There has been some perennial buzz on the Revit rotate tool. Each new person that learns the program has to learn this tool and its peculiarities so the topic persists. In this post I want to review the current behavior, the access points, and review some popular revamp proposals.
Rotate lives in the modify ribbon.
When activated there are three options:
- Disjoin - prevents joins from interacting with the element during rotation
- Copy - creates a new element when complete
- Angle - allows you to enter in a precise angle
The first click is the start point of the rotation and the second click the end point. Note: After clicking the first point of the rotation the temp dims listen so you can enter a distance via the keyboard in lieu of the second click.
This brings us to the main issue folks have with the tool: the center of rotation. The center is shown as a blue control that can be repositioned by dragging it to a new location. The problems are:
- The behavior is undiscoverable. The status prompt or tooltip is insufficient and many go for a long time not knowing the center can be moved. (a % of this blogs readers may have just learned something)
- The center as determined is rarely optimal. The center is the centroid of the item(s), with a few exceptions such as hosted elements.
- The center is difficult to reposition. Its difficult to select and drag the control. After dragging its not remembered for future rotations.
There are really two main proposals that have been discussed over the eons.
- Make the tool a three click operation. (Center, Start, End).
- Retain (or enhance) the existing behavior yet provide a shortcut to snap the center to the cursor when desired. (the default could prefer one method over the other - preferably the most popular)
I'll share my opinion.
(1.) Simple and while it may mean an extra-click in some cases clicks are just part of performance. It's proven that a person can make dozens of clicks in the same time it takes another to cognitively process a situation and then respond. It follows industry patterns including other Revit patterns such as the nearby "Scale" tool. Some snapping would need to be implemented such as center of Group unless it's not needed.
(2.) Provides a convenient way to place the center but is still as discoverable as the current control drag method. New users would be unlikely to discover it. Placing the point instead of dragging it should be better.
Another variation is to employ approach (1) but offer a snap to get the current behavior where Revit calculates the center. We could also make some better choices such as choosing the family origin, remembering a repositioned center for the active session ect. My concern would be implementing a dozen tweaks to the current behavior will not address the most pressing issue and cost more than just implementing a three-click behavior.
Note: the option rotate after placement would follow the same behavior as the rotate tool and the shortcut to rotate using the spacebar would be unaffected.
Bring on the comments.. Additional ideas or feedback on the proposals listed here are welcome.