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Top Reasons You Can’t See an Element in Revit

People who are new to Revit are always having issues seeing everything in a project view.  I’ve seen and heard plenty of suggestions on what a user should or should not do to “expose” missing elements, but the following list is the most comprehensive checklist I’ve seen. There are many discussions on the topic. After each tip, if applicable, I’ll try to explain the methodology behind these suggestions.

Before we start, let’s discuss View Templates; the best way to control the view, especially if it’s going to be placed on a sheet. In my opinion, every view that is on a sheet should be defined by a template. One can apply a template. This would make the view properties change but will allow view property modifications. I recommend defining the view template within the properties of the view. This way the properties controlled by the view template are not editable, without removing the template or modifying the template and making the changes global to all views defined by the template. Of course in Revit 2019 we were given the opportunity to temporarily override the template when the view is closed the overrides are removed and the view is once again controlled by the view template.

  • The element or it’s category is hidden in the view.

Try using the “Reveal Hidden Elements” tool in the view control bar. Both hidden elements and hidden categories will be red while using this tool. Element overrides can be confusing to some. They check the Visibility Graphic Override dialog and the element’s category is on. Element overrides are harder to troubleshoot and use more system resources. Refrain from hiding elements in the view and stick with hiding the category. It’s most common and easier to troubleshoot. It also takes more system memory to manage element visibility overrides.

  • Is the view range set correctly to see the particular element?

In a training class, I always say, “If you don’t like something about the view, it’s either the view property or the element property that’s causing the issue.”

  • Is there a filter applied to the view that is causing the element to be hidden?

Filters allow the conditional statements to query the model elements in the view. Elements that match these criteria are selected or controlled by the property of the filter. Filters can change color, line weight, and visibility.

  • The object’s category or subcategory is hidden in the view
  • There is a category override in the view.

The Object Styles dialog is the best way to organize elements and there subcategories. Overriding these properties in a view is counterproductive. We should avoid unnecessary specificity.

  • Is the view’s detail level set correctly? Some families have elements that are controlled by subcategories and are set not to show at a coarse level of detail.
  • The object is a family and none of its geometry is set to be visible in the view type.
  • The object is set to not be visible at the category’s detail level

Create Revit families with fine detail elements on different subcategories and with different visibility graphic overrides.
For example, door handles should not be visible in plan and only visible in elevation when the view is set to fine. This is discussed in detail in our Revit Family Best Practices class.

  • Is the missing element outside the scope of the view.
  • Is the view cropped?
  • Is there a plan region in the view?
  • The object is outside the view’s view range
  • The view’s far clip depth is not sufficient to show the object
  • The object is constrained to a scope box that is not visible in the view. This changes the ability to see or edit the view’s crop.

A plan region is used in addition to the view crop. It’s only available in a plan view. It extends or limits the view range in a polygonal boundary. Many times, people use Scope Boxes to control the cop boundary of the view. There should be minimal scope boxes in the project.

The View Range is important because not only does this range control and limit what is seen, but also what is selectable. “Is the element within the view range or is the view hiding the element and its category?”

  • Is the view “Discipline” set correctly?

Click here for Autodesk’s description of the tool and view property, Discipline.  Why does it need an explanation, because it’s odd and un-editable?

  • Is the correct Workset being used?
  • The object resides on a workset that is not loaded within the project
  • The object resides on a workset that is not visible in the view, that is not loaded in a linked file, that is not visible in a linked file.

Manage worksets and maintain the project standards for Workset use. Worksets can be used to improve performance. I don’t think hiding worksets is the best use of this element instance property. Worksets are not Layers and should not duplicate element categories. Consider creating worksets with names of zones or regions that can be opened or closed. Think AutoCAD Xref’s or external referenced files, levels, zones, or building wings. Also, use worksets for the ability to close all links using that workset. Linked Revit Architecture models, Structure, and MEP models should each have their own workset. I use a workset to close all drawings linked to the project. One-click in the workset dialog and all linked CAD and the DWGs are no longer loaded or visible. The workset is closed or unloaded from being regenerated. We can also control worksets within linked files, to close or open, load, or unload worksets. All project members should be using a unified workset methodology.

  • Is the element part of a design option and perhaps that isn’t the current option for that particular view?
  • The object resides within a group (detail model) and it has been excluded from the group

I always teach the proper use of design options and Groups. Please refer to my blog; “Top 12 Tips for Utilizing Revit Groups”

  • Is the element in the correct phase and is an appropriate phase filter set in the view to make it visible?
  • The object is part of a linked file that is not visible in the view
  • The object has one or more of its edges overridden to display as <Invisible lines>
  • The element is an annotation object and does not reside entirely within the annotation crop region
  • The object’s phase settings or the view’s phase settings prevent the object from displaying in the view
  • The view’s discipline is prohibiting the visibility of the object
  • The object visibility override is set to background-color
  • The extents of the object itself don’t permit it to be seen
  • The object is a mass, and ‘Show Mass’ is turned off
  • The object’s host view has been deleted (area boundaries)
  • The view’s scale is prohibiting the object’s visibility
  • The object is being obscured by another element.
  • Is the object hosted on an incorrect surface like a floor instead of a ceiling?

Strange things happen when the extent of a Revit project is exceeded. If a point cloud is linked in, it can cause this to be true. The results are unpredictable.

  • The user has incorrectly identified the link instance to which the element belongs
  • The object is in a link that is not in its correct position

This is also by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a pretty good place to start.

Do you have other valuable suggestions you’ve found as well? Drop us a note at info@microsolresources.com. I’d love to see this list grow over time if need be.



