How long would it take me to learn Revit?

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How steep is the Revit learning curve? If I were thrown into an office that used only Revit, how long might it take me to become reasonably proficient with it?

Some background info:

I started out computing playing Zork with a trs-80.

I've built my own machines, networked entire small offices, setup/troubleshot many a plotter and configured/ran daily print production on a Cannon CLC with a Fiery RIP.

I've worked in both Mac and Pc based environments.

On the software side I have worked professionally with Microstation, AutoCad, 3d Studio Max, Quark, Pagemaker, Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and Acrobat Pro over the course of the last 15 years.

Recently I picked up Sketchup and it was scary simple

Any ideas on a Revit learning time frame?

Oct 26, 09 10:33 am


But then you will hit a wall

As you realize that the intuitive way the interface is designed is good for nothing as you move into actual construction documents for large buildings (assuming you are working on them) *Residential projects are perfect for Revit's out of the box setup*

But you'll get over that quickly, and learn a lot more

and then hit a wall again

As you learn the intricacies of the very specific rules that govern custom parametric families

Hopefully you will have other people around who can ask you stupid questions and as you explain to them the twisted logic it will start to make fuzzy sense in your mind.

And then you will become a Revit zen master, able to diagnose any issue with a magic wand, this point (for myself) took about two years.

PS. I work as a 'BIM Specialist' and have trained over 50 architects who now use Revit in a production environment.

Oct 26, 09 10:39 am

You'll be fine. I teach Revit and similar software for a living- just know it's not CAD ( you have to assume a different workflow) and pay attention to your parametric constraints and element properties.

Download Autodesk's free 30 day trial and do all the tutorials- don't wait until you get to the firm to open up the program. Familiarize yourself with the tools, views, and general navigation. When you get to the firm, you'll learn how to work collaboratively in the file with others, interface with consultants, and scheduling. Practice modeling now, play with the parameters, and you'll be fine.

The amount of time it takes to learn Revit varies from person to person. I would do the tutorials maybe one or two a day and then when I feel like I've got it, I would take it easy and then do a refresher before I started working.

You're not going to be an expert revit user until you've done a project in it with a team of people, but you'll be familiar enough with the tools not to look like you don't know what you're doing.

Oct 26, 09 10:47 am

oh yeah- and then it's on and up to zen master

Oct 26, 09 10:50 am

yes good practical advice there.

Oct 26, 09 10:57 am
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Thanks loremipsum and Alexi

I contemplating being thrown into a production environment doing CD's for 50,000 sf manufacturing and distribution centers, 300,000 sf mixed use master plans and an 700 acre residential master plan.

I would like to avoid being the guy with all the stupid questions!!!

I will be given a week max before I'm expected to start being productive.

Am I going to be throwing myself to the wolves (or whatever the correct euphemism would be) and pulling out my hair in frustration?

Is it possible to blow through the free tutorials over the course of a weekend?

Oct 26, 09 11:06 am

50,000 sf manufacturing... alright!

300,000 sf mixed use master plans... great, unless you are doing the architectural infill...

700 acre res master plans... wouldn't do this in Revit. (issues with importing CAD files from consultants that are more than 2 miles in diameter).

Given your experience you probably won't have 'stupid questions' but you will have a lot.

The art comes into play in deciding whether to model or draft, it's a game of compromises where every drawing decision either saves you time or makes your file unmanageably large. In a perfect world with a perfect computer everything should be modeled, in my office with 64 bit boxes running 8 GB RAM, quad core processors (which Revit cannot take advantage of) and stellar video cards we have to make a lot of sacrifices to the parametric gods.

That said we are doing mainly 200,000-1,000,000 SF mixed use residential/commercial and hotel projects. The key to doing these successfully is understanding linked files.

You will be able to do the tutorials in a weekend, sure (do the ones that come with the program) after that you should do google searches for specific issues that come up while you are working (replicate a project that you have done in CAD).

Oct 26, 09 11:15 am
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Hey guys thanks for the encouragement!

It's just a temporary contract gig until my wife starts a new job and we relocate.

But, it will be good that I'll be forced to learn something new.

Oct 26, 09 11:39 am
liberty bell

I just want to give a big gold star to loremipsum and Alexi. What helpful, generous, non-snarky advice!

Archinect at its best.

You guys make it sounds like this old dinosaur shouldn't be so scared of BIM.

Oct 26, 09 12:00 pm
liberty bell

(The old dinosaur being me, not you, dash-line screen name, just to clarify.)

