The Autodesk (Revit) Viewer is a free online application that allows you to upload, view, and share different designs. The designs can be made in different programs such as Autodesk Revit, Autocad, or with one of the many other supported files.
The main advantage of the online viewer is that users do not require any skill of a design program in order to view the model. Users only need the native file or an already shared link to the design in the Autodesk Viewer. Also, shared links can be opened by other users that do not have an Autodesk account. The viewer makes it very easy to gather feedback from different stakeholders.
Table of Contents
In this article, we are going to take a look at the Autodesk Viewer with the main focus on Revit files. How do we upload, view, and share a file? And we are going to take a look at the different features, like annotation and markups.
Online Revit Viewer
We can use the web-based Autodesk Viewer for free to open any Revit project without the intervention of any software that has to be installed. The viewer also supports over 80+ other formats, with the most common ones such as:
NoteOnly Revit files from 2015 or later are supported in the Autodesk Viewer.
The Autodesk Viewer is available for free at viewer.autodesk.com. To use the viewer you can log in with your Autodesk account or create a free account in order to upload, view, or share files.
Single View or Sheet Upload
With the arrival of Revit 2021.1, we are able to upload single views to the Online Viewer from within Revit. For this method you need the Revit Software installed and of course have a valid Autodesk license.
- Open a view or sheet you want to share
- Open the Collaborate tab
- Click on Shared Views > Shared Views window will open
- In the Shared Views window click on New Shared View
- Give your view or sheet a name
- Click on Share
You can continue working while the sheet or view is getting extracted and uploaded. When the upload is finished, you will get a notice that you have successfully uploaded the view.
Notice that the Shared Views feature is a bit confusing name because it will only share one view at a time and not multiple views using this tool.
Multiple Views or Sheets Upload
To upload multiple views or sheets to the Online Revit Viewer, we have to prepare the model from within Revit. The method we are using for this is the same as that is used for the BIM 360 environment. Open your Revit file and follow the steps below:
NoteBy not preparing the model, it will only publish the default 3D and all the 2D sheets to the Autodesk Viewer.
- Open the Collaborate tab > Manage Models panel
- Click on Publish Settings > Publish Settings window will open
- In the Publish Settings window, first, create one or more sets to share
- Inside the set(s) you just have created select the Views or Sheets you wish to share
- Click on Save & Close
- Open the File tab > click on Save to save the Revit file.
TipI recommend keeping the file size as small as possible for better performance. Large models take more time to upload and process as well.
After preparing the Revit file, we are ready to upload it to the Online Viewer. We can follow the next steps without using any software. Open the Autodesk Viewer in your browser, and log in with your Autodesk account.
- Go to the Owned by me tab
- Click on Upload new file or directly Drag & Drop your file
- If you click on the Upload new file button you can now choose between Drag & Drop, Select File, or Upload Folder
- After choosing how to upload your file, it will ask you if there are more files corresponding to your model. You can think of different aspect models (architectural, structural, etc.) or linked models. Otherwise, you can click on No more files to proceed. If you are adding more files, make sure to choose the Parent file and then click on Upload.
The upload will start directly after the files have been selected. This will take some time depending on the file size and upload speed. Be careful while uploading do not close the web browser otherwise, you will need to start over.
After the upload is finished, it will start processing the models. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time on larger models, like 700MB or more. The whole process can take over more than 2 hours. While the processing is active, you can close the browser. Autodesk will automatically send an email once the file is ready to view and share.
When the parent file is missing some links that are not uploaded, you probably get a notification that the view might not be displayed properly. When you click on the Processing Log, you can read the warning, which in this case is telling us what link is missing. We can ignore this, or you have to re-upload the file, including the link that is missing.
Sharing your View
As mentioned earlier, the free online Revit Viewer is a great tool to share your model with the stakeholders of your project. To share your view, you will need to click on the three dots  in the upper right corner and then click on the Share button.
A new dialog will open with multiple options you can choose from before sharing the link. It is possible to deactivate tools from the viewer such as Sections, Exploding, Model Browser, and Measure.
You can also preview the model, using the preview option in the lower right corner (preview this link).
Other View Options
In addition to sharing your view, we also have other options to manage the file:
- Rename Design View: You can rename the view by hovering over the title and clicking on the Edit icon.
- Extend Expiration Date: By default, the models are available for 30 days. When you like to extend the days to 30 days again then click on the Extend button.
- Delete Design View: The files will automatically be deleted after a 30-day expiry. If you like to delete it before the expiration, manually delete it by pressing on the three dots in the upper right corner and then clicking on Delete.
Extending and Deleting Design Views is also available when you upload the views from within Revit. Open the Shared Views browser and click on the three dots of the file to view the options.
Revit Viewer Tools
So with our model now uploaded in the free online Revit Viewer, let’s look at the interface and the unique features it comes with. To make everything clear, I have split the screen into different areas.
- Top Ribbon Tools
- Information & Sharing
- Navigation Toolbar & Viewcube
- Measure & Checking
1. Top Ribbon Tools
The top ribbon tools are windowed tabs that can be opened or closed. There are in total four tools in this section:
- Views: When you uploaded a file with multiple views or sheets, it is possible to navigate through each of them in this section. This works the same as a Project Browser in Revit.
- Model Browser: All the geometry of the file can be found in the Model Browser. The user interface allows you to navigate through the elements. In addition to this, you can search and hide different parts of the model.
NoteThe Model Browser only contains elements when uploading manually on the website. When uploading from within Revit, it will stay empty.
- Properties: You can read out information about the model elements in this user interface. All metadata will be available from the part you have selected. For example, you can read out what Fire Rating, Material, and Dimensions the Wall has.
