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Numeric Value for Dimension Override

Numeric Value for Dimension Override

Please allow us to enter anything we want into dimension overrides. When we attempt to replace dimension text with another dimension value, we get the following dialog:

dimension dialog.png

We are the designer, we should be able to enter anything we want with no limit. We use dimensions in details and details often are not or cannot reasonably be drawn to scale.


There is a workaround, here, but we shouldn't need a workaround.


This goes against everything BIM. Why would you not draw/model things accurately?


@mhiserZFHXS, A drafted detail is not BIM. It's a detail. It may not be drawn to scale; drawing it to scale may not make sense for many details. Example: suppose I need to draw something that's 20' long, but I only have 'details' or notes about what's going on at each end. I may draw the item only 5' long, with or without a break drawn in the middle, but want to label the 20' dimension.

Besides: it's my opinion that Autodesk shouldn't limit what a user can do unless it somehow interferes with or is necessary for software functionality. Maybe something is 10' long but I want to tag it 5'. Maybe that's nonsense. But it's my nonsense to make as the end user.


I mean I guess I understand the user-freedom argument, though I disagree with it.


You know you can split a detail right? So you can draw the whole thing and then cut out the middle portion so it doesn't take up as much room, and the dimension will still read correctly.


I agree with @mhiserZFHXS that this should not be added to Revit as native functionality as this can become an issue on the whole if available everywhere and user start changing any dimension they want.


The other option would be to add the crop box to drafting details to allow one to break it and move the segments closer the same way a called out detail works.


Also the workaround (often used to make two sheets have the same number) by typing what you want then right clicking in the text field then clicking "Insert UNICODE control character" and then selecting "US Unit Separator" at the bottom of the list is a good way to accomplish this if absolutely needed as it is not a single step thing and thus someone really needs intent to do it.


@mhiserZFHXS, I'm referring to Drafting Views. I do not believe you can split a drafting view. Though that would be nice.


We'll just have to agree to disagree on the user-freedom argument. I'm firmly in the camp of letting the end user have ultimate control of what is displayed whenever possible. Even in my families that do automatic calculations: I have built in functionality to allow the user to override the calculated value, even if it makes no sense whatsoever. Garbage in = garbage out.


I agree that not everything looks good at scale. In structural sections, we often need to show some blowup of a particular spot and it's just far easier to draw it off to the side as detail lines with not-to-scale dimensions saying what we want it to be than it is to make a whole other drafting view at a different scale, put it on the page next to the section we're detailing, and then either reference it as a different callout or hide the view title and make it "look" like part of our main section. The other common case is when X and Y scales will be dramatically different, such as the hook dimensions on a long rebar dowel. You need an overall dimension on the length, but if you use a reasonable scale for the length, then the relatively small end condition will all but disappear. That's also a fairly common practice in steel shop drawings where the beams are rarely drawn to scale because all the holes and copes at key points along the beam would be illegible at a scale that worked with the beam length. A good policy change would be to allow dimension overrides in drafting views since they are by definition not tied to the spatial model.


@jasonmccool8686 I would think there needs to be some sort of indication that the numeric value has been overridden from the user's point of view for this to be practical. 

With that said, here is one workaround, use a font that doesn't support symbols or alt codes as they won't show up in the dimensioning.

The top line is the correct dimension.

The middle line is an overridden dimension that supports symbols etc.

The bottom line uses a font that hides the symbol etc.

Screenshot 2023-01-11 133203.jpg



I mostly agree with @mhiserZFHXS here as it can be dangerous to allow overriding of dimensions with custom numerical values. Whilst I generally do not like overly restrictive limitations to our workflows, I can easily see this getting out of hand in larger offices and I am grateful this is one less thing to worry about. So I would not want to see this implemented.


However, @scbunker is absolutely correct that there are times where elements and dimensions in a detail cannot be represented to true scale. This is not new, but rather than trying to "hack" the built-in dimension tool I see two better options (at least for me):

  1. Instead of drafting views, use detail views with the Display Model property set to "Do not display" which, for most intents and purposes, turns them into drafting views. Now you can crop/break these views to your heart's content.
  2. If you must use a drafting view (eg. company standard details) then you could create your own loadable 2d component which replicates the graphics of your dimension style. I did this as a line-based detail item and both the label and tick are nested generic annotations so that the detail item will appear correct at all scales. The label's position/offset can be altered numerically and the custom value is an instance parameter (mine is a text parameter as I often use it for labelling zones and setbacks etc.). Also if you were to use a shared parameter for the custom value, you could then schedule all instances of these components and their values within a project and thereby making it easier to manage and find them compared to dimensions that have been overridden.

Scale 1:100




Scale 1:50




@Joey_JM, I like your ideas there. I don't know how often I would use the detail view with the model turned off approach, but that does open up some new possibilities like you said, and it's always nice to have alternate workflows available, so I'm making a note about that one. Thanks!
I really like the idea of creating a "fake" dimension family since that also addresses another frequent aggravation: text overrides in dimensions getting reset to the actual dimension when something changes. A lot of times I'm using a dimension to convey the extents of some textual instruction but then the model changes a bit and the text override still applies but Revit wipes it out and a lot of critical information is actually lost. I might have a dimension saying "boundary nailing @ 3" o.c. this zone" that then gets reset to a dimension of 50'-0", for instance, which is not nearly as important to convey and is probably redundant with another dimension anyway. With a detail component "dimension" family, I could use that in not-to-scale drafting views, but also in live views to show extents of instructions, etc. without worrying about the dimension override getting reset as the model changes, especially if I've dimensioned to something in a linked-in model. Then the native dimension functionality stays separate for actual dimensions and all the stuff we're trying to do in spite of Revit stays separate as a detail component. Thanks!


The only way I could see this ever be acceptable is if it can ONLY be done in drafting views, and once a faked dimension is placed, the drawing is indicated as not-to-scale. Heck, I'd even force the specific dimension to have some forced indication that it has been modified, but I'd probably lose some people on that.


I am 100% opposed to ever being able to use fake dimensions when model elements are shown in a drawing. Once Revit gives this option in views that show the actual model, it completely destroys the purpose of 3D modeling. You're supposed to be able to rely on the fact that what is modeled is the same in every view. Having dimensions that can be modified willy-nilly on a user's whim eviscerates that reliability. Even if a user or firm supposedly doesn't use this, you can never be sure just by the fact that it'd be an option.

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