Reset Revit Layout

13 Mar

Restore the Revit UI Layout with the XML file

January 27, 2021 by Edwin Prakoso

In this Article…

I usually use an additional monitor when using Revit. When I do, I usually move a lot of Revit interface elements to another screen. Including the Properties Palette and the Project Browser.

But when I work outside, I only can use 1 monitor. I need to rearrange my layout to work conveniently. Trust me; it’s not easy to dock the palettes as we want.

The RevitUILayout.xml File

We know that Revit keeps the settings and preferences in the Revit.ini file. But the layout is saved in a different file: RevitUILayout.xml. The file location is the same as the Revit.ini file.

You can find it here:

%appdata%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2021

Or the full path is

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2021

Don’t forget to change the USERNAME and Revit version to match yours.

Save a copy of this file to restore the layout to the current state. You can replace the file with your backup later.

What’s in the RevitUILayout.xml file?

It’s an XML code. If you don’t know about XML, I suggest you leave it. Just save the file as a backup.

Basically, there are 3 groups of settings. The docked windows, floating windows, and the hidden windows. You can see there are several hidden palettes with this setting.

Revit will update this file after you make a change in the Revit UI and close Revit. The next time you open Revit, it will use the last setting in this file.

To Sum Up

Revit uses a different file to save the UI layout. If you get convenient with your current UI you better keep a backup so you can restore it later.

Saving different settings for Revit UI also useful when you need to work with a different setup. For example, using two or one monitors.

Revit.ini notes

13 Mar

The Revit.ini file is unique to each user on each computer. The file is stored here:

  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2020

To reset Revit, you can just delete the Revit.ini file and a new one will be created the next time you open Revit. Remeber to close Revit before deleting the file.
The “fresh” file is copied from this location:

  • C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\RVT 2020\UserDataCache

When creating a Revit deployment, which is an install with all the options pre-selected, you can select a custom Revit.ini file. This lets you set the default paths for templates, content, DWG import ligheweights and more, so everyone in the firm starts with the same settings.

Link to a youtube video

Create Revit tree with scalable 2D plan & elevation symbols. – RV Boost

26 May

Learn to create a 3D Revit tree with CAD-like 2D plan and elevation detail symbols. This tree’s 2D symbols will scale as you change its 3D height & radius.

Source: Create Revit tree with scalable 2D plan & elevation symbols. – RV Boost

Hate duplicating Revit family types just to make some trees bigger? Getting sick of their dull look? Wish you could change their radius and height independently from each other? Stop dreaming; we have the only Revit tree family you will need (most of the time)!

This tutorial will show how to create this smart tree so you can:

  • Change tree height and radius independently from one another using instance parameters. No more endless lists of identical tree types!
  • Show in different levels of detail distinctive tree annotation, from blobs to detailed components. A 3-for-1 bargain indeed!
  • Use any tree plan and elevation symbols of your choice. Once integrated properly, they will scale with the tree and help bring your drawings to life!
  • Choose to render either the tree’s family geometry or RPC appearance simply by changing the view’s level of detail. Make it as symbolic or realistic as you like!

Our smart tree family will have the below key attributes:

CategoryPlanting. Your current Visibility & Graphic settings or tree schedules will continue to work.
File size2.15 Mb, tiny for a 3-in-1 tree with DWG-like annotation!
Available parametersTree HeightCrown Height, Radius & MaterialTrunk Radius & MaterialCardboard Tree Material (show only in shaded mode. Realistic or Ray Trace mode will show the RPC render appearance of the cardboard tree).
Levels of detailAt Coarse: Show tree elevations as 3D solids.At Medium: Show the Revit cardboard 3D tree which can be rendered.At Fine: Show custom 2D tree elevations of your choice.At all levels of detail: Show a custom tree plan symbol in floor plans.


Yes, you heard it right. Pick any tree annotation blocks of your choice. We can use up to 2 tree elevations, one for the Front/Back view and one for the Left/Right view.

For this tutorial, we picked our favourite blocks from the AutoCAD library and exported each to a separate DWG. If yours is in another format, make sure to convert that to DWG first.

Revit-scalable-tree-2 -dwg-plan-elevations


For each custom tree plan or elevation, create 1 new Revit planting family.


Import the tree plan or elevation DWG and place it in a Floor Plan or Elevation, respectively.

Revit-scalable-tree-4-import DWG


Create a new Planting family using the same Revit template. Save it as “Tree Base”.


Load each of the newly created tree annotation family into “Tree Base”, essentially turning them into a “nested” entities.


