin an element before it is rotated. For example you may wish to rotate a wall instance ┬áthat is currently joined to another. If you don’t ‘disjoin” the wall instance first, the second wall instance will stretch and/or rotate in order to maintain the join. You may or may not require this behaviour.
  2. Copy: When the object is rotated you have the option to leave a copy ofd the element in it’s original location. By default, this option is turned off.
  3. You can enter the angle of rotation straight into the Options Bar, in this box- or straight into active window- see earlier in this tutorial for instructions on how to do this.
  4. Centre of Rotation: You can use this button (“Place”) to relocate the Centre of Rotation. The default location for the Centre of Rotation is at the centre of the element itself.
With regards the Centre of Rotation, let’s take a look now at how we change it’s location. As we have already seen, when you first select an object for rotation, it’s centre of rotation defaults to the the centre of the elements. The centre of rotation is donated by a blue dot……


But what if we want the object to rotate about a different centre- maybe the corner of the desk or even somewhere not even close to the object. Well, we have 2 options:-

  1. Hover you cursor right over the blur dot itself and then click and hold your mouse button. Whilst still holding the mouse button, simply drag the pivot point (i.e. the centre of rotation) to a new location. It will automatically snap to corners, endpoints, junctions, etc.
  2. Use the “Centre of rotation: Place” button on the Options Bar- once you have activated the Rotate tool….


Simply hit the “Place” button on the toolbar and then move you cursor (in the active window) to the place where you would like it relocated to and then click. In the image below you can see that I’ve relocated the Pivot Point to the corner of the desk….



So now I can click to locate my start angle (1, below), and then make a second click (2) to locate my finish (or destination) angle (2, below). Note how the desk now pivots around it’s corner (3, below)….





In the image below you can see the desk in it’s new orientation, once we have rotated it….

Let’s now take a look at the “Disjoin” option. In the image below we want to rotate the vertical wall instance (highlighted in blue), about its endpoint. So once we have selected it, we can then reposition the Pivot Point to the end of the wall (1) and then make a first click to define the start angle (2)….


As I move my cursor (upwards in the view) to point (2), notice how Revit shows up a preview of where the object will be rotated to- as represented by the blue dashed bounding box (3, below). Go ahead a make a second click (at 2, below) to confirm the angle of rotation…


In the image below, we can see that the wall instance has been rotated by the angle we specified. Notice how Revit automatically maintains the junction between the two walls be stretching the horizontal wall to the left…..



But what if we didn’t want the horizontal wall to be stretched to the left. What if we actually wanted a gap between the two elements once we rotated the vertical wall? That’s where the “Disjoin” option comes into play. Going throughout the example again, that we have just undertaken- first select the vertical wall instance and then activate the “Rotate” tool. And now before you do anything else, check the “Disjoin” box on the Options Bar…..




Now when you rotate the wall, it’s junction (with the horizontal wall instance) is broken. This leaves it free to rotate by itself…

Key Points

  • Elements are rotated about a Pivot Point
  • The Pivot Point can be relocated either to another place in the object, or off it completely
  • A copy of the element can be left in the original location by checking the “Copy” box on the Options Bar.
This tutorial is taken from "The Complete Beginner's Guide to Revit Architecture" FREE online course.
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Posted in Autodesk Revit.