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May 18, 2009


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Another persistent interface element is the keyboard. Let's not lose sight of that all important productivity booster. The overly contextual ribbon has driven us to want much better access to tools via the keyboard, and to have a sane way to define them.

Ribbon panels that are detached are indeed persistent, but are too big; one avenue for improvement might be to have a detached state containing icons only, sized between the overlarge ribbon icons, and the oversmall icons of the QAT.

Persistent, detached ribbon panels don't solve the problem of contextualized tools moving, though. The move command, for example, a frequently used command if ever there was one, appears in too many places for productive, muscle-memory kind of use. Further, they abdicate UI design to the user, saying, "here, you figure it out!". I'd say we need a sane default, before throwing floating (palettes | dashboards | toolbars | term du jour) at the user.

Known Issues with the QAT should also include:
* terrible auto-keyboard assignments (ie when the alt key is pressed, they number 0-9 and then go from 09 down to 01, and continue to 0A through 0F. This is non-sensical.
* Tools available on fly outs appear to not be accessible via right click and thus cannot be added to the QAT.
* The QAT should be able to float wherever the user might like.
* One can only add available tools to the QAT; this makes adding tools like Paste Aligned non-obvious. And can Element Properties and View Properties be added to the QAT?

As it stands, now though, the QAT is unusable due to the size and contrast issues. It's a toolbar with less functionality; I'd trade the ability to customize for visibility and flexibility. An aside: why in the world has Autodesk stopped using the user's Windows UI colors for the interface? This choice between light and dark, both different from everything else, isn't helping my appreciation of the UI.

I find it hard to believe that fashioning a big bandaid solution will indeed solve the problems with this ribbon interface. Which mean that a big evolution or redesign is still necessary, and thus the users can only expect flux in the future. Which brings me back to the dated, but functional, pre-2010 interface. This seems like the least effort, most desired temporary solution, but I'm sure a political disaster for Autodesk.

The QAT (IMHO) stands against all that the ribbon suppose to be! the QAT also highlights the downfall of the ribbon.
this is from the Microsoft site for the ribbon developers:
"Efficiency. Focus on efficiency rather than scope. Users must be able to find the most powerful features for the task quickly and easily. A small gain in the scope of features used is not worth a significant loss in the efficient use of the features."
"Permanence. Clearly defined access to tools ensures better usability. Ambiguity is reduced by establishing permanent homes for groups of features. A consistent-location UI is favored over a "smart" UI."
You can't provide the last point with the existing ribbon.
If you are going to keep the QAT (and I think you should with the way the ribbon is) than you do need to provide better customization.

I think there has to be something more than the QAT, perhaps toolbar sets as in the previous Revit version and most programs in existence. Here is a snapshot of my Revit QAT and my Excel QAT:

I am concerned with knowing where my commands are when I switch between computers, which is one reason I have chosen keyboard shortcuts over the QAT. What I have not added to the QAT I have learned the keyboard shortcut to. The other issue I have with the QAT is that it can't be rearranged, and is small and hard to see, I have to squint to see the buttons. I can see it's use for sporadic things like undo, save or print, but not to be constantly pushing buttons while working. The snapshot of my excel QAT shows how much I need it in office, which is not very much, which says something about the design of the ribbon in Office vs Revit (it's lacking in Revit). What appears to be proposed in Revit is something that would give it a lot more use, for which I believe it fails in design.

I hope you guys can come up with solutions that add to the Ribbon concept, rather than trying to squeeze more functions into a UI that was designed for a spreadsheet, word processor or any simple paint program; not a serious Cad software such as Revit. I believe the solution to the ribbon is beyond the ribbon, not existing within it.

AutoCAD has the tool palettes, and customizable workspaces. Maybe a solution(s) has been thought over in the AutoCAD factory.

The QAT is somewhat persistent. However, if the family editor is opened, the QAT from the project interface disappears, and there is another QAT for the family editor.

Given that the performance and design of the family editor ribbon is even less successful than it is for the project interface, it would really be nice to have the option of having a persistent QAT. I realize some may like having more than one QAT, but I would like an easy way to duplicate the same QAT for each use.

Most of the feedback you are receiving over multiple posts suggests that we would prefer the option to go back to the 2009 interface. Is this being considered or is only certain feedback appropriate?

Can I make a suggestion here? So many of these Factory posts seem to start by saying: 'We made a ribbon, look how cool it is!'
Then, after a lot of angry users, it went to 'We've listened to you. How do you like the QAT tool?'
Which is, undoutably a good step forward. I applaud communication. The down side is this whole thing just doesn't work. If keep thinking you can add one more ribbon or adjust the QAT tool or move some icons, you're not getting what we're saying. It's not that it needs tweeked, it needs to go away. I don't know where the buring desire to create a new UI came from instead of the 100 other things users have asked for, but at this point I don't really care. We need to get it working right. Instead of trying to tweak what you have, the issues are more basic.
I suggest you start here:
The 2009 interface was largely functional. What worked about it? What did users like? What tools do users need visual access to (like the status bar or Worksharing). What tools need to be accessbile 100% of the time? What tools can be visible when certain tasks are active? If we have to go ribbon, how can we support the core Microsoft ribbon tennants listed in Eldad's post. What didn't work about the old UI? Why not?
Don't tell me you did that research because if you did, you either lost it or you're lying because it's not apparent in the toolset.
Start at the begining. Go back and understand the core likes and dislikes and the basic functions and needs. THEN design a UI. please, please, please don't keep trying to cobble together something that doesn't work.
reminds me too much of that beat up ford pick up truck I drove in college. at some point, you just cut your losses and let it go.
I think many of us would love to be a part of helping that cause, but as I keep reading these posts, the masses are saying the same things over and over again. If that's the case, there's a communication breakdown. And if you're going to ask for our help and not listen, well, I have better things to do with my day.

