Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frequent thoughts: setting the workplane

I'm going to try and start posting about a few things that pop frequently in my mind. I'm sure you can relate to this feeling, where you wonder why Revit does or doesn't do something a certain way. Here we go...

I find myself wanting to set the workplane very frequently by selecting a face of an object while modeling or making modifications while in a 3d view. A typical use case would be to place a dimension on a vertical surface: set the workplane to a vertical surface and then place your dimension between two perpendicular references. However Revit forces you to make another click to pick that option. For a tool that I find myself using the same option 95% of the time, this is quite annoying, especially when you need to do this multiple times in a row. I really wish you could simply invoke the set workplane tool with that as the default option.

The massing environment actually offers this exact functionality, where the set workplane tool expects the user to pick a surface by default and gives you the other options as "overrides" on the Options bar. So, why don't we get this in the project environment too??

On a related note, one thing I recently discovered when using this tool is that if you pick an object's face as your workplane and then rotate that object, Revit puts the center of rotation at the centroid of that surface. So if you're in a 3d view and want to rotate an asymmetrical object about the center of one of its faces, make sure to set the workplane to that face first and then rotate easily without having to adjust the center of rotation.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Dave--

I agree that we have too many clicks for set workplane. I hope we fix that someday. One thing you could try is this:
1. In Keyboard Shortcuts, delete the PP shortcut for the Properties Palette toggle (it can also be toggled with Ctrl+1 and VP).
2. Assign PP to Set Workplane.
3. Now, whenever you want to set the workplane by picking a face, you can type PPP+Enter.
Does that same time? Not sure, but it does involve less mouse moving and fewer mouse clicks!

Dave Baldacchino said...

Thanks Trey, I'm a big fan of keyboard shortcuts. I do something very similar to your suggestion. My shortcut is set to SW for Set Workplane. Then I either press Enter or click the Ok button on the dialog to start picking.

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