28 December, 2020
Follow Us

Newby advice for Revu users: Understanding how units work (and how to get them to work for you!)

28 December, 2020


We sometimes receive enquiries from Revu users who are struggling to understand why the units on their Markups are not showing the way they want them. Sometimes units might be in inches when they need it to be in Millimeters or they might be in Centimeters instead of Meters or they might not show the correct accuracy in decimal places. And then there’s the apparent mystery of how to set up the units in our angle measurements.

Thankfully, like most things in the software world, once we understand the underlying concepts, things become so much easier.

So let’s have a lot at how units work in Revu. This Cadblog will cover Revit 2019 and “20”. Earlier versions do have the same underlying concepts but the user interface and they ways to access the settings may be a bit different.

I’ve broken this down into different sections because the different units that Revu displays in any Measurement that you place on a PDF are actually controlled through different mechanisms. And once we’ve identified the different scenarios at play, we can adjust them to our hearts delight.

How to control the underlying default “unit” in Revu:

The first thing we need to be aware of is Revu has settings that control how it shows Units across the user interface. By user interface, I am referring to the units used by Program to display spacing for grids, the sizing and placement of elements in the PDF.

To adjust this we go to Preferences > General > Grid & Snap > Units section. This will most likely be set to centimetres in software that is installed in countries that use Metric. In some cases you might need to change this though. Anyone in the Civil Engineering field, for example, will usually want to operate in Metres.

We can set this as required in this settings window:

So if we set the default units to centimeter then we will be presented with grid spacing options in centimeters. Also, if we create any Markup (as opposed to a Measurement) and then select it, go to Properties and look at the reported position and Length, we will see that all presented in the default Units.

How to set Measurement Units in Revu:

That takes care of the User Interface and the Units it uses, but of course we also want to make useful and accurate measurements of our PDF’s. And experience has shown that sometimes we don’t get our Measurements showing in Units we need.

I’ll going to look at this in 2 usage scenarios. Firstly where we are using the default Measurements (from the Menu > Tools > Measurements) and then the 2nd scenario when we are working with the Toolchest to create Measurements.

Scenario 1: Changing Units when using the default Measurements:

You might use the default Measurements if you are an informal user of Revu. In this case, it is possible that you’ll be presented with Measurements that have the wrong Units for your purposes.

To explain what we mean, this is a screenshot of the available default Measurements:

To get a proper handle on how to get this work, I’m going to categorise all Measurements into 2 flavours. The first is non-calculated Measurements and the 2nd are calculated Measurements.

Non-calculated Measurements include Length, Polylength, Perimeter, Diameter, Centre Radius, 3-Point Radius units.

The secret sauce is that all these non-calculated Measurements are completely controlled by whatever units we pick in the Calibrate settings. Furthermore, the precision that they are shown with (decimal places in Metric) is controlled by the Precision settings.

The degree of accuracy in any Angle Measurements is set purely by the Precision settings in the calibrate dialogue, so setting Units during Calibration to Metres with 3 decimal places of accuracy will make Angular measurements show 3 decimal places of accuracy.

Below, we can see the effects of setting the Calibration units to mm and setting the precision to 0.01 (2 decimal places). Below the dialogue in the screenshot we can can the way that Length and Angle Measurements will display with these settings:

NOTE: Remember that Calibration settings can be per sheet or across the whole PDF so you can’t assume that doing it on one sheet will have the settings on all sheets. During the calibration process you have the option of apply the settings to multiple sheets or all sheets in the PDF if that is desirable. Also, we can have Viewports on our sheets that have a different scale as well so the Measurements inside these Viewports might look different to the rest of the Sheet.

Now, just to throw a bit of curve ball into the works, if we choose to use a preset Scale, which was a new feature in 2019, then we might get Units showing in ways that are different to what we need. In the example below, I opened a new blank PDF and I set the Calibration to 1:100 (which is Metric drawing scale) to show you what I mean:

In this case, Revu made the default units for Measurements as Metres which actually makes sense because a “1:100 scale” means 1cm = 1m.  This might not be what you want though 😉

But no need to panic, the way to change that is to go to the Calibration Panel and change the settings in there. Once you’ve changed that then everything will be fine.

If we take the same PDF that has been set to 1:100 and modify the last part of units (as below) set that 1 cm equals a different unit of our choice then our units will display correctly. In the screenshot below, I’ve selected 1cm=1000mm – and all my non-calculated Measurements now show in mm. Excellent!

Note that as per the previous method of Calibration, we need to set the degree of accuracy in here to control the degree of accuracy that shows in our non-calculated Measurements.

Controlling Units in Calculated Measurements

That takes care of linear Measurements but now we need to look at how to adjust the units on such things as Area and Volume which I refer to as “calculated” measurements as they involve taking measurements and then calculating a result (e.g. Area multiplied by Depth to give Volume).

