Revit Snaps – Everything you need to know

When we place elements or sketch lines in Revit we can use object snaps to align with existing geometry. Revit Snaps allow you to place elements more precisely and save a lot of time, increasing productivity.

With Revit Snaps, there are a lot of different types you can choose from. Each Snap setting will provide a different behavior and it is possible to combine different settings at once. Snap settings are applied to all open files and can not be saved within a project.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the different Snap settings in Revit. How do we use the different types of Snaps? In addition, let’s check out some other features that use snaps.

Overview

All different types of Snaps in Revit are enabled by default. This will allow you to align elements and lines and increase your productivity. Sometimes, you like to snap more precisely, in Revit you can use the advantage of changing the snap settings and temporary snap overrides. The Snap settings are roughly divided into three sections, which are:

  1. Dimension Snaps
  2. Object Snaps
  3. Temporary Overrides

To open the Snap settings of Revit follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Manage tab
  2. Click on Snaps > The Snaps settings window will open
snap settings revit

In the Screenshot below you see three sections with different options. The Dimensions Snaps consist of increments, the Object Snaps are check boxes and the Overrides only contain shortcuts. To disable all Snaps permanently click on the checkbox Snaps Off or use the shortcut SO if you want to temporarily disable them while placing or moving an object for example.

snap settings revit
Snaps settings

Tip

You can snap to linked models or imported CAD drawing.

Revit Dimension Snaps

When we want to use the Dimension Snaps we have to enable the checkbox. If you do not like to use the Dimension Snap just uncheck the boxes to disable this function. There are two available options for Dimension snaps, which are for the Length and Angular dimensions.

dimension snaps

1. Length dimension snap increments

We can specify the increments for snapping to Length-based dimensions. This can be used while modeling a wall for example. The increments will change as we zoom in or out in the view. You can change the increments to your requirements, but you have to separate each increment by using semicolons.

length dimensions snap increments
Snapping 100mm and 1000mm zoomed out further away in view

2. Angular dimension snap increments

We can specify the increments for snapping to Angular dimensions. This can be used while modeling or rotating a wall for example. The increments will change as we move our cursor away from the start point of the element in the view. Like the Length increments, you can change the increments for Angular dimensions. Do not forget to separate each increment by using a semicolon.

angular dimensions snap increments
Snapping 1.00°, and 15.00°

Revit Object Snaps

The Object Snaps can be changed individually. To permanently enable any of the Revit Snaps you can select the checkbox, or clear the checkbox to disable them. Each of the Snaps has a shortcut by default. You can modify the shortcuts if necessary inside the Keyboard Shortcuts menu (KS). The Snaps menu will show the shortcuts you have changed. Notice that when you snap an element, the Revit status bar will indicate what you are snapping.

object snap settings

Tip

Read more about modifying Revit Shortcuts: Revit Shortcuts – What you need to know

3. Endpoints

Enable this setting to Snap to an Endpoint of an element.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SE. A magenta square will indicate Endpoints.

endpoint snaps revit

4. Midpoints

Allows you to Snap to a Midpoint of an element. You can use the midpoint override to place an element in the center of a wall segment for example.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SM. A magenta triangle will indicate Midpoints.

midpoint snaps revit

5. Nearest

Snap to the Nearest element. Turning off this setting permanently will allow you to Jump Snap to endpoints, midpoints, and center points by moving the cursor.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SN. A light-magenta cross will indicate the Nearest Snap point.

nearest snaps revit

6. Work Plane Grid

With this setting, you can enable snapping to Work Plan Grids. It will allow you to Snap to any of the intersections of the grids.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SW. A thick-magenta cross will indicate the Work Plane Grid Snap point.

work plane grid snaps revit

7. Quadrants

Snap to a Quadrant point of a circle, arc, or ellipse. The quadrant point is one-fourth part of a circle.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SQ. A magenta diamond shape will indicate Quadrants.

quadrants snaps revit

8. Intersections

With the Intersections setting, you are able to Snap to intersections.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SI. A thick-magenta cross will indicate Intersections.

intersections snaps revit

9. Centers

Enable this setting to Snap to the center of a circle or arc. An alternative way is to enable the instance parameter: Center Mark Visible, which is available in the properties browser. We are now able to align with this center as well.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SC. A magenta circle will indicate centers.

center snaps revit
center snaps revit

10. Perpendicular

With the Perpendicular setting, it is possible to Snap Perpendicular and Parallel when it is enabled permanently. When overriding the Perpendicular Snap, you are unable to Snap parallel.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SP. A magenta right-angle symbol will indicate the Perpendicular Snap point. A magenta double-line will indicate a parallel Snap point.

perpendicular snaps revit
parallel snaps revit

11. Tangents

With this setting, you can enable snapping Tangent to an arc. For example, the line snaps to where it just touches the curve.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is ST. A magenta underlined circle will indicate Tangents.

tangents snaps revit

12. Points

Enable this setting when you are working with Points in the Toposurface editor for example.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SX. A magenta circle with a cross inside will indicate points.

points snaps revit

13. Snap to Remote Objects

Allows you to Snap to objects that are not near the element you are placing.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is SR. A dashed blue line in combination with a magenta cross will indicate Snap to Remote Objects. Notice that the faces of objects that are snapped will be indicated with a blue line.

snap to remote objects
snap to remote objects

14. Snap to Point Clouds

Enable this setting when you are working with Point Clouds and you like to snap to them. Be careful, snapping to Point Clouds can make the model very slow.

