Navigating through large and complex models in Revit can be a challenging task, especially when you have to focus on specific areas or elements in 3D. This is where the Revit Section and Selection Box feature comes in handy. This feature creates a 3D visual box for your view, which can be used to limit the geometry shown in the view.
The Section Box can improve your workflow and increase your productivity because you can clarify different areas and visualize clashes faster. Additionally, elements intersecting with the Section Box are displayed using a cut object style. This means you can change the graphical output of the 3D view, which is very useful for presentations.
Table of Contents
In this article, we are going to take a look at two different methods of how to place a Section Box, how to modify the Section Box, and how we can visually change the appearance of the 3D cropped view.
The Section Box in Revit is a built-in parameter that you can select to toggle it on or off. While the Section Box is a built-in parameter in the Properties Browser, the Revit Selection Box is a feature that can be found in the Modify > View panel. Both of these functions use a 3D boundary Box, allowing you to limit the amount of visible geometry within your view.
The big difference between the Section Box and Selection Box is that the Section Box will extend to the total view, and the Selection Box will extend to the selected elements. With both methods, the 3D Section Box will be created with an offset.
Method 1 – Section Box Parameter
We start with the first method to create a Section Box through the built-in parameter. You can find the Section Box parameter in the Properties Browser when you have opened a 3D or Camera View. This method applies to the complete view and can be adjusted afterward. Follow the steps below:
- Open a 3D or Camera View
- Go to the Properties Browsers > Extents parameter group > Select Section Box
- Click on Apply or move the cursor out of the Properties Browser
NoteIf you uncheck the Section Box, Revit will reset the Section Box to the model extent whenever it is selected again. To avoid mistakes, you could duplicate the 3D View. For more information about saving and locking 3D views, check this article.
Method 2 – Selection Box Function
By using the second method, you can isolate the selected elements within the current 3D view or the default 3D view. The Selection Box will extend to the selected elements with a generated offset. You can pick elements having a 3D representation within the model from any view. Follow the steps outlined below:
- Open any View
- Select one or more elements you wish to have inside the Selection Box
- Go to the Modify tab
- Click on Selection Box in the View panel or use the default shortcut BX
To remove the Selection Box from the view, you can simply uncheck the Section Box parameter in the Properties Browser. Notice that they share the same built-in parameter to turn it off.
Modify Section Box in Revit
After you have picked one of the methods written above, you can start to modify the extents of the Box. You can simply do this from within a 3D, Plan, or Elevation View.
Modify Extents – 3D view
When you select the Section Box in 3D, you can use the blue control grips to modify the extents on each of the six sides (Bottom, Top, Left, Right, Front, and Back).
In case you are having difficulty locating the control grips, it may be helpful to know that these are always in the center of each side.
Modify Extents – Plan or Elevation View
When you have enabled the Section Box in a 3D view you can open a Plan or Elevation View and then go to the Properties Browser > Right-click on the 3D view > Click on Show Section Box. You can change the size of the Section Box from within the 2D view by using the control grips.
Note that you also have the option to select the Section Box in the 3D view while simultaneously having the Plan or Elevation view open. This allows the Section Box to show up immediately.
TipInstead of holding the mouse button, you can slightly modify the extent by single-clicking on one of each side of the control grip individually. The amount depends on how far you zoom in or out.
Rotate Section Box in Revit
If your Revit models contain angled parts or elements, you have the option to use the Section Box to navigate and clarify these components in 3D. Simply rotate the Section Box to match the same angle. The Section Box has a Rotation icon in the upper right corner for quick access but is not that accurate. To rotate the Section Box accurately, follow the steps below:
- Select the Section Box > Go to a Plan View for easy rotating
- Go to the Modify | Section Boxes tab > Modify panel
- Select Rotate (default shortcut: RO)
- Click on Place in the Option Bar (shortcut: Spacebar) > Place center of rotation > Click to enter rotate start ray > Enter an angle > Press Enter
Optional: After you click the start ray you can also align the end ray to an element in the model [A].
After you have adjusted the angle of the Section Box, the changes will be applied immediately to the 3D view. Notice that it is perfectly aligned, matching the same angle.
Section Box Visibility
When creating 3D views for presentations using Section Boxes, you may wish to enhance the overall visual style. To achieve this, we can hide the Section box and apply Graphical Overrides.
Hide or Unhide Section Box in Revit
You can control the visibility of the Section Box by hiding or unhiding it through the Visibility/Graphics settings, which is the recommended method. Follow the steps outlined below:
- Open the View tab
- Click on Visibility/Graphics in the Graphics panel > Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog opens
- In the Visibility/Graphics Overrides window click on the Annotation Categories tab
- Check or Uncheck the Section Boxes category to hide or unhide
Section Box Graphics
To change the visual style of the model that is cut by the Section Box, we use the same Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog. Open this dialog by following steps  and  written above.
In the Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog > Click on Model Categories tab > Change Lines, Patterns in the Projection/Surface and Cut column > Click on OK when finished.
In addition to the Visibility/Graphics Overrides, it is possible to add more Display Options such as Model Display, Shadows, Sketchy Lines, Lightning, and Background.
To open the Display Options go to the Properties Browser > Graphic Display Options parameter > Click on Edit… Or use the View Control Bar in the bottom left corner and click on the Visual Style icon > Graphic Display Options…
Once you’ve made changes to the Graphic Display Options, click the OK button, and you’ll see the modifications take effect instantly. By using the Visibility/Graphics Overrides and Graphic Display Options, you can create professionally-looking 3D views for presentations.
The Section Box in Revit is a helpful tool for navigating large and complex models. By creating the Section Box, you can focus on specific areas or elements and visualize model clashes more effectively. There are two methods you can use to place a Section Box: using the built-in Section Box parameter or the Selection Box function.
You can modify the Section Box in 2D or 3D Views using the control grips. To enhance your 3D View style, hide the Section Box in the Visibility/Graphics Overrides settings. In addition, use the Overrides settings and Graphic Display Options to adjust the representation of the elements cut by the Section Box.
I hope this article helped you to understand the Section Box feature in Revit. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below.