5 Revit Tools Beginners Should Use

Posted by Ameer Muhammed on November 25th, 2019

The most helpful Revit tools are often underused by beginners. This article describe the tools that most beginners don’t know about, but they should.

Obviously people of all skills can use these tools, but they are especially helpful if you are getting started.

1- Align (shortcut: AL)

There is a lot of ways to modify elements in Revit, but the Align tool is the most useful. First, it is a really quick tool. Most elements that you want to move in Revit will be in a certain relation to other elements. Align makes that process a little faster.

Select the Align tool in the Modify tab. Click once on the reference element, then click again on the element you want to move.

The other reason why this tool rocks is that you can both Move and Rotate an element at the same time. As you see in the example below, we rotate a component back to an orthogonal position by aligning it to a wall.

Whenever you use the Align tool, you will notice that a small lock icon will pop up. You can click on the icon to constraint the elements together. That means if one if the element is moved, the other will follow.

When placing component families, you will notice that there might be additional references in addition to the geometry edges. That’s because the align tool will automatically highlight reference planes. In the bed family we have below, you can see there is a reference plane in the middle of the bed. The reference plane is invisible when loaded in a project, but you can still use it as a reference when using the align tool.

Note: this feature can be turned off. In the family, set a reference plane to “Not a Reference” in the “Is Reference” parameter.


2- DETAIL LINES (Shortcut: DL)

A common complaint among beginners is that it is difficult to quickly build a layout and experiment with dimensions.

A great way to work is to make a quick layout using Detail Lines. This line type is only visible in a single view, they are not part of the 3D model. That means you don’t have to be worried about messing up a model and angering your colleagues.

When using Detail Lines to build a layout, use a colored line to distinguish the lines from the real model elements. The red color is great for that.

When your “quick layout” is complete, you can build walls over it by using Pick Lines (see tool #7).

You can also group your layout and preserve it elsewhere.


Revit is a “What You See Is What You Get” software. That means unlike AutoCAD, what your see on your screen is going to be printed exactly the way you see it. While that’s mostly a good thing, it can get a little annoying when you are modeling elements. The line thickness might prevent you from seeing elements that are close together

To solve the issue, Revit provides a feature called Thin Lines. You will find this tool in the View tab or by using shortcut TL. Every line will get a width of 1 pixel. This tool only affects your screen; printed elements will show the real thickness.


4- SELECTION BOX (shortcut: BX)

You get the most out of Revit when you work with both a plan view and a 3D view opened at the same time. The selection box tool allows you to show in a 3D view an element you selected in any other view type. The selection box will create a section box around the element. Everything outside that box will be invisible.


Watch out: the Selection Box tool will override your default 3D view. That means if you want to keep a copy of selection box views, you have to rename them so they don’t get overridden. The default 3D view is the one with the { } symbols.



5- HIDE IN VIEW (shortcut: EH)

Former AutoCAD users often delete important objects in Revit. Deleting elements such as Levels and Grids can cause serious issues that will take hours to fix.

There is a way you can hide an element in a view while still keeping it in the model. Select the element and use the Hide (shortcut: EH) tool. You can also use the right-click menu to find the command.

Click on the small lamp icon at the bottom of the view to see all the hidden elements and bring them back if necessary.


Eventually, you should start using advanced visibility features such as the Visibility/Graphics menu, but Hide In View is a great tool for beginners.

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Ameer Muhammed

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Ameer Muhammed
Joined: November 20th, 2019
Articles Posted: 7

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