In our office, we’re always looking for ways to help incoming people (and ourselves) learn Revit. and there is no doubt it’s a tough program to understand and master.  Even after many years of using Revit, I’m still learning new things every week. But in our discussions, it seems that we all had fairly similar reactions to learning Revit.  

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Comic by Architexts 2010 “Learning Revit: Making the Switch?” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US)

Talking about this process in the office we decided that it matched up fairly accurately to the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  At first, you really don’t really want to learn the program and hate it just a little.  Then you start to get the hang of it, start doing more complicated tasks, and get frustrated when Revit won’t cooperate with what you want to do.  But the learning continues and eventually, you can pretty much work to get Revit to do whatever you want.  So here are the 5 Stages of Revit, and bits of my inner monologue from each phase. 

The 5 Stages of Revit.  

1: I don’t want to “Revit.”  

            If I just convince myself that Revit doesn’t exist it’ll be okay, right? AutoCAD is still a totally viable option, isn’t it?  Okay, deep breath and dive into Revit, everything is going alright so far.  Then the warning bubble comes up, the accompanying chime sound means that Revit does not approve of what I just did.  Ignore the bubble, it’s fine, there’s no problem here, no I do not hear the incessant warning chimes, Janelle. 

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Comic by Architexts 2013 “Another Try at Revit” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US)

2: I dislike you Revit. 

            WHY will you not do what I want Revit?? I just want to move that wall 6” to the left. What’s wrong with that?  What do you mean I can’t load the object into my file, it was fine five minutes ago.  Why isn’t there a button that does this for me, there should really be a button for this Revit.  No, no, no don’t crash!  REVIT WILL YOU PLEASE STOP MAKING THAT CHIME NOISE. 

Comic by Architexts 2010 “ Learning Revit: Revit Errors” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US)

3: Please work, please work, please work today Revit. 

            I’ll do what you want, really.  Just plain rectangles with hip roofs.  No curves or angles.  No strange rotating boxes or elaborate wine decanters.  Please work today Revit.  Don’t crash or lose my work.  I’ll even start saving my files every ten minutes like you want me to.  

Comic by Architexts 2010 “Learning Revit: Automatic Save” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US)

4: Why Revit, why?

            I’m never going to get this object to behave correctly am I?  I should just abandon this concept.  I can’t get Revit to do what I want, maybe it can’t be done.  How set are you on this idea Scott? 

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Comic by Architexts 2014 “Revit Splash Screen” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US)

5: Okay Revit, we can do this.  

            Alright, Revit, I’ve learned how not to do it, I’ve watched tutorials online and read articles on how you want it to work, now I will get you to do what I want.  Magic easy button or no button and complicated workaround, together we can get this done.  Now I can actually manipulate Revit to get the end result I’m looking for, and I wouldn’t ever want to go back to other programs.  

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Comic by Architexts 2013 “Revit vs. AutoCAD: Default Units” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US)

It seems that everyone goes through the Revit-as-a-whole learning cycle, but I think that even now I go through mini-cycles when I come across a new problem or have to model something complicated.  The process of learning Revit is never actually done, especially when you work in our office of “what-if,” “can we do that,” and my favorite “heeeeey Brianna? Revit question for you.”  

screen shot of Revit error messages
Error screens and Revit go hand-in-hand.  But we can get some pretty awesome models out of it … eventually. 

PS - There’s a bonus mystery Revit stage too:  THERE’S A BUTTON FOR THAT?! 

            No, really?  There actually IS a button that lets me avoid the long and frustrating process of doing this task? And I didn’t know about it? Of course, there is. Okay, so how does it work?


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