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Manage your Revit & BIM Data with Ideate Software

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that relies on intelligent models to create and manage building and infrastructure projects. Accurate, accessible, and actionable information in those models empowers project stakeholders to make better-informed decisions and respond quickly to project needs.

How can you manage your BIM and Revit data?

To help you validate the Revit data and resolve individual model issues, and proactively support all projects by incorporating the applications into model management processes, you need tools.

Ideate Software is all about helping you manage your BIM data, whether you’re a power Revit user or BIM Manager. It helps the project team audit, edit, manage, and connect your BIM and Revit model data with precision, for an enhanced workflow.

Here is a list and description of the full Ideate Software portfolio that you can use on its own or together to help you, your model, and your project team be more efficient across your project workflow:

Ideate StyleManager logo - small

Ideate StyleManager addresses the challenges that arise when Revit users load or import content into the model because the corresponding styles automatically come with the content. Proper management of these styles reduces publishing errors and end-user confusion, but the management process in Revit can be time-consuming and risky, and errors can dramatically impact the models and production documents.

Ideate BIMLink allows Autodesk Revit users to pull information from a file into Microsoft Excel and push volumes of precise, consequential BIM data back into their Revit model with speed, ease, and accuracy.  Data management tasks and workflow take a small fraction of the time they once took. The cumulative advantage means more than hours freed. You gain unprecedented access to the Revit modeling data you need for an enhanced workflow.

Ideate Explorer allows Revit professionals to keep their models clean and accurate. When using this model browser, as opposed to a project browser, users decrease the time they spend on model management and increase the accuracy of their models.  They reduce file space by finding and deleting incorrect, obsolete, and hidden problem items, including DWGs.  They can easily comply with office standards, they can Audit the Revit model and even review and fix Revit warnings.

Ideate Sticky for Revit combines the ease and flexibility of Excel spreadsheet editing with the convenience of a sticky note. Use Ideate Sticky to elegantly connect non-BIM data from an Excel file into Revit projects, enhancing cross-team workflows.

IdeateApps is a set of Revit applications designed to increase the productivity of the entire project team. Developed with specific tasks in mind, these tools address the challenges identified by people who use Revit software every day. IdeateApps will decrease the time spent on common tasks and increase the accuracy of BIM data in a Revit model, helping to keep projects of all sizes and complexities on time and on budget.

Which Ideate Software solution or a host of solutions is best for you?

It depends on your Revit goals whether you want to:

  • Find and fix problems that could impact the model size
  • Sync time and performance
  • Identify and delete views that aren’t on sheets
  • Find and remove CAD files inadvertently imported into Revit
  • Update standards on older model
  • Clean up Revit warnings
  • Align worksets after binding a model

We can help you determine the right solution for your Revit goals. Let us know and email info@microsolresources.com and we’d be happy to assist you.


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Microsol Resources Hosts TECH Perspectives | Boston 2019

Technology is transforming the way that buildings and infrastructure are designed, constructed and operated. It is helping improve decision making and performance across the buildings and infrastructure lifecycle.

Join us at TECH Perspectives on September 26, 2019 in Boston where we will discuss and showcase the most exciting technologies driving significant change in the design and construction industry.

Where Design Technologies and Innovations Come Together

TECH Perspectives Boston 2019

9OFS | One Federal Street, Boston, MA 02110
Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Taking place at 9OFS, a conference center located on the open-air terrace on the 9th Floor of One Federal Street in Boston’s Financial District on Thursday, September 26, 2019, Microsol Resources will host a half-day program of architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry thought leaders.

“Technology is changing how designers and builders collaborate more effectively throughout the project lifecycle,” said Emilio Krausz, President of Microsol Resources. “TECH Perspectives will share the newest innovations shaping our built world and invites all project stakeholders from architects to engineers, constructors and owners, and to engage with technology and forge communities around it.”

This year’s Opening Keynote speaker is Dr. Andrea Chegut, Director of the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab, as well as the head of MIT’s Design X venture accelerator for student and faculty firms from MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. As a researcher, she investigates new technologies and their economic implications on the built environment.

The Industry Keynote speaker is Jim Lynch, Vice President & General Manager of Autodesk Construction Solutions. He leads Autodesk’s efforts to create and deliver products and services that accelerate the construction industry’s transformation from analog-based processes to digital workflows.

We will hear from design technology innovators about:

Collaboration & Building Information Modeling (BIM)

With BIM at the core of your project delivery, the need for anytime, anywhere, collaboration, data continuity comes into play. How do we make sure we’re all working on the most up to date information and maintaining a single source of truth? We will hear from Jeremy Munn, Program Director of Northeastern University; Nirva Fereshetian, Associate Principal Chief Information Officer of CBT Architects; Paul Kassabian, Principal of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger; and Jack Moran, Manager of VDC Services of Consigli Construction.

Visualization: Enhanced Realities and Immersive Experiences

Technology enables visualizing spaces and render architectural models in immersive environments, utilizing augmented reality to create three-dimensional objects within a real space, and creating a VR walkthrough based on your BIM data. What are the new ways to better visualize, share and construct projects? We will hear from Michael Kyes, Architecture Team of Leader of SMMA; Danielle O’Connell, Senior Manager, VDC Services Innovative Construction Solutions of Skanska; Andy Hinterman, Senior Associate of LDa Architecture & Interiors; David Hamel, 3D Visualization Group Manager of Payette; and Seunghyun Kim, Director of Design Technology of Safdie Architects.

List of Exhibitors include Autodesk, Ideate Software, GeoSLAM, Panzura.

The half day conference is accredited by the AIA for 3.5 Continuing Education Units.

Questions? Contact Anna Liza Montenegro, Director of Marketing www.techperspectives.com | amontenegro@microsolresources.com | (212) 465 8734

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