Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to share his architecture and design ideas through speculative projects. His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

Revit – 5 Beginner Tips for Professional Practice

Revit – 5 Beginner Tips for Professional Practice


Today, one of the most important skills for architecture students and young professionals is to be able to use Building Information Modeling (BIM) software such as Revit. Many aspiring architects who haven’t learned Revit and are seeking internships or full time employment have difficulty finding a position at most architecture firms. So most people, myself included, turn to online tutorials and extracurricular courses to learn the fundamentals of Revit or any other BIM software. Even after I took these courses and created a conceptual project in Revit, I still didn’t feel as if I was adequately prepared for using the program in an architecture firm.

Now that I’ve been using Revit at an architecture firm for a few years, I’ve been able to work on several projects with our new young architects and teach them fundamental skills for developing a project in the program. After reflecting on my transition from architecture school to practice, I’ve come up with 5 things that I wish I’d known about using Revit in an architecture firm.

1. How to create a central Revit file

Whenever you work on a Revit project at a firm, you’ll most likely be working with a team of architects and designers in one central model. This means that the Revit file is saved somewhere on a shared server within the firm and everyone on that project team will be able to work on that model at the same time. As a new member to a firm that uses Revit, it’s very important to know how to create a central Revit file for any new projects that your team and you are working on.

Here is a basic overview of how to create a central Revit file for your project.

2. Work in a LOCAL file not the CENTRAL file

If you’re working on a new Revit project with a team, be sure to open and work in a local Revit file and never work in a central file. Here’s why.

A central Revit file is saved on the firm’s server, which is accessible by all users. A local Revit file is saved on your personal computer and allows you to work on the project model. As you make modifications and changes to your local file, you’ll take ownership of those particular model elements. As the model continues to develop, say 20 minutes or so into the project, your team might need access to those model elements or there might’ve been significant changes to the model that you need to see. So you’ll click the “synchronize” button and/or the “Relinquish All Mine” button under the “Collaborate” tab in your ribbon.

By synchronizing your local Revit model, you’re essentially telling Revit to merge your model with the central Revit model on the firm’s server. So imagine all of your teammates constantly synchronizing their models as they develop their particular architectural elements and components. The central Revit model is essentially the brain that everything comes back to and reflects every modification that the team is making.

If you open the central Revit model and work in it by accident, you won’t be able to save any changes that you’ve made and there’s a chance that you could corrupt the file. So make sure you only work in a local Revit file and synchronize every 20-30 minutes.

Don’t know how to make a local file from the central Revit file? Here’s how!

Learn how to synchronize and release ownership of your Revit elements below.

3. Details are drawn with Annotation Components

Drawing details in Revit is different for every Revit user because some people model every component with as much detail as they can and others, like me, take detail views of the model and overlay annotation components within each specific view. No matter which method you prefer to use, you’ll have to add detail components to any detail view that you take from the Revit model. Just remember that annotation components are view specific, which means they will not show in any other view except the specific views you placed them on.

4. Understanding Project Templates

Every architecture firm that uses Revit will have a project template for starting any new project. These templates are preset with common elements, symbols, sheets, line weights, line types, etc. so that you could save time as you work on the project. Make sure you take time to understand all of the project standards that your company has for sheet layouts, sheet numbering and drawing type (i.e. A100 series is generally floor plans), project archiving, and any other important aspects for developing a complete Revit project.

5. Working with views on project sheets

With any project that you’re working on, you’ll eventually place views on project sheets so that you can print and review final drawings before sending them to clients and consultants. In most cases, you’ll place multiple views that are related to one another on one sheet. For example, floor plans are usually large, so they’re typically given their own page, but callout views of enlarged floor plans are smaller and are usually placed on a sheet with interior elevations. If you’re still designing the space, you’ll be able to modify the spaces and see them update on the other drawings all within the same page.

Another way that this comes in handy is if your project architect or manager redlines a set of drawings for a project that you’re working on, you could go directly to that sheet and make the modifications by simply double clicking the drawing, making the changes, right-click, and select deactivate view.


Everyone eventually develops their own way of working in Revit and you’ll develop more efficient methods of creating the model and drawings. When you’re just entering an architecture firm and you open Revit for the first time in a professional environment, you’ll inevitably be nervous and anxious about whether or not your skills are up to par.

Just remember that every company has a different set of Revit standards and a person in charge of developing and maintaining those standards. As a newcomer to the firm, everyone is anticipating questions from you regarding the project that you’re working on and any questions you might have about Revit.

So be sure to introduce yourself to everyone, let them know who you are and ask them if they’d be open for any questions that you might have in the future. I hope this post has given you some insight on some fundamental Revit skills for working in an architecture firm.

Let me know how this post has helped you in the comments section below!

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