Revit Q&A:

Q1. Can you save a file created in Revit Architecture 2010 to an earlier version and open it in that earlier version?
A1. No! Revit has no means of saving its project file from any release back to early releases. So Revit Architecture 2010 cannot be saved back or opened by Revit Architecture 2009, or earlier. There is simply no backward compatibility. This is because as Revit building elements and components are enhanced with new features and new commands that allow improvements in Revit elements and components linking and constraint relationships there is no way to support it in a prior release that did not support the same parametric relationships. That is why it is critical for Revit users to be on subscription and maintain the latest release or make sure that any work they do and any consultants involved using Revit MEP or Revit Structure must be using the same release.


Q2. How do you export a Revit drawing to AutoCAD?
A2. In Revit, select from pull-down menu File, Export, CAD Formats, browse to folder you want to save it to. The default CAD type is an AutoCAD 2007 DWG file, although you can also save to 2004 or 2000 versions of AutoCAD, to a DXF file, to a DGN (Bently Systems Microstation format), or ACIS SAT format (this is a 3D object-oriented software modeling kernal developed by Alan Grayer, Charles Lang and Ian Braid as part of Three-Space Ltd., and sold by them to current owner, Spatial Corporation); SAT is an acronym for "Standard ACIS Text." You can rename the file name as you save it. If you have one of the plans, sections or elevations selected at time of export, the plan (complete with all tags and callouts) will be converted to a 2D drawing in AutoCAD. If you have a 3D view selected, the AutoCAD drawing will also be 3D and Revit entities wil be converted to "polyline meshes" in AutoCAD. These can be exploded several times down to lines, arcs and circles, but will lose their 3D appearance. The most useful way of bringing your Revit drawings into AutoCAD is to bring in the plans and elevations separately.


Q3. How do you import an AutoCAD plan or elevation drawing into Revit?
A3. In Revit, select from pull-down menu File, Import/Link, CAD Formats, then browse to and select the drawing you want to import. Before you import the drawing, in AutoCAD do the following:
1. If you are using Architectural Desktop or AutoCAD Architecture 2009, set the variable "proxygraphics" to 1 (it is 0 by default). To do this, simply type proxygraphics at the Command: line and then 1. This will allow walls, doors and windows in plan to be imported.
2. I recommend freezing notes and dimensions. These do not translate well into Revit and it is easier to redo them in Revit itself.
3. The drawing comes in as a 2D drawing even if it is 3D to begin with, so you will need to retrace walls and insert doors and windows into the Revit drawing after importing. The drawing comes in as a "block" in Revit, so if you want to move anything around in Revit you have to explode it. To do this, select the plan and then select the "Partial Explode" button in the Options bar. The "full explode" option is not necessary unless you want all the AutoCAD blocks and Xrefs to be exploded as well. It is a mess. I recommend that you only use the imported drawing as a guide to trace over into Revit.


Q4. How can you bring AutoCAD details into a Revit drawing?
A4. From the View Design Bar, select Drafting View. The New Drafting View dialog box will appear. Set the scale for the view. This will create a blank page onto which you may import any AutoCad detail you have. To import an AutoCAD drawing, select File pull-down menu, Import/Link, and then CAD Formats. You can import any DWG, DXF, DGN (Microstation), ACIS SAT, or SKP (Sketchup) files. Navigate to where the file is stored and select it. You can put as many drawings on the Drafting View as you want, however, each Drafting View will only get one label on the sheet you place it on. To get the detail onto a sheet, open a sheet and drag the drafting view onto it. Each Drafting View is given a detail number automatically by Revit.
Click on this link to watch a video that shows how to do this:


Q5. How do you create a drawing index?
A5. To create a drawing list:

  1. Click View (pulldown) menu > New > Drawing List.
  2. Select the Fields to appear in the drawing list. Some typical fields include Sheet Number, Sheet Name, Checked By, Drawn By, and Sheet Issue Date.
  3. To create user-defined fields, click Add Parameter.
  4. Specify the Fields, Filter, Sorting/Grouping, Formatting, and Appearance options within each tab.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Drag the drawing List onto a sheet.


