Over the past few years using Revit, a few tips just keep coming up. These are things that Revit consistently wants you to do, in order to have a pain free modeling experience. I call these ‘SuperTips’ and I will progressively reveal these on this blog.

SuperTip #1 – Don’t make too many levels

It may seem like a basic thing to say, but many amateurs will get in and create levels for everything little thing, which results in a huge mess as the project progresses. Try to make the minimum amount of levels possible. These should always coincide with the major structural floor levels of your building. An excess amount of levels will make the project difficult to work on and difficult to work in. Please refer to this previous post for some tips on how to deal with this issue.

If you create heaps of levels, it will be very difficult to track which level elements are created on. For assistance with this, please refer to this previous post.

Instead of creating unnecessary levels, consider using reference planes in areas where you would normally put a superfluous level.

In February, I responded to the call from the guys at Arch|Tech to submit my best tips.

Well, I am not the ‘official’ winner of the Best Revit Tip, but I did get a mention! Quote:
So, I said there were two winners. Luke Johnson, from Australia pounded me with so many worthwhile tips that I felt compelled to disqualify him from the running just to make things fair to everyone else. So, in lieu of awarding him best tip, we’ll still send him a copy of the book and we’ve added a link to his blog in the book so you can go hit all those tips yourselves.

His blog is named What Revit Wants which, reminds me of a Wham! video, but maybe I’m just dating myself.

From http://www.architecture-tech.com/2010/04/and-real-winner-is.html

And here is a summary of the tips that I sent to them:

tip on Impression workflow that many have read
Direct readers to http://www.revitprofessionals.com/, where I have created a list of Revit bloggers3D views – shaded vs rendered
also http://wrw.is/2009/10/how-to-use-new-keyboard-shortcuts.html
Thanks for the mention guys, and I look forward to checking out the book!

You would likely agree that the Text tool in Revit still leaves a lot to be desired, not least of which would be some decent bullets and numbering features. No doubt most of you are using Key Schedules to get around some of these limitations when creating note blocks (as described in this PDF from an AU class).

However, are you aware that you can put symbols into Revit schedules? The easiest way to described how this works is to use the Character Map. To access the Character Map, go to Start-All Programs-Accessories-System Tools and open Character Map. I have created a link to the Character Map in my Quick Launch toolbar.

So how does this thing work? Well, let’s say you are using the Arial font in Revit. Select Arial in the Character Map. Now, have a look through all these different symbols. When you find one that you like, click on it, click ‘Select’ and then click ‘Copy’. Now, go into a Revit schedule or text box that is formatted with the SAME FONT (ie. Arial) and Paste (using Ctrl+V is easiest). There you go, you have a nice symbol to play with!!

The quicker and easier way is to use the inbuilt hotkeys. For instance, to add a ‘squared’ (little superscript 2) symbol, just hold down Alt and press the keys 0 1 7 8 (just type the numbers one after the other while holding Alt). You can find out which keystroke to use by looking in the bottom right corner of the the Character Map (see below).


There are quite a few things you can do once you know how to use this. See below for a Key Schedule I made with a ‘column’ containing a rightways arrow symbol.

You may have seen the long list of fixes already available for Revit 2011. Perhaps the first release will be stable, perhaps it won’t, but many of you might like to consider running Revit 2011 in a virtual environment (at least to start with).

I wanted to play around with Revit MEP and Revit Structure, so I :

  1. Set up a virtual PC,
  2. Installed Windows 7 64-bit, and then
  3. Installed the Revit software.

This is a stable and safe way to test Revit in a ‘sandbox’ type environment – where really bad things shouldn’t happen. There are some minor issues – it can be difficult to get 3D Hardware acceleration working in a virtual environment. But for testing purposes, its great.

The virtualisation software that I used was VirtualBox, as this allows for 64-bit guest operating systems.

If you don’t have a copy of Windows 7 64-bit handy, you can download the media from the internet. You can also reset the activation period to allow for 120 days use.

Please note that you will need some decent hardware to virtualise Revit in a 64-bit environment 🙂

EDIT In Revit 2012 and newer, the quickest way to identify paint is to use the Remove Paint tool.  This does not load the Material selection panel, and will thus be faster.  Also, switch 3D view to wireframe with Remove Paint to globally scan the project with your cursor for painted surfaces…

To find out what material is currently painted onto a surface, simply start the ‘Paint’ tool, then Tab select the surface (face region).

Revit will produce a tooltip showing the currently painted material, and this will also show up in the status bar at the bottom of the screen.

Let’s say you have hundreds of views in a Project, with some customised view sorting. How do you delete a view that you have open, without having to find it in the Project Browser?

Simply right-click in the view and go to one of the referring views (Find Referring Views). The view you were in previously will now be ‘selected’ and you can just press Delete to delete it!

Note: I recently requested that the Revit team provide a ‘Find in Project Browser’ command to quickly browse to a view (or family or group, for that matter) in the Project Browser.