Saturday, June 17, 2017

Revit's Section Box Tips and Tricks

Fun fact: I wrote this post in-flight between Minneapolis and Amsterdam, in route to visit my family's past Russian exchange students--and ultimately posted this from St. Petersburg, Russia. I had mentioned this impending trip in a speaker spotlight interview for BILT-NA in Toronto.

There are a number of tips and tricks related to Revit’s Section Box feature. I will share several of them in this post. Please add any additional tips you may have in the comments section below.

A Section Box can be activated in a 3D or Camera view via Properties as shown in the image below.
Once activated, and selected, each of the six sides of the Section Box can be adjusted using the grips. The grips are always centered on each face.
About those grips… they can be hard to find and tricky to select. Knowing they are always in the center helps in locating them. If you click and miss the grip, the Section Box deselects—which is a pain. Notice the grip is composed of two arrows? If you single-click one side, or the other, the Section Box face will adjust a slight amount in the direction selected.

In addition to the six grips, there is also a quick access Rotation icon, see the image above.

For more control in sizing and rotating the Section Box, I like to adjust it in plan, elevation and section views. You can make the Section Box visible by selecting it in the 3D view and then using Ctrl+Tab to step through the open views. This requires the plan or elevation view to already be open. Additionally, the Section Box will become deselected if you step into another project or family.

Another option is to open the plan or elevation view and then right-click on the 3D view in the Project Browser as shown in the image below. Any 3D or Camera view with Section Box checked will show this option.

Once selected, you can drag a side to be more accurately centered on a wall (in plan) or above/below a floor (in elevation).
When the Section Box is selected, in a plan view, use the rotate command. The angled element in the next two images is a good example of when rotating a Section Box can be helpful.
 In this example, the floor cut aligns with the element and the adjacent columns are excluded.
Another great way to leverage the Section Box tool is via the Selection Box command. Select one or more elements, as in the image below, and then click the Selection Box command.
The result is your default 3D view is opened and the Section Box is turned on and adjusted around the selected elements as shown in the next image.
In general, I like to think of this as a “throw-away” Section Box. Seeing as it is applied to the default 3D view, I am guessing that was the developers intent as well. When done with this Section Box, just turn it off. A view does not remember a previous position of an adjusted Section Box… thus, whenever it is toggled back on, it will reset to align with the extents of the model. If you want to save a Section Box adjustment, for future review, or to place on a sheet, simply make a copy of the default 3D view.
 Of course, the Section Box can be adjusted as needed,,,
If the cropped view will be placed on a sheet you may want to turn off the Section Box visibility via Visibility/Graphics Overrides.
As long as the original element(s) is within the Section Box, it is possible to use the Displace Elements command to preposition items outside of the Section Box as shown in the image below.
Finally, the Section Box can be used to save a lot of time when rendering a still image in Revit. I talked about this in the ArchVision webinar... click here to see my post about that and watch the recording.


  1. Great article Dan! There's a popular revit idea on making those section box grips larger:

  2. Thanks for your post.i got a question. when i have it my plan view and 3d view open and select section box in 3d, it will show in plan view and i can grab and select it, but when i click rotate command, section box disappears from plan view and again i have to select it in 3d to make it visible in plan view. so i cant rotate it properly with the rotate command. i checked the visibility graphic and section box is ticked to my assumption is that we cant see section box in plan view unless we make it visible from project browser as you said or by clicking on it in 3d. the point is that as far as it disappears when i hit rotate i cant rotate it by rotate command with my desired orientation.
    there's a rotate sign on the corner of section box which doesn't rotate the section box accurately and i,m not sure how i can rotate with certain angle. can you help me please. thanks.

    1. Thanks for the comment... I hope I was able to answer your question in today's post:

  3. Would be great if there was also a "Hide Section Box" option for the view, even greater if there was a hide and show option in the View Cube Menu, greater even still, if there was a dedicated toggle.

  4. Is there a way to precisely adjust the section box? I'm trying to create floor specific 3D view but can not accurately adjust the box. It's painstaking (or OCD) to not be able to snap the edge to a floor level

    1. No, I do not think so. You can move it precisely if you toggle to a plan view, but since is cannot be started in a precise location that does not help.


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