Revit & Navisworks Switchback

This blog post was originally written for the Cn3D Construction blog. Cn3D Construction is now a U.S. CAD company, so please check back here at for more written articles from Jennifer Lanzetti and our new U.S. CAD Utah team.

When Autodesk first came out with Navisworks Switchback, it worked brilliantly. However, in our quest to make things ‘better’, we sometimes make them worse. The BIM Elephant is alive and well in the brain of software developers as much as AEC offices. Below is a tutorial on how to get Switchback to work better, and a workaround for those who want to find their elements on their 2D plans, not in a 3D view.

There are two ways to find objects easily in Revit when first identified in Navisworks.

  • Navisworks Switchback (navigates you to a 3D view)
  • Element ID Navigation (navigates you to a 2D plan)

Navisworks Switchback

While you are in NavisWorks, identify the parts in your Revit model that you want to adjust or jump to in your Revit model (typically gotten from a clash run).

READ NEXT:  Infrastructure Universe Vol. 32: The Expanding Universe of Infrastructure

Focusing on one element at a time, we will use the Switchback tool to take us directly to the element in Revit (will take you to the 3D view).

With the Revit program open, go to Add-Ins > External Tools > Navisworks Switchback (activates the Navisworks Switchback feature).

activate switchback in revit blog

Back in Navisworks, select the element you want to adjust.

identify object in navisworks

In Navisworks, go to Item Tools > Switchback.

item tools switchback navisworks blog

The project will automatically open in Revit and a 3D view of the element will be shown.

  • NOTE: You may have to hide your linked in models and zoom into your object
object selected in revit blog

It is quite possible (almost guaranteed) that you will not automatically be taken to the object but rather far away from it. Download an excellent (Autodesk approved) plug-in called Zoom to Awesome (

Go to the Add-Ins upper tab, select External Tools then your new Zoom to Awesome plug-in.

zoom to awesome blog
id first object blog

Go to Properties, then the Element ID tab. Right click on the Element ID value and select Copy Value.

id copy value blog

In Revit, open up the floor plan that your element is on.

Hit KS to get to Keyboard Shortcuts. Using the Search Box, find ‘Select by ID’. Type in a hotkey you will remember (I use ID).

ks for id blog

When you’re on the floor plan, type your hotkey (in my case, ID) then paste in the element ID you copied from Navisworks.

copied value in revit blog

Your element is highlighted and you can easily change/correct based on your clashes.

found element in revit blog

Related Posts

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.