Q6. How do you hide and unhide objects in Revit?
A6. There are three methods:

Method No. 1: To hide an object "temporarily" (until you print or close the drawing) left click the object to select it and select the “Temporary Hide/Isolate” icon in the View Control Bar at the bottom of the screen (the one that looks like sun glasses), then select “Hide Element.”

To unhide an object that has been "temporarily" hidden: Select the “Temporary Hide/Isolate” icon in the view control bar at the bottom of the screen, then select “Reset Temporary Hide/Isolate.” Note that this will work as long as the temporary Hide/Isolate has not been made permanent (that is, there is a blue line around the view and the “Temporary Hide/Isolate” icon is blue). If it is not, then you will have to use the method in step one above.

Method No. 2: To hide an object "permanently" (until you unhide it) in one view only click on the object to be hidden - it will turn it red. If you want to hide all objects of the same type, such as all of the same design of walls or doors or windows), right click and select "Select All Instances." Right click again and select "Hide in View>" "Elements." Or you may also select "Category" instead of "Elements" if you mean to hide all walls, doors, or windows, for example.

To unhide an object that has been "permanently" hidden click on the “Reveal Hidden Elements” light bulb in the View Control Bar at the bottom of the screen; change the “Model Graphics Style” in the view control bar at the bottom of the screen to “Wireframe” (because another element might be covering and hiding the hidden element); any and all hidden elements will appear as colored lines; right click the element to be “unhidden;” select “Unhide in view” and “”Elements;” turn the light bulb in the view control bar off by clicking on it.

Method No. 3: To hide all objects of the same type (such as walls, doors or beams) "permanently" (until you unhide them) use the “Visibility/Graphics override” (type VV or VG) and uncheck the "Walls" or "Doors" or “Framing” box. Note that when you use this method to hide elements, you cannot use the “Reveal Hidden Elements” light bulb in the view control bar at the bottom of the screen to turn them back on. You will have to go back to VV and check the box to turn the category of elements on.

Note that all hiding and unhiding of all sorts are view-specific.


Q7. How can you make beams and bar joists be visible in Reflected Ceiling Plan?
A7. For some unknown reason, the programmers of Revit decided to hide beams and bar joists in Reflected Ceiling Plans, even if there is no ceiling. To make steel beams and bar joists visible in a Reflected Ceiling Plan, go to the Reflected Ceiling Plan in which the beams and bar joists should appear. For very high ceilings you will need to change the view range to the level above. To do this, in the Reflected Ceiling Plan, right-click in the drawing area, select "View Properties" (or type VP) select the "Edit" button to the right of "View Range." Make sure that the "Primary Range" is set to the Level Above, and that the View Depth is set to the Level Above. Click OK, then OK. Now click on the “Reveal Hidden Elements” light bulb in the view control bar at the bottom of the screen. The beams and bar joists will appear as magenta colored lines. Hover the mouse cursor above one of the joists, right click and select “Unhide in View” then “Category.”
To show the actual width of the beam or bar joist, change the “Detail Level:” in the view control bar at the bottom of the screen to “Fine.”
Note that all hiding and unhiding is view-specific.


Q8. How can you make structural elements (beams and bar joists) visible in a floor or roof plan view?
A9. Bring up the floor or roof plan view in which you want to make the structural framing visible. Right-click in the drawing area, select "View Properties" (or type VP). Under the Graphics section, the Discipline normally listed is "Architecture." Select the drop-down box to the right of the word "Architectural" and select "Structural." All framing will be shown dashed in the structural discipline.


Q9. How can you borrow a Titleblock sheet to use in a new drawing from another drawing you have?
A9. Open the drawing with the Titleblock. In the browser, go to "Families," "Annotation Symbols," "Triton_D_sized_titleblock," then click on the "Triton_D_sized_tttleblock." Right click and select "Copy to Clipboard." Open a new drawing. Type ^V (this means "paste from clipboard" and is the same as if you selected from the Edit pull-down menu, then "Paste from Clipboard"). Now you will have that titleblock available to use in the new drawing.


