Revit Architecture: Showing overhead lines on your plans

There are many situations when you need to show the outline or boundary of overhead elements, on your plan views. Some typical scenarios are the include the outline of the perimeter of the roof, the outline of an entrance canopy, roof light positions, etc.

We could of course just draw these on the appropriate floor plan views using Detail Lines, which would certainly get the job done. However, this method is not very BIM-like! And I say that because that method would mean that you would be responsible for tracking any changes to the size / location of the overhead element and changing the Detail Lines accordingly. Thankfully within Revit there is a far more elegant solution to this problem- and that is the Linework tool.

Let’s run through an example to see how it’s done……

Here is my simple building- a single storey building with an overhanging pitched roof.



So let’s say I want to show the outline of the roof on my ground floor plan. First of all I need to open the ground floor plan…..



and now I need to set it’s Underlay to show the roof element. So I change the “Underlay” parameter (you find this is the Properties Palette) to the Level where your roof (or roof light, canopy, etc) resides. In this example my roof element is at Level 1….


Once I do this, my roof element become visible in the ground floor plan…..



Now it’s at this point where I could just trace over the perimeter edges of the roof with Detail Lines. STOP! Don’t do that. Let’s use the Linework tool to change the line style of the perimeter edges- so that they still appear even after we’ve turned the Underlay off.

You can find the Linework tool on the Modify menu….

overheadlines_05Once you select this tool, you get a choice of line styles from a drop down menu. Let’s go ahead and select the Overhead line style….



With this line style selected, all I need to do is click on each line that I want to apply this style to- which is all the lines that make up the perimeter of the roof boundary. In the image below you can see the lines that I’ve changed on the left….


I just need to go around the rest of the perimeter and apply the “Overhead” line style. Once I have done this I can change the Underlay parameter (in the Properties palette) back to None. Our floor plan will then look like this….



Now the real strength of this method is that any changes to the roof element itself will result in this dashed boundary changing accordingly. Remember: The dashed lines that you are seeing in  this plan are actually the edges of the roof element. It is just that now they are set to be visible rather than hidden.


If you’re new to Revit Architecture, you may be interested in my freeComplete Beginner’s Guide to Revit Architecture84 part video tutorial course.¬†

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