Navigating in the Project (3:08 min)

The Project Browser

As you work with Revit, you are going to find you are working on a fully integrated model. To work on various aspects of your project, you will frequently open or create views. Views come in many varieties: 2D views, 3D views, details, sheets and schedules to name a few. These are all part of a single project and simply show the model from various vantage points. Use the Project Browser to manage and navigate to different views within your project. When a view is active, the view name in the Project Browser is bold.

The default location of the Project Browser is at the lower-left corner of the screen. Project Browser and other similar palettes can be moved around the screen or to your second monitor if you wish. If yours is not located in the default position, look for the palette titled: Project Browser. If it is not displayed at all, you can go to the View tab, on the Windows panel, click the User Interface drop down and check the box next to Project Browser to display it.

As you can see, the browser is organized by different categories, such as Floor Plans, Ceiling Plans, Elevations, Legends, Schedules/Quantities, Sheets, Families, and Revit Links. This is the default organization, but you can customize the Project Browser to better suit the needs of a specific project if required.

  1. On the Project Browser, beneath Views > Floor Plans branch, double-click Level 1 to open that view (see Figure 1–8).

Figure 1–8 Use the Project Browser to open other views of the project

The Level 1 floor plan view will open in its own tab in the main model canvas area of the screen (see Figure 1–9). If you want to return to the previously displayed view, simple click its tab.

Figure 1–9 Views open in their own tabs in the model canvas

  1. Beneath Elevations (Building Elevation), double-click the South elevation view.
  2. Beneath Sections (Building Sections), double-click Longitudinal Section.
  3. Beneath 3D Views, double-click Section Perspective.

You will now have several tabs open. Each of these is a live view of the model. This means that if you make a change in one of these views, the change will also be reflected in all the other views; even the ones you have not opened! This means that when you work in Revit, you open any view that is convenient to make a change and do with the confidence to know that changes will be coordinated throughout the model. Let’s try a simple example.

  1. Click on the South tab to make it the active view. (Note that its name turns bold in Project Browser).
  2. Click on the window between gridline 3 and 4. It will select onscreen and highlight in blue (see ).

Figure 1–10 Select a window element onscreen

  1. Press the delete key on your keyboard.
  2. On the Project Browser, double-click to open the Level 2 floor plan view.
  3. Place your mouse pointer just beneath the Bedroom between gridline 3 and 4 and roll the mouse wheel up a few clicks.

Rolling the wheel on the mouse will change the magnification onscreen. This is called zooming. Roll up to zoom in and roll down to zoom out. The location of your pointer determines the center of the magnification. If you need to re-center the view, you can hold down the wheel and drag to pan the screen. Notice that as you zoom in on this area, that the window is gone in this view too. In fact, if you open any view that shows this area, that window will be deleted.

  1. Select the window in the Master Bath and drag it to the right in the general location where the previous one was.

Notice that the window will move to the location where you drag it. Its tag (the hex symbol with the number 46) will follow. The window will also move along the window and continue to cut the wall to which it is attached. We call this “hosting” behavior. The wall hosts the window. And the window hosts its tag. Finally, if you return to South elevation, this new location will be reflected here too.

  1. Move your mouse to the South elevation tab and then click the small X that appears to its right (see Figure 1–11).

Figure 1–11 Close an individual tab

This closes the current tab. You can do this with other tabs, but there is a faster way if you want to close several tabs at once.

  1. Click back on the Level 1 tab to make the first floor plan the active view.
  2. On the View tab of the ribbon, on the Windows panel, click the Close Inactive button.

This will close the other tabs leaving only the Level 1 tab open.

The Options Bar

  1. On the Architecture tab, click the Wall tool.

After running the Wall tool, you will notice the ribbon (specifically the Modify tab at the right) changes. This is called a Contextual tab. Contextual tabs display specific functionality for the active command, in this case placing walls.

Figure 1–12 During an active command, the ribbon displays context sensitive tools and settings appear on the Options Bar

Another thing you will see once the Wall tool is active, is the change to the Options Bar. This is located just under the ribbon. The Options Bar provides specific options related to the active command or selection (see Figure 1–12).

  1. Press esc on the keyboard twice or click the Modify tool (far left) on any tab to cancel out of the command (see Figure 1–13).

Figure 1–13 Use the Modify tool to cancel or reset (or press esc twice)

The Properties palette

The Properties palette is where you can view and modify the various parameters that define the properties of elements in Revit. It is broken up into two main areas, the Type Selector, and Instance Properties (see Figure 1–14).

The default location of the Properties palette is at the upper-left corner of the screen. Properties and other similar palettes can be moved around the screen or to your second monitor if you wish. If yours is not located in the default position, look for the palette titled: Properties. If it is not displayed at all, you can go to the View tab, on the Windows panel, click the User Interface drop down and check the box next to Properties to display it. Alternatively, you can press ctrl + 1 or type pp in succession.

Figure 1–14 The Properties palette


  1. On the Architecture tab, click the Wall tool.
  2. On the Properties palette, click on the Type Selector.

Figure 1–15 The Type Selector at the top of the Properties palette gives a list of available types

Take note of the list of wall types available (see Figure 1–15).

  1. On the Architecture tab, click the Door tool. And then on the Properties palette, click on the Type Selector again.

Notice that the list of available types changes with the tool and selection (see Figure 1–16).

Figure 1–16 Each tool will display a different list of types

The Type Selector lists all the types that are currently available in the project file for the selected kind of elements. When you create new elements, you use the Type Selector to select the family and type that you want to be place into your project. If you select an element that is already in the model, you can use the Type Selector to change it to a different type.

  1. Press esc on the keyboard twice or click the Modify tool on any tab to cancel out of the command.

The lower portion of the Properties palette contains the instance properties. Like the Type Selector, it allows you to input the properties of a new element as you create it, or you can use it to change the properties of a selected element already in the model (see Figure 1–17).

Figure 1–17 Selected elements show editable properties on the Properties palette

Instance properties will only change the properties of the selected elements.

The Edit Type button (see Figure 1–18) is used to edit properties that are shared by all elements of the same type; regardless of whether they are selected. Changes apply throughout the model.

Figure 1–18 Use the Edit Type button to access Type Properties affecting all instances of that type

The View Control Bar

The View Control Bar gives quick access to the various graphical settings and controls in the current view. For example, you can change the current view’s plot scale (In Revit, you simply change the scale and all annotation adjusts automatically, no need to calculate non intuitive scale factors or manually adjust text and dimensions). Level of detail allows objects to display more geometry or less geometry to aid in drawing clarity. Visual styles include hidden line and various shading modes to display the model. The View Control Bar also allows you to quickly toggle on and off the cropping behavior in the view and includes many temporarily display modes to aid in everyday editing (see Figure 1–19).

Figure 1–19 View Control Bar

The Status Bar

The Status Bar displays contextual information related to your current action. If you hover over an existing element, it will report the category, family and type of the highlighted element. When you run a command, prompts and instructions will often appear here as well. In multi-step commands, look here for prompts on what to do next (see Figure 1–20).

Figure 1–20 Examples of the Status Bar prompts