Oct 26, 09 12:01 pm

[2ct]the snarkiness is mostly directed towards people who never heard of a library or google, not towards people with genuine questions that want to engage in a discussion.[/2ct]

Oct 26, 09 12:12 pm

haha lb- you can definitely learn BIM -It's really the thought process you have to pay attention to, it's a different way to work.

Firms I know who are unsuccessful are trying to use Revit like autoCAD, when this happens the file gets bulky and you lose half or more of revit's functionality. Once you've learned to work within Revit's rule-based system life becomes a little more awesome.


You'll be able to blow through a lot in a weekend, but the longer you take the more you'll learn.

Just remember that Revit requires less mindless clicking (when used properly)- so pay attention to what you're doing, read the warnings and try to understand what they mean.

You're definitely going to ask questions!!! Read up on Central files and worksharing before you go and definitely ask the questions you have (online first, of course) because if you don't know what you're doing and you don't ask- people will be more pissed if you screw something up.

Oct 26, 09 12:18 pm

Everyone's subject to snark or get snarked on archinect. That's why hitting the "SUBMIT" button is so exhilarating- hehe

Oct 26, 09 12:19 pm
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Haha liberty bell.

I sure feel like an old dinosaur.

I would not have taken offense if you were referring to me. :)

Oct 26, 09 12:29 pm
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Well, if the job works out I'll be sure to post my questions, frustrations and screw-ups regarding learning BIM for all to see.

Thanks again.

Oct 26, 09 12:46 pm

I think that people who learn revit fastest are the ones who have no assumptions about how it's supposed to work, as in, resist the urge to compare and expect it to behave like a previously learned software.
I think the functionality is actually organized very clearly and once you get familiar with it you can get better on your own but you have to constantly consider the consequences of every little decision which some people find a bit hard.
It seriously helps to learn from the mistakes of others and to have someone located not too far away to as questions.

Oct 26, 09 12:51 pm

judging from your experience, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

the time frame I always say is: 1 project

over the course of a project you should learn how to do learn and meet most of your everyday needs. you will hit walls as the zen master said, but if you know where to search for the answers, you will have no problems. the issue with revit is, you have to learn how to do everything individually, a wall is different than a floor, is different than a roof, instead of acad where everything is a line.

crazy custom families are definitely beyond what you need, but will improve your project's efficiency and accuracy.

...and I prefer the term guru, not zen master.

lorem, curious if you've trained MEP engineers yet. I'm having trouble breaking their mold and getting them to really explore and improve the software and their workflow.

Oct 26, 09 1:33 pm

... i started that post this morning... all good advice from the above.

...i think you can definitely tell Revit's maturity and depth has grown from the advice and threads on archinect. it's good to see (that our competitive advantage is quickly disappearing)

Oct 26, 09 1:39 pm

ahem, crazy custom families are you friend, why aren't more people accepting that this is the power of revit?

Oct 26, 09 1:39 pm

I have.

Revit MEP it definitely the toughest to train because there are so many different sub-disciplines in there. I think that once they start seeing how integrated the process is and get used to it, they utilize the program better than arch or structural.

Most of the time a portion of the class is taught to everyone and then they're broken into their sub disciplines as to not waste peoples time and to keep them attentive.

Oct 26, 09 1:47 pm

ckl, indeed. immensely powerful.

but you need to walk before you run. and crazy custom families can be a tripping hazard. tracking parameters is probably the most difficult thing in revit, and it still gives everyone headaches. solving visibility problems is always a huge ordeal with beginners. same can be said for strings of families within families.

Oct 26, 09 1:48 pm

you're absolutely right. I just brought it up because the conversation very often steers towards the idea that revit is for standard structures and buildings and you can't make anything out of the ordinary - I just wanted to dispel the myth.
my experience has been the opposite and I realized that families are really very useful, even you you want to have more flexibility for something very standard.

Oct 26, 09 2:28 pm
some person

Here is my personal experience (I'm neither an old geezer nor just out of school); perhaps you can relate:

I found out that I needed to build a 3-D massing model of a building for which we had AutoCAD plans. Not knowing Sketch-up very well, I decided to come in on a Sunday and teach myself enough about Revit to build the massing model. It took me about 5 hours, but I managed to create a model that was sufficient for the task at hand.

From that point forward, I proceeded with the program, creating a list of questions until I could go no farther, then I asked those questions of a colleague-guru. Then repeated.

