One of my fellow staff members was recently doing some work in AutoCAD (after using Revit), and he said something quite profound:

“It’s a way of thinking, isn’t it”

And it really is. Using Revit properly is not a matter of ‘why can’t Revit do xxx’, its a matter of ‘why does Revit do xxx this way?’ And there is usually a very good reason.

Keep cultivating the Revit ‘way of thinking’!

So you are using the ‘grips’ to try and stretch instance parameters on a family, but it is a pain – sometimes they snap, sometimes they don’t, you can’t dial in a certain value to ‘move’ the instance parameter…and when you try and ‘align’ that instance to something, the whole family moves!!! What to do?!?

Revit wants you to ‘Tab’ select the Ref Plane inside the family. Now you can use the ‘move’ command to move that instance element accurately. The process again – you have a family with an instance parameter. Use Tab to select the Ref Plane associated with the instance parameter. Now hit ‘Move’ (or your Keyboard Shortcut :-), and you can put that ref plane exactly where you want it.


Got this great tip from Aaron Rumple:

Revit has a nice GUI, and it is okay to use the mouse at times.

But to truly be productive, you must use shortcut keys! This is vital for commonly used commands.

I have set up my shortcut keys to primarily use my left hand – in this way I can have one hand on the mouse at all times. If you assign only one key to a shortcut (in the Keyboard Shortcuts file), you can then use that command by pressing ‘spacebar’. For example, open your Keyboard Shortcuts file, then set the shortcut ‘C’ to ‘Copy’. Restart Revit. Now, to start the copy command, just press C-Spacebar. Very fast indeed!

Another example – you want to edit two objects, but your view is obscured. First, set the shortcut key for ‘Temporarily Hide Element in View’ to ‘TE’. Set the ‘Reset Temporary Hide/Isolate’ to ‘AR’ (and restart Revit). Now, when attempting to edit just a few objects, select them using Ctrl, then press T-E. You now have a clear view of these objects. When you have done what you need to, press A-R.

Revit’s very nature inspires us to be productive. So, increase YOUR productivity by giving Revit what it wants, and use Shortcut Keys!

Revit does not want you to make too many levels. Again, this is something that we tend to do when we are just starting out. Then, you end up with this messy model and you go “That’s ok, I’ll just delete the levels I don’t need…” But guess what happens when you delete a level? The elements associated with it are also deleted. Uh oh!

So, let’s say you have a file with too many levels in it. You could try and reassociate everything to the levels you want to keep, and then delete the levels. But if you are on a deadline and need to hide these levels, consider this option:

  1. Create a new level type called ‘archived’.
  2. Create a new Filter for Levels (call it ‘archived levels’), with Filter By – Type Name – equals – archived.
  3. Go to a view, let’s say a section, and select each Level you want to archive. Change the type to ‘archived’.
  4. Go to Visibility / Graphics for the view, Filters tab, click Add – ‘archived levels’, then turn off the tickbox.

So, they are hidden in this view. To make them not show up in new Section views:

  1. Set up a Section view that looks how you want new Section views to look. Make sure you untick the Filter checkbox for the ‘archived levels’
  2. Right click on it in the Project Browser and select ‘Create View Template from View…’
  3. Name it something.
  4. Make a new Section, select it in the Project Browser, right click and select ‘Apply View Template…’
  5. Select the View Template you just made, and make sure you tick the tick box at the bottom – “Apply automatically to new views of the same type”

Now, each new section won’t show the archived levels.

Beware, however, because the levels are still in the project, and they may come back to haunt you…

Revit does not want you to constrain and lock every potential relationship.

When I first started using Revit, I thought, “Awesome, I can lock every little thing together and it will be great!”. And, it was, for a while.

We are only human, however, and eventually those constraints become a little fuzzy (“What did I lock that object to again?”). Or someone else in the office needs to work on the project. Suddenly, Revit does not want you to move anything – or that’s how it seems.

There are certainly times when it is ok, even wise, to constrain certain elements. I mainly constrain elements such as walls, roofs and floors to grids, and I do not constrain much else.

Please don’t tell Revit to constrain every little thing. It will be bad for you, and it is bad for Revit performance.

I am a keen Revit user from Australia, and I would love to share the things I have learned.

As you know, Revit can be quite quirky and temperamental. However, if you really give Revit what it wants, it will reward you by operating in a predictable, productive manner.
This blog will give you specific, brief tips on how you can give Revit what it wants.
To begin with, I would like to give credit to some of the sources of my knowledge to this point:
I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you all!