Q10. How can you apply a gravel hatch pattern to areas of gravel (such as subfill material under a slab on grade), if Revit does not have it?
A10. You can import AutoCAD hatch patterns. Select the "Settings" pull-down menu, then "Fill Patterns" then "New." This will bring up the "New Pattern" dialogue box. Select the "Custom" radio button. Under Name, type in Gravel. Under the custom area, select the "Import" button. This will allow you to open the AutoCAD hatch pattern file. To find this file, navigate to My Computer, Local Disk C:, Documents and Settings, AT150, Application Data, Autodesk, Autocad2008, enu, Support. The acad.pat file will be found there. Double click it. Scroll down the list of patterns that appears, you will find "Gravel" in this list. Select it. Set the Import scale to 0.05. Click OK, then OK again. Now Gravel hatch will be available for you to use in your drawing. If you want to make this permanent so you do not have to do it again in a future drawing, save the drawing as a Template file. To use the gravel pattern, right-click on the element you want to apply the pattern to. Click Element Properties. Click Edit/New to bring up the Type Properties dialogue box. Under the Construction heading select the Edit button to the right of "Structure." Click on the material in the dialogue box that appears. Click on any material, and click the "Duplicate" button. Give the material a name, such as "Gravel." Click OK. Click the button to the right of the "Cut Pattern" (the so-called "dot . dot . dot . " or ellipsis button). This will bring up the familiar "Fill Patterns" dialogue box. Select the gravel pattern that you just created from there. Click OK, OK, OK, OK, OK. Now you should see the new gravel pattern in your material. If you do not, you have the "Detail Level: in the view control bar at the bottom of the drawing window set to Coarse. Change it to Fine.


Q11. How can you change a solid (continuous) line to a dashed line?
A11. There are two ways to do this:

1. In the view in which you want an object changed to dashed lines type VV. This will bring up the "Visibility/Graphics Overrides" dialogue box. The column on the left lists all elements in the drawing. Select the element you want to change. In the second column from the left select the "Override" button. Pull down the drop-down list of line types under "Pattern" and select the "Dash" linetype, for example. This method will change the linetype to dashed for all objects of that type.

2. Select the "Linework" tool (looks like a fountain pen nib), select the type of line you want to turn the object into on the dropdown linetype list on the left (such as "Hidden line"), then slect the line of the object you want to change.


Q12. How can I show the footprint of a plan in the site plan when it is hidden below a roof overhang?
A12. Change the Model Graphics Style to "Wireframe" on the View Control Bar at the bottom of the screen. Select the Drafting tab, then "Detail Lines." Change the linetype to "Hidden Lines." Using the line tool, trace around the exterior face of the exterior walls. Change back the Model Graphics Style to "Hidden Lines" on the View Control Bar at the bottom of the screen. The dashed drafting lines will show through the roof. Be careful though, because if the location of the walls change, the drafting lines will not follow the change.


Q13. What is the difference between "Duplicate," "Duplicate with Detailing," and "Duplicate as a Dependent?"
A13. There are several subtle, but important differences among these three types of view duplication, as follows:
"Duplicate" only duplicates the geometry, which are objects such as walls, windows, doors and components, but not annotation such as text or dimensions. As the original (parent) model changes in geometry, the "Duplicate" view will automatically be updated. Changes made to the geometry of the Duplicate will be reflected back to the original (parent) view. Additions of annotations to the Duplicate will not be reflectecd back to the original (parent) view. This is used to allow users to have certain items turned on, such as furniture, in the Duplicate view, and it also allows two copies of the same view to be placed on the the same Sheet in the set or another Sheet in the set (Revit prevents placement of the same view in a Sheet in a Project). Different annotation can be placed in the Duplicate view from the original.
"Duplicate with Detailing" duplicates geometry and annotations. As the original (parent) model changes in geometry, the Duplicate will automatically be updated but annotations will not. Changes made to the geometry of the Duplicate will be reflected back to the original (parent) view. Additions of annotations to the Duplicate will not be reflected back to the original (parent) view so it is basically a one-way technique. This is used to allow users to have certain items turned on, such as furniture or annotation, in the Duplicate view, and it also allows two copies of the same view to be placed on the the same Sheet in the set or another Sheet in the set (Revit prevents placement of the same view in a Sheet in a Project). Different annotation can be placed in the Duplicate view from the original.
Duplicate as a Dependent duplicates geometry and annotations. There is a two-way change in this situation - whatever is changed in the original (parent) model will be changed in the Duplicate and vice-versa. This is used for large projects which will not fit on one sheet, so two copies of the plan can be inserted on two separate sheets using matchlines. You cannot insert the same view more than once into a sheet set, so having an exact duplicate allows for this to happen.


