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Legends: An overview

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In this article we will take a quick overview of Legends, within Revit. Legend views are common to all flavours of Revit (Revit Architecture, Revit MEP and Revit Structure)- so once you can use it in one flavour, you’ll be conversant with it in the others. For the sake of clarity I should point out that in this article we are talking about “Legend Views” and not “Colour Legends”. So what is a Legend? Simply put, it is a way of displaying a list of various model components and annotations used in a project.


Legends fall into 3 main types. These are as follows:-



-Component Legends

-Keynote Legends

-Symbol Legends

Please note: There are other types of Legends including Line Style Legends, Materials Legends and Phasing Legends.

We’ll take a look at each of these 3 main types in turn. For each Legend type we will look at both how you create the Legend and also at a typical situation in which you would use it. After that we will look at some attributes that are common to all Legend types. And to round off we will look at a limitation of Legends. So without further delay, let’s make a start….

Component Legends

Component Legends are used to display symbolic representations of model components. A typical examples of elements that would appear in a component legend are electrical fixtures, wall types, mechanical equipment and site elements. Let’s go ahead and create a Component Legend. I’ll start off with a very simple model- it has four walls, a door, a window and an electrical light switch. Here is a plan of the model……

Now let’s just drop this onto a Sheet….

Now what we want to is to add a legend to the left hand side of the plan, which shows us what all the various elements are. To do this we need to create a new Legend view. Go to the View/Create menu and choose “Legend”….

When you do this, you will be prompted to choose a name and a scale for your legend….

For the purposes of this exercise, I am going to stick to the default values offered. Once you click “OK”, a new blank Legend View is created for you. You will note that Legends are a distinct view type in their own right and as such they are all grouped together within the Project Browser….

Right! Let’s start adding some elements to our Legend. There are various ways of adding elements to our Legend. Lets’ briefly look at each method now….

Dragging a model family type from the Project Browser into the Legend View. So for example, I can highlight a particular wall type in the Project Browser….

…and drag it onto my Legend View…..

Notice how Revit places just a small sample section of the wall into the Legend. By default it has placed a sample of the wall type in “plan”. If we select the sample and then look on the Options Bar, we can see that we have a choice of “Floor plan” or “Section”…..

I am going to go ahead and choose “Section” for my sample….

Of course, all the standard View settings still apply to legends- ie the Detail Level, scale, etc.

Another method for adding components to our Legend is as follows….

Go to the Annotate tab. Click on “Component” on the “Detail” panel. Form the drop-down menu, choose “Legend Component”.

Upon doing so, you can then choose which component to add from the drop-down selector on the Options Bar…..

Now you have the graphic representation of your element on the Legend View, you all you need to do is simply add some text to describe it. Just use the standard text tools for this.

Repeat the above process to add additional elements and text to your Legen. Here is my finished Legend….

Now just like any other view, you simply drag it onto the Sheet that need it to be displayed upon….

So that’s Component Legends covered. Let’s move swiftly on to the other types…

Keynote Legend

Keynote Legends automatically create legends from the Keynotes that you have used in your project. So in the following example you can see that I have keynoted all of the elements in the model…..

I’m now going to create a Keynote Legend….

After choosing a name for my legend, I am presented with a control panel which lets me choose which parameters to add…..

I’ll stick with the default settings and click OK. Upon doing this Revit creates a Legend in the form a Schedule. This schedule contains all the keynotes used in my project….

Because a keynote is basically schedule, you have access to all the normal schedule-editing tools such as formatting, sorting, etc.

Symbol Legends

Pretty much the same as component legends really. You’re going to use the same menu to create the blank legend…

The only difference is that now you are placing annotation symbols onto the view. These can be symbols that you have created yourself (such as North points, etc) or system symbols (such as Section line bubbles, elevation markers, etc).

Now that we’ve covered the various types of Legends, let’s just talk a little bit about Legends in general….

A single Legend view can be placed on as many different sheets as you like. As you know, the vast majority of view types within Revit can only be placed on one sheet at a time- Legends are one of the few exceptions to this rule. This makes them very powerful.

Because Legends are bespoke to each project, they are one of the few elements that cannot be ported (using “Transfer Project Standards”) to another project. Consequently, if you have some basic legends that you need to use over and over, just make sure they are part of your office template.

And finally: One use of Legends that isn’t instantly apparent is as “palette” of elements. For example: You could create a Legend with all the internal doors you normally use for a project. Then from the Legend view you can use the “Create Similar” tool to quickly add these elements to your model….

And that’s it for Revit Legends!

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