Autodesk Revit: Offsetting Elements

In this Autodesk Revit tutorial, I am going to show you how to use the Offset tool. A video version of this tutorial is also available and can be viewed by clicking in the box below.



The Offset tool allows you to create a copy of a selected element, at a predetermined distance away from the original. You can think of it as selecting an element, copying it and placing that copy at a set distance- parallel to the original. But all in one click!

Let’s take a look at how this works in practice. Take a look at the 2 wall instances in the image below…..



What we are going to do is “offset” each of these wall instances to the positions shown by the 2 red arrows. So go ahead and switch to the “Modify” menu and then choose the “Offset” tool…..





There are 2 methods of using the “Offset” tool:-

  • The Graphical Method: This allows you to set the offset distance “dynamically” in the active view
  • The Numerical Method: This allows to pre-set the offset distance, using the type-in value box on the Options Bar.
You can see on the Options Bar (once you have activated the Offset tool) that there are 2 radio buttons allowing you to toggle between Graphical and Numerical. We are going to start off using the Numerical method (far more useful!) and then we’ll take a look at how the Graphical method works later on.



So with the Offset method set to “Numerical”, go ahead and type in a distance you want your elements offset by. You can see in the above image that I’ve chosen 300mm as my distance. Hit the “Enter” key to accept the distance you have typed in.

Now simply hover your cursor over elements in the active view- in my example, I am hovering over the wall elements in my active Floor Plan view…..



Notice how (when you hover over an element) Revit shows you a preview (using a light blue dashed line) of which side the offset element will be created. In the image above you can see that Revit is offering to create an offset wall instance, below (and parallel) to the horizontal wall (shown in blue). Go ahead and click in the view to create the offset element…..




I can now do exactly the same thing to offset the vertical wall on the right hand side of the view.




The Offset tool works on a few different elements. Some elements that are commonly used with this tools are:

  • Walls
  • Details Lines
  • Sketch Lines
  • Model Lines
So that’s the Numerical method of offsetting an element. Let’s now take a look at the Graphical method. Once you have selected “Offset” from the “Modify” menu, go ahead and select “Graphical” from the Options Bar.





To keep things simple, I am going to stick with my two wall instances for demonstration purposes. With the Graphical method, you are going to define and start point and an end point- this will then be your offset distance. So it’s very much like using the Copy tool. Go ahead and select the element you wish to offset….




Now click to define a start point, move your cursor some distance away from this point and then click again to define the end point. Notice that after you click your start point, Revit shows you on screen where the offset will be made- by the presence of the dashed blue line. The position of this line changes as you move your cursor…




I have moved my cursor so that there is an offset distance of 600mm- which can be seen in the above image. If I now go ahead and make my second click, a copy of the wall instance is made and offset 600mm below the first one…..




In my experience, the “Numerical” method is far more useful than the “Graphical” when using the Offset tool- for the simple reason that if you wish to offset and element you (generally) know how far you need the offset distance to be. If you know the distance the offset has to be, you can pre-set it in the Options Bar, IF you choose the “Numerical” method.

 Key Points

  • The Offset tool allows you to make a copy of a selected element, a set distance away from the original.
  • You can choose between “Numerical” and “Graphical” as your Offset method.
  • Choose which method you want to use by means of the radio buttons on the Options Bar
This tutorial is taken from "The Complete Beginner's Guide to Revit Architecture" FREE online course.
This tutorial and over 80 others are available as a PDF Ebook. For details please Click Here
Posted in Autodesk Revit.