I am 100%with Eddy on this i have no interest
to band-aid a car wreck.Are you giving us the possibility to go back to the old UI with the next Web-update???and then can we talk about real solutions...The QAT is there because of the inherent Design flaw in the UI...lets go on

My hand is also raised along side those who think the QAT is a poor excuse for trying to supplement the failings of the Ribbon.
It's proof that the Ribbon doesn't work as intended, and that Autodesk accepts that toolbars are still very much needed.

Rather than putting a band-aid on the band-aid (the QAT), you need to address the core issues of why the Ribbon doesn't work. Fix that, and you shouldn't need the QAT.

*Quick Access* Toolbar - Let's just think about that for a moment. It's a 'toolbar' that allows 'quick access' to tools.
It makes me wonder why we even need the Ribbon then, if the QAT is so *quick*?

Reports are that many users are filling up the QAT to avoid the Ribbon. The discussions eventually end back at the root problem, the Ribbon.

Personally, I think you need to ditch the entire new UI (Ribbon and QAT) and go back to the drawing board (no pun intended) and come up with something that suits Revit.
A good starting point would be the 2009 UI with it's many QATs, and then start asking questions about why that one worked and where improvements can be made, instead of forcing a UI from an office suite.

I can't offer a QAT screen shot because I opted not to upgrade (more like cross grade, from what I've seen) myself and coworkers yet after all the UI chatter. I'm not interested in hearing from my users how much harder their jobs are. We've gone through several software changes around here and projects actually take much longer than before just a few years ago. Quality is up, but it's at a severe trade off in time. So I'm very resistant to anyone or software putting yet another parasitic drain on turn around time.

Understandably the ribbon and QAT was a directive from management, rather than trying to be like Microsoft, but I have to agree with others that the ribbon may not work for Revit. (or at least that it will need a lot of work, maybe more than was put into initial implementation)Being able to go back to a much more functional and efficient UI would end a lot of chatter, but then the feedback regarding the new UI would also likely decline.

All I can say is 'I agree' - the old UI was superior. It had its flaws, but they can be fixed. This should have been easy. Instead Autodesk has wasted time and money on a badly-designed UI that slows me down. A real shame.

The feedback from this post regarding the QAT is not just to understand how the element works or doesn't but what tools individuals have added to it and how this correlates with other usage research of specific tools. This and all feedback informs future work. I appreciate those that have shared their additions and rationale. Those who advocate reverting to 2009 have been heard along with comments from others. I cannot remark on future direction yet will continue to solicit feedback through this and other mediums. The 2009 UI clearly supported iterative editing and other workflows very well yet as noted could be improved. That UI was also common with Office of the time. As always I read all comments and don't want to discourage participation which has been helpful. Additionally there is a desire to get feedback earlier this cycle once something is ready for evaluation.

The Revit 2009 UI was only common with the MS Office of the time in that they shared interface elements that predated both programs: pull down menus for less used commands, and toolbars for frequently used commands. Revit expanded upon this to allow for some toolsets to be grouped together and quickly exposed or hidden as needed; when exposed, all commands in a group would be available with a single click as with regular toolbars. There was also a contextual area that changed dependent upon the tool being used, or the object(s) currently selected.

Yes I know you know all of that. But it is disingenuous to say that the Revit UI was "common with Office of the time", implying that those who desire reverting to the old UI are merely stuck in the past.

There are those who don't want substantive change; there always will be. Of course they howl for the old UI.

Most of us, however, realize that improvement requires change, and we want Revit to improve. We pan the ribbon as implemented for legitimate reasons. We cannot imagine dealing with the issues raised without a fundamental redesign. So we request the return of the old UI in order to keep being productive with Revit, to prevent forcing users and consultants onto a UI they dislike, and creating ill will while we're trying to build community, and oh yeah, great buildings.

We don't want a change for the worse. And we don't want to have to pick up the pieces and go through another major change when the redesign everyone is clamoring for happens, whenever that may be. Let's do a major change once, the one that will be for the better. The one Autodesk's customers are begging for.

Thus I see a return to the 2009 interface as a temporary solution, one that allows Autodesk to regroup and reconsider the feedback, involve the community who is so vested in Revit that they care this much, and make something really great. Perhaps the results are incorporated in Revit 2012.


I keep chewing over your comment and I think I know why it's been bugging me: you're not getting the type of feedback you want because the QAT isn't adequate for the way people want to use it. I am trying to find a way to have a place to access a multitude of tools that does not change due to context. The QAT doesn't work well, though, as a home for constantly used tools for reasons described in the initial post, and others in the comments. So I don't have a list of commands that I've placed on the QAT for you, since I can't really use it the way I might like.

I am not alone in wanting to recreate what used to be known as toolbars.

I'm currently focusing on expanding my use of the keyboard as way around the ribbon shortcomings, rather than the QAT, but the new system there has big problems, too.

Maybe you should generalize a bit, and ask, "what tools do people want permanent access to?"