When placing the nested family in “Tree Base”, do so in a plan view where the 2 default reference planes meet.



Select 2 nested tree elevation families and change their Visibility Settings as below:


This way, they will show only at the Fine level of detail. At Medium, we will show the Revit default cardboard tree so that the tree can be rendered to RPC:



Create a new Generic Model family and name it “Placeholder”:


Then, nest the Planting family into this new Generic Model family:



At this point, we have a Generic Model family. It now needs to be nested into a new Planting family called “Tree with instance Radius parameter” to have the complete family reported under the correct category:


Next, create in this final family new parameters for tree crown radius . Link these to those with the same name from the nested Generic Model family.


If you still remember, we have set up our tree’s 3D appearance at Medium and Fine levels of detail. For Coarse, we will simply show the tree crown as an elliptical solid revolve and its trunk as a cylindrical solid extrusion. To aid setting constraints on these 2 new solids, create 2 reference planes to control their positions:


Create the tree crown using a solid revolve:


For the tree trunk, simply create an extrusion with a circular profile and top and bottom faces locked to appropriate reference planes. Create a new parameter called “Trunk Radius” here to control its size.



Load the complete family into a new Revit project and let it shine!


Try to change the tree’s radius which will flex independently from its height:


The tree’s height, in turn, can be updated without affecting its Radius:


Change the level of detail to Medium and see the good all cardboard tree!


We keep it so that the tree can still be rendered. Switch the view mode to realistic to confirm:


Anyway, the tree is best shown at the Fine level of detail. Perfect for an artistic impression!


If you want a different tree plan or elevation symbols, simply return to step 2 and replace the imported DWGs.

Geo-referencing Revit models | parametricmonkey

21 Apr

Learn how to geo-reference your Revit model based on survey or Geographical Information System (GIS) data sets.

Source: Geo-referencing Revit models | parametricmonkey

Data Driven Design Explained In One Guide – Bim Corner

13 Feb

Great article

What do you hear, most frequently along with the term BIM? I mostly hear that BIM design generates savings, eliminates collisions and improves the design process.  At the same time, what are the challenges for designers working with BIM technology? I hear from them that projects are getting bigger and bigger, more and more complicated, […]

Source: Data Driven Design Explained In One Guide – Bim Corner

Pros and cons of Data Driven Design

The pros of the data-based design process represent a reaction to the cons of model-driven design:

  • Files size – thanks to the fact that we do not need to keep all attributes in objects, files are much smaller.
  • Information management – database workflow opportunities are the same as with Excel. Filtering, searching, sorting rows and columns is simple and fast.
  • A single source of truth – all information starts with an entry in the database which determines the truth. And thanks to the background synchronization with modeling programs, we may easily transfer the data between those two sources.
  • Validation – having all the investor’s requirements, designed data and connected model in one place, we can efficiently perform requirement vs. design control.
  • Redesign – due to the possibility to perform control at an early stage of design in the database itself, or only in attributes, introducing modifications take less time. Of course, the relationship between cost of modifications and progress of the project does not alter – the later the modification is made, the more expensive and more difficult it is to implement.
  • We can check the progress of the whole project through an easy insight into the progress of the data.

Unfortunately, Data Driven Design does not solve all the obstacles faced by participants of large projects:

  • The design process differs from that known by designers and investors. Without being open to changes and the will to learn a new workflow and mindset, the data-based design will only be another tool and burden for all parties.
  • The need to rewrite the investor’s requirements from descriptive documents to metadata – currently, documents and Excel tables continue to prevail among investors. Introducing and structuring the information requires time and is subject to the risk of error.
  • Starting with the design process for the first time, we must be prepared to adapt standard databases to our requirements and create a strategy as well as modify the information flow if necessary.
  • Additional costs for the project – it is not a solution available from the Revit or another tool. If we prefer a dedicated solution, there is the cost of a license or purchase of the appropriate plug-in. To lower the entry barrier, you can stay with Excel and have (or create yourself) a script for Dynamo or Grasshopper.


In the first post starting Data Driven Design series, we introduced two different approaches to design. You have already discovered the pros and cons. Hence, if you are interested in Data Driven Design methodology, I invite you to the next posts, where I will discuss in detail the following issues: how should  the database and the information management strategy on the project look like. I will also introduce specific project cases for various participants of the investment project.

Thanks to Konrad Fugas

Is it true that building a Tesla makes more pollution than having a normal fuel car?

