For the longest time I ignored the Propagate Extents button in Revit, mostly because when I clicked on it nothing would happen. And I mean nothing. No warning message, no advice on what to do, just crickets. I have heard people say that they think the button is broken or that it works occasionally, depending on how Revit feels.
So what does the Propagate Extents button actually do, if it even works? Well, let me start of by stating that the button does actually work and it does actually serve a function. If you click on the button and nothing happens, it is more than likely because of the Crop Region in other views.
The function of the Propagate Extents is to take the 2D extents and appearance of elements, such as Levels and Grids and apply those graphical setting to other views. For example, if you grabbed a few gridlines and extended the 2D extents of the bubbles and wanted to apply this setting to other similar views, you would use the Propagate Extents feature. This way the 2D extents from one view will match other views. The Propagate Extents feature does not apply to the 3D portion of Levels and Grids because stretching these components directly affects all intersecting views.
As a test, if you select all of your floor & ceiling plan views in your project browser and then go to the Properties box, then to the Extents category, you will see the option to Crop your views. If you place a check box in the Crop View and then select any level or grid and then select the Propagate Extents button, nothing will happen. This is because the views are being cropped. The Propagation of the 2D portion of Levels and Gridlines is being controlled by the crop region.
Now go back and re-select the floor and ceiling plan views from the Project Browser and de-select the Crop View option. After doing do, go to any floor plan and select a gridline or a series of gridlines. Once selected, toggle the 2D option and stretch the 2D extents of the gridline(s). With the gridlines selected, click on the Propagate Extents button on the ribbon. A dialogue box with a listing of un-cropped views should pop up. Select a few views and then visit the views that you selected. Your Gridlines should now match the view that you originally Propagated Extents from. From here, you can re-crop your views as necessary, which will also retain the 2D extents. If you need to adjust the 2D extents of your Levels & Grids, simply un-crop your views, make the necessary adjustments to the 2D extents, Propagate Extents and then re-crop your views.
Many times, when you select Levels and Gridlines in Revit, followed by the Propagate Extents button in the ribbon, nothing happens. Many people feel as if this is a broken feature, but in actuality, it works as intended. If this is the case, it is because all of the applicable views that you could Propagate Extents to have their views cropped.
To test the Propagate Extents feature in Revit, select all of your Floor & Ceiling Plan views in the Project Browser and then clear the checkbox called “Crop View” under the Properties dialogue box. This will un-crop all of the select views, allowing you to apply the Propagate Extents feature.
Once you have un-cropped the views of your choice, pick a view of your choice and select some gridlines. Be sure to toggle the 2D option on the gridlines. Once toggled, stretch the gridlines in the direction of your choice. In this example, I chose to stretch the 2D portion of Gridlines 5 & 6.
Once you have un-cropped your views and stretched the 2D portion of your Gridlines (or Levels), click on the Propagate Extents button. A listing of Un-cropped views now appears. Select some views to Propagate Datum Extents. In this example, I chose Floors 02 &03.
Once the Propagate Extents has been applied, go to the views that you applied the Propagate Extents to and see the results. In this example, we are looking at Floor 02. As you can see, Gridlines 5 & 6 match the Floor 01 Floor Plan. In addition, I applied the Crop View option AFTER the Propagate Extents and the Gridlines remained in their Propagated position.
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AEC Senior Application Specialist
Sash is a registered Architect and LEED Accredited Professional who holds a Master of Architecture from Montana State University. Sash’s experience includes project management, BIM management, and design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon. In addition to being a Bluebeam Certified Instructor, Sash is an Autodesk Certified Instructor who provides Revit Architecture training and solutions for AECO firms. Find Sash on Twitter.