To give you an example. I’ve created a blank PDF based on an A4 template in Revu. I start off making an Area Measurement and because I haven’t calibrated the PDF, I get prompted to do so.

Bluebeam will again pick a preset unit to display for Area Measurements based on the whether you are using Metric or Imperial units. So if I pick any Metric unit, I get “sq m” showing as my default Area Measurement. And I pick the 1:100 (which again is a Metric Scale) I get “sq m” too. For Volume, with a metric scaling factor, I will get “cu m”.

Now these might be fine for our purposes but if we needed to change this, what we need to do is, create and example of one of calculated Measurements such as an Area or Volume, select it and then go to the Units Override like so:

Or, alternatively, go to the Measurements Pallet and change the Units for that specific Measurement:

Now, the trick here is that we need to keep the Area or Volume Measurement selected, right-click and then pick the “Set as Default” option.

So that ‘s how to change to default Measurements. This should stick through subsequent sessions of Revu.

Next up, we’ll look at how to change Units when we use the Toolchest.

Scenario 2: Changing Units of Measurements in the Toolchest:

We can use the Revu Toolchest you can sort your different Markups into different types (like the Area of Plasterboard faced walls on a PDF versus the area of tiled walls and so forth). So assist us, we can assign these different measurements to have different colours, fonts and so forth to make them easily recognizable on your documents. Making sure you, and others in your office are using the Toolchest is way of maintaining consistency and efficiency.

When we’ve made any necessary changes to our Measurements in the Toolchest we need to save this to a Profile so that we will never have to change this in the future. Interestingly, on the topic of Profiles, Revu now automatically upgrades any custom Profiles that we’ve created when we update to a new version of the software, so when the Revu 21 and future versions after that come out, our work will be already done.

Workflow when using Measurements from the Toolchest:

The workflows are fairly similar to using the default Measurements. First, up as in the previous section, we should make sure that we’ve set the Units correctly in the Preferences > General > Grid & Snap > Units if we haven’t already.

Non-calculated Measurements:

This is an important point to remember – even though we will have a lot preset non-calculated Measurements from the Toolchest, there is actually no way to store the Units in them from one session to another. That is to say, when we Calibrate any Sheet in our PDF, the Units and degree of accuracy is set in that document, not stored in the Measurement in the Toolchest. So once we’ve calibrated the PDF correctly and picked the correct Units and Precision Settings, this will correctly set the Units in any non-calculated Measurements (Length, Polylength, Perimeter, Diameter, Centre Radius, 3-Point Radius units) that we grab from the Toolchest.

This is an example of a Length Measurement that is in the Quantity Takeoff Toolchest. Note that, just like all non-calculated Measurements, and we can see that it has inherited the units and precision in the Calibration settings:

Calculated Measurements:

On the other hand, and Calculated Measurements that we have saved in our Toolchest does have their Units are stored in the properties of the Measurement.

There will be some instances, especially when we are starting to implement Revu in our office, where we might need to fix or update “calculated” Measurements in the Toolchest to show a different unit.

As an example, if we activate the “Quantity Takeoff” Profile, which ships with the Australian build of Revu, there is an Area Measurement the Label “Flooring, Ceiling, Glazing”. When we create one of these calculated Measurements in a PDF, we get this:

Obviously, for us in the Metric world, this is not right and can see that this is not being affected by the calibration settings.

To adjust this permanently to have the correct Units in future do the following:

Create one of the errant Measurements in your PDF, if you haven’t already, and then select it.

Now go to the Measurements Panel or the Units override toolbar and change the Area or Volume Settings as required:

This will make a new “default” for that specific Measurement, until you close Revu again. But of course we want this to be permanent so be sure to go to the Revu Menu > Profiles > Save Profile.

Now when you work on any future PDF’s and load the Profile that you saved to, you have the all your Calculated Measurements showing with the Units you want.

Note that if you have already made some calculated measurements in the PDF with the wrong units you can fix them up by either selecting all of the calculated Measurements and then go to the Measurement Panel and change the Units. You can also use the Format Painter to change them by selecting a calculated Measurement with the correct Units then right-click and choose “Format Painter” and then click on the Measurements that you want to change the Units of. Option 1 is by far the quickest.


So that seems a fairly lengthy read and I think it best to summarise this way:

  • All non-calculated Measurements in the PDF, regardless of whether you use the default ones or use the ones in the Toolchest, use the Units and Precision settings as they appear in the Calibration settings. All Angular Measurements have their precision set by the Precision setting in the Calibration settings.
  • We can adjust the default Calculated Measurements by changing the Units, if needed and then set that as default. This should carry over between sessions unless we create a new default.
  • We can use the Toolchest to set the Units of our Calculated Measurements correctly, save them to a Profile and have them available for future use.

Just remember those rules and you’ll have Units under control. And as always, have fun!