Font Mishaps – or – Where is that crazy BOX key

Our good buddy Revit uses the Windows installed fonts for all of its font needs.  This isn’t just for fonts used in your text and dimensions, but also fonts that the ribbon and help files and other “software-y” stuff needs.

A former co-worker sent me an email recently with an odd problem that he was having on a PC in Revit Arch 2010.  The ribbon, the drop downs, even the search text in the help search box was showing up as a bunch of boxes:

Box menu items

What the what?

Having spent some time in the Windows Character Map program (don’t ask – I don’t like to relive those days) I recognized those boxes as characters that a font didn’t have access to.  Except in this case, it was ALL the characters.

Must be a bad font, or missing font in Windows.  But what font was Windows trying to use to fill out the Revit interface?  Time for some digital sleuthing…

  • A quick Google search turned up nothing worthwhile. 
  • A fast check in the help file brought up nothing as well.
  • I did a screen capture of my non-boxey interface and uploaded it to to see if the “magical cloud” could figure it out.

My searches turned up nothing.  So I made a guess.

When we deployed Office 2007 in our firm, I remember reading about Microsoft getting hooked on Calibri for the new default.  So, I wrote my coworker back and told him to see if Calibri was installed on that PC; if it wasn’t install it… if it was, delete it and install it again.

That was the trick!  Calibri is the magic font that will allow you to actually read your Revit interface.  Once he installed the font and restarted Revit, everything showed up fine.

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