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PDF markups

PDF markups

(OP)
I am an old school PE, still marking up drawings with red pen, scanning the markups and emailing them around. It takes too long. I'd like to become more efficient but still use a pen/stylus. What software/hardware packages are out there that can allow me to open PDF files, mark up drawings by hand, maybe even rasterize, and save/email them off in an entirely digital environment?

I really appreciate any insights that anyone can offer. Thank you!!!

RE: PDF markups

Pretty much everyone has forgotten that the original intent of the PDF format was to provide a NON-EDITABLE means to transfer an image electronically, so that the original author decided exactly how it was to be presented on a screen, or printed.
It's a terrible medium for collaboration on drawings.
Nobody cares.
So there's a market for third-party applications that can open and edit PDF files and re-save them somehow.
I don't think Adobe has ever officially revealed the details of the format, so the best choice for an editor is probably Adobe Acrobat. ... which is not free, but mostly works.

About rasterizing:
Acrobat can save a text file as text, plus instruction on how it should be displayed, and I think it can save a drawing file in vector format, comprising lines, with color. In both cases, they can be stretched or shrunk without losing detail or proportion, and the files are not terribly large.
If you use a scanner to make an image of a drawing or a sheet of text, that puts it in rasterized form, i.e., a bitmap. The files, especially for something like a scanned book, are very very large. Worse, when the images of pages or drawings are shrunk, you lose detail (as the detail becomes smaller than a pixel, it disappears), and when you enlarge rasterized pages or drawings, the lines become fat and fuzzy, or turn into a line of dots.
You lose a _lot_ of information when you rasterize a drawing or document, so don't ask for it if you don't want it.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: PDF markups

Maybe bluebeam's Revu eXtreme ? Link

RE: PDF markups

Quote (MikeHalloran)

I don't think Adobe has ever officially revealed the details of the format, so the best choice for an editor is probably Adobe Acrobat. ... which is not free, but mostly works.

The PDF file been an open, standardized format since 2008. I wouldn't worry too much about using a 3rd party application.

RE: PDF markups

Cowski, thank you for the education and the link; I have to get out more often.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: PDF markups

PDF X-Change Pro is a good tool for marking up drawings. I haven't tried to use it with a pen/stylus, but their markup tools seems to be adequate for my use.

RE: PDF markups

The company that I'm currently working for uses Foxit Reader, which appears to be free. It includes some tools for adding comments. I've not personally used the markup tools, but I have received files from coworkers where the comment tools were helpful. As a pdf reader, I like it better than the standard Adobe reader. It seems to start up faster and I like the tabbed document interface.

It appears that they also offer dedicated authoring and API tools which they charge $$ for.

RE: PDF markups

Quote (OP)

I'd like to become more efficient but still use a pen/stylus. What software/hardware packages are out there that can allow me to open PDF files, mark up drawings by hand, maybe even rasterize, and save/email them off in an entirely digital environment?

I've been looking long and hard for something like this. And, because I'm into my tech, cost is pretty much irrelevant to me. That said, it's the stylus bit that I've never been able to solve. Yeah, there's iPad's and bamboo tablets out there with drawing apps but they all either fall into one of two categories of disappointment:

1) Drawing is not precise enough for engineering sketches.
2) Drawing is utterly precise and therefore painful beyond measure to use.

These days, I'm into Bluebeam all the way, both on my computer and my iPad. Here's how I use to satisfy most of my needs:

1) You can set scales and measure things which is very helpful.

2) If you're adding text comments, it's great to just type everything in there. The people that read your markups can isolate them using the internal database which is awesome for processing redmarks.

3) You can easily set up a custom tool chest full of commonly used symbols. I've got expansion anchors, deck callouts, weld sybols etc to cover the day to day stuff.

4) Often, I'll lift the content of an architectural detail, paste it back down screened to 30%, scale it to suit me, print it, and hand draw my structural details over top. It's a real time saver being able to draw perfectly to scale without any effort at all.

5) I can do most of my markups on reviews within Bluebeam using the stuff mentioned above. On occasion, I may want to add a detail to a set of shop drawings etc where attempting to draw the detail in Bluebeam is just to painful. When that happens, I draw the detail on paper old school, take a picture of it with my phone, wait five seconds for the the dropbox app on my phone to synch with my computer, and paste the detail into bluebeam looking all sexy. It sounds like a lot of operations but I can literally go from finished sketch to having it in blue beam in under ten seconds. It's faster than getting up to go to the scanner, although much less healthy. Sometimes I'll sketch a detail graphically but then use Bluebeam to annotate the detail. It goes fast, cure's my physician's handwriting, and allows me to edit content later.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: PDF markups

I vote for Bluebeam PDF Revu which is great when merging CAD drawings, screen captures, scanned images from scanner or phone and sketching with stylus. I use Lenovo X220 tablet PC at the moment.

Walt

RE: PDF markups

KootK and Strong,

Curious, what version of Bluebeam Revu do you use - Standard, CAD, or eXtreme for your applications?

RE: PDF markups

Just review for me. I've been meaning to watch some Bluebeam university YouTube as I'm pretty sure that I'm not using it to its full potential. I work with some young bucks that can mark up a PDF detail so cleanly that you can hardly tell that it's not original CAD work.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: PDF markups

I am using Bluebeam x64 Standard ver. 10.2.3 which is not the current version. I am overdue for an upgrade! I highly recommend taking a test drive. The support folks are excellent, and the company it seams very solid to deal with.

Walt

RE: PDF markups

I use PD fill editor.
Works fine for me.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: PDF markups

Bluebeam CAD for me.

All projects are session based, so markups are centralized, editable and workable by anyone. I also use Sets for construction administration, drawings have RFI's in them, makes tracking easy and can be accessed by anyone.

RE: PDF markups

Using Blubeam Xtreme (I'm an Adobe hater) on a Surface Pro, I detach it like a pad and use the stylus to redline. It takes a little getting used to, but the paper and scanning time that I save is worth it. Super easy to delete comments, too. It also takes some time to set up the interface so that it works the way you want it to.

RE: PDF markups

MillR

Is Bluebeam Xtreme worh the extra $ over the CAD version ?

RE: PDF markups

OCR+, Batch Slip Sheet, and Batch Link®, are really nice features and they really should be with the CAD version. If I had my choice I would have gotten at least a single copy of Xtreme for our office, not everyone needs Xtreme or CAD.

RE: PDF markups

Thanks sandman21.

RE: PDF markups

+1 for Bluebeam Revu Extreme. Setting up different layers using plans for different levels is a godsend when scheming up a framing system.

The Comparison tool is great too. Saves you having to play 'spot the difference' when architects issue new and improved drawings.

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