Autodesk Revit: An introduction to Visibility/Graphic Overrides

In this Autodesk Revit tutorial I am going to introduce you to the concept of “Visibility / Graphic Overrides“. If you’d like top watch the video version of this tutorial first, simply click in the box below….



Revit allows you to customise the look of your views in many different ways. The vast majority of the time you will be customising the look of your views using the “Visibility / Graphic Overrides” settings panel. Just before we take a look at those settings, let’s just look at a few reasons why you would want to customise the look of a particular view…

  • You want to highlight a particular category of element: All the furniture components on a “Furniture Plan” for example.
  • You don’t need so see specific categories in a view- i.e. you don’t want to see the structural framework in your “General Arrangement Plan”
  • You want to highlight certain elements in a view- i.e. all the Fire Doors are to be of a thicker line weight in a “Fire Strategy Plan”
There will be many, many examples of why you may wish to customise the look of your elements in a specific view. For the rest of this tutorial, let’s work with the demonstration project below….



The most important thing to remember from this tutorial is that “Visibility / Graphic Overrides” are “view specific”. That means that the changes you make ONLY effect categories / elements in the ACTIVE VIEW you are working in. To invoke the “Visibility / Graphic Overrides” settings panel, switch to the “View” menu (1) and then choose “Visibility / Graphics” button (2)…..





As soon as you do this the “Visibility / Graphic Overrides” panel appears. The first thing you’ll see is that there’s a lot going here! Don’t worry- I’m going to take you through this bit by bit…..





Using the image above for reference, let’s work our way through the main components:-

  1. Model Categories tab: Use the category list here to control the look of all your model elements- i.e. the things actually in your design
  2. Annotation Categories tab: Use the category list here to control the look of your annotations such as Tags, View Titles, etc- i.e. all the things that help explain / document your views
  3. Imported Categories tab: All Imported Files will be listed here. You can control the layers in an imported AutoCAD file for example.
  4. Use these controls to easily select multiple categories at once. This makes it very easy to select the categories you need to apply overrides to.
  5. Object Styles button: PLEASE DO “NOT” venture into these settings until you are more experienced with Revit. They will effect how elements are displayed in EVERY view! ONCE AGAIN: Leave this button alone for now!
  6. Category List & Override Buttons: This is the meat of the “Visibility / Graphic Overrides” panel. We’ll take a look at this in more detail next.


Let’s now take a look at the central area of the panel. This is where we actually apply the overrides we need to the categories we choose. It is very similar to a spreadsheet with the category list occupying the rows and the overrides (and display settings) occupying the columns. Let’s take a look at each of the columns in turn….





  1. Category List: This is a list of all the standard Revit categories. What you see in this list will depend upon whether you are in the “Model Categories” tab, “Annotation Categories” tab, etc. Please Note: You can access Sub-Categories by clicking on the small “+” symbol to the left of the category name. PLEASE DO NOT worry about Sub-Categories in the Beginner’s Course.
  2. Lines seen in projection or on a surface: For example, the lines that make up a window frame when seen in the distance
  3. Patterns seen in projection or on a surface: For example, the brickwork hatch pattern on a wall in an elevation view
  4. Transparency of surfaces seen in projection:  Adjust this if you’d like to partially see through an elements of a certain category- eg see through walls into the interior of a building
  5. Lines that represent where objects are cut through: For example, the external profile of walls where they are cut in plan
  6. Patterns in elements at the point where they are cut through: For example, patterns to denote block work in walls when they are cut through in plan
  7. Halftone: Tick this box to have all elements of a category displayed in a light grey halftone colour.
  8. Detail Level: Override a View’s “Detail Level” on a per-category basis.
So how do we actually apply a Graphics Override? Well, go ahead and click on one of the category names- any one will do for this demonstration…..




As soon as you select a category (1)  you’ll see that the “Override” buttons appear (2). Go ahead a click on one of the Override buttons and you’ll see that a corresponding settings panel appears (3). It is here that you make changes to the property in question. So in the image above you can see that we can make changes (in this view ONLY) to the Lines that create the edges of all elements on the Furniture category when they are seen in Projection (i.e. NOT cut through)


So let’s go ahead and apply some overrides to the Floor Plan View of our demo’ project. Let’s make all the Furniture objects display in a halftone colour. Simply put a check mark in the “Halftone” column, against the “Furniture” category…..





Whilst we are at it, let’s change how the walls appear where they are cut through. I’ll say it again: These changes ONLPY effect the current active view. Use Revit’s “View Templates” function if you want to capture all these changes and apply them to other views.

With regards to the walls in our Floor Plan View, first select the “Walls” category (1), apply Overrides to Lines that are cut through (2). Let’s increase the Line Weight (3) and the Colour (4) of the lines in the wall ONLY where they are cut through….





Once we have entered those changes into the Overrides panel we can take a look at their effect on our Floor Plan View…



Notice how the walls are displayed in a different colour (and line weight) where they are cut in plan. Also note that our desks are now displayed in a halftone colour, as they are on the “Furniture” category.

Key Points

  • Use “Visibility / Graphic Overrides” to change how elements are displayed in specific views
  • Use the keyboard shortcut “VV” to quickly access the “Visibility / Graphic Overrides” panel in any view
  • Consider whether you need to change the graphics or elements that are seen in PROJECTION (not cut through) or only when they are CUT THROUGH (i.e. in plan, sections, etc)
This tutorial is taken from "The Complete Beginner's Guide to Revit Architecture" FREE online course.
This tutorial and over 80 others are available as a PDF Ebook. For details please Click Here
Posted in Autodesk Revit.