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Show Reference Planes in 3D

Show Reference Planes in 3D

Similar to the recently added Showing Levels in 3D views, would be great to see Reference Planes in 3D as well, would pave the way for a lot more intuitive three dimensional modeling.


When dealing with complex geometry, it is crucial to be able to create Reference Planes in 3D view, by either pick a pre-existing planar face, or pick 3 points (similar to AutoCAD's 3-point UCS).  


This problem exists Revit doesn't actually DO geometry per se. Revit is at it's core is an orthogonal relationship database, not a geometric one. Whereas AutoCAD locates and defines items based on the actual algebraic equations that define them, Revit just catalogs lwh, vertices (instead of actually recording the angle, it logs the location of each vertex/endpoint), radii and location. It doesn't even do real solid geometry, just faces that it "pretends" are solids. While this database is very robust in its ability to build relationships from parameters and constraints, it is sorely lacking in its ability to process equations. When drawing an ellipse is the closest the software gets to real CAD, you're going to have a hard time pulling off complex geometry.


Therefore I would say that the solution should go beyond simply providing the ability for a better defined reference plane... they should change the way Revit stores object data to a geometric database. Perhaps just lay the Revit API and GUI over 3DSMax's core and call it RevMax...


This type of omission of standard 3D modelling functionality is precisely why so many people are put off taking up Revit in the first place.


My journey has been painful at times trying fully understand why functions like this (as well as no point to point measuring or placing of sections or visibility of section markers in 3D) had me baffled that there must be a valid reason for their unavailability. I thought, as many have, that it's just my lack of Revit knowledge and that a greater mind than mine knew the technical reason for it. Now I realise it's got nothing to do with that, it's simply down to Autodesk deciding not to implement such useful functionality and (unwisely) deciding their time was better spent elsewhere despite these functions being totally logical to have within the software (it's why SketchUp is so easy to pickup and run with). I think they were busy making it so technically razor sharp that they took their eye off the ball as far as basic modelling functionality is concerned.


That being said, with the addition of levels visibility in 3D and tabbed working it does like the they are finally realising the lack of some basic functionality is a barrier to many getting into Revit. They appear now to be trying to iron-out it's idiosyncrasies (of which there are many), and this can only be a good thing for all. 



 flipworx - I totally agree! And I can tell you a lot of my colleagues have expressed similar concerns.  


thank the gods we finally got non-orthogonal 3D view...please oh Revit gods get us some basic modelling functionality to go along with it - YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!


I am looking for a way to make ALL reference planes visible in 3D-mode. If I activate the reference planes in the visibility settings, only the horizontal reference planes are shown, but nut the vertical ones. (In plans and elevations, both  horizontal ones and vertical ones are shown).


Thanks for a hint to solve that, Harald

Autodesk Support

Hi @mayerLY3UG ,


Thank you for your feedback. 

FYI: A similar idea has been logged here:


Please, feel free to vote for it and encourage other users with the same wish to do so as well. This helps our development team to prioritize incomming wishes. 


Hard to believe what I read - so it is not my own incompetence at least.........

Thanks for the reply. And hard to believe that Revit really does not
give an option to show those 3-D-basics.

well in 3d you can select an existing reference place or a new onw and then make it visible.

in "architecture" "set workplane". 

it's 3d basics, but also Revit basics.


Please add this basic functionality.

Community Visitor

So I played around with this a bit. This is not a full solution, but by setting the reference plane you wish to see in 3D as the current work plane, you can press "show work plane" in your 3D view. This allows at least some form of 3D visualization of your reference plane.


Revit work plane.png

Yeah but that's really not ideal is it? I mean you can do the same for
Levels but Levels are actually available in 3D.

Another work around I've found if your desperate - draw the window you'd like to show on your reference plane with model lines so that at least the perimeter can show up in 3D. The plane itself remains clear, unfortunately can't think of a work around for that.


@Yien_Chao, if you do that you can see one work plane right? Would like to see all reference planes in order to aid with modeling


it is not possible to see all the reference plans at the same time. Revit will automatically select or ask you to choose the reference plane.


In Family editor show reference lines and reference planes in 3D views when set in Visibility/Graphics Overrides. You can set them "on" but they don't show up in 3D view.



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