It's really not so bad, as long as - as others mentioned above - there is someone in your office (which it sounds like there will be, given that everyone uses the program) to whom you can ask questions.

My company also sent me to a formal 4-day Revit training four months later, which was beneficial in understanding the intricacies of the more powerful tools within the program.

Oct 26, 09 7:23 pm

Yes, you will surely hit a wall....frequently....with your fist....if you are doing CD's in Revit. It is obvious that Revit was not intended to produced accurate drawings with quality graphics.

Oct 27, 09 7:21 pm

But seriously, having worked exculsily on Revit for about 6 months...I can see this taking about a year and a half to really rock on it....I am still in the heavy drinking, fist through wall stage...but its getting better...sorry for being snarky.

Oct 27, 09 7:36 pm

revit is probably the best thing today after using cad for 16 years.


if you are starting revit from scratch, you better work on a project that you can do in your sleep, since you will be struggling to do simple things that you do in cad that doesn't go your way in revit.

Oct 27, 09 9:28 pm


You are so totally wrong about Revit not intended to produce accurate drawings with quality graphics!

I've taken 6 projects through CD in Revit. Sometimes I complain about it being too accurate. Half the things we import from CAD result in warning about accuracy (lines off by 0.1 degree etc.). Most things can be customized to create quality graphics. There are very very few things that you CAN'T adjust. The flip side is that I now have created hundreds of custom families. But as stated above, custom family is why Revit is powerful and much much much superior to CAD.

There are ways to make the graphic look good. Don't readily accept the default.

Oct 28, 09 3:58 pm


Is it possible to learn Revit basic within 1 week or less? I have worked with AutoCAD, SketchUp. Photoshop, 3D MAX. However, I need to learn Revit ASAP and I know to get proficient it will need like 1 month, but if I wanna learn using it regarding my background, Is it possible within this time period?


Feb 6, 17 3:25 pm
Non Sequitur

You can certainly trick yourself in believing you've learned it... but really, proficiency in software will only get you that far. Technical building detailing will be the proficiency benchmark.

Feb 6, 17 4:17 pm

Some places give you a Revit test


Technical building detailing will be the proficiency benchmark.

This separates the architects from the BIM modeler/drafters - 

Feb 6, 17 5:28 pm

How does the test look like? What do they ask you to sit and do on Revit?

Feb 9, 17 5:21 pm

At one large office, you login to their website to take the test - multiple choice and you have a Revit file to do the work in order to answer the questions on the vignettes - lots of questions on view depth - also codes

Other places, you do an assignment such as create structural details, set up sheet and print out. Coordination with structural mostly.

the big offices have tests such that you better know Revit inside out -

Feb 9, 17 8:13 pm

was wondering if anyone has useful links to kickstart a self-taught Revit course!

Jul 15, 17 3:48 am
Siph - As mentioned in one of the earliest posts on the thread, the best tutorials are provided by autodesk which include the relevant can also hover over many of the ribbon buttons in the program, which will explain their functionality. Also google, YouTube, Lynda...

Xenakis - curious what roles and within what sectors are large firms requiring the testing?

I haven't come across any testing for intermediate far. Just do I know it, how many years, various semi-technical conversations (but not really questions) that reveal this to be true. Mostly worked at medium to large firms.
Jul 15, 17 3:49 pm


Jul 17, 17 10:58 am

Decades times decades, and by that time some new tool will be available.

Jul 17, 17 11:29 am

I have worked in Autocad Architecture since 1994, and have modeled in 3D extensively.

I would consider myself an advanced SketchUp user, and I love SketchUp

I joined a firm 6 months ago and have had to use Revit--cold turkey.

I can produce basic construction documents, with the sheets set up by others, but anytime I run across having to modify components, I have issues. I am getting a little better at modeling in place.

Yesterday, I had to bring in a schedule (for the first time by myself). I think my coworkers are getting tired of me basically asking questions. I was getting so frustrated, I actually had an attack of Vertigo which I have never had in my life. I went to the ER, it was bad. I am positive this was brought on by being stressed out over producing basic work in Revit.

There are things I like about Revit, but I am also hearing things like, "well you just have to accept that...".  

Anyway--just thought his might be interesting to others, not necessarily helpful

Sep 16, 17 1:13 pm
Mayur Naik

Wonderful comments. Best wishes to the new learner.

Oct 7, 17 7:16 am
Grumpy Grizzly

When I first attended a Revit class, the first thing the instructor said was to take off your Autocad Hat and put on a Revit Hat.  Meaning:  Don't beat yourself up trying to figure out or compare Autocad or Autocad Architecture to Revit.  Once you learn how easily Revit works, you'll be amazed.

