Revit Interface

From TOI-Pedia

This page uses abbreviations for the mouse buttons:

LMB: Left Mouse Button

MMB: Middle Mouse Button

RMB: Right Mouse Button


Revit 2011 User Interface.png

Application button
The application menu provides access to common file actions, such as New, Open, and Save. It also allows you to manage files using more advanced tools, such as Export and Publish.
The ribbon displays when you create or open a file. It provides all the tools necessary to create a project or family. As you resize the Revit window, you may notice that tools in the ribbon automatically adjust their size to fit the available space. This feature allows all buttons to be visible for most screen sizes.
Options Bar
The Options Bar is located directly below the ribbon. Its contents change depending on the current tool or selected element.
Properties Palette
The Properties palette is a modeless dialog where you can view and modify the parameters that define the properties of elements in Revit. Typically you keep the Properties palette open during a Revit session. The Type Selector is located at the top of the Properties Palette.
Project Browser
The Project Browser shows a logical hierarchy for all views, schedules, sheets, families, groups, linked Revit models, and other parts of the current project. As you expand and collapse each branch, lower-level items display.
Status Bar
The status bar is located along the bottom of the Revit window. When you are using a tool, the left side of the status bar provides tips or hints on what to do. When you are highlighting an element or component, the status bar displays the name of the family and type.
View Control Bar
The View Control Bar is located at the bottom of the view window above the status bar. It provides quick access to functions that affect the current view.

Managing Windows

A single maximized window versus tiled windows

By default Revit maximizes the current view. Sometimes it's more practical to tile multiple views in the same area.

You can manage this by using the window control options and the Tile button in the View Tab on the Ribbon:

Revit 2011 Manage Windows.png

When your window is maximized, use the Restore Down (middle) button in the top right corner.

To maximize a window, click the Maximize button (middle) button in the top right corner of the window.

Interface Basics

As Revit is loaded with functionality, the interface requires some getting used to it. Since version 2011 the main functions are organized into a Ribbon structure, which is loved by some, but also hated by some. Fact is that the Ribbon is a main part of the interface at this moment.

The most important thing to know is that the interface constantly changes when you're working, depending on what you are doing at that moment. As soon as you select an element, the Ribbon changes: a Contextual Tab is added to the ribbon and opened. This contextual tab shows you the options that are available for modifying the selected element.

An example of a Contextual Tab

This contextual tab is displayed with a greenish background color. The Contextual Tab is closed as soon as you click Revit 2011 Modify.png (Modify).

At the same time, the Option Bar changes and displays options for the current tool. Also the Properties panel is updates with the properties of the current selected element.

Edit mode

As soon as you enter an edit mode, e.g: Edit Profile or Edit Boundary, the Contextual Tab changes once more (this time with a turquoise background):

Revit 2011 Contextual Tab Edit Mode.png

The Edit Mode Contextual Tab offers you the tools that are available in this instance of Edit Mode. Before you can continue with anything else, you must explicitly end Edit mode. There are two options:

Revit 2011 Cancel.png
Cancel, discard your changes
Revit 2011 Finish.png
Finish, accept changes

Sometimes Revit detects a problem that prevents you from ending Editing Mode. You must solve the problem or cancel your changes.

View Control Bar

Revit View Control Bar annotated.png

Sets the scale of the View. Note that Revit uses scale dependent settings for things such as line-weight, annotation size, etc.
1. Detail Level
Sets the level of detail. Certain details, such as Wall Structure (layers) are hidden when in Course Detail Level.
2. Visual Style
Determines the look of the view. Allows you to switch between Wireframe, Hidden Line, Shaded, Consistent Colors, Realistic Colors and Ray Traced views.

Revit Visual Style examples.png

3. Sun Path and Sun Settings
Controls solar settings.
4. Shadows
enable or disable shadows.
5. Rendering Dialog
Access to the Rendering controls. Only available in 3D views.
6. Crop View
Whether or not the view is cropped to the crop region.
7. Crop Region
Shows or Hides the Crop Region.
8. Lock/Unlock 3D view
Enables you to save and lock the current 3D view. Only available in 3D views.
9. Temporary Hide/Isolate
Allows you to temporary hide or isolate object in your view and reset to the default.
10. Reveal Hidden Elements
Shows objects i(in red) that are currently hidden in the View.


use the scroll wheel of your mouse
Click and hold your MMB
Shift + MMB, or Shift + RMB

Selecting Elements

When you hover your mouse over an element in Revit, it is highlighted to indicate which object would be selected. If you than LMB-click it, the element is actually selected. When an element is highlighted, the Status Bar displays information on the element.

When multiple objects are eligible to be selected, you can use [TAB] to cycle through the list of elements that can be selected, changing which one is actually highlighted. This method is also useful to select an entire chain of walls. When one part of a chain of walls is highlighted, pressing [TAB] enables you to select the entire chain.

You can also drag a selection window to select multiple elements. There are two options:

Drag window left to right
Only elements that are completely within the window are used.
Drag window right to left
All elements that are within the window, either partially or fully, are used.

You may use the following keys to add to or remove from your selection. It can both be used when clicking elements individually and when dragging a window to select multiple.

hold Ctrl and select
Add to the current selection
hold Shift and select
Remove from the current selection
hold Ctrl+Shift and select
toggle selection: elements that are already selected will be removed frrom the selection, unselected will be added to the selection selected.</div>

You can also return to the previous selection. RMB-click and choose Select Previous or press Ctrl + [left arrow].


A Revit Project typically has several views. The most common examples are the Floor Plans and Elevations. These are 2D views on your project. The next section covers the 3D views.

Views are listed in the Project Browser. Floor Plan views are automatically created for each Level you create (unless you deselect 'Make Plan View'). The Site Floor Plan is present by default.

3D Camera views

You can navigate in a 3D view using the Navigation Wheel (Shift-W):

Revit Navigation Wheel.png

Move the camera closer or further away
Rotate around the pivot point of the camera
Move the camera up/down or sideways (in the plane of the view)
Go back through your movement history

The position and aim of a 3D Camera shown in the Site view:

Revit 3D Camera Pivot and Clip.png

To make a camera appear in a view, RMB-click the view of that camera and choose Show Camera.


A camera has a pivot point: a center point for the camera orbit (rotation). If this point is in a inconvenient location, you can drag the pivot to a new location. If you want to change the vertical position, choose one of the elevation views and make the camera visible.

Visible range (Far Clip)

A Camera can have a limited visible range, called Far Clip. Anything beyond the Far Clip plane is invisible. You can move the Far Clip plane either through the properties of the camera, or interactively when you make a camera visible.


I'm missing a part of my interface!

If at any time you've closed an interface element (eg: the Properties Palette or the Project Browser), you can open them again through the User Interface button in the View tab of the Ribbon:

Revit 2011 Ribbon User Interface.png

The perspective of my 3D camera is distorted

Distorted 3D View

This problem mostly occurs if you enlarged the crop boundary of your 3D view too much, which causes the camera to have a very short focal length. You can solve this by changing the focal length through the Navigation Wheel (Shift-W):

Revit Navigation Wheel.png

LMB-click the arrow at the bottom right corner of the Navigation Wheel and choose Increase/Decrease Focal Length. Click in your 3D view and drag you mouse up to decrease the focal length (it looks like zooming in). You may have to drag up several times, zooming in quite a lot. Then use the Zoom button in the Navigation Wheel to zoom out, regaining your original field of view, but this time without the distorted perspective.

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