Author: Sash Kazeminejad Revit, Revit Architecture

We have seen several cases in which customers have had issues opening their Revit files due to missing elements. While attempting to open their file, they receive the following message:

“The file .rvt cannot be opened. There are too many elements missing in it. Please contact Autodesk Support.”


 Possible Causes:

  1. There may be an issue with a file that is linked into the project you are attempting to open. For example, if the linked file has many missing elements and the link cannot be loaded, Revit may throw the missing elements warning.
  2. It’s possible the file had a problem reading the code to each element in the project. This tends to happen when one or more of the computers in the team is missing an update for Revit, whether they are working on the First Customer Ship (FCS) version, or any of the Updated Versions for Revit. What could happen is if someone saved the Revit file using a newer build of the software, the older version could have issues reading some of the elements within the file, since there is a possibility the newer build changes the way Revit reads a project file. When we are on tech support, we frequently look at the customer’s system to see which build of Revit they are currently using and then ask them to compare that build with others in the office. More times than not, we discover users are all over the place with their builds.

Possible Solutions:

  1. With an error like this, it is a good idea to try and audit the file to see if Revit can repair the file first. Chances are slim it will resolve the issue, but auditing is always a good starting point.
  2. Check to see if there is a missing linked file. If many elements are attached to a link and the link cannot be resolved, there could be a large number of "missing" elements (Autodesk website).
  3. If all the links are loaded without errors, check whether you can recover a backup of the project from before this error occurred. If successful, make sure to audit the recovered project (Autodesk website). It is important to ensure that you have a robust backup system for your Revit files. For example, ensure your office has a general file backup system. Also, make sure you have at least a few backups of your Central files, as well. Lastly, Local files can be used to create new Central files, especially in times of Central file corruption. Ensure users keep a few backups of their local files and remember, ALWAYS create new locals on a daily basis!
  4. Verify everyone on the team, or better yet, the entire office, is using the same build of Revit. For example, if one person is using Revit 2015 UR11 (First Customer Shipping version with Update Release 11) and the other is using Revit 2015 R2 UR12 (Second customer shipping version with Update Release 12), you are not on the same build. It is highly recommended everyone update to the latest build to help rule out file instability. Keep in mind, if you already have the file error and then you update everyone on the latest build, Revit will probably not resolve the missing elements issue, but it may reduce the chance of happening again since everyone is now on the same build.
  5. If at all possible, you can attempt to upgrade the project to the next release of Revit. For example, if the project was created in Revit 2015, try to see if you can Audit and Upgrade the file to Revit 2016 (remember, make sure everyone is on the same build of Revit). Keep in mind if this is successful and you wish to proceed using the new version of the software, the entire project team must also upgrade their Revit files, as well, since Revit files are NOT backwards compatible.

Additional Resources to Review:

General Data Corruption

Revit Build Numbers

Recover a Workshared Central File


Get more Revit tips and tricks here.

For more information on the software solutions, training and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate, Inc. homepage.

   Sash Kazeminejad
Sash Kazeminejad
AEC Senior Application Specialist

Sash is a registered Architect and LEED Accredited Professional who holds a Master of Architecture from Montana State University. Sash’s experience includes project management, BIM management, and design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon. In addition to being a Bluebeam Certified Instructor, Sash is an Autodesk Certified Instructor who provides Revit Architecture training and solutions for AECO firms. Find Sash on Twitter.