The default shortcut for the temporary override is PC. A magenta circle with a cross inside will indicate Snap to Point Clouds.

snap to point clouds revit

Temporary Overrides

The Temporary Overrides can be used while you are using an interactive tool, such as Move, Copy, etc. You can use the overrides by using the keyboard shortcuts that are shown in parentheses in the Revit Snaps settings. We have just learned all the different Object snaps, now let us take a look at the remaining overrides, which can be used to snap for a single pick.

temporary snap overrides

15. Close

While modeling walls, for example, you can close the open loop (only when valid), by using the shortcut SZ.

Notice that, in the example, my cursor is away from the Snap point. You can click anywhere to finish the loop automatically.

close snap override

16. Turn Override Off

When using any of the Overrides you can reset it by pressing the shortcut SS. After the reset, all Snaps that are enabled in the settings are available again.

17. Cycle through snaps

You can cycle through all available snaps options with the TAB button override. When you accidentally miss a snap point, you can reverse the TAB direction, by pressing the Shift + TAB buttons.

cycle through snaps revit

18. Force horizontal and vertical

When placing an object we can force the horizontal and vertical constraints by holding the SHIFT button. This is the same as the Constrain option in the Revit options bar. Releasing the SHIFT button, or unchecking the constraint will stop snapping to the horizontal or vertical constraint.

A magenta double arrow facing the direction will indicate Horizontal and Vertical snaps.

force horizontal snap revit
force vertical snap revit

19. Snap Mid Between 2 Points

With this feature, we can automatically place an element between two reference points. To Snap between two reference points, you need at least Revit version 2022.1 or newer.

  1. Open a 2D or 3D view
  2. Select an element to place (wall, window, door, etc)
  3. Before placing the element, right-click in the white space area of the view
  4. Go to Snap Overrides > Click on Snap mid between 2 points

Alternative: skip steps 3 and 4 by using the default shortcut S2.

snap mid between 2 points revit
  1. Click on the first reference point (notice that you are now in a temporary override mode)
  2. Click on the second reference point (the middle is indicated by a magenta triangle)
snap mid between 2 points

20. Force Perpendicular (Measure 3D)

With Revit 2023, we can measure in 3D with the Measure Between Two References tool. While measuring you can snap to any of the available snap options you have set. To force a Perpendicular measurement in 3D, hold your CTRL button. Releasing the CTRL button will stop the perpendicular snap.

snap perpendicular 3D measure revit

Alternative Revit Snaps Features

In Revit, there are several features that use snaps as well. The snaps on these features are somewhat hidden but can help you save some time. These features are:

  • PDF Snaps
  • 3D Snapping – Mass

PDF Snaps

Revit has two features to insert a PDF file which are called Link PDF and Import PDF. We can use this to insert an underlayer of a floor plan, for example. We can snap to the points from that PDF file.

Notice that, it is important that the PDF file we import consists of Vectors instead of Rasters. You can read more about it here. Without any Vectors, the option to Enable Snaps will not be available.

  1. Go to the Insert tab
  2. Click on Link PDF or Import PDF > Choose PDF file > Click on Open
link or import pdf
  1. In the Import PDF window go to Resolution and choose at least a DPI of 300 or higher for a better resolution. > Click on OK
  2. Place the PDF File into the Revit view
import pdf
  1. Select the placed PDF file and click on Enable Snaps in the Properties browser or Modify menu
enable pdf snaps

Finally, we can Snap to Vector points from the PDF File, which allows you to place elements on snap points easily. Also, it is possible to measure between different snap points in the PDF File.

pdf snaps revit
Example of PDF Snaps

3D Snapping

When you work in 3D with Conceptual Mass, you can use the advantage of 3D Snaps in Revit. While the normal Revit Snaps can not do the job, we can turn on the 3D Snapping. To do this follow the steps written below:

  1. Go to the Massing & Site tab > Conceptual Mass section
  2. Click on In-Place Mass > Give the new Mass a name > Click on OK
in place mass
  1. Select a tool from the Draw panel (only Line, Rectangle, or Start-End-Radius Arc allows 3D Snapping)
  2. Check the 3D Snapping in the Revit Options bar
3D snapping mass
  1. Draw a line from the start to the endpoint and notice that it will snap automatically
3D snapping to mass revit
Example of 3D Snapping

Wrapping Up

In Revit, we can use object snaps to align with existing geometry. Snaps allow you to place elements more precisely and save a lot of time. All Revit Snaps are enabled by default but can be unhandy if you like to snap more precisely (instead of a Nearest snap, for example).

Keep in mind that the Snap settings you apply are saved in the Revit software and not within a Revit file individually. Now you can take the advantage of the different Revit Snaps and increase your productivity.

I hope you found this article helpful, if you have any questions, just drop a comment below.

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