Example:  In Autocad, you draw two parallel lines put them on a wall layer and call it a wall.

In Revit, you select the type of wall you want to draw whether it be cmu blocks, 2x4's with gyp board inside and lap siding on the outside or anything else that comes with the program or something you want to create yourself, what ever, pick two points, and now you have a real wall.

If you have a table already set up for wall types, that will be automagically filled out once you draw the first wall.  Your elevations and sections can be set up and will populate with the new wall as well.

When I was working for a reseller, I had an Archie come in one day and he was 78 years old and asked me "What's this Ribbit program I'm hearing about?"

I told him if he had 5 minutes, I could show him.

I set up the main level, an elevation, a section, and a wall schedule with him asking each time I did something "Why are you doing that, you haven't drawn anything yet??"

I put the 4 views on my screen, went to the plan view, drew a very complex wall type, and all 4 views showed the wall.. in section, elevation, and wall schedule.

Then I felt him tapping on my shoulder, I lookoed over at him and he was holding his credit card and he said "I want it."  Fastest and easiest sale I ever made.

Give a man Autocad and he can draw you a floor plan, give him Revit and he can build you a house.

Get a copy of Mastering Revit Architecture for reference purposes.  Then start watching tutorials on Youtube.  

If you really want to get into a sideline, learn to make Revit Families (Think Autocad blocks on steroids, lots of steroids).

Also, last but definitely not least, sign up to  They have a download section there that's the best thing since pockets on a shirt.

Oct 13, 17 3:01 am

I taught one of my co-workers in 30 days - then again she is an architectural prodigy - actually, its easy to learn unless you have a 10 year overburden of autocad experience to haul away - I learned revit before autocad - the key to Revit, is to think in architecture and construction - think in terms of how a building goes together - with autocad, you thought in terms of sheets, lines, drawings, job captains - that sort of thing

In Revit, you are a designer, not a drafter - that's back in in the 20th century somewhere

Oct 13, 17 2:26 pm

wrong: every software is a tool to the same end with varied results. Hand drafters and autocad operators need to know how to construct a building just as much as any revit operator. All the lines have meaning and everything makes its way to 2d drawing for the builder, revit just has the added bonus of throwing a 3d picture on your sheet.


can you sketch a detail in revit without having to input all windows and doors and wall types? asking for a friend


you can't sketch a detail in CAD or by hand without having the window spec and wall assembly either - if I wanted to do a "sketch" in revit per your question, I would just create a detail view and draw whatever I want without having to commit to the involvement of the entire model build out to get there.  


Roughly 1000yrs

Oct 16, 17 4:51 pm
Grumpy Grizzly

Autodesk actually bought Revit from two mechanical engineers.

As for the part where someone was saying Revit wasn't good for doing 50,000 sq ft factories, you might want to take a look at Fab 42 in Chandler, AZ.  It has a 200,000 sq ft clean room as well as ductwork you can drive a Class A motorhome through without touching the sides.

They brought in the world largest mobile crane on 200 railcars, emptied it out and took 4 300' cranes to put it together, then filled the rail cars full of sand for ballast on the crane.  There were over 250 engineers and designers working onsite on that project and the construction firm had their own detailers working onsite as well.  The architecture was all done in Revit Architecture and all trades were done in Revir MEP and Autocad MEP,  Clash detection was done with NavisWorks.  

In short, Revit can do it and is doing it right now.  Fab D1X in Hillsboro, OR, Fab 24 in Dublin, Ir and Global Foundries in upstate New York are all using Revit and Autocad variants.

If you want to get in with the big boys handling projects like this, you definitely need to have Revit on your resume.

Oct 21, 17 4:20 am

  Revit is the best software to model any building out there and it is certainly easier than 3ds max. I can model a hell of a lot better in max than Revit. I am still on a more ...dumbed down version of a user....I am not certified or anything but I can model the hell out of any building with Revit. I have been in college and studying for so long and understand that you can design every inch of a building with it no matter the terrain, material, and I am starting to coordinate with consultant's. That last aspect of Revit having the design team working in a one cohesive unit is my next challenge in my career. I would like to have each consultant as well as my team to be working in one Revit model. The architectural team will have the central model while structural, MEP, and even the owner team will have access to certain parts of the model at certain times during the design process..mainly the DD stage.  SD needs to be in 3ds max, I am also working on a animated cartoon like....with a character marketing system for my business it is going to be so cool,lol like with shrek graphics. When I really get going, I am going to start animating projects in advance when looking for work at my job.