23 Nov

Burning a gallon of gasoline produces 20 lbs of CO2 . An ICEV rated at 27 mpg produces 11 tons of CO2 over the course of 30,000 miles.

Yes. Manufacturing the 80 kwh Li-ion battery in a Tesla Model 3 Long Range produces about 13 tons of CO2. That’s offset by a couple of tons by not having the engine, transmission, exhaust system, gas tank, drive shaft, differential, and accessories needed in a comparable ICEV, so we’re talking about about 11 additional tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere when making a Tesla Model 3 over, say, the Audi A4 which is roughly comparable in size, weight, and performance.

However, driving a Tesla produces almost no additional CO2 when the battery is recharged from a renewable energy source (e.g., solar). At an EPA 27 mpg combined for the Audi producing 20 lbs of CO2/gal of gas consumed, break even is reached after about 30,000 miles.

Of course, few people today will charge an EV battery completely from a renewable energy source, so depending on where you live, the break even point will be higher. Worst case (100% coal fired electricity generation at 2 lbs of CO2 per kwh of electricity produced), the break even point jumps to 53,000 miles.

From break even, worst case, the Tesla produces only half the CO2 as does the Audi, and virtually none best case.

Over the life of each car (a conservative 150,000 miles), Audi A4 produces from 20 to 45 tons of CO2 more than does the Tesla Model 3. And that’s not even counting other harmful emissions from ICEV tail pipes.

Clara Smith. Thanks.

7 Habits of Highly Effective BIM Managers – DLT Blog

16 Nov

There are some effective habits that can help improve your role as a BIM manager. Autodesk University 2016 featured an inspiring streamed class.

Source: 7 Habits of Highly Effective BIM Managers – DLT Blog

Accurate rotate section alignment

9 Nov

When you have a non-orthogonal building model in Revit, you often need to create sections (or elevations) at various angles other than orthogonal.  Normally you would want sections to be perpendicular/parallel to the angled model elements – the image above shows a section somewhat off parallel (much exaggerated version of a typical example where it may be slightly off).

If the section is not exactly perpendicular (or parallel) to objects in the model you can encounter some very frustrating problems:

  • You may not be able to dimension sectioned elements
  • 2D Symbolic lines in families may not show up (eg. door swing in elevation)

If you try to rotate the section to make it exactly perpendicular (or parallel) to objects in the model, it is not as easy as you might expect:

  • One thing to avoid is measuring an angle and then typing in the measured angle during the rotate process – it is never accurate enough, even if you use several decimal points.  Revit is extremely fussy about this – even a difference in angle of 0.000001 degrees may be enough to play havoc with dimensions and symbolic lines.
  • It is much more accurate to rotate by snapping start and end rotation points to the section to be rotated and some other reference element.  The other problem you will encounter is an inability to snap to section lines.


The trick here is two preparatory steps

  • Create a reference plane snapped to the section tail end, and exactly parallel to the angled wall 
  • temporarily turn off the section markers at the ends of the section line – use the little cycle symbols et each end of the section.  Then you can accurately snap to the section line when rotating. 

To rotate the section:

  • During the rotate command, snap the centre of rotation to the point where the reference plane and section tail end meet (they must meet exactly)
  • Snap the start of the rotation to the section head end
  • Snap the end of the rotation to the other end of the reference plane

The section should end up exactly perpendicular (or parallel) to objects in the model.  Unfortunately the annotation on the section will have moved (much exaggerated in this example), so you may need to do some tidy up, and replacement of dimensions.

  • Don’t forget to turn the section head/tail marker back on.

You should now be able to dimension to sectioned elements, and the 2D symbolic lines in families should now be visible. 

It is your call as to whether it is worth rotating the section line or just create a new section – it all depends on how much annotation there is, and how often the section has been referenced in other views.

Once you have the section oriented exactly right, you surely don’t want to lose it, so most likely you will pin it in place.  Revit is very annoying in that you cannot change the 2D extents of a pinned section (as you can with datums like grids).  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pin a rotated section and have it never move again, but still be able to adjust its 2D extents per view, without unpinning it.  If you would like that, please go to the Revit Ideas forum and vote for ‘Allow us to change 2D extents of pinned sections

[Edit:  Now we have a new way to do this in Revit 2019.1, which has an ‘Align Section’ functionality, using the existing ‘Align’ command. ]


Autodesk Model Checker for Revit

23 Oct

Check your BIM model standards

This free tool from Autodesk will automatically check your Revit models based on a set of BIM requirements and generate a compliance report

Revit Conceptual Massing

7 Oct

Autor: Michael Anonuevo (, 11/16/2015

Although the main focus of this article is about creating loadable families, I’m including Revit’s Conceptual Massing Editor tools to give you an idea of how they work. Their function is different than families created from the Family Editor. Complex forms can be derived from the massing tools, which, when loaded in a project, can be turned into building components (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Massing components can be loaded in a project and then turned into building components.

