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Monday, February 7, 2011

Shortcut Keys. The untold story.

With the introduction of the Keyboard Shortcut UI in Revit 2011 and the change to .XML file format for storing of hotkey information, keyboard shortcuts have never been so user friendly or so powerful.
The basics of the Keyboard Shortcut UI are well documented in how to assign keystrokes, search the UI, import, export etc. but the more useful and powerful side of the .XML format and new UI does not seem to be very well documented at all.

There are several major improvements in how Revit can handle the new keyboard shortcuts format.
• Assigning the same keyboard shortcut to toggle commands.
• Assigning the same keyboard shortcut to multiple tasks.
• The use of up to 5 characters to a shortcut.
• Hotkey Strings (Multiple Hotkeys)

Toggle Commands

You can now assign the one shortcut key to “’toggle” through commands, for example assign
• ZZ to “Activate View” and ZZ to “Deactivate View” (one hotkey = 2 commands)
• AA to "Reveal Hidden Elements" and AA to "Close reveal Hidden Elements" (one hotkey = 2 commands)
• QQ to "Unhide Element" and QQ to and "Unhide Category" (one hotkey = 2 commands)
• RR to “Show crop View” and RR to “Hide Crop View” (one hotkey = 2 commands)
I always hated going to View Control Bar and trying to pick this one.
• And there are a few more.

In a working example if you have an element hidden a your view by hitting AA to activate "Reveal Hidden Elements" , click on desired element ,hit QQ to "Unhide Element" (or Category), hit AA to "Close reveal Hidden Elements" and your done using only 2 hotkeys.
ZZ to “Activate View” and “Deactivate View” nice and simple!

Obviously the Keys assigned are personal choice

Multi Assign Shortcut Keys

We can now assign the same shortcut key to multiple commands of a similar kind, for example
• EE can be assigned to approx. 40 different commands
Edit Boundary (click on Roof, Floor or Filled Region etc. hit EE you are in edit mode)
Edit Wall Profile (click on wall hit EE and you are in Edit Wall Profile Mode)
Edit Family (click on a family hit EE takes you to family editor)
Edit Witness Line (click on dimension hit EE and you are in Edit Witness Line mode.
Just about all of the Edit commands work with this one hotkey.
• FF can be assigned to all the "Finish" commands which are all associated with the “Big Green Tick”
There is approx. 30 of these commands
• CC can be assigned to all the "Cancel" commands which are all associated with the “Big Red Cross”
there is approx. 20 of these commands.

A working example

Click on floor hit EE you are in Edit Boundary mode, make your changes, hit FF your Finished
Click on a wall hit EE you are in Edit Wall Profile mode, make your changes, hit FF your Finished
So with 3 hotkeys EE, FF, CC we can activate approx. 90 different command scenarios.

Hotkey Strings (Multiple Hotkeys)

Another feature with no documentation is the ability to drill down into the depths of a command with the shortcuts.
You can enter a shortcut to draw a rectangular or circular wall rather than just hitting a shortcut for wall and then pick the circle or rectangle shape.
If you have assigned shortcut keys to the Context Tab>Draw commands (line, rectangle, circle, pick line, pick wall, etc. ) then you can
• Hit WACL, WA (Wall command activated) CL (Draw Circle activated) go ahead and draw circular wall.
• Hit RFRL, RF (Roof by Footprint activated) RL (Draw Rectangle activated) go ahead and draw rectangular roof.
• Hit FLPW, FL (Floor command activated) PW (Pick Wall activated) go ahead and draw floor by pick wall mode.


Up to 5 characters per Shortcut

Then there is the use of up to 5 characters per shortcut which is self-explanatory and lends itself to thousands of key combinations.

Creating a your perfect Shortcut Key file is a huge job and one that I have found is a constant work in progress, but once setup (even near perfect !) and running is worth all the time spent.

I have attached a copy of my Shortcut Key .XML as a guide, import it if you like as a base to build on and of course these are just “my” preferred keys.


mbkeyboard shortcuts .zip at

For ease of editing multiple shortcuts at once, open the file in Excel, edit and import back to into Revit

How to load .XML
Unzip to any location on computer,
Backup your existing Shortcutkey.xml located
"C:\Users\users name\AppData\Local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011"
Open Revit, start Keyboard Shortcuts UI (KS by default)click on Import and path to the location where you placed the unziped file,click open,revit will ask to either "Merge" or "Overwrite" select the second Overwrite option,all done.

it’s still not perfect.
To this day” View Range “ is still not accessible via a shortcut even though it is listed in the Keyboard Shortcut UI


  1. Point of order....

    Keyboard Shortcuts were available as a subscription advantage for 2010.

    I think you will find also that "RH" was the command (still is OOTB) for toggling 'Reveal hidden elements'


    Tim West

  2. i was unable to get the 4 stroke commands to work, I tried LICI to draw a circular model line (LI - model line, CI, context draw circle) and it wouldnt accept the CI, any suggestions?

  3. I may have missed something here, but having to toggle through with the arrow key and look at the small command line text is a pain...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Yeah it's for 2010, and some of the things are changed, eg, view - region. But come on guys, dont be so lazy. It's fun to discover your own shortcuts!


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