How to Create an Array in Revit

Array in Revit is a valuable feature for creating multiple instances of one or more model elements at equal distances that can be managed simultaneously. You can use arrays to place multiple chairs in a project or for parametric families such as gutters with repeating brackets.

Arrays can be used inside projects and in families. There are mainly two types of Arrays available in Revit which are Linear and Radial. Each of these types has two methods for placing them. With the different options available you have the flexibility to change the number and spacing of the Arrays.

In this article, I will explain the fundamentals of an Array in Revit, how to create an Array inside a project, and how to create an Array inside parametric families.

Array in Revit

When you need to place repeating instances of one or more model elements at a specific distance from each other and manage them simultaneously in Revit, you can use the Array tool. This tool also allows you to change the distance between the model elements and the amount of repeating elements at any time.

There are mainly two types of Array in Revit: Linear and Radial. You can use the Linear Array to place elements along a straight path and the Radial Array to place elements along an arc path.

The Array tool can group and associate the elements you are selecting. In this case, you can always remove or add elements to the Array’s group. Note that, you cannot group model and view-specific elements together, but only as separate attached detail groups. Learn more about groups: Revit Groups – Everything you need to know.

array in revit
Example of Linear and Radial Array in project and family

Note

In Revit, there is a primary constraint when using Arrays. You must have a minimum of two repeating elements. Additionally, Revit sets a maximum limit of 200 elements in an Array. However, this maximum limit can be bypassed when the Array is driven by a formula in a parametric family.
array count

Create an Array in Revit

Now that we know what types of Arrays are available in Revit, we can create one for each type. As mentioned earlier, several options are available for placing Arrays, which you can set in the Options bar. The options you can choose from:

  • Group and Associate: Check this if you want to include the model elements of the Array in a group. Unchecking this option will result in an array with no element being grouped. This makes it difficult to manage later on.
  • Number: You can specify the number of copies inside your Array.
  • Move To:
    • 2nd: You can Define the space between the first and second elements. Where all subsequent elements are using the same spacing.
    • Last: You can Define the space between the first and last elements. Any remaining elements are evenly spread between them.
  • Constrain: This option allows you to constrain the movement of the Array elements along different vectors.
options bar

Note

When using the Array feature in Revit, the settings you made in the Options bar are saved for future use.

Type 1 – Linear Array

To create a Linear Array, open a view and make sure the model element(s) you want to create an Array for are placed correctly. Then, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Select the element(s)
  2. Open the Modify | <Element> tab > Modify panel
  3. Click Array (default shortcutRA)
linear array revit
  1. From the Options bar, click Linear
  2. Check Group and Associate, to group array members for future management
  3. Set the Number of copies
  4. Choose Move To: 2nd
  5. Click anywhere to create a starting point for the Array (Tip: use a snap point of an element)
  6. Move your cursor to create the desired distance between the elements and click once to place the second element. Alternative: Move the cursor to specify a dimension [A] and press Enter.
create linear array

When you click the second element or enter a dimension value, the resulting Array appears on screen instantly. By grouping the Array, we can easily make changes to its members in the future. You have the flexibility to adjust the distance between elements or the number of members.

linear array

Type 2 – Radial Array

To create a Radial Array, you need first to open a view and create an arc detail line. This line will serve as a guideline for the Array. Once this is done, place the element you want to include in the array on the arc detail line. Then, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Select the element(s)
  2. Open the Modify | <Element> tab > Modify panel
  3. Click Array (default shortcutRA)
radial array revit
  1. From the Options bar, click Radial
  2. Check Group and Associate, to group array members for future management
  3. Set the Number of copies
  4. Choose Move To: Last
  5. Center of rotation: click Place or drag the blue dot manually
  6. Place the Center of rotation to the midpoint of the arc, for example
  7. Click to enter the start ray
  8. Move your cursor to the end of the arc for the end ray and click once to place the last element. Alternative: Move the cursor to specify an angle [A] and press Enter.
place radial array

Notice that because we used the method to place the last element, it now spreads the number of copies evenly between the first and last element.

radial array

Modify an Array in Revit

As long as you have grouped the Arrays in your project you can manage them afterwards by changing the distance or number of members. There are two options for adding or removing members from the Array.

Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Select the Array > A line with a number appears
  2. Click the line with the number
  3. In the Options bar, check or uncheck Append To End
  4. Click the number > Change the number > Press Enter
modify the number

In the example below, you can see the difference between adding or removing members from an Array with the Append To End option selected and unselected.

append to end

When you choose this option, the spacing between members remains consistent, and new members will be added or removed from the end of the Array.

If you uncheck this option, the end of the Array will remain fixed, and the spacing between the first and last members will be adjusted to accommodate any new members.

append to end array

To change the space between the Array members, you select a member and use the Move tool to change the distance. When you move the object, all Array members adjust to its new spacing accordingly. It is also possible to change the radius of a Radial Array by chasing its dimension value and pressing Enter.

change radius

Ungroup Array

You can ungroup an Array in Revit by selecting at least one member and then right-click > Select All Instances > Visible in View or In Entire Project > Modify | Model Groups > Group panel > Click Ungroup.

ungroup array

Parametric Array Family

Last but not least, you can implement Arrays in parametric families. The interesting thing about this is that you can use formulas to control them. To illustrate this, I’ll give an example of how to create a roof gutter using an Array for the gutter brackets which are driven by formulas.

The default family templates can be found under this location:
C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\RVT XXXX\Family Templates\English

Roof Gutter family

I have prepared a roof gutter profile to skip a few steps and focus on creating the Array for brackets. Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the File tab
  2. Hover over New > Click on Family
  3. Select the (Metric) Plumbing Fixture or (Metric) Generic Model family > Click Open
create metric family
  1. Create four vertical Reference Planes. Go to the Create tab > Click on Reference Plane in the Datum panel (shortcutRP)
  2. Create three Length (Type) parameters and one Integer (Type) parameter. Add all dimensions to the Reference Planes and give them the appropriate label (see print screen). For the Length add an extra dimension and make it Equal.
place reference plane
  1. Create a Sweep > Sketch Path > Lock constraints > Finish Sketch Path > Select Profile and Finish Edit Mode.
create sweep

After clicking the Finish Edit Mode button, the gutter should become visible immediately. Once that’s done, we can proceed by adding brackets with an Array.

When working with parametric families, it is best to use a nested family for adding Arrays. So prepare to create a new family for the brackets and Load Into the roof gutter family.

roof gutter family
  1. Place the nested bracket family and lock its constraints on the vertical (2nd Reference Plane) and horizontal Reference Plane.
constraint family
  1. Click Array from the Modify panel
  2. From the Options bar, click Linear
  3. Check Group and Associate > Select Move To: 2nd
  4. Click the Reference Plane to create a starting point for the Array
  5. Move your cursor to the 3rd Reference Plane to create distance between the elements and click once to place the second element.
    Click the 2nd member of the Array to open the group and lock its constraints to the Reference Planes as in step 7 > Finish.
array in revit family
  1. Add a formula to count how many brackets fit between the length of the gutter. To do this, divide the length by the distance between the brackets: gutter_length / bracket_distance. The second formula is to create an equal distance from the first reference plane to the initial bracket, as well as from the last bracket to the final reference plane: (gutter_length - ((brackets_count - 1) * bracket_distance)) / 2.
add array formula revit
  1. In the final step, you can associate the Array label with the brackets_count parameter. Click the Array and select the line. From the Options bar, select Label: brackets_count.
associate array label revit

Note that the Array fills the space and is now driven by the formulas. Changing the length of the roof gutter or the distance between brackets automatically changes the total brackets.

parametric array family revit

Tip

Learn more about using formulas in Revit with this comprehensive guide: Revit Formulas – Everything you need to know.

This is an example of how to implement an Array into a parametric family. I often use arrays in families in my daily work because they serve multiple purposes.

In the screenshot below, you can see an example of a detail family that I use for modular brickwork checking. Another example is a nested glazing family with glazing bars that allow me to change the count of bars both horizontally and vertically.

families using arrays
Examples of using Arrays in parametric families

Wrapping Up

Revit Arrays are a useful feature that can help you to efficiently duplicate elements. Whether you are arranging furniture or creating architectural features, learning the use of Linear and Radial Arrays can save you time and effort.

When using arrays in parametric families, always use nested families to prevent losing associations with reference planes, especially when using angled Arrays. Don’t hestitate to experiment using formulas to drive the Array.

I hope this article helped you to learn the basics of Arrays in Revit, and how to create and use both types of Arrays. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, tips, or tricks I did not mention.

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