From CAD User AEC Magazine Vol 24 No 03 - MARCH/APRIL 2011
Bluebeam PDF Revu goes to Extreme lengths to provide a comprehensive document management tool in Version 9
Bluebeam Revu 9 has added another level to its standard and CAD versions - Revu 9 Extreme for power users! The PDF review software now comes as three separate versions: Standard for those who want to create or view and mark-up PDF documents as well get hold of some of the other useful tools and functions that come with Revu, a CAD version with numerous CAD related tasks, and the new Extreme version for companies that demand more from their PDF documents.
3D PDF VIEWING
One of the most striking enhancements to the CAD version is the ability to view 3D models, using the mouse to spin, rotate, pan and zoom and otherwise manipulate the views of the model. The 3D PDF model comes with a model tree, enabling users to tick on elements to select them and turn them on or off, and right click on them to show where the part is in the model, either isolating or zooming to the part.
Users can create different views of the model, and mark-up the views using a wide range of mark-up tools. The position, opacity and visibility state of the view is recorded when you tick the 'Node Visibility' box, and once views have been created, the user can switch between these and other pre-created 3D views to view different aspects of the marked-up model. Once created, though, views are not available for further manipulation.
Another new CAD feature is the ability to search PDFs of drawings for symbols or text. Users can select, for instance, an electrical symbol and then search and find similar symbols, not just in the current PDF but in all open PDFs, PDFs in specified folders, or even PDFs that have been opened recently and that are consequently being held in the 'Recents' section of the File Access tab. Users merely toggle through the documents to see where positive search results occur.
The search results can be used further by adding hyperlinks, leading to locations where more information is available on each symbol or element. These are added in the mark-ups list, shown below the PDF document, and which show the status of each mark-up. The latest version of Revu gives users the ability to customise the list of attributes of each mark-up, even configuring them to show the selected mark-up or text in different colours, according to its status.
This is relevant when viewing schematics used for outlining Process Plant or piping installations that includes a series of valves, the symbols of which can be colour-coded to show whether they are open or closed. Each instance of the valve can even be used to turn a valve on or off. This enables a PDF document to become more than just a historical document, but gives it real-time, interactive capabilities.
Thereís also a new cut-out tool that can be used when scheduling a building for facilities management purposes. Previously a spatial area would be defined and colour coded. Now, an area within a space can be similarly defined, and subtracted from the overall space. That means that the area of a room could be defined to calculate carpeting requirements, subtracting a central area where the client prefers to lay tiles.
Bluebeam has done a lot of work on improving the localisation of Revu. Collaboration between engineers with different languages is complicated enough, but when absolute accuracy is required in placing mark-ups and requesting CAD modifications, the ability to do this in the recipients own language is priceless - and you could probably save the money you would normally pay for translators!
Bluebeam Review uses the latest translation tools available on the Internet to translate mark-ups 'on the fly', converting English instantly to French, German, Spanish, and, of course, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and any other mainstream language.
Having been integrated within AutoCAD for some time, the latest version of PDF Revu adds further capabilities to the application, including the ability to multi-select documents and drawings, combining them into single PDF documents more efficiently, and to add last minute changes to PDFs, such as set-up options, text and date stamps, showing the time and date of conversion to drawings to PDFs.
Users can also import AutoCAD sheet sets and DSD files into Bluebeamís Batch Creation Wizard, or convert SHX fonts in legacy drawings into searchable fonts in PDFs, and even transfer Hyperlinks with PDF documents - all designed to make Bluebeam into a very useful CAD oriented PDF document manager.
BLUEBEAM PDF REVU EXTREME
So, what's left for the Extreme version to do? First of all, like the ability to handle SHX fonts and make them readable within a PDF document, Revu Extreme uses its OCR capabilities to convert scanned documents into text-searchable documents.
Extreme also allows users to redact confidential information from PDF documents. You don't need me to explain what that means, as we all became familiar with the term during last years exposure of MPs expenses with all of the most interesting bits 'redacted', i.e. censored by blanking out with black ink. Revuís redaction is more subtle, using a yellow marker to conceal confidential text.
I also learnt about another useful feature that I could have used when asked to sign and return the usual NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that journalists get asked to do when pre-viewing software or hardware before it is released onto the market. Revu Extreme can be used to create and edit fillable PDF forms. Text fields can be placed at any location on imported documents created in Word to capture input when viewed as a PDF document. I even have a signature stored as a JPG that I have attached with appropriate effect to similar forms in the past.
Lastly, users can add icons to the toolbar to perform repetitive tasks, such as adding coversheets, headers and footers, flatten mark-ups - combine the mark-ups and marked-up image into a single PDF document - convert documents to greyscale, or to email a PDF with the click of a button. Icons are selected from a series of examples, and set-up with simple scripts, using a script editor, to automate most tasks.
Bluebeam Revu Extreme is designed for power users - to enable companies to set up enterprise-wide PDF solutions that will encourage staff to adhere to company standards, work to established processes and otherwise manage their documents more effectively. The small amount of scripting required to set up such procedures are usually handled by IT staff, and will therefore be invisible to most users.
And all of this comes in one of three colour schemes, my favourite being the charcoal grey version. The price is not excessive, either, with a small premium for the Extreme version. part of the first price increase imposed since in over four years. A trial version is available online if you want to see why I like the look, feel and operation of PDF Revu.
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