Q14. How can I create a new wall sweep?"
A14. You need to create a new family. To do that select from the pull-down menu, "File," "New," "Family." This will open the Imperial Templates folder. Select the template "profile.rft." Draw the new sweep shape using 2D lines. The two dashed lines in the template show you where the origin point is for the profile. Anything drawn to the right side of the vertical line will be inserted at and in front of the face of the wall. Anything drawn above the horizontal line will be inserted above the base of the wall. When you are done drawing, either select the "Load into project" button or save the profile to a folder if you may want to use it in another future project. If you just load it into the current project, the profile will be given the name "Family 1: Family 1." Now you can apply this new sweep to the wall as typical.


Q15.  How can I change a curtain wall panel to a door or window?
A15. First draw a curtain wall (it is one of the many wall types available). Then place at least one “Curtain Grid” in elevation or 3D view – Curtain Gridfs can be found under the modeling tab. Click on the grid and keep hitting the Tab key to highlight to the curtain wall panel you want to place a door or operable window into, and left mouse button it. It will then highlight (turn red). Select the Element Properties button (the one with the hand holding the page of text) and then under the Element Properties dialogue box, click the Load button and go to the Imperial Library and select any of the three Curtain Wall Doors available in the Doors folder or the Curtain Wall Awning window available under the Windows folder. Click OK and the panel will be replaced by the door or window loaded. They will not automatically be tagged as a door or window, but you can tag it later by selecting the Drafting pull-down menu or Drafting Design bar and selecting “Tag All Not Tagged.”


Q16.  I cannot change a curtain wall panel to a door or window – I cannot even load curtain wall doors or windows; the “Load” button is greyed out.
A16. One reason is that you have inadvertently set to curtain wall Curtain Panel construction to something other than “none.” To fix this, click on the badly behaving Curtain Wall, click the Element Properties button, click on the “Edit/New…” button, then pull down the list in the Curtain Panel line and select “none.” Click OK, then OK. Now you will be able to change individual panels to something else like curtain wall door or awning window or solid panels. Another possibility is that the curtain wall panel is "pinned." To fix this, just click on the pin that appears when you select the panel and it will "unpin" (the pin will now have a slash mark through it).


Q17.  How can I copy and paste geometry from one file into another?
A17.  Go to the file you want to copy from, highlight the objects to copy and type “Ctrl-C” (that is, hold down the Ctrl key and type “C”).  Then open the file you want to paste that element into and type “Ctrl-V.”

Q18.  Revit Architecture 2010 dropped the link to the Autodesk Content Distribution Center. How can I get additional Revit Families for things like doors, windows, light fixtures, furniture, etc?
A18.  You are still able to get to these useful families, but you will need to go directly to the web site .

I would recommend that when you get into the library, you pick the Revit Architecture 2009 Library, then US Library, then Families. If what you are looking for is not found there, you could select the “Archived Libraries” on this same page, of which there are three: 8.1, 9.0 and Architecture 2008. Most of these same Families were brought over to the Architecture 2009 Library, however, with even more added.

Another source for content is the new new “Autodesk Seek” web site which you can get to if you click on the Spy glass in the upper right portion of Revit, called “Content Search Online.” This takes you to a web site at  Note that there are very few Revit models in the Seek content yet, but eventually will be more. They are mostly AutoCAD drawings.

A very good source for additional Families is Revit City:  Click on Join and join it (free) as a member so you can download the thousands of Family files that your colleagues have uploaded for your use.

Reed Construction Data has embarked on an ambitious project to collect Revit Families in a large database called their "Smart BIM library" which they lease for about $500.00 per year. A free sample small database can be ordered through their website at


Q19. How can I put a footing under my foundation wall?
A19. Simply select the structural menu and then select "Foundation>" and "Wall." Select the foundation wall you want to place a footing under and it will then draw a footing under the entire length of each wall segment you pick. The default Wall Foundation: Bearing Footing is 36" wide x 12" thick. If you want to change the dimensions, select one of the footings and select "Element Properties," then "Edit/New." Click "Duplicate." Give your new footing a new name. Then change the width and Foundation Thickness dimensions in the dialogue box. Click OK twice. You can select all of the other footings and apply the new footing type to them.