I didn't intend the discussion to go anti-ribbon. While that might be my feeling, I understand that we've said it, we've said it again (and again) and if you guys are headed that direction, I can't stop it. My intention was to direct the design of the ribbon more towards looking at what workflows WORKED and building off that from 2009 instead of trying to piece-meal tools like the QAT tool together for some cobbled version of 2010+. If we're talking about how to make the QAT tool more effective, it's like giving a bandaide to someone who just lost their left arm. However, to answer your question directly:
For the QAT tool. My current use of that tool is as chad noted, 100% ribbon avoidance. I try to populate it with all the tools I need to see to support my workflow that don't work well with the quick keys. worksharing, type selector, etc. the rest of it I put in my high use tools that were taken out of my every day view like move, copy, offset, etc. it's basically a way for me to not have to hunt and gather my way through the ribbon as I regret the upgrade I made to the project I'm working on in 2010. Don't improve the QAT, allow the tools I need to be visible all the time, which is the frequency I need them.

As another follow up to your post, it frightens me that you guys are still comparing a $4500 design application with a $800 word processing document. And thinking the word processing app is somehow a superior role model.

Yes, I am interested in what tools require persistent access. I think I know what they are but am soliciting images and responses to confirm this.
My goal is not to defend one solution or the other but gather information that can be used to address issues.

As far as persistent tools go, I think that the tools that were persistent on the 2009 interface need to remain available at all times. To those, I would like to add a text button and a dimension button.

But again, the primary feedback from me is that I would prefer a 2011 release with as many wishlist items as possible answered. I would rather that you restore the 2009 interface for now and gradually improve it. If the 2011 release primarily features a better thought-out ribbon (even an absolutely perfect interface), I won't have the added functionality I'm hoping to pay for with my subscription fees.

And that means that I would like to see this blog have posts about possible improvements to text tools and railing tools and so on. I want to give feedback about those tools much more than I want to give feedback about the QAT. And of course, if you post about such things, we'll assume you're working on them. As of now, we have no such awareness.

To answer your question and in no real order since I can't really reorder them:
3D view
Sync to Central
Add Component
Type Selector
Align (since it's not on the context modify tab)
the last 3 not on the Modify tab which I totally don't get)

then I ran out of room.

A waste of time it is to keep biting a dead horse.
As a business owner, Autodesk is making a huge mistake. They are not listening! We are in a difficult economic time (architectural firms are letting workers go, reducing expenses, and acquiring less compensation for their services) and what does Autodesk does? Mess up their business and hand you a bill. Talk about bad timing? They seem to care more for their monopoly scheme that they care for their customer – and using their customer’s money to accomplish their selfish goal – power (power to do whatever they like with their customers while making them so dependent of Autodesk that business without them is inconceivable).
I am starting to strongly believe that subscription is the enemy of software improvements. It is a money making concept for corporations. They obliged you to purchase software instead of earning your purchase - easy money.
Before subscription, corporations had to truly make superb software improvements in order for the customer to see a benefit in upgrading and paying a fee – in other words, they have to earn our business. It is simply not that way with subscription. But Autodesk make you think that you need subscription based software in order for you to be productive or be competitive. Architects must challenge this notion. Can we architects be productive without subscription based software? I think we can. For one, we work in teams and the team can select which software to use for a giving project. Can the team accomplish this project in Revit 2009 or is it imperative to purchase 2010. Can we use cheaper software to accomplish the same thing over expensive software? Can we afford to change the company’s workflow at this time? I think we Architects need to make a hardcore stop and re-evaluate the necessity of the Revit subscription. No having subscription based software will force corporation to fight for your business, will promote competition amount them (by stopping the money flow into a single company), and it will definitely move technology forward a lot faster. Subscription is making software more expensive and slowing down progress.
Enough is enough, my company and other ones we work with have opted not to use Revit 2010, stay with 2009, and not pay our subscription until Autodesk brings a software worth upgrading to. It is time for Autodesk to earn our business. It is time for more competition. And it is time for Autodesk to listen. And by the speed Autodesk is making progress in Revit seems that it will take a long time for a worthy upgrade and lots of money saved up in subscription fees (and believed me, Autodesk will make it even harder for you to upgrade without subscription) .
If architects speak loud and clear through subscription fees, believe me, technology and the profession will move forward a lot faster.

I see, yes it is reasonable to think that what we post on is what we are working on but its not always the case. I'll see if I can get a lawyer to blog here and explain what we can discuss or not and why. Essentially, unless it has been released, its hard to talk about specifics without an NDA. This limits us to more general topics or items that are released.
I think I can share that evolving the UI, reverting the UI, addressing feature limitations, and implementing new features each carry a cost.

Sure, they all carry at cost, but I think right now Joel is saying that cost is ours, not yours.
I think people are largely looking for some reassurance that things will get fixed and get better and so far, that message has not been expressed. We hear the UI is evolving, but that could equally mean from bad to worse. I know you guys can't tell us what you're doing because it's all top secret stuff, but with the public outcry ,there's got to be someone there with the authority to make some sort of statement addressing the problem and offering a solution.

I'll try to find the person with this authority. In the meantime I can only share this feedback internally.

that's all we can ask.

(There are two Joels here, by the way)

I want to emphatically add that a part of the problem is the fact that no one from Autodesk can actually talk about these issues. This is ridiculous. Closed development serves to prevent competitors from poaching ideas, and allows marketing to craft a message and build excitement. Neither is happening, and meanwhile, a useful conversation with the users is prevented.