- Settings: The settings user interface will let you configure different aspects of the viewer. You can change the Configuration, Navigation, Appearance, and Environment. Changing these settings can improve the performance and experience on how to navigate through the model, for example.
2. Information & Sharing
In this section, we have some tools to share information about the model. You can find four tools:
- Comments: You can use the Comments tool to give feedback on a specific part of the model, or review other markups. Use this tool for overall feedback, when you like to give more specific feedback on a part of the model then use the Markup tool.
- Export Data
- Print: This is a pretty obvious tool that you can use to print a drawing or view of the model. When you have opened a 3D view, you have to position it to your needs before clicking on the Print function.
- Screenshot: The Screenshot tool lets you make a picture in PNG format of the screen you see.
- Share: We can use this feature to share the design view with others using a link.
3. Navigation Toolbar & Viewcube
On the bottom of the viewer, we can find different Navigation tools which slightly change when switching between a 3D or 2D view.
In addition to the navigation tools, there is a Viewcube which you can find in the upper right corner of the viewer. You can click and drag this Viewcube, which allows you to Orbit through the model, or change a view plane (Front, Back, Left, Right, Top, or Bottom).
- Home: This tool lets you return the default state and camera angle of the design.
- Fit: When you click on this tool, the entire model will fit in the viewer.
- Pan: This function will allow you to slide the camera sideward, upward, and downward.
- Orbit: The Orbit tool works the same as the Viewcube. You can rotate the camera around the 3D view.
- Zoom: To zoom in or out on a part of the model. You can also use the mouse wheel to zoom.
- First Person: With this ability, you can walk and look around in the model. This tool has different keyboard settings that pop up on the first use. When you walk inside the model, it is possible to go up and down by using the Q and E keys to go to a higher level or walk on stairs.
4. Measure & Checking
The next tools in the toolbar can be categorized as Measure and Inspect tools. There are three tools that you can use:
- Measure: The Measure tool allows you to measure the distance between two different points, or an angle between three points. Optional: there is an ability to calibrate the measurements.
- Section: You can create a Section that cuts through the model along an axis (X, Y, Z) or with a selected box. This feature makes it easy to inspect elements on the interior of a model, for example.
- Explode: You can separate model element parts to inspect them more closely by using the Explode function. Use the slider to separate the parts.
The Markup tool lets us add comments on the 3D view or sheets. There are different tools you can choose from to make your feedback clear. Before you click on the Markup, open a 3D view or sheet and notice that it will freeze the view or sheet. The toolbar options in the screenshot below will also appear.
- Pencil: Draw freehand forms and notes.
- Arrow: Draw a premade direction arrow to highlight the feedback.
- Cloud: Draw a premade cloud with a region, to make the feedback clear.
- Text: Put text to make the feedback clear. To change the text height click on Size and choose between three sizes.
- Delete: Delete any Markup that has been made before.
- Color: Change the color of any Markup. We can choose from a simple color palette with a variety of eight colors. Note that you have to pick the color first before placing the Markup.
- Weight: Change the line Weight of Markup items such as Pencil, Arrow, and Cloud. You can choose between six different line Weights.
- Undo & Redo: Undo or Redo previous Markups by clicking on the buttons or using the shortcut CTRL+Z and CTRL+Y.
When you are done using the Markup tool, you can click on the Save button in the top right corner. The Markups you just created will be automatically added to the Comments section on the home screen of the Viewer.
Revit Viewer Comment System
As mentioned earlier, you can add feedback to the model using the Comments and Markup tools. All feedback will be gathered in the Comments section. The Comments can be found on the right side once opened.
The Markups are listed and ordered vertically, which means the oldest Markup will be at the bottom. You can add additional comments  under each Markup to let other users know the progress, for example. When you changed an issue, you can mark it as Resolved , which will remove the Markup from the list.
The Markups pointed as Resolved can be found again by clicking on the Show Resolved  checkbox in the top left corner of the Comments section.
We can use the Export  function in the Comment section to Print or PDF a summary of all Markups that you haven’t resolved yet.
The Revit Viewer is a great tool to quickly share your model or views with stakeholders of your project. Good to know is that the viewer only allows users to view the design and give feedback by using the Comments and Markup tools. The viewer does not allow the users to download the original native files.
Below you will find the pros and cons of the Autodesk Revit Viewer:
|Free Online Viewer – Create a free Autodesk account or use an existing account.||No internet, No Autodesk Viewer – When there is no connection to the internet, you are unable to access the viewer.|
|Many compatible file formats – The Autodesk Viewer supports over 80+ file formats.||30-day expiry – When you forget to extend the model, it will be deleted automatically.|
|Accessibility – The viewer is easy to understand for any user.||Maintenance – The service of the Autodesk Viewer can be offline for some period when in maintenance.|
|Multiple Device Compatibility – Almost any device with an internet browser can open the Autodesk Viewer. In addition, it is possible to change to any device without the viewer struggling. For example, you can open the viewer on your computer and mobile at the same time.||Single View Upload – No model information when uploading from within Revit.|
|Toolbars – The viewer has a lot of tools, you can inspect different parts by using the navigation tools, measure, and create markups.||Multiple Views Upload – Uploading large files with many views and sheets will take a lot of time due to the processing phase.|
|Feedback tool – The viewer has a Comments section, which can be used to address issues. The comments can be read by all users and marked as Resolved when the issue is finished.|
|Single View Upload – Fast upload from within Revit.|
|Multiple Views Upload – The model contains element information when uploading it manually to the Online Viewer.|
I hope this article helped you to understand the Free Online Revit Viewer. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below.