In this Autodesk Revit tutorial I am going to show you how to use the Array tool to create both Linear and Radial Arrays. If you’d like to watch the video version of this tutorial(before reading the article), you can do so by clicking in the box below
Before we get stuck into creating our Arrays, let’s first explain the difference between the two types of Arrays we can create with this tool. When you got to create an Array in Revit you have the choice between forming a Linear Array or a Radial Array.
- Linear Array: This is where you take an element and repeat it (i.e. array it) along a straight path.
- Radial Array: This is where you take an element and repeat it (i.e. array it) around a pivot point- i.e. in an arc.
In this tutorial I will show you how to create both types. Let’s start with a Linear Array first. In the image below you can see (in a Floor Plan View) we have a single desk at position (1). Lets say we want 4 more desks, equally spaced to the right hand side. Now we could simply copy the desk 4 times. But the scenario we have here is ideal for creating an Array.
Go ahead and select the desk. This is our source element. Now select the “Modify” menu (1) and then nested within the “Copy” drop-down menu (2) you will find the “Array” tool (3). Go ahead and click on this:
Now before we go any further, let’s take a really good look at the Options Bar
Taking each of our options in turn (with reference to the above image)….
- Linear / Radial Array toggle: This is where you tell Revit whether you wish to create a Linear or Radial Radial. Click on the left hand icon for a Linear Array, or the icon on the right for a Radial Array.
- Group and Associate: This checkbox allows you to decide whether the final set of elements (AFTER you have completed the Array operation) acts as a unified Group. The vast majority of the time you will want them to- hence this option is checked by default. More on what this actually means later.
- The total number of elements you want in your finished Array. Note: This “includes” the original source object in the total number.
- Move To: You can toggle this between “2nd” and “Last”- it’s one or the other. Are you going to specify the “overall” distance between the first and last object in your linear array, OR are you going to specify the distance between the first and second object- if you do so, all the other distances between each object will match this.
- Constrain: Do you want the movement of your cursor to be constrained when setting the distance between objects- see (4) above.
We have already said we want 5 desks in our array- so go ahead and enter “5” into the “Number” box on the Options Bar (see 1, in the above image). For the purposes of this tutorial we are going to set the distance between the FIRST and LAST elements in our array,; and then let Revit space the remaining elements equally in between. With this in mind, ensure the “Move To” toggle is set to “Last” (2). We are now ready to set the distance between the FIRST AND LAST element positions. With reference to the image below, first click on the lower right hand corner of the source element (1) and then move your cursor to the right and click at a point (2) to set a distance of 11,000mm, The distance between the two points is always presented to you by the blue temporary dimension:
As soon as you click the second point (2, in the image above), Revit creates the Linear Array:
Notice that the total number of elements in the array is 5. This is confirmed by the value in the type-in box, hovering over the line of desks- see the image above. You can change this value and Revit will add or remove elements as appropriate- always keeping them equally spaced. Click anywhere else in the window to deselect the Array. Once deselected, the array icon (the horizontal line linking the elements) disappears and you are just left with the resultant elements:
Once your array is created you can come back to it at any time and change the number of elements and even it’s orientation. We are going to do that now. Go ahead and reselect the array be clicking on it:
You can change the number of elements in the array simply by entering a new value in the type-in box that hovers just above the elements- (2) in the above image. You can change the positional relationship between the elements- they do NOT have to be in a straight line. Go ahead and click on the fourth desk in the array (1, in the above image) and drag it upwards in the view:
Notice how Revit then maintains the spatial relationship between all the elements in the array. You created a “step” in the layout of the elements- so Revit applies this “step” between all the elements. Let’s now move onto “Radial” Arrays. We are again going to use a desk for this example. In the image below you can see the single source element at position (1). We are going to create a Radial Array of desk- creating a total of 8 elements:
As before, first pick the element you wish to Array and then choose “Array” from the “Modify” menu. This time you need to toggle the array type to “Radial” on the Options Bar
In the image above you’ll notice that the right hand side of the Options Bar changes to give you options that are only applicable to Radial arrays- the “Angle” you wish to arrayed elements to inhabit; and an option to change the location of the “Centre of Rotation”. More on this right now. If we take a look at the selected element you can see that it looks just like an element that is about to be “Rotated”- i.e. it has a Pivot Point (or “Centre of Rotation”) and an “Rotation Angle Reference Line”. However in this case, these control the Array as a whole.
In the above image you can see that the Pivot Point for the proposed array is in the centre of the source object. This is no good to us. All that would happen (if we formed this array) is that the desks would all be superimposed upon one another- just at different angles. What we need to do is relocate that Pivot Point. Either drag it to a new location with your cursor OR hit “Place” on the Options Bar and then click in your View to choose another location. Either way, relocate the Pivot Point to the right of the desk:
You can now set the rest of the parameters on the Options Bar. Set the number of elements in the array to 8. And set the angle through which the array will be created to 360 degrees. This tells Revit that we want the arrayed elements to make a complete circular pattern:
After you have entered “360” into the “Angle” box, go ahead and hit “Enter” on your keyboard to accept this value. Revit immediately creates the Radial Array- and leaves it selected in the active view:
Notice how the radius of the array is displayed (1)- you can click on this value and enter a new radius if you wish. Also the number of elements in the array is displayed, just as with the Linear array type. Again, just click in here to change the number of elements.
- Arrays can either be Linear or Radial- you choose the type on the Options Bar once you have activated the Array tool
- Linear Arrays: Either set the distance to the SECOND element, OR set the overall distance between the total number of elements.
- If you wish to make future adjustments to your Arrays, ensure you check the “Group and Associate” option at the time of creation
- If you wish for your arrayed elements to act independently of each other (once the array is complete)- UNCHECK the “Group and Associate” option at the time of creation.