Down the Revit Rabbit Hole… (or Revit Operator Transition Syndrome)

November 19, 2010

Working on an unfamiliar project can make you feel like Alice in Not so Wonderland tumbling down the rabbit hole of Revits’ numerous options and visibility controls.

Besides not knowing how the original Revit operator set things up you have to deal with how that operator left the various view settings, global visibility settings, local visibility over-rides, phase settings, option primaries, et. al.  It can drive you crazy and waste many hours trying to understand the project setup while the new user(s) try and  reconstruct the lay of the land.  This is especially true for remodel projects which have extensive constructs in the existing phase.

Here are some tips on dealing with the Rebbit Hole.

  1. If a transition of operators is to occur make sure the primary operator spends some time with the new team members in:
    1. describing the project approach and how that is being translated into the Revit model.
    2. covering the design options approach.
    3. reviewing any new phase setups.
    4. reviewing worksets when a central file (for multiple user access) is being used .
  2. If you are working on a remodel project you may want to consider creating several as-built options.  One to retain all the existing conditions and duplicates to be paired with your various options since demo limits may change with each option.
  3.  Trouble Shooting the Revit Model.
  •  DEMOLISHED WALLS NOT SHOWING IN REMODEL PLAN:  A common error that can occur, specifically with remodel projects, is that in creating the as-built model you should be working in an existing phase (see your view properties settings) and then you will start demolishing without changing the view properties phase.  This puts your demolished building elements as being demolished in the existing phase rather than the new construction phase.  When this happens your demolished walls will not show up in the new construction phase of your new work.  You then have to go back and reset the phase of those demolished elements (select the elements>in the properties dialog> change the “demolished in” phase to “new construction”)
  • NOTE TO AUTODESK: Wouldn’t it be nice if Revit automatically recognized that you don’t typically construct and demo in the same phase, unless the subcontractor has screwed up, and automatically switched to the new construction phase when you started demolishing building elements.


  • More often than not Revit operators tend to leave visibility settings where they were when they leave a project.  This can lead to an array of building elements being turned off just due to standard operations during the model construct. For a new operator coming in you should check your:
  1. Visibility/Graphic control settings (keyboard shortcut “VV”) and turn on all elements that would be commonly “on” in that view.
    This does raise an interesting question, would additional visibility controls like “Set to CD final” be of value?  Since it is more than likely that your final CD view visibility settings will be common for most projects and being able to preset the view visibility settings to a known array of on-off’s that you could activate with a single button would be a nice efficiency feature.
  2. Override Graphics in View is a really nice way to fine tune the visibility of an element or category in a view but can also lead to hidden elements. You can make visible the elements that have been hidden via the Lightbulb”(reveal hidden elements) icon at the bottom of the Revit interface screen tool (right most icon).To make the elements visible just select the element while in the reveal mode>right mouse click>select “Unhide in View”> element or category.
  • NOTE: This is also where you “Hide in View” selected elements or categories.

The View Properties Dialog is another visibility control that should be looked at as well.  Two controls specifically affect what you see.  The Phase and Phase Filter.

Here you can control which “Phase” is being shown, in the default case that will be “Existing” and “New Construction”.  You can also control the “Phase Filter” which has numerous selections controlling an array of visibility presets.  These presets can be access via the “Manage” tab > “Phasing” tool group > Phases >Phase Filter tab.  Each Phase has a drop down selector giving
you three visibility options.

And if that isn’t enough Design Options present another level of visibility control that should be checked. Depending on how the original template or Revit operator set up the D.O.’s or left them during the last work session this will affect what can be seen on the project. With Design Options the “Primary” option is the one that can be seen, subject to the visibility controls mentioned above. You can access the D.O. through the Manage Tab> Design Options tool group>Design options. To view the other (non-primary) options select the desired option and then “Make Primary” button to the right.

Thought I was done didn’t you.  This one is not as common but if your office is setting up a central file with numerous worksets beyond the default there is a degree of visibility control within the worksets that may need to be checked.You can access the worksets visibility control through the Visibility / Graphics control (keyboard ‘VV’)> Worksets tab with a drop down for each Visibility Setting.



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