Most users are aware of Revit’s conceptual massing tools. But with my 10 years of working with different companies who use Revit exclusively, I’ve observed that only a handful of users know how to use them. Looking back, I noticed that the designers I’ve worked with prefer using third-party 3D modeling tools to help them visualize their design concepts. Some of my colleagues from other companies also have the same experience. The 3D modeling tools I often hear of are Rhino, formZ and 3ds Max. Why is this? Are Revit’s conceptual massing tools not capable enough? I don’t believe so.

I think the answer lies in how easier it is to use other 3D modeling software for visualization and generating organic forms. I might be biased because I’ve used formZ from its inception, but looking at this matter objectively, yes, I believe that other 3D modeling tools do offer better and more intuitive modeling features. But does this mean Revit is not capable? No. Revit just has a different way of creating conceptual families. Take a look at the Family Editor with its sketch-based/profile methodology. Once you understand the concept, it is really that easy to create families. It’s the same thing with the conceptual massing tools.

Just like the Family Editor, massing forms can be created outside the project environment via the Conceptual Massing Editor. They can also be created inside the project by clicking the In-Place Mass button (Massing & Site → Conceptual Mass → In-Place Mass). The mass creation process in both locations is identical. Parameters (e.g., dimensions, visibility, materials, etc.) can also be assigned to mass components. In this article, we will focus on creating loadable mass families.

Starting a Loadable Mass Family

There are two ways to start a mass family:

  • From the Application button, New → Conceptual Mass
  • From the Recent files window, click the New Conceptual Mass link

In both methods, the New Conceptual Mass – Select Template File dialog box pops up where you click the Mass template located inside the Conceptual Mass folder. The view defaults to an orthographic Default 3D View showing visible dashed lines that represent reference planes (Front/Back and Left/Right) and a Level 1 work plane (see Figure 2). The ribbon interface looks similar to the Family Editor interface, although there are a few tools specific to massing.

Figure 2. Default 3D View of the Conceptual Massing Editor.

The Draw panel is where the Mass interface differs from the Family Editor interface (see Figure 3). Since sketching is done directly on a work plane, there is no sketch mode. Therefore, the Draw panel is always available in the Modify panel. There are three sets of tools:

  • Line types
  • Sketch tools
  • Work planes

Figure 3. The tools in the Draw panel.

These tools follow the same drawing methodology as the Family Editor’s tools. Massing profiles, however, don’t have to be closed loop as will be shown later. When any sketch tool is selected, the default drawing configuration is Model Line → Sketch Tool → Draw on Face (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Default drawing configuration.

The work plane defaults to Level 1. When the cursor is hovered over any dashed lines, their outline appears in blue (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. An outline appears when the cursor is hovered over the edge of a work plane.

When an outline is clicked, the surface inside appears in light blue and becomes the active work plane (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Clicking a work plane makes it the active work plane.

There are five types of mass forms* that can be derived from the draw tools, namely:

  • Extrusion
  • Loft
  • Sweep
  • Revolve
  • Surface

The massing tools are similar to the Family Editor Forms tools in that they have their void counterparts too.

*The forms tools are not in the menu. Components derived from profiles are automatically created according to the five mass types mentioned (depending on how profiles are sketched).


This is the most basic form that can be created in the mass environment. A profile is sketched first (see Figure 7).

Figure 7. A mass extrusion profile.

After clicking the Create Form button from the Form panel, the profile is extruded at a default height (see Figure 8).

Figure 8. Clicking the Create form after sketching a profile extrudes it at a default height.

The cluster of arrows on top can be dragged to change the height. This is called the 3D Control. It is a group of arrows that appear after a profile has been extruded (see Figure 9). They also appear when a surface, edge or vertex is selected.

Figure 9. 3D Control arrows appear after an extrusion is generated.

Note: When a draw tool is hovered over an existing surface, the edges highlight and automatically become a work plane (see Figure 10). Sketching on an existing surface, however, does not change the previously selected work plane.

Figure 10. When a drawing tool is hovered over a surface, the surface highlights and becomes a work plane.


A mass loft form combines profiles sketched at different levels (see Figure 11).