Q20. I have drawn a topography for the site and it cuts right through the building. How can I cut a hole in the topography to show a basement in section?
A20. Change your View to the Site plan. Select the Site menu, pick "Pad," then "Pad Properties," then select "Edit/New" then select the Edit button to the right of the Structure item in the Edit/New dialogue box. This will bring up the "Edit Assembly" dialogue box. Change the material to Gravel. There is no gravel material on the list. To create a gravel material, right-click on any of the materials in the list and select "Duplicate." Type in Gravel in the name slot. Give it a cut pattern by selecting the ... button to the right of the Cut Pattern pull down in the Materials dialogue box. Then pick the "New" button. Select the radio button Custom. Select the Import button. Browse for the AutoCAD pat file, which is at C:\Documents and Settings\AT150\Application Data\Autodesk\ACD-A 2009\enu\Support. Pick the Gravel.pat file. Change the "Import Scale" to 0.1. Click back on the word gravel in the dialogue box to set the import scale. Select OK three times. This will bring you back to the "Edit Assembly" dialogue box. Change the Material Thickness to 4". Click OK twice to come back to the "Element Properties" dialogue box. Change the Level to the Basement Level. Change the Height Offset from Level to -4" (this will place the gravel pad below the basement floor, which will be a 4" thick concrete slab). Select OK. Now you will be back to the Site Plan. Hover your cursor above one of the walls of the building and hit the tab key to select all walls, then left click. A magenta-colored line will be drawn around the walls. When you hovered your cursor over one of the walls in selecting the first wall, if you hovered it towards the outside of the wall, the magenta line will be drawn around the outside of the wall. This is where you want it to be. If you accidently hovered your cursor toward the inside face of the first wall, the magenta line will be drawn around the inside of the wall. To change it to the outside of the wall, simply pick the double "flip control" arrows that appears on the plan. Now it is on the outside. The reason you want to have it drawn on the outside of the wall rather than the inside, is that you want the gravel pad to define the hole in the earth as being cut on the outside of the foundation wall, not the inside, because if you place windows in the wall, you do not want the earth migrating into the window thickness. Note that topography is shown as a 10' thick earth pattern in section. The gravel pad will cross through the footing to the outside face of the foundation wall. To cover the gravel layer in section, draw a filled region around the footing and set its hatch pattern to concrete. The Filled Region command is under the Drafting menu.

Normally you want the earth hatch pattern to be shown under the basement floor, as well as against the foundation wall. To change the thickness of the topography, select the "Settings" pull-down menu, then "Site Settings." This will bring up the Site Settings dialogue box. You can then change the "Elevation of poche base" to a dimension aboput 2 feet deeper than the deepest part of your basement.


Q21. When I move one wall in plan several others move along with it. Why?
A21. More than likely someone has locked a dimension line. To fix it, simply click on the dimension and select the lock to unlock it.


Q22. Stairs in Revit do not look like they should. How can I fix them?
A22. To turn off upward display of stairs: right click on stairs, select view properties, select "visibility graphics override" button. Expand "stairs" category, turn off both "stairs beyond cut line" and "stringers beyond cut line." To turn off upward display of railings: right click on one railing, select view properties, select "visibility graphics override" button. expand "railings" category, turn off "Railings Beyond Cut Line" and "stringers beyond cut line"


Q23. Why do components downloaded from Revit City not show up in plan?
A23. If a component downloaded from Revit City does not appear in the drawing, change the detail level on the View Control Bar at the bottom of the screen. Sometimes they only show up when detail level is set to "fine."  You can edit the family to change the detail level in which they are shown - click on an object in the family and go to Visibility overrides in the instance parameter list.