Autodesk desperately needs to reassure the Revit user base that it cares, at all, what users think. I also believe that they need to engage said users in a conversation about how to improve. Not doing so led to the failure we have in Revit 2010. Why would we expect the same people and processes to magically get it right the next go around?

Gathering data in the manner conducted so far is really a one sided conversation, and will inevitably suffer from the problems typically associated with all such situations.

Now to attempt something more constructive, I generally want persistent access to:

* Save, Synchronize, Print
* Cut, copy, paste, paste aligned
* Undo, Redo, both with the multiple step options
* Thin lines, show/hide hidden elements, show mass, show/hide hidden lines, show workplane, set workplane
* Create section, Create 3D view
* Move, copy, rotate, array, mirror, align, split, trim, fillet, offset, join, unjoin, edit joins, cut geometry, don't cut
* Element Properties (instance), Type Properties, Type selector, match type, View properties, Query length (tape measure)
* Dimension aligned, Text, tag by category, keynote element/material/user, Modify keynote definitions (one can only hope this materializes...), load family
* Current workset, grey inactive worksets, Relinquish all mine, Current design option, add to design option, , current phase (either as a temp overide, or even as direct access to the view's parameter)

I know it's a lot of tools, but then, those are bread and butter, get stuff done tools, that get access so often I want to do it with one click instead of two. Every time. In the same place.

Ideally, the element and type parameters would be similar to the Autocad properties palette.

I'm pretty much in agreement with what most are saying here - I think Revit Classic should be brought back and improved upon. The 2010 Ribbon contextual panels don't work efficiently and never will without being completely rethought from the ground up. That being said...

I've pretty much tried to re-create the Revit Classic toolbars as much as possible using the QAT. (i've emailed a screen shot)

I think this is a sign of how off-track the UI is. I always appreciated the simplicity and consistancy of Revit Classic - it's unfortunate that we're now headed down the AutoCAD path where everyone has to customize their UI in order to be at least semi-productive with the software.

p.s. - like many others, I want to make clear that while the UI redesign was the LAST thing on my wish list, I'm not opposed to it because it's "different", I'm opposed to it because it doesn't work.

"Yes, I am interested in what tools require persistent access. I think I know what they are but am soliciting images and responses to confirm this."

There is no need to ask for images, you're just wasting your time. Enough users have already said that they prefer the 2009 UI.
So, to find out which tools require persistent access, you just need to fire up 2009 and look there.
This is the reason why you think you know what they are.


I appreciate the situation you are in. However, I think it's time for Nicolas Mangon or someone higher to acknowledge having read every post on this blog and on AUGI about user discontent. Autodesk needs also to acknowledge that as a group, users feel that our subscription money was largely wasted on this release. And then we need to hear how Autodesk plans to remedy the situation. We want to know what the plans for Revit are both near-term and long-term.

Each firm that uses Revit has much invested. We don't want to move to other software, and we shouldn't need to even consider it. At some point, each firm decided that Revit was the best available BIM solution. Autodesk can throw away that good will if the silence continues.

First of all, Thanks you Erik for your hard work along with those employees with the expertise and talent to make things happen. Our frustration is not intended at you – it is intended at those who tie you (the talented) down and to those who have different agendas from us the customer. A wise man told me a long time ago, if you make a mistake and you are smart enough to know it, apologize a soon as possible. It was a great advice towards building relationships. And any company committed to customer relationship and satisfaction will truly understand. I would like to see Autodesk release an official statement indicating their commitment to uphold Revit ‘s original GUI, and that it would truly listen to its customers for future (well thought out) improvements. And to acknowledge that Autodesk needs a web based platform where all Revit users can log in, suggest improvements, and vote for the most wanted improvements - this way, creating a democratic process for program improvement. So a statement like this will be great news. At least this way we know what direction we can expect (and our money allocated) that we can suggest improvement without the feeling that we are just wasting our time and the software heading down the drain. And maybe by this step, we can reset our relationship, and work under the same agenda. But I am still very skeptical that our agenda will be the same as Autodesk. Right now I have to see to believe. I believe we can find a common ground between what we need and what Autodesk wants to achieve (world domination? Perhaps? ) A simple unified color scheme through Autodesk products could have done the job of unifying different products across the line. Sometimes the simplest gesture is the best gesture. And think about how much money Autodesk could have saved.

In a world where companies pay millions for targeted marketing (specific marketing with the understanding for different needs) it makes perfect sense for a business to target their product differently (different needs). Product difference means company flexibility. The bigger and stiffer you are the harder you fall. Imagine Procter and Gamble one day decides to make all their products have the same bottles with the same shape, color and so on? Will it be a welcome change by the public? Will the public riot against P&G’s monopoly? Will P&G have destroyed their brands by making their products look the same? You see, Revit is a brand, like is 3d max, Maya, Autocad and so on. Each one is unique, and a smart company will treat them like so. So will Autodesk destroy the Revit brand by making their product look the same? How about Ecotect? Is Autodesk going to use the ribbon too in this newly acquired software? Get my point?

So thank you Erik for your hard work, and please, please pass our voices to your superiors. And I really wish I wouldn’t be writing this way because there are already many great ideas on how to make the classic UI better. But to me the unknown is killing me (is it possible for the reincarnation of an improved 2009 UI? and we understand that you can’t answer that either) and it is slowly killing your company. One day the sleeping giant will wake up and unplug its business – and that will be a hard fall. And make your superiors keep this in mind and make no mistake – we may not out-spend you but we can out-blog you if one day we decided to organize. Think about it.

