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Color Schemes

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I’m going to start this article by saying that it feels a bit odd typing “Color” instead of “Colour”, but despite me being physically located in the West Midlands (United Kingdom) Revit still insists on the American spelling of the word. Which is fine by me!


With that out of the way let’s get started with Color Schemes. Have you ever needed to produce architectural plans for a presentation, where you need different rooms / spaces to be colour-coded? Well that’s exactly what “Color Schemes” are for.




There is a pre-requisite to using Colour Schemes- and that is, you need to base them on “Rooms” or “Areas”. That is, before setting up a Color Scheme, you need to have added Revit “Rooms” or Revit “Areas” to you model. For the purposes of this exercise I am going to use “Rooms” as the basis for my Color Scheme. The principle for using them with Areas is very similar. Any problems, please ask on our Forums and we can take you through it.




OK, let’s get started. As usual with our step-by-step examples, we’ll start with a blank Revit Project file. I’ll quickly set up a very basic building by adding Walls and Windows. I will then add a Revit “Room” to each space and name each room. This takes us to here………….


You can see from the above image that I have tagged the Rooms and given each room a distinct name. Please Note: If you are new to the concept of “Room” within Revit Architecture, please read this article before proceeding.


Now before we proceed any further, a little bit of theory: Color Schemes basically “colour fill” each Room (or “Area”) based on a parameter that you specify. And it’s the last bit of that sentence (“Parameter that you specify”) that is important. If we base our Color Scheme on the “Name” parameter, then Revit will colour fill in each room that has a different name, with a different colour. Where 2 rooms have the same name, they will acquire the same colour.


One of the more useful ways to use Color Schemes with Rooms, is to produce a Color Scheme based on the “Department” parameter. If we pick any Room at random and look at it’s parameters, we can see the full list of default “Instance” parameters…..



We can base our Color Scheme on any of these parameters, or indeed add our own custom parameters to the Room category. But let’s stick with using the “Department Parameter”. Before we actually produce our Color Scheme, we will need to add some values to the “Department” parameter. By far the easiest way to do this is to create a simple Room Schedule and add the “Department” values there…..



OK, I’ve added values to the “Department” parameter for each of my Rooms. I’m using this particular parameter to convey the use of each space- ie circulation, office, storage, etc, etc.


So let’s now produce a Color Scheme based on these values. I can add a Color Scheme to any floor plan view. So I make sure I have my “Level 1” floor plan active and I then select “Legend” from the “Room & Area” panel on the “Home” tab….



Upon doing this a “Legend” element appears on the end of my pointer in the drawing area- go ahead and click to add this to your view. When you click to place, Revit will display a small panel asking you to “Choose Space Type and Color Scheme”. By default, it is set to base the Colour Scheme on “Rooms” and the “Department” parameter associated with Rooms….



Go ahead and click “OK” to accept this. And upon doing so, Revit immediately creates a Color Scheme for this specific view….




Now, a very important things to notice here: Each room that contains the same “Department” parameter value is coloured the same, regardless of what the room is named. For example: Rooms 1, 5, 6 and 7 all have different room names but are coloured the same. This is because each of those rooms have their “Department” parameter set as “Office”.


So what if we don’t like the colours that Revit has chosen for us. No problem: Just select the Legend element on the screen and then click on “Edit Scheme” on the ribbon bar at the top….



This takes us to the “Edit Color Scheme” control panel where we can tweak all the settings associated with our Color Scheme…..



While we are on this panel, let’s see what happens when we change the parameter that the Color Scheme is based upon. I can do this by use of the drop-down box labelled “Color”….



I’m going to change the parameter to “Name”. Upon doing this, I will get a brief warning informing me that the current colours will not be preserved. Don’t worry about this. Hitting “OK” to dismiss the warning message, I am greeted with the new Color Scheme…..



Notice that now only two of the rooms share the same colour- that is because they both share the same name (ie “Office”).


Two other things to mention about Color Scheme before we end this article. If you have a floor plate in your model that is associated with the floor plan view that you are creating your Color Scheme in, you will need to turn off the visibility of the floor in order to see the colours. Secondly, you can change Color Schemes for any particular view by going to the Properties panel for view and changing the “Color Scheme” parameter….



And that concludes our basic introduction to Color Schemes in  Revit Architecture



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