September 25, 2018

Revit: 2018.3, Windows 10 and No Material Browser

I discovered today that I was not able to open the Revit® Material Browser (on the Manage ribbon tab, on the Settings panel, selecting the Materials tool). As luck would have it, I am quite a bit behind in reading the Autodesk Revit Architecture Forum, and I just happened to have read a thread about this issue earlier today. In the Materials Dialog Box Doesn't work thread, a post by richard.horner, building off the previous post by stewart.jex, provided the solution that worked for me. I know I will not be able to find that thread when I need it in the future, and since the solution is not at all intuitive (I still cannot figure out why it works), I decided to document it here.

  1. In the Revit session in which you discover that the Material Browser will not open, go to the Application Menu (File "tab"), and choose Options.
  2. In the Options dialog, choose Hardware on the left side.
  3. On the right side, in the Hardware setup area, clear the checkmark from the Use hardware acceleration (Direct3D®) toggle.
  4. Select OK to ratify the change and close the Options dialog, and then close Revit. (Changes to hardware acceleration do not take effect immediately.)
  5. Restart Revit, and open a project file.
  6. On the Manage ribbon tab, on the Settings panel, select the Materials tool. The dialog opens! (Great, but who wants to run Revit without hardware acceleration, right? The next part is the bit that I cannot figure out.)
  7. Close the Material Browser.
  8. Open the Options dialog again, select Hardware and select the Use hardware acceleration (Direct3D®) toggle to re-enable it. There should be a checkmark in the toggle.
  9. Select OK to ratify the change and close the Options dialog, and then close Revit.
  10. Restart Revit, open a project file and then try to open the Material Browser again. It works!

While the analytical part of my brain wants to know why the exact same settings that previously failed now work, the "hey, you found a solution, now lets get on with what you were trying to do originally" part of my brain is declaring victory and moving on. And I will be carefully looking both ways crossing streets on my way home this evening, as I have clearly used my luck for the day.

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