Q24. How can I show objects to be demolished as dashed?
A24. How to show objects that are to be demolished as dashed lines in Revit:
1.  Right-click in the view that you want to show demolition work in.
2.  Click on the View Properties selection.  Under "Phasing" Category,
    Phase Filter = Show Previous + Demo
    Phase = "New Construction"
3.  Your Demo view should start out with all objects drawn should be set to "Phase Created" = "Existing" Note that this will not be done by default. After you draw the base plan, select each object one at a time, click on the Element Properties button and change the "Phase Created" to "Existing." It is set to "New Construction" by default. Also for most objects, make "Phase Demolished" = none.
4.  To show an object as demolished, click on object to highlight it, right click, select Element Properties, select "Phase Demolished" = "New Construction."
5.  If you want to move an existing object to a new location in the New Construction phase, do the following: Open up the Demo view. Select the object to be moved, and set "Phase Demolished" = "New Construction." It will change to dashed lines, showing that it will be removed or moved. Copy it to a new location in that view. You will not see the copy because when you make a copy from the Demo view, Revit automatically sets the phase created to "New Construction" and Phase Demolished to "None." Switch to the New Construction view and you will see the copy. Move it to where you want it to go.
6.  To make a new wall show up with a pattern and an existing wall show up without a pattern, do the following: Make sure that "Fine" Detail Level is set; open up the New Construction view, right click, select "View Properties," set Phase Filter to "Show Previous + New," Phase should be set to "New Construction."


Q25. How can I show a surface pattern on a floor?
A25. There are three ways to do this:

1. You can attach a surface pattern to a floor in the definition of the floor material.

2. You can add a different pattern to a floor by using the paint bucket. The surface material that is attached to the definition of the floor is called <default>. You will need to pick a different pattern in the paint bucket pull down and select the floor - be careful not to select a wall when you paint it, or the same pattern will be applied to the wall, and if you don't want it on the wall you will need to pick the wall again with the paint bucket and apply the <default> paint.

Using methods 1 or 2 above, the entire surface of the floor will have the same pattern. If you want to paint just one or a few rooms, you will need to use the 3rd method, as follows:

3. Create a floor type that is 1/4" thick with just one material having a surface pattern hatch, let's say a 4" square hatch to resemble tile, and place it in the room you want to have a pattern.Then select it and change its height to 1/4" above the floor level, That will hide the main floor pattern below.

NOTE: In order for furniture, toilet fixtures or equipment to hide the floor pattern, you have to make sure that the visibility of the furniture, toilet fixtures or equipment family is turned on in the plan view. Wierdly, they are not, typically. It's a fooler. To fix this, open the family you want to hide the pattern behind, click on the top surfaces one at a time, and select the "Visibility... " button in the menu. This will bring up the "Family Element Visibility Settings" dialogue box. Check the "Plan/RCP" box under "View Specific Display" "Display in 3D views and:" and Detail levels "Coarse," "Medium," and "Fine."


Q26. How can I print a drawing in Revit?
A26. Printing in Revit:
1. Start with 36" x 24"  bordered sheet
2.  Select printer
3.  Print Range: Current Window (unless you want to print several sheets - then pick "Selected Views/Sheets")
4.  Click "Setup" button
5.  Size: "Custom 1: 36 x 24
6.  Zoom: 100% size
7.  Paper Placement: Center
8.  Orientation: Landscape
9.  Click OK, then OK
Note that if you do a Preview before you print, to get back to the print dialogue box, select the "Print" button.  The preview will not show the printed image correctly - it will be shifted down from the background, however, the entire sheet will be shown.


Q27. What are the best View Range Settings for plans and reflected ceiling plans?

Plans: Cut Plane = 3'-9" (this allows for seeing receptacles above 3'-0" high countertops but will exclude switches); Top = Associated Level, offset 7'-6"; Bottom = Associated Level, offset 0'-0"; View Depth = Associated Level, offset 0'-0"
NOTE: In plan, you will always be able to see 4'-0" below the associated level, if you have a change of plane equal or less than 4'-0". This allows for seeing to the bottom of dropped areas of floors, ramps or pits normally without having to change the View Depth. It may be an undesirable thing in soem cases, but it is built into the program and cannot be changed.

Reflected Ceiling Plans: Cut Plane = 4'-0" (this allows for seeing switches, wall sconces and heads of doors); Top = Level Above; Bottom = (typically greyed out); View Depth = Level Above