10 Tips to Understand Revit Scope Boxes

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Many users completely ignore the scope box tool. It's understandable, as these green boxes look a little silly and can be annoying. That said, the moment you start working on larger projects with multiple wings, scope boxes are a must. Controlling the crop region of multiple views becomes incredibly simple. Managing the extents of levels and grids is also much easier.

The tips below contain everything you need to understand and master scope boxes. Make sure to watch the video if you prefer.

1- SCOPE BOXES ARE CREATED IN PLAN VIEWS BUT ARE VISIBLE IN OTHER VIEW CATEGORIES

To create a Scope Box, you have to be in either a Plan View or in a Reflected Ceiling Plan. However, once a scope box is created, it is going to be visible in the other view categories: sections, callouts, elevations and 3D views. In elevations and sections, the scope box is only going to be visible if it intersects the cut line. You can adjust the extents of the scope box in all view categories.

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2- SCOPE BOXES ARE USED TO QUICKLY CROP VIEWS

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Consider this office building renovation project. The area affected is in the middle of the building. You want the views to be cropped to fit the red rectangle.

The thing is: you have a lot of views to create. Existing floor plan. Demolished floor plan. New floor plan. Ceilings. Finishes. Layout. All in all, you’ll have about 10 views that need the exact same crop region.

An archaic workflow would be to manually adjust the crop region of each view. That would probably work. But what if the project changes and the area affected gets bigger? You have to adjust all the crops again?

That’s when the power of scope boxes come into play. Go to the View tab and create a Scope Box. Match it to your intervention area. Give it a name.

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Have a look at the Instance Properties of your plan view. Under Extents, you will find the Scope Box parameter. Assign the scope box you’ve just created to the plan view.

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As you see, the Crop Region of the view now perfectly matches the scope box limits. The blue dots that can usually be used to modify the crop region are now invisible: that’s because you can’t modify it.

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Now, apply the scope box to all the views that will be using this crop. To save time, select all the views in the project browser by holding the CTRL key.

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Look at all these views, sharing the exact same perfect crop. Isn’t it beautiful? Adjusting the new Scope Box will affect all these views.

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3- VIEWS WITH A SCOPE BOX CAN'T BE UNCROPPED

The moment a scope box is assigned to a view, the Crop Region is locked and can’t be modified. Also, you can’t use the Do Not Crop View tool. To see the whole project in a view, you’ll have to create a different plan or remove the scope box temporarily. 

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4- ROTATING SCOPE BOX ALSO ROTATE CROP REGION

In addition to controling the extents of a crop region, a scope box can also be used to control the angle of a view. In the project below, a scope box is created and rotated to fit the angled shape of the building. Then, the view is duplicated and the extents are assigned to the new scope box. The crop region is automatically adjusted to fit the angle. Removing the scope box from a view will revert the crop angle back to default.

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5- ADJUST SCOPE BOX HEIGHT IN THE OPTIONS BAR

Have a look at the option bar when creating a scope box: you can give a specific name and enter a height value. This is your only chance to give a specific value number to the height.

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Scope boxes can only be created in plan views, but they can be adjusted in elevation, sections and 3D views. If you didn’t set the correct height value when initially created, drag the blue arrows to adjust.

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6- SCOPE BOXES ARE USED TO AVOID A MESS WITH LEVELS AND GRIDS

Managing the visibility and extends of levels and grids can be a nightmare. On projects with many levels, getting the grids to share the same extends is complicated. 

That’s where scope boxes come into play. Scope boxes are used to control the extents of elements like grids, levels and reference planes. Each of these elements can be assigned to a specific scope box, limiting the 3D extents to the dashed green line limit.

In the example below we assign all the grids to a scope box. The 3D extents of all grids are now the exact same. That also includes the bottom and top elevation value of the grid.

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7- SCOPE BOXES AFFECT 3D EXTENTS BUT NOT 2D

3D extents affect all views in the model and are represented by an open blue circle.

2D extents affect a single view and are represented by a blue dot.

When you assign a scope box to datum elements, the 3D extents will become locked to the limits of the scope box. Dragging the open blue circle won’t work. However, you can adjust the blue dots to modify the 2D extents of the grid.

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8- AN AUTOMATIC GAP BETWEEN 2D AND 3D EXTENTS IS CREATED AFTER SECTION BOX IS ASSIGNED

You learned that 2D extents are not affected by scope boxes. However, when you assign a scope box to datum elements, Revit will automatically create a small gap between the 2D and 3D extents. This is to provide better default visibility to the levels and grids values. 

In the example below, the grid default 2D extension seems overextended. At the same time, the levels are too close to the building for proper clarity. Drag the blue dots to resolve the issue.

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9- USE "PROPAGATE EXTENTS" TO SHARE 2D EXTENTS

Using Scope Boxes resolves the issue of inconsistent 3D extents among multiple levels and grids. However, it doesn’t solve the issue of 2D extents disparity among multiple views. In the example below, the datum elements are adjusted in Elevation 1 but remain problematic in Elevation 2.

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To solve the issue, select all datum elements in Elevation 1 and click on Propagate Extents. Check Elevation 2 in the list. The 2D extents will become identical among both views.

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10- RESET 2D EXTENTS TO GO BACK TO DEFAULT

Maybe you messed up the 2D extents and you want to go back to default. Select the Datum element and use the right-click menu. Click on Reset to 3D Extents. The grid 2D extents will go back to the initial position after you first assigned the Scope Box. That means you will revert to the automatic gap that was described in tip #8.

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This behavior is specific to scope boxes: if you use the Reset to 3D Extents tool to an element without a Scope Box, the 2D extents will perfectly match the 3D extents.

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Did you like these tips? Revit Pure’s got more for you! Learn about the use of scope boxes for 3D views, for datum visibility and how to integrate the tool in a template. Download the brand new, free seasonal publication here.

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