Bluebeam Revu tips & tricks – Part 1


I’ve often remarked to people that Bluebeam Revu is a deceptively powerful program. If you only delve a little into its capabilities it might seem to be a simple PDF reader and printer. However if you dig a little deeper and you start to see all sorts of capabilities that could, if you choose to, make it an integral part of your daily toolset.

Here are some tips & tricks that will help you extract even more out of Revu.

1. Reduce file size: When you need to get that PDF to attach to an email and it’s too large.

If you have a PDF that is simply too big to transmit over Email and it isn’t comprised of mainly plain text (that is, it has graphics / pictures in it) then you need to try out the Reduce File Size function which can be found on the Document Menu in Revu.

In the dialogue box that opens, you can select a variety of options. You can choose to reduce the file size of multiple open documents and in the Extreme Version you can also select an entire folder to process (This function is also found under the Menu > Batch > Batch Reduce File Size of Bluebeam Revu as well).

You can elect to choose the default compression or the low / high settings. I’d suggest using the default to start with to see if it makes the document a more manageable size. If note, you can increase the compression although you’ll potentially take a hit in the quality of the images in the PDF. You can save your settings as a preset if you’re likely to have to repeat this process in the future.

In one random example of a powerpoint PDF, we got a 74.42% reduction on the default setting. Again, this document was very graphics heavy so that sort of decrease in file size is not perhaps representative of what you’d get in a Vector PDF (from a Design / CAD package) or a document that has lots of text in it.

2. The Snapshot tool: a not so obvious capability.

If you’ve ever been in the situation where you need to markup a PDF to send out an instruction for someone to add to a design then being able to grab a similar item from a part of the PDF and transplant it into the new position would be a boon. In addition, we might simply need to make a minor addition of items to a document to get it out the door. The Snapshot tool allows you to grab graphics from one part of a PDF and paste it into another part then make adjustments to it, if required.

Activate the Snapshot tool, then left click on the PDF and drag diagonally. When you  click the second time to pick the area that you want to Snapshot, the section that is inside the selected area will show with blue transparent overlay.

You now take this Snapshot and Paste the elements into another location. You’ll note that Revu has two Paste options available.

You can choose to simply “Paste” which acts like MS Office products in that it pastes the item in the location where your cursor is. You can then drag it around by left clicking on it. Revu will actually snap the pasted elements to graphics in the PDF. In the screenshot below, I’ve pasted the Snapshot and dragged it into the corner of an empty room. Revu automatically snapped the pasted graphics into the corner as I dragged it around.

You can also choose to paste into the same place as before – you’d do this if you wanted to make a copy a precise distance from the original. Firstly, make sure that a real scale has been applied to the Sheet. You can do this through the Measure Panel or via the Mark-up > Measure > Calibrate Menu. To do this, go to Edit >Paste in Place. It will look like nothing happened but it fact the new pasted elements will be sitting on top of the graphics that you took the Snapshot of.

The pasted elements will be pre-selected so to move them in a precise way, go to the Properties Panel > Layout and as below, you can adjust the X and Y position of the pasted graphics.

You also can re-scale the pasted elements and rotate them if required.

Interestingly you save this pasted element in a Toolset to capture if in your Toolchest and of course, save it to your profile if you intend of using it multiple times or perhaps it’s a detail that you know you’ll want to have ready for future use in other documents. As bonus tip, if you have other elements  that are part of the markup then you can save them as a Group and then turn that Group into a Markup – you can select multiple elements in Revu by holding the SHIFT key then click on or drag over the element you want to add to the selection set. Now right-click and choose “Group”:

To save the Group to the Toolchest, right click and choose the “Add to Toolchest” option and then pick the Toolset that you want to add it to.

You may want to make a new Toolset for these specific types of Markups.

Another really interesting feature that I found recently is that if Revu detects that the graphics you select are monochrome, when you paste it, the background to pasted element will initially be transparent (the white parts become the “Alpha channel”). However, when you select the pasted element, you can now change the background to a solid colour which will mask graphics under the pasted Snapshot. You can make this any solid colour or pattern if required. In the screenshot below, we have the initial state of a pasted Snapshot. Note the Fill Colour box has a clear background with a red cross through it:

If we alter the background to solid white then we get this:


3. Sketch to Scale tool: Relay your message accurately.

As a bonus, don’t forget the Sketch to Scale tool as well. If you have set the scale on a PDF sheet then you can start drawing to lines to a real scale.

The options are not as sophisticated as you might expect from a full blown CAD program but you can pick line length, polar angle and you can snap to elements in the PDF so it’s good for a quick but accurate representation of the message you need to relay to others.

In the case of the sketch tools, the Polyline requires you to hit Enter twice or double click on the end point or hit the “C” key to finish it (not so obvious!). You can change the line style, colour and thickness and so forth and you will want to save this new Markup style in the appropriate toolset so that you can reuse it later.


Well there you have it. As we’ve seen in the above examples. Revu has a range of powerful tools and would I encourage you to check out the tools we’ve spoken about and also to spend a bit of time delving into other tools in the interface to see how you can make your experience with Revu even more profitable. Keep an eye out for more Revu Tips & Tricks.





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