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Best PDF markup software?

  • 1.  Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-03-2020 05:02 PM
    Hello all,

    I'm hoping to get some guidance on which programs people are using to provide markups from engineers to drafters.  I just wanted to poll everyone out there to see what the pros and cons of Bluebeam vs Adobe or if people are sticking with hand markups still?

    Thanks in advance for your input and contributions!

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    Kirk Wagner S.E., M.ASCE
    Newport Beach CA
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  • 2.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-04-2020 09:22 AM
    Kirk,

    Great question! I am interested to see what others say.

    We use Bluebeam at our office and I find it easy to use.

    What I like about Bluebeam the session function which has real time updates. Multiple people can be in the same PDF addressing comments and the remainder of the set is being reviewed. It will also generate a report of the comments and who addressed them so it serves as a backup/reminder of QAQC.

    We also use it for reviewing timesheets, invoices, proposals, and anything that you want someone (or multiple people) to take a look at.

    I'm sure there are more functions that it can be used for but those are the main ones we use.

    The con would be the price, each user does have to have a license, I don't know what we paid for it but I vaguely remember it being somewhat expensive.

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    Andrea Taylor P.E., M.ASCE
    Hurst TX
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  • 3.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-04-2020 11:37 AM
    We have been using Bluebeam for the last 5 years, and it works well.  They changed the interface in 2020, which makes things a little more difficult than previously, and has me using keyboard commands for some of the common tasks like lines and text.  I like it because it has a better printer connection to autocad than adobe does.  It takes a little longer than hand markups, but we have a record of our markups, and markup history.  Bluebeam supports their products for about 3 years, but I did not have to upgrade the product until my 2015 version stopped saving files.

    Generally we print things on a sheet by sheet basis so that we can markup one sheet at a time, and keep the file sizes smaller.  Surveys tend to be the biggest files.  It also allows multiple different cadd people to work on the sheet set together.  We use Jacobs style markup, with multiple colors of text to indicate whether something is a comment that needs to be entered directly (red) a comment that requires the design team to do something else, like update the spreadsheets (blue) or is correct (yellow highlight).   Drafters or designers highlight over the comment using green if they addressed it, or red if we need to discuss it before they address it.  We have folders called sealed, review, and corrected under each dated review folder.  As I comment on things, files get moved to the sealed folder if they do not have comments, review folder if they have comments.  Once a cadd person corrects the comments, they move the reviewed file to the corrected folder, and plot a new sheet to the main folder.  When all the comments are back-checked, there should be a good version in the sealed folder, and nothing in either the review folder or main folder.

    I need to state that I am an internet company, so hand markups are not an option.  Back when I worked at Jacobs, I never had enough pens and highlighters of the correct colors, so Bluebeam has saved me from that problem too.


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    Dwayne Culp, Ph.D., Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Rosenberg TX
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  • 4.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-04-2020 12:27 PM
    Thanks Dwayne!  A lot of good information, and I am very familiar with the "Jacobs style."  I have one follow-up question, what do you mean by bluebeam has better printer connection to autocad?  Are you using autocad's pdf import function?

    Thanks again

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    Kirk Wagner S.E., M.ASCE
    Newport Beach CA
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  • 5.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-04-2020 01:29 PM
    Kirk:
    I mean that I always had trouble printing to Adobe from CADD when it was my default printer, and importing from Adobe to CADD when I did not have the other teams cadd file available.  Bluebeam seems to have these items better buttoned up.

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    Dwayne Culp, Ph.D., Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Rosenberg TX
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  • 6.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-05-2020 09:53 AM
    Bluebeam >> Adobe. Admittedly, I'm still using Bluebeam Revu CAD 2014, and don't even know which version of Adobe Pro I was using for comparison, but Bluebeam is faster, more user-friendly, has better AutoCAD integration, and seems to have been literally built for architecture and engineering. The scaling and measurement functions, takeoffs, large-scale mark-up tracking and sorting, and various batch process document handling processes are key. It's possible Adobe is working to keep up, but everyone -- and I do mean everyone -- I know who has used both prefers Bluebeam over Adobe. The only downside is cost, but my time is valuable, and Bluebeam will pay for itself in short order.

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    Ari Daniels, P.E., M.ASCE
    Water Resources Engineer
    Center for Watershed Protection, Inc.
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  • 7.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-07-2020 08:02 AM
    Hi everyone, I use PDF-XChange Editor. It is free to use, and it has a lot of functions not only for markups but for documents. It also has a connection to Adobe to use signatures.
    You should check-it out.

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    Andres Guzman Ing., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE
    Barranquilla
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  • 8.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-07-2020 12:08 PM
    Will check it out.  Thanks Andres!

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    Kirk Wagner S.E., M.ASCE
    Newport Beach CA
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  • 9.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-11-2020 09:34 AM

    Thanks for the question Kirk, 

    We're split at our company, the Engineers and Architects use Bluebeam and our support staff (ie. HR and Marketing) use Adobe. From an Engineering and project coordination standpoint Bluebeam has been a great collaboration tool. In addition to the previous comments, I'll throw in support for the Bluebeam Studio Sessions. They're a cloudbased platform for marking up drawings in real-time. So if you're going through a QAQC period and have to coordinate mark-ups from your architects, structural, civil and mechanical types everyone can easily mark up the same set and clearly see any areas where further coordination is required. It's also very easy to tabulate all of the comments within a set and you can add additional data to individual mark-ups within their "markups list" by adding columns (I believe Adobe also has a similar feature, but I don't think it does math for you). For instance, on one of our jobs we were able to add cost estimating data to the proposed revisions and could then have Bluebeam calculate the additional cost on each page. Someone else mentioned the 2020 interface change, although it was a bit tricky to change over one of the upgrades I've learned to appreciate the most is the sketch by scale feature. In the new version it's much easier to use and can also be used to calculate take off values and output those into a table on the page. They also have a very responsive support staff and some great educational videos. Only downside I've found so far is that working out of the office, sometimes it crashes. 10/10 would definitely recommend for engineering projects.

    -Alice



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    Alice Roache A.M.ASCE
    Engineer
    OHM Advisors
    Hancock MI
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  • 10.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-14-2020 08:54 AM
    I am interested in the same question about marking up PDF tools, except I am looking for software that works on MAC machines running OS X. I was a huge fan of Bluebeam revu but they ended Revu for MAC support last year. It still runs on existing user licenses but you can't buy any new seats. At the time I was told they were shifting to a cloud based version of Revu that would work independently of the OS, but it has been 18-months and I heard nothing more about that. I tried Adobe for MAC but it is missing most of the tools that made Revu so useful for AEC workflows. So any Mac users out there with suggestions?

    Regards,

    Jim G.

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    James Gernand EIT,A.M.ASCE
    Redwood City CA
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  • 11.  RE: Best PDF markup software?

    Posted 12-19-2020 05:53 PM

    It seems like a budget question. Bluebeam is more fun to use and there's more flexible. Adobe is a straightforward software and it does the job just as well but I think Bluebeam is a bit more flashy. 



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    Oanh Le (She/Her)
    Rochdale MA
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