Thanks Joel for the thoughtful reply. I like the P&G example. I and other teammates will do all we can and pass on information that is not directly actionable. We want everyone to be excited each release.

I am 1000%in Agreement with Joel Aviles Post.

I would also like to add that when I first saw 2010 I was quite excited, I found that the ribbon in AutoCAD 2009& 2010 worked quite well for me once I got used to it. However after a few weeks of testing Revit 2010 I find nothing but frustration & extra click, with all of the same drawbacks of the daft multi-levelled dialogues of 2009. The subscription model has been failing for some time the first indications were when I was decided that it would be a good idea to have 3 different versions and not have tool parity between them. This was a big mistake that started the ground swell of anti-autodesk feeling. Do I think that 3 versions is a good idea, Yes on some levels No on a few more.
Yes - Its great for marketing so various members of a project team know that a product is targeted at them.
Yes- Architects don't need access to analytical functions.
No- It was Revit building and when it was broke up it felt like we were being held to ransom being asked to pay more for functionallity our subs had already paid to develop.
No- Architects may not need access to analitical functions, but we do need tool parity if an engineer can place a curved beam, slanted column or many other item, why can't we? After all who tells the engineer that the end of a building slopes out, of the edge of a floor is curved or where ductwork should run?

Anyway, I've found that I cannot add enough commonly accessed tools to the QAT as there isn't enough space. I do however, agree with most of the tools that have been listed above. My gut feeling though, is cut your losses re-instate the 2009 UI, create a beta development forum where we can discuss the future direction of Revit & the improvements that we would like to see or that are under development. The ribbon could work but it needs community support and feedback and perhaps a couple of release cycles with classic as default. The great thing about Revit appart from the community & it being the best tool on the market for what it does, is the fact that the UI was fixed. That meant that users could sit down at any installation and start work straight away, or help another user without having to hunt down where they have a particular tool. Consistancy is key in complex processes.

Sorry for the long post but I've held a lot back for sometime and once I started it just seemed to pour out.



Please let me add my voice to those who have preceded me in this blog.

The Ribbon and QAT are a mess and as others have noted mutually contradictory.

As with many others who use Revit, I have chosen not to use 2010 for any paying work whatsoever, as I cannot afford to lose productivity with the poor UI.

Up until this release, I was quite happy to pay the subscription as I felt that by and large there were improvements to the software which ultimately made me more efficient at producing documentation for my clients. With the release of 2010 however I have begun to ponder whether the subscription is indeed the best way for me to go.

Please impress on the lawyers, the need for some meaningful discussion on what (if anything) AutoDesk are considering to do about these issues. Silence or bland waffle (as above) only makes matters worse. Maybe a worldwide email poll of users? If the AUGI members views are a reasonable average of the views worldwide then at the last time I looked almost 70% have noted that they are dissatisfied with Revit 2010. (

These figures must surely worry the bean counters.

I think it will take more than just reassurances or general statements about direction to calm the storm without people just getting fed up. I think it will take results and fast. I'm more inclined to be the type to have to see it to believe it. One thing I've learned about management, politics, people in general... is that I can't take anything that is said at face value until there's a history of "action" that grows to be expected. Only then can a minor slip up be excused. I've only been involved in one major software project and it was a disaster with missed deadlines and limited functionality, etc. There just seemed to be this language barrier even though we both spoke english. After thinking about it some more I think it was more along the lines of they were trying to make something work that they could take to a larger audience and sell and we wanted something that worked for our business process, which is apparently a lot different than the industry. In the end we got some half a$$ed, slow, unmanageable piece of gargebage that we're forced to use to get the end data we need. At times I wished I could program cause I had a lot of great ideas that could have made a very effiecent piece of software. Everytime I'd bring one up, "Sorry, that's out of scope" Anyway... I digress... I think something similar is happening with Revit. Superiors want something different (they call it the big picture) than the actual users of the software. Often times actual users aren't the ones footing the bill, so management listens to management, all the while more time and money goes down the drain.

FYI... the RSS feed for comments doesn't seem to be working for me anymore. All I see is 1's and a link to view article in place of the actual comments text.

Look, you are on the right track with the ribbon. It just needs to be refined. And, right on with the known issues regarding the QAT. Please take these to heart and renovate the QAT. And, thank you for ridding us of that crayon cursor.

Bill Maddox

It's a pencil - not a crayon. :) I know, I am still happily using it and using it faster than your cross. A crayon has a cone shape with a flat tip. :) But this is not the problem.

My 2 cents.

I'm an architect and computer savy, I still don't have the patience to worry about custommizing a UI, I expect it to work and meet my needs.

Many people are using the QAT to avoid the ribbon, so your're not really going to get meaningful data about workflows (which is what you really need). It is (I hope) becoming readily apparent that statistics don't tell the whole story. Its going to take some serious time and investment to understand workflows and use that to interrupt your statistics. This is probably at least a three year project to get it right, and apparently you (your bosses) tried to do it in one.

I have not upgraded to 2010 in a meaningful way for the very reasons discussed in depth in a variety of forums, so I'm not even sure you can get good data regarding 2010. You might be better off looking further back (as people have suggested) to better understand how they operated in 2009, and what "they" like (or didn't like). For instance I don't like tools that are hidden in a second place with the same tools, it can be confusing to have tools show up in more then one place. But there needs to be a meaningful way to say "there is more here, but likely you don't need it most of the time."

