Troubleshooting Revit Visibility Issues
I was debating whether or not to write this post because so many of my consulting hours consists of troubleshooting visibility issues. I may be cutting into that by sharing my secrets! (Just kidding!)
I know that visibility issues can be a huge pain, especially for new users. And in another post I shared that it can significantly affect the productivity of a team. For that reason, I wanted to share some basics to troubleshooting visibility issues. In other words, where do you start when you can’t see an element that should be there?
Additionally, check out the CLICK2BIM guide with the entire process to troubleshooting visibility issues.
For this post, we will focus on model elements. This is where most of the issues exist anyways. The first thing I will say is check the simple things that you may think don’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyways. Make sure you’re in the correct project, all the worksets that it could be on are open, and you’re in the correct view. Also make sure that a temporary view mode is not active. Sometimes we can get tripped up by the simple things.
Verify Existence and Location
Sometimes you may think an element should be there, but it’s really not. Or it’s not at the correct elevation. So before you go through too much effort, make sure whatever you are trying to make visible actually exists and is in the correct location. If you are creating something and you get the warning below, then you know it’s a visibility issue. So don’t keep trying to create it! (I have gone through projects and seen the same component placed in the same general area about 25 times. My thought is “how many times did you think you needed to try before you figured out it wasn’t going to work? 😊)
To verify an element exists, try looking in another view, such as the default 3D view. Creating a section view is also something I do at times. Create a section where the element should be and then take a look. And don’t use a section type with a view template. That way all the categories will be visible and there won’t be any filters applied. A schedule is also a good place to check.
Reveal Hidden Elements
Once I know that the element exists, I will go ahead and use Reveal Hidden Elements. You can learn quite a bit in this view mode. I’ll also say that this may be your first step. If you are very familiar with the project, then you may already know that the element exists. If so, go ahead and start here.
In the View Control Bar, click Reveal Hidden Elements. When you do, a dark magenta border will appear around the drawing area and Reveal Hidden Elements will appear in the upper-left corner. You may also see all kinds of random things in the model. Any element that is dark magenta is either hidden by category or by element. If you see the element that is not visible, select it and look in the contextual ribbon. If Unhide Category is available, then the element is hidden by category. In other words, the visibility of the category is turned off.
If Unhide Element is available, then the element has been hidden. This is a practice that I do not recommend.
Autodesk Help also states that Reveal Hidden Elements will reveal elements that have been hidden by a filter. However, I have not found this to be true. So if the element in question is still not visible, I recommend using temporary view properties.
Check View Extents
Another common issues that prevents elements from being visible is not being within the view extents. If it’s a plan view, check the crop region and view range. If it’s a section or elevation view, then check the cut plane and far clip as well as the left and right boundaries. Also check the crop region in the view. This will help you with the left, right, top, and bottom boundaries. When you have any of these views open, you can click Do Not Crop View in the View Control Bar to remove any cropping. There will still be view extents in the direction that is perpendicular to your screen.
In 3D views, there are crop regions, but it should not be on in your default 3D view. What you want to pay attention to is the section box. In the Properties palette, under Extents, check to see if Section Box is enabled. If so, then there is a box that may be clipping portions of your model. If you don’t see the section box in the view, the Section Boxes annotation category is turned off or the element has been hidden. For some reason the section box is hidden in some of Autodesk’s out of the box templates. And some people create templates based on those. Depending on what you want to see, you may want to enable Section Box and adjust it to be around the element, or you may want to disable it so nothing is being clipped.
One more thing I’ll say about view extents. If you have an MEP floor plan view and you want to show structural steel for some type of support, then you need to be aware that the structural framing components must be below the cut plane. In other words, they can be within the view range, but they will not show if they are above the cut plane.
Enable Temporary View Properties
When you are troubleshooting your visibility issue, you can use temporary view properties. On the View Control Bar, click Temporary View Properties and then select Enable Temporary View Properties. Once again, this is a temporary view state so a border will appear around the drawing area. At this point, you can adjust any and all of the view properties you need and then when you select Restore View Properties, they will all be restored. It’s like a massive undo for view properties, but be aware that any changes you make to the model will not be restored. It’s just view properties. If you are unsure of what is temporary, then ask yourself if it can be accessed in the view’s instance properties in the Properties palette. At this point, you can take a systematic approach to checking filters, view range, discipline, etc.
The first thing I will say is check the simple things that you may think don’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyways. Make sure you’re in the correct project, all the worksets that it could be on are open, and you’re in the correct view. Also make sure that a temporary view mode is not active. Sometimes we can get tripped up by the simple things.