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Friday, February 24, 2012

Tools for Troubleshooting Unexpected Behavior in Revit - RT @RevitClinic

BIM -The Revit Clinic

This post comes from one of our Product Support Specialists here in the US, Lance Coffey. Thanks for the tips Lance!

There are many tools in Revit for making project, view, or element level changes to your project file, and many of these tools can also be used to troubleshoot undesired or unexpected behavior in the project.

Note: When using these tools for troubleshooting purposes, it is likely that changes will be made to the project that you will not want to keep. To avoid accidentally making unwanted changes to your project file, before going through any of the steps below, make a copy of the project (and if necessary linked project files) and only work with the copied file.

Whenever troubleshooting a project specific issue, you should get the following information (actually this information is good for troubleshooting most software issues):

  1. What is happening exactly, and why is it unexpected. (If you are the one running into the issue, then this should be easy to get.)
  2. Has this worked in the past?
  3. If the answer to number 2 is yes, then see if you can find what has changed between when it last worked and now (different computer, network, hardware, software, add-ins, etc).
  4. Is your product updated? Check to make sure there are no updates that you can apply.

Number one is important because if you don't have a clear idea of what you are trying to fix, then it is hard to know if (and when) you have fixed it. 

If the answer to number two is no, then you may also need to verify that the process you are going through is supposed to work.

It is a good idea to apply product updates when troubleshooting unexpected behavior (as updates often resolve such issues). In addition, if you will be working with someone else to troubleshoot the issue, it is a good idea for everyone to be using the same product version.


  1. Manage Links
  2. Transfer Project Standards
  3. View Templates
  4. Project Browser
  5. Copy and Paste

Manage Links/Linked Files:

Linked files can cause unexpected behavior in Revit, such as unexpected display of linked elements, crashing, or they could prevent a project file from opening in the first place.

If you can't open the host project file, try copying it to a location without the linked files, and verify if you can open it. If you can, then you can begin determining which linked file is preventing the project from opening (if you find that you can only have a certain number of any given linked files loaded, you may be seeing a resource related issue).

If you can open the project, but are seeing unexpected behavior, a good first step is to go into the Manage Links dialog (on the Insert Ribbon Tab), and remove all linked files from the project to see if the issue is related to one (or more) of the linked files.

Transfer Project Standards:

Sometimes, you have one project which is not working like another, and you don't know what setting in Revit is causing the different behavior. To clear the issue, you can try transferring all the project standards from the working project to the problematic one. To narrow down what setting was causing the issue (if transferring all of the project standards fixes the issue), you can transfer them in groups, or individually until you find the specific category that clears the issue, and then compare the category settings between the two projects.

View Templates:

Occasionally you may find that one view, is not behaving like other views in your project. In this situation you can create a view template from the view that is working (as you expect), and apply that template to the problematic view. If the issue is cleared, you can modify the view template to apply fewer settings and determine what specific category was different between the views.

Project Browser:

The Project Browser is the tool that allows you to access the different views in your project. It also allows you to access and manipulate Families, Groups, and Revit Links.

If you suspect a particular group is causing issues in your project, you can find the group in the Project Browser, right click on it, and click Select All Instances -> In entire Project. Once you have all the instances selected, you can ungroup them or remove them from the project.

If a particular family is not working as you expect, and you want to remove and reload the family, you can use the steps above to select all instances in the project, and then use the Type Selector to change the instances to a temporary family type (to do this you should create a new family type on a different family in the same category and then change the instances to the new family type), remove the existing family (which no longer has any instances), reload the family into the project, and then change the previous family instances back to their original family type.

If you suspect that one or more families are causing an error in your project, you can use the project browser to remove all of the families (except for a single instance of each system family type) and verify if the error is cleared. If the error is cleared, you can then narrow down what family (or families) was involved with the error.

Note: If you remove the family it will remove the family instance(s). It is possible an error could be related to a particular instance of the family, and not the family itself. This leads to the next tool:

Cut and Paste: 

If you find a particular element in the project is not behaving as expected, you can try recreating it by Cutting it to the clipboard, and then pasting it aligned to the same place.

If you are not familiar with one or more of the tools above, the following help topics have information on the basic usage of the tools:

As I mentioned at the beginning, please do not try out these steps with your original project file. Instead, start with a copy.


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