First, what about the UI design is so sensitive that development direction of it cannot be discussed with your users openly? I can understand not wanting to tip the competition about some new feature, but it's not like Bentley is going to see direction of your UI and rush their own version to market, and so what if they do? Autodesk, and the Revit UI, would still be much better off from an open dialogue with its users...certainly as far as the UI is concerned.

Again, I am not lawyer, but as I understand it anything that we state will be done and isn't or won't be done and is creates liability. This is the reason why most if not all public companies behave this way and NDAs are used between releases. There have been requests for a futures forum or other avenues. These are good ideas.


General answers seem permissible. For example, Autodesk has said words to this effect: "We're working to enhance the performance of the user interface." Nothing specific about how you're going to do it.

A vague statement that Autodesk is working to "enhance the performance of [insert wishlist item here]" would seem equally permissible. It would let users know what is probably coming soon (and what is probably not) without making any promises.

Of course, I would greatly prefer to honor an NDA and really have a better idea of the future than Autodesk chooses to provide publicly. The site needs to be put to use.

Have a good holiday weekend!

I don't use the QAT. I realized after a while that I just wasn't using it. I have to move between two computers and prefer a consistent interface and that is difficult to achieve. Your list of known problems pretty well sums it up. I am adapting to the Ribbon by working around it and this means more keyboard shortcuts.
Just in case you are tallying votes on this issue, I do not want to go back to the old interface. I do want to have better access to the commands with fewer mouse clicks.

I'll try to shed some light on a few topics here and hopefully regain a bit of confidence.

As a publicly traded corportation, Autodesk is limited to what we can openly state about future plans. We know how valuable this information is for our customers to make business decisions so we reveal as much as we can without over stepping legal boundaries. We can generally describe "what" we're working on, but can't discuss "when" it might appear in a future product release.

On the topic of new user interface, we are absolutely working on fixing and adressing the majority of customer feedback we've recived here and from other forums. Our current focus is as follows:

Most Frequent Customer Feedback
- One click access to frequently used commands (Too many clicks for common tasks)
- Context switching (Panels move around too much)
- Performance (Too slow)
- Iconography issues (Too big, little, etc.)

- Address performance related defects related to flicker, refresh, selection & document switching
- Address top defects
- Address cosmetic issues with iconography raised by customers
- Address issues related to persistent access to top used commands using current Ribbon component

Design strategies currently under consideration
- Add an Edit Panel to Home tab
- Allow all panels to be torn off the Ribbon and persisted in the canvas
- Rework Home tab to contain most frequently used creation & editing commands across common tasks
- Add a Modeling tab to contain all creation commands previously on the 2010 Home tab
- Add missing + additional keyboard shortcuts

I can't say when any of this will be done, but can assure you that these are some high priority near term focus areas. They're not nearly the only areas we're focused on, just some specific information related to this discussion.

Another related topic is the request to reinstate a "Classic UI". We are evaluating this and the only thing I can tell you at this point is it would be a very large effort with many limitations. To be honest there are a lot fewer requests for the old UI than discussions here would indicate, but the rationale is well understood to better support a transition. Biggest issue here is that we would have to support both the new and old UI at the same time which is roughly twice as much work or half as many new enhancements. Pretty much why it was depricated in the first place. Really just trying to deliver as many new enhancements as possible. We can't go back in time so need to decide what the best path forward is.

Hope this provides some insight into what we're thinking and why.


Thanks for the post...very informative. I do think that there must be a way to have more discussion about future features and directions without getting the SEC riled up. If it means expanding the pool of people under NDA, then so be it. Whatever was done this last time around, though, doesn't seem to have worked out well.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on the list of proposed remedies by saying that unless I'm missing something, every proposed remedy requires two clicks to get to a command if the Home ribbon is not currently displayed, unless a panel has been torn off. So apparently, the only persistence would be when panels float, and even then only if they can persist across modes. This seems counter-intuitive in that those things anchored to the window (docked) should be static. Given that Revit is already a click-heavy program with its multiple layers of dialog boxes, the last thing anyone wants is more clicks to accomplish the same result. I'll also note that it wastes important screen real estate by covering a portion of the newly larger model view area, while leaving more of the 1" high swath of ribbon across two monitors blank. (And auto hiding adds yet another action to the mix, so is, to me, a poor solution.)

The ribbon appears, by definition, to prevent interface persistence, which your users are passionately demanding. There needs to be a way to move forward that provides this necessary stability of interface.

Regarding keyboard shortcuts, I'd like to request a total de-contextualization there; no one should have to define a shortcut for Trim in nine places.

As for needing to support the old interface? Yes, during a transition that should be a planned for occurrence. Not everyone can push a button and transition every project and an entire library of families instantly over to any new interface and data version; transitions require supporting two ways of doing things. The inability to back-save data to earlier versions adds to the complexity in that we are forced to be in version lockstep with everyone we work with, and by extension everyone they work with. Basically our whole local market.

Our last Revit user group meeting was a reseller presentation on the new versions, and those present consistently wished for the old interface. Another reseller present told me that other RUG's have been similar in their disdain for the ribbon as implemented.

If you think that demand for the old interface is lower than we might think, I submit that it is in large part due to resignation on the part of the customer. Further, I would think you would want to strive for an interface that people are clamoring for, but that clamor seems to be quiet with 2010.

