Revit Architecture: An introduction to Revit Walls

Revit Architecture: An introduction to Revit Walls

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on BIMSCAPE's blog and re-published here with permission.


Walls are arguably one of the most important elements of any building. As such, the Wall Tool is a prominent function of Autodesk Revit Architecture. In this tutorial, I show you how to create Wall elements- including how to control their placement both horizontally (Location Lines) and vertically (Top / Base Constraints)

Unit Agenda

  1. Walls are a System Family
  2. Main Wall Groups
  3. Creating a Basic Wall
  4. Wall Location Lines
  5. Adjusting the height of your walls
  6. Creating new Wall Types
  7. Clockwise convention
  8. Changing the direction of your walls

Walls are a System Family

In the previous Unit, I introduced the concept of System Families. System Families are created by Revit at the time you need them. They can only exist within the the Project in which you create them. This is fundamentally different from Component Families which can be saved as individual, distinct files outside of any Revit Project.

Main Wall Groups

When you select “Walls” from the Architecture menu, the Properties Palette  “Type Selector” (at the top of the palette) will change to allow you access all the different wall types available to you. Just take a second to click on the Type Selector and have a look at the types available. Please Note: The types that you see when you do this will depend on the Revit Template (.RTE) files that you are using. As you scroll down the list of available types, notice that they are split into 3 different Groups. The Group headings are shown with a grey background strip. The 3 Groups are Basic Wall, Curtain Wall and Stacked Wall. I’m going to explain what each Group is below:

The first Group is “Basic Wall“. These are the wall types that you are probably going to end up using most of the time. This Group contains your ‘usual’ cavity walls, internal partitions, etc:


The second Group is “Curtain Wall“. These wall types allow you to create (for example) “modular facades”. They allow you to create walls which can be subdivided (both vertically and horizontally) into separate panels. Curtain Walls play host to Curtain Grids and also Mullions. In a separate Unit I will show you the basics of Curtain Walls and how to create them.


The last of the Wall Type Groups is “Stacked Wall“. These Wall Types are fundamentally just “containers” for a number of other Wall Types”  The Wall Types within a Stacked Wall  “container” are stacked vertically. Stacked Walls are really useful where you design contains walls that change type at different heights. (I cover Stacked Walls in great detail in the “Ultimate Guide to Revit Walls” Course.)


Creating a Basic Wall


OK, so let’s create some basic walls. First ensure that you are in a Floor Plan view. Your choice of Floor Plan should match the Level that you wish the base of the wall to start from. Now switch to the “Architecture” menu and hit “Wall” on the “Build” panel.


As soon as you hit “Wall” the Options bar will change and should appear similar to the image above.  Via this Bar, you have quick access to options for setting the height of your wall, the Location Line position (discussed below), whether you wish to draw a chain of wall segments (without having to activate Wall before placing each segment), whether you wish an offset to be applied to the wall position (relative to your cursor position) and (lastly!) whether you need to apply a radius to your wall segment- useful for curved fillets.


At the same time that the Options bar changes, the Properties Palette does too. You will now have access to all the Wall Types available in your current project. Remember, these will be divided into three distinct groups- Basic Wall, Curtain Walland Stacked Wall types. The currently selected Wall Type will be displayed in the Type Selector, at the top of the Properties Palette- See above image.


Be sure to change the Wall Type to the one you want, if it is not currently selected. You can now click in the floor plan view to designate the start point of your wall. After your initial click, more your cursor to define the direction and length of the first wall segment. Note how Revit present temporary dimensions to help you gauge the length of the wall you are defining (see above image)

Wall Location Lines


One important decision you will need to make (ideally) before placing your Wall segments is which Location Line setting are you going to use. Your range of options is shown in the above image. The drop-down selector can be accessed either from the Options Bar or the Properties palette. So what exactly is this Location Line parameter? Well,

Adjusting the height of your walls

To control and adjust the height of your wall elements you have a number of Instance Parameters. To access these just select an instance (i.e. a single element) of wall within your model and then examine the Properties Palette:


I’ll now run through each of these parameters (see the image above) in turn:-

  1. Base Constraint: You can choose from a drop-down list, any of the Levels currently in your model- to define the height of the top of your Wall instance
  2. Top Constraint: You can choose from a drop-down list, any of the Levels currently in your model to define the height of the base of your Wall instance
  3. Base Offset: This is a finite numeric value (either positive or negative) that is added to the height of the BASE of your wall (as set by the “Base Constraint” parameter.
  4. Top Offset: This is a finite numeric value (either positive or negative) that is added to the height of the TOP of your wall (as set by the “Top Constraint” parameter.

You set these parameters on a per-instance basis (i.e. selecting each segment of Wall in turn) or select multiple instances of Wall and then change their parameters all in one go.

Creating new Wall Types


To create your new Wall Types (which is something you will most certainly need to do) you simply select an existing Wall Type (that is closest to what you are trying to achieve) and then hit “Edit Type”.

Before you do anything else, now hit the “Duplicate” button and create your own new Type. Remember to give it a name that is both descriptive and meaningful. Once you have created a new Wall Type, go ahead and change it’s Type Parameters (including it’s Layers) as required.

Clockwise convention


In Revit, Walls are frequently asymmetrical. Consequently this means that they have a “direction” and as such it does make a difference as to how you define them in your model. The convention is that you should define (or “draw” for want of a better expression) your Walls in Revit in a clockwise direction. Take the image above: If we want to put these 4 walls into Revit, it doesn’t matter which one we start with-  but as we are clicking to define our start and end points (and let’s assume we have “Chain” turned on) we need to make sure we’re doing so in a clockwise order. This will ensure that the outside layers of our walls are indeed on the outsides of the building.

Changing the direction of your walls


If you happen to have drawn your walls in the wrong direction (see “Clockwise Direction” above) they will (in effect) be inside out! If you have done this (and you will at some point!), don’t worry. Simply select the wall elements in question and (once selected) you will see a small double arrow icon (see the image above). Click on this icon and the wall will “hand” itself (i.e. reverse the order of it’s layers from inside to out)

Key Points

  1. In Revit, Walls are System Families.
  2. You control their height by use of Instance Parameters
  3. You can create your own new Wall Types by taking an existing one and “Edit Type” and “Duplicate”

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on BIMSCAPE's blog and re-published here with permission.

Sketching Tangent Lines

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