Oct 21, 17 10:12 am

Revit is for construction documents max is for like modeling a cartoon character like Mario or god of war, any cartoon movie Frozen, Over the hedge are great examples. It can also render and animate building as most of us already know

Oct 21, 17 10:28 am

I having been using Revit for 6-8 months now (3 months intensively) and am still at the stage where I have to constantly look up how to do things online. There is a lot of stuff that I just cant do and I have to modify my intent in order to get the work done which is very frustrating. I am also very graphically conscious and it frustrates me that my drawings are clunky and ugly (albeit I am able to generate some things I couldn't have done on AutoCAD (with 3D's and sectioning tools).  My biggest gripe is how complicated the modelling aspect is. I just yearn for intuitive ways to construct forms the way I could in Rhino or Sketchup. I constantly find myself not knowing how to model really basic bespoke forms in the family editor or as in-place components. It's crazy how counter intuitive it feels to achieve some stuff (the polar opposite of the aforementioned software). I find myself constantly frustrated that I need I am unable to select things or snap to objects or even move objects which are constrained to planes or constructed in ways that are immediately obvious to me. I find that one will need to burrow multiple levels deep into an elements properties in order to be able to make changes to it, then "apply" the changes and wait to see if has the desired effect. Often this requires multiple attempts to get it right (if at all). It just feels like there are so many steps and processes required in order to achieve the most basic thing (like a sweep or an extrusion). One needs to constantly consider how things are linked or constrained otherwise you risk really screwing things up and losing information or corrupting the model. I fear that major data loss is just around the corner as it feels that you are but one stray click away from messing everything up beyond repair. Whats even scarier is that often that happens in the background and you're not aware of it until it's too late.

Ill end the rant there but I'm curious to know if anyone else out there encountered this frustration "early" on and was able to overcome it and really learn to love the software. I want to love the environment I work in. I have lots of colleagues who use ArchiCad who profess how much they love it and I wonder to myself if i will ever feel that way about Revit. I haven't really read much feedback from people indicating that they get to that point. The more common feedback is that they've setup a good template and family library and have become efficient and using it although they still encounter many frustrations trying to do basic things its still a headache.

Still not sure if I should cut my losses. I am a sole practitioner architect and decided to adopt BIM in order to get all the advantages of a centralised model like scheduling and drawing co-ordination which frankly is a big fat pain in non-BIM environment (my previous setup was a combo of AutoCAD for 2D and Rhino for 3D).

Should I push on or bail out? Advice appreciated. 

Jul 19, 18 7:23 am
Non Sequitur

Knowing why the software acts in a particular way is just as important as knowing what buttons to push. I've become the defacto software guru in the office and this is what I always remind people: It's not CAD and it's not SketchUp, don't cary over old habits and expect it to respond the same way. Once you wrap your head around how Revit models are built (ie. one large spreadsheet of which the model is nothing but a query engine), you'll become more comfortable building/drafting in a BIM digital world.


For anyone new on this really old post..I started a job at a firm knowing zero revit experience. I had never turned the program on before. I was clear that i didn't know anything Revit related. For the first couple days I had no idea how to do anything, I watched tutorials ( seems to have good tutorials it is how I mostly learned AutoCAD solely on my own, but i no longer had an account and I needed a more step-by-step explantation of things and CADLearning was one that I found was the most helpful with a early beginers knowledge of the software. It starts from the actual beginning and the works up so you can skip the ones you don't really need. There is a free 30-day trial.) The best way to learn though is from working with an actual project. (Just be sure to know when to get someone to show you how to detach the model and create a separate file for yourself so you aren't editing on the central model that everyone in the office is working on. Maybe not necessary always but might be helpful if you are doing something drastic.) I learned way more working on a real project than I did on tutorials. Obviously this can only be so productive but I think working on things that are more about convention and less direct modeling or drafting will let you learn quicker. I don't think you could become a pro in a week much less a few months but you could still have a pretty basic working knowledge. Just when I start to get the hang of it, i run into an error and someone takes a look and gets into all the settings aspects and it becomes brand new again. In my head, I knew what I wanted to do and if I didn't know how I would just google it and get the answer from the Autodesk knowledge network or elsewhere. It works but it certainly adds time to your productivity.

Jul 19, 18 9:15 am

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