Personally, I'm dying for major improvements to the interface, regardless of which version we're talking about. From where I stand right now, though, the 2009 version is just more productive.

And I'd prefer to a) make a major transition only once, and b) have confidence that the interface we change to will be great. If the processes that begat the current ribbon are those used to "fix" the interface, then I do not have that confidence, and would much rather ride out the then inevitable iteration-after-iteration using the old interface.

“Another related topic is the request to reinstate a "Classic UI". We are evaluating this and the only thing I can tell you at this point is it would be a very large effort with many limitations.”

Tony –

Can you elaborate on these many limitations of the Classic UI? Maybe we can help you get pass these “limitations.” We may not have the knowledge but perhaps we can provide the imagination.

A very large effort? What happened? Did you guys trash 10 years of Revit UI success? Ouch!!!

So now we got more problems than limitations?

“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them” - Albert Einstein

Toni, I'm willing to bet the farm on your team and say "Sayonara" to the old Revit interface. But I think you are going to have to break some rules with respect to the Ribbon to satisfy Revit users. Your list of problems is precisely what I'm hearing from my colleagues in my office, locally, and on AUGI.

I also hope you allow the Ribbon to be configured so that area to the right of the end of the Ribbon can be given back to drawing area -- or that the Ribbon can be made much narrower.

We switch views a lot and we are noticing that transitioning from family views to project views is very slow compared to 2009.

I appreciate you, Erik, Anthony and others who have waded into a mob of angry users and asked how you can fix the software: well after you folks fix up 2010, get going on site tools, and the modeling tools from MEP and Structure, and fix the massing tools so that the iterative process is returned to that workflow. And hopefully you've got some improved text tools simmering in the pot, too? That would be some damn fine cookin'...

All the best!

"Design strategies currently under consideration
- Add an Edit Panel to Home tab
- Allow all panels to be torn off the Ribbon and persisted in the canvas
- Rework Home tab to contain most frequently used creation & editing commands across common tasks
- Add a Modeling tab to contain all creation commands previously on the 2010 Home tab"

Tony, I can only comment on the limited info you are listing here, but it sounds as though some of the core issues still might not be addressed with these considerations.

As you say, you are creating some more 'persistent' features, such as more duplicate Panels such as Edit, and Floating Panels (which I don't consider to be an acceptable solution for the obvious screen space wasting issues). But you are still going to be left with other modification and UI tools left as contextual.
So while there are *some* improvements with click reduction, the core issue of having to paddle around the UI will still remain.

Are you looking into adding modification tools to the new Modeling tab as well?

There has to be a way to access other tools such as Design Options, Thin Lines, Switch Windows, etc without the need to fill up valuable screen space with Floating Panels or relying on that painfully small QAT.

What Revit needs is something like a 100% persistent panel on the Ribbon which can handle the tools that were persistent in 2009.
Maybe the Spacebar could be utilised so that when no tool is in action, when it is pressed and held, the Ribbon could change to show the tools that are persistent in 2009, or maybe have them floating on screen?

It's the fact that you have the persistent 2009 toolbar tools hidden across different Tabs which is the issue, which is half the reason why the Ribbon in this instance doesn't work in Revit.

Hi Tony,

Thanks for letting us know what Autodesk is planning to adjust as a matter of urgency. Hopefully WU1 addresses the major concerns (as you have clearly articulated), regarding the Ribbon. Once the new UI is no less efficient to use (allowing for the normal getting used to time), I, along with many others will start using 2010 for paying work.

It is certainly good to know that the concerns expressed by users is heard and that the company is working towards some resolutions to these concerns. Without simple straight forward dialogue, there is always an uneasy feeling that maybe it was getting swept under the corporate rug.

Thanks again,


Thanks for the update!

If Autodesk is unwilling to dump the Ribbon (as it should in my opinion) and go back to Revit Classic UI, then I'd vote NOT to split resources trying to support both and put ALL resources towards fixing the Ribbon.

I do NOT think floating toolbars, panels, etc. is an acceptable solution to the problems with the Ribbon. I do NOT think customizable panels, etc. are an acceptable solution (with the exception of the QAT - that's what that's there for).

Where I would start is very simple.

1. Take all the toolbars of Revit Classic and put them on a Ribbon tab.

2. Make each design bar tab of Revit Classic a Ribbon tab.
View; Modelling; Drafting; Site/Massing; Room & Area; Structural;

3. Take commands/tools that were previously only in menus in Revit Classic and split those up into a couple panels (and/or merge tools into the "main" Ribbon tabs as appropriate).
Collaborate; Insert; Settings (Manage);

That's just a starting point - some tool re-arrangement might be appropriate.

4. Contextual options (i.e. the Option Bar) would go back to just being the Option Bar.

5. Make all the icons on the Ribbon the same size. Make the icons on the QAT bigger and re-arrangeable!

6. Aside from the "Option Bar", DE-CONTEXTUALIZE the ribbon. The "contextualization" is what's causing this mess. Not only is it disrupting the users workflow, it's creating a huge UI management/logistical nightmare for the developers.

Objects/elements would NOT be contextual, i.e. selecting a door does NOT change the state of the ribbon tab and put the user into a unique contextual tab. If you want to move the door, you either click on the Home tab (as revised above) and select the Move tool, or you select the Move tool from the QAT (where most users will presumably place all the tools residing on the Home tab). If the user has the screen real estate to spare, they can detach the Home tab to have all the tools they're use to having instantly available, rather than arranging them all on the QAT.

