How to Create a Legend in Revit

In Revit, we create 3D models that contain building information. However, in practice, it is mainly used to produce 2D output that is easy for others to read and understand. In case drawings are unclear, the Legend feature in Revit can help you clarify how others can read and understand your 2D output.

Drawings such as floor plans, elevations, etc. present different line styles, symbols, and text which sometimes need more explanation. You can use Legends in Revit to visually represent your project’s elements, line styles, and symbols, enabling you to define their meaning.

In this article, I will explain the basics of Legend in Revit, how to create a Legend, and how to fill it with annotations and Legend Components.

Legend in Revit

You can use Legends in Revit to visualize and define elements, line styles, and symbols. This way you can make clear how others can read and understand your 2D output, such as floor plans and elevations. In the table below you see an overview of how to use Legends in your project.

Legend exampleDescription
Line StylesYou can make a Legend containing different line styles with a description of what the line style represents. For example, property lines, center lines, projection lines, different fire rating lines (30/60/90 mins, etc.).
AnnotationPhasing Legends can be used to show different phase graphic overrides with a description. There are four types of Phase status: Existing, Demolished, New, and Temporary.
Model SymbolYou can use a Legend to clarify model symbols with a description. The most used examples are the symbols for electrical, plumbing, and lighting fixtures, but also for site objects on a situation drawing.
MaterialA Legend containing surface patterns or cut patterns with a description that identifies the material of that certain pattern.
Phasing Phasing Legends can be used to show different phase graphic overrides with a description. There are four types of Phase status, which are: Existing, Demolished, New, and Temporary.
Examples of Legend usage
legend in revit
Mixed Legend example in Revit

Tip

If you’re interested in learning more about Phasing in Revit, you may find this article helpful: Revit Phases – What you need to know.

Create Legend in Revit

You can use Legends in Revit to clarify symbols, line styles, materials, etc. with a description. To create a Legend follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the View tab > Create panel
  2. Click Legends
  3. Select Legend from the dropdown menu > New Legend View dialog opens
create legend
  1. In the New Legend View dialog, give the Legend a proper Name
  2. Change the Scale of the Legend to your requirements (Optional: choose a custom scale to create one different from the list) > Click OK
new legend view

After clicking OK, Revit opens a Blanco view with the Name you entered with a Coarse Detail Level. You can change these parameters at any given time. It is also possible to add a View Template to the Legend view. Note that, the view is also added to your Project Browser under the Legends category.

shortcut new legend
Shortcut: right-click Legends in the project browser to create a New Legend

Tip

Save a lot of time by learning how to use View Templates in Revit: View Template Revit – Everything you need to know.

Filling the Legend

Now that you have prepared a Legend view, we can continue by filling the view with different features such as detail lines, family symbols, text, and dimensions. These features can be found inside the Annotate tab of Revit.

Below, you can find the most common order to create a Legend, depending on your requirements.

Detail Lines and Regions

Legends mostly start by creating a table or border with detail lines and regions. To draw a table with detail lines follow the steps written below:

  1. Open the Annotate tab > Detail panel
  2. Click Detail Line
detail line
  1. Choose a Line Style and Draw method
  2. Place the lines to your requirements
table with detail lines
Creating a Legend table with Detail Lines and Filled Regions

To add filled regions go to the Annotate tab > Create panel > Filled Regions > draw the region in the Legend view. For more detailed information about filled regions, read this article: How to Create Filled Region in Revit.

Legend Components and Symbols

After the table or border is set, we can continue by adding the Legend Components and Symbols. There are various ways to add symbols but the most common way is to use built-in feature Legend Components. To use this method, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the Annotate tab > Detail panel
  2. Click Component > Dropdown menu opens
  3. Select Legend Component
legend component revit
  1. Check the Options Bar to select a model family symbol
  2. Choose the View direction
  3. Adjust the Host Length
  4. Place the symbol in the Legend View > Repeat steps 1-7 for each symbol or use the Copy feature and change the symbol.

Alternate method: You can use the Symbol feature [A] to add symbols from your project, such as Level Heads, Section Heads, tags, etc. Make sure to choose a type from the Type Selector inside the Properties Browser.

add legend component

Once you have placed the components, you can adjust the Detail Level for each component within the Properties Browser, except for the Symbol items. It is advisable to ensure that the Detail Level matches the settings of your Floor Plan view. You can also use the “From View” option to apply the settings from the Legend view itself.

legend component proprties

If you add Legend Components to your Legend, it doesn’t qualify as an instance of that item and will not be listed in the schedules or note blocks.

Note

The available View direction options depend on the type of family. For example, walls can be set to Floor Plan or Section, while Wall-hosted elements like Doors can be set to Floor Plan, Front or Back.

Text and Dimensions

Finally, you can add some descriptive Text to clarify the symbols in the Legend. Additionally, you can add dimensions to the components using the Dimension tool as most component lines are selectable. However, it is not possible to add dimensions to Host components (system families) like walls, floors, etc.

text and dimensions
Adding descriptive Text and Dimensions to finalize the Legend

Note that when using Legend Components, any changes made to the elements in the model will automatically update the component, which is a great advantage. Also worth noting is that you can adjust the Visibility/Graphic overrides to turn off different categories and subcategories to refine the Legend.

Copy the Legend to Multiple Sheets

You can copy Legend in Revit from one view to another as they can be added to multiple sheets (introduced in Revit 2020). Make sure you already have placed the Legend on a sheet and follow the steps outlined below to copy and paste Legends to multiple sheets:

  1. Select the viewport of the Legend and press CTRL+C to copy it to the clipboard
  2. Open another sheet > Go to the Modify tab > Clipboard panel
  3. Click on the Paste dropdown menu
  4. Pick one of the following options:
    • Paste from clipboard (shortcut CTRL+V): Use this option to manually paste it.
    • Aligned to Selected Views: You can use this option to paste the Legend to multiple sheets by choosing from a list. (This option can be used without having the sheets opened).
    • Aligned to Current View: This option allows you to paste the legend to the current opened sheet.
    • Aligned to Same Place: Paste the legend in the same place on the sheet.
copy legend in revit

Tip

Learn how to create Keynote Legends and how to use Keynotes with this complete guide: How to Use Keynotes in Revit – Complete Guide.

Wrapping Up

Revit allows you to create 3D models with a lot of building information. However, it often results in 2D output with many elements represented by symbols, line styles, etc, which can make the drawing unclear. The feature Legend in Revit is very useful in this case because it can help you clarify how other project members can read your drawings.

Creating a Legend allows you to visually represent project elements, symbols, and line styles by placing Legend Components, Symbols, dimensions, and descriptive text.

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

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