Figure 11. Profiles sketched at different levels.

After selecting the profiles and clicking the Create Form button, the profiles are combined and the form is generated (see Figure 12).

Figure 12. Profiles from different levels can be selected and turned into a loft.

The resulting loft form, like all other form shapes, can be further modified by stretching the 3D control of a selected surface, edge or vertex. When creating the profiles in plan view, a useful function called Overlay can be found in the Properties palette. It contains a drop-down list of the levels (see Figure 13).

Figure 13. Underlay feature in the Properties palette.

This feature enables the lower level to be visible in the current level view, thereby creating a reference for the profile being sketched. Other lower levels can also be made visible by changing the View Range option in the Properties palette.


A sweep is a form of extrusion where one or more profiles can be extruded along a path. The process is started by creating a path and placing Point Elements (see Figure 14). When selected, the point element generates a work plane where a profile, closed loop or open, can be sketched.

Figure 14. A sweep path.

Next, the path and profiles are selected (see Figure 15).

Figure 15. Selected sweep profiles and path.

After clicking the Create Form button, the mass sweep is created. This method of creating a mass yields simple to complex organic forms (see Figure 16).

Figure 16. A complex sweep.


A Revolve form is a mass created by turning a profile around an axis line. The axis can either be a model line or reference line. The profile and the axis must be on the same work plane (see Figure 17).

Figure 17. A revolve axis and profile.

Note: The profile doesn’t have to be closed where it coincides with the axis line.

After selecting the profile and the axis line and clicking the Create Form button, a revolve form is created (see Figure 18).

Figure 18. A finished revolve form.

A profile can also be sketched away from the axis (see Figure 19).

Figure 19. A revolve profile can be created away from the axis line.

Start and end angles for the revolution can also be applied from the Constraints option of the Properties palette (see Figure 20).

Figure 20. A revolve start and end angle can be specified from the Properties palette, resulting in a pie-shaped form.


A surface form is used for conceptualizing free-form shapes such as rolling surfaces (e.g., topos) or wave-like shapes. It is a mass form that does not have thickness and is created from an open profile (see Figure 21).

Figure 21. Creating surface forms from open profiles.

A closed loop profile can be automatically turned into a surface by selecting the check box labeled “Make surface from the closed loops” on the Options bar before sketching (see Figure 22).

Figure 22. The “Make surface from closed loops” feature from the Options bar.

Surface profiles can be created from different levels or reference planes (see Figure 23).

Figure 23. Surface profiles created from different levels.

This results in a loft-like complex surface form (see Figure 24).

Figure 24. A complex surface created from profiles from different levels.

There you go! After writing this article and revisiting the massing tools, I find that generating organic forms from the Conceptual Massing Editor are not that hard to master. Revit’s massing tools are awesome! You just have to get used to the modeling process. The beauty of the forms derived from masses is that they can be loaded in a project and added as components. Be aware, however, that the visibility of masses in all views is turned off by default in the Visibility Graphics Overrides dialog box. But the real power of a massing component is that they can be turned into building components such as walls, floors, roofs and curtain wall systems by using the tools in the Massing & Site tab in the project (see Figure 25).

Figure 25. Massing tools in the Massing & Site tab of the project environment.

Every surface of the loaded mass can be turned into building components (see Figure 26).

Figure 26. Mass components loaded in a project can be turned into building components.

After discarding or hiding the mass, the result is a buildable, complex-shaped structure (see Figure 27).

Figure 27. A complex building generated from a loaded mass component.

Revit comes with massing components if you need a particular form but don’t want to go to the hassle of creating it (see Figure 28).

Figure 28. Ready-made mass forms provided by Autodesk.

It is up to you to experiment with the Conceptual Massing Editor. Try creating one and then turn them into building components. You might end up dumping your third-party 3D modeling software.

This is Part 9 in a 10-part series on Creating Loadable Revit Families. For more information, see:


Michael Anonuevo currently works for YWS Design & Architecture located in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a technical writer, published author, BIM modeler and musician who owns and runs Founded in 2009, his website specializes in unique and highly detailed Revit families created in native Autodesk Revit Architecture geometry. Anonuevo is an Autodesk Revit Architecture Certified Professional. He is also an Autodesk beta tester for Revit Architecture. At, he regularly writes articles pertaining to Revit families. He also writes product reviews and is a contributing author at AUGIWorld, AECbytes, CAD Digest, and He is a member of AUGI, Club Revit, UK Revit Register, Los Angeles Revit Users Group and Southern California Revit Users Group.