Autodesk gets to keep their Ribbon and we get to keep our workflow.

What's become so painfully obvious is that Autodesk has created a major problem for themselves in "fixing" something (Revit Classic UI) that not only wasn't broken, but worked extremely well, generally speaking. Now Autodesk needs to fix something that IS broken (Ribbon 2010), and there's no easy way to do it because it's so fundamentally unsound to begin with. I strongly urge that the developers consider returning to the "basics" of Revit Classic and ribbonize it as described above rather than trying to fix the problem of contextualization that I can see no satisfactory fix for.

Finally, I want to reiterate what others have said about user dissatisfaction. I am absolutely certain that reaction to the Ribbon (by those who have actually used it and can compare it to working with Revit Classic) is even WORSE than Autodesk is hearing.

I'd like to say that the ribbon can work, iru69's suggestions are a good place to start. Tools jumping around are unacceptable, consistancy is key. If one thing is to be implimented that would be for the first panel to be filled with the consistant tools from 2009 (edit, move, copy,thin/thick lines etc) this would be visible on every tab and the context of the tool ie the options bar would be returned to an options bar like strip under the ribbon.
It is great to know that you guys are taking this seriously and are working as hard as ever to continue to supply us with the best soloutions. I would suggest that these developments and interim webupdate builds be released for testing and discussion to the Beta testing group from myfeedback, perhaps as a Revit Futures forum on the new beta feedback website that many of us have moved our myfeedback profiles to.



The 2010 Max Design interface gives lip service to the ribbon while maintaining most of the earlier interface and a great number of persistent tools.

I would suggest that Revit look seriously at greatly reducing the role of the ribbon interface. If Carl Bass says you have to keep it, do so sparingly. Give us as many persistent tools as possible that simply sit there like a permanent QAT (maybe three rows worth). And restore as much of the 2009 interface as is reasonably possible. Let the ribbon handle only a few tasks.

Max reserves the ribbon for graphite tools and such. In Revit, maybe the ribbon could show up for the new massing tools only.

I do appreciate the response about the Factory's direction. However, the design strategies under consideration don't seem to be responding all that well to the feedback you are receiving. It may not be possible or advisable to go all the way back to the 2009 interface, but it did work and the 2010 interface largely does not.


Thanks for stepping in and speaking up. It's good to know you guys are listening and reading and (while I agree with iru69's proposed direction) you are still trying to figure out a solution. it's appreciated.

Please listen to what we're saying here with open ears. I think you guys are smart enough to not take personally the negative chatter and understand what is constructive. there's a lot of good advice here and it's consistent with what I've read everywhere else.

In all that I'm still confused about two things. First off, why the ribbon in the first place? If it's because Microsoft did it first, if you look at Word and Excel, the number of user clicks per hour of use are so very low. You click to bold or unbold your text then you go on writing in your document for another 20 min. In Revit we are clicking tools all the time. The workflows are totally different. That said, if you need a ribbon example done by Autodesk to follow, the Max guys got it right on. easy to read, easy to use, and they prettied the UI to boot.
Secondly, I have to say, personally, I don't believe in the least that comment that it would be a ton of work to roll back to the old UI. As someone who's developed in a past life, you would be neglectful as programmers to simply flush all the old UI and start from scratch. Which is completely not the case. Besides, I can SEE the old UI when I start up 2010. 2010 screen refreshes so slowly on my laptop I get a flash of the 2009 UI when I open it.
So, it's either in there, or you forgot to take out the graphics.

I'm not condoning going back to 2009, unless you can't make 2010 at least as effective. At the end of the day a ribbon doesn't do anything for me if I can't get my building designed and documented. I need a tool that supports my workflow, not one that has (or doesn't have) a ribbon.

Thanks Erik and Tony for providing this forum and for hearing us out.

Probably echoing a bit here...

What was consistently available in 2009, please do not put on a ribbon. If the constants remained constant, that would solve many gripes. Right now, my QAT attempts at mimicing this, but it isn't keeping Move/Copy/Rotate/Scale so I can't rely on it anymore. I've started relying instead on keyboard shortcuts (a worthwhile transition, imo).

QAT must have the print command. Ability to reorder would be nice (only if we can right-click and lock the placement)

What was on the vertical ribbon in 2009 makes sense to be in the new horizontal ribbon.

I think users would be happy to sacrifice the massive button icons for more working space.

Part of the issue of the Ribbon is the Microsoft guidelines governing it. The guidelines can be tracked down (and downloaded directly from Microsoft's website) - Google "2007 Office UI Design Guidelines License". I of course have no idea if Autodesk has special leeway with the Guidelines, but a core requirement of the Ribbon is that it may not co-exist with top-level ("classic") toolbars. I would like to hear it from Autodesk, but until they do, I think it's worth assuming that combining the Ribbon and top-level toolbars isn't going to be considered.

So, if you want tools to be persistent, they either need to reside in a Ribbon tab and/or they need to be on the QAT - unless Autodesk can think of something else. The Mini-Toolbar (an option in the Microsoft UI guidelines) is much too unwieldy to even be considered as a solution.

(BTW, I'm using "persistent" as in not-contextual. If you want persistent "visibility", we need Revit Classic back - or Autodesk needs a sneaky way of bringing back top-level toolbars while maintaining Microsoft's requirement not to have them)

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