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Editor’s Pick: Paperless Workflow System in New Release

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

So, I had one those online “let’s go over this stuff” virtual meetings the other day with people in two US time zones and one in Europe. A funny thing happened on the way to the forum: all of the work — words, pictures, etc. — were online in front of us. If anyone was shuffling around paper, it was her or his choice. And my age had nothing to do with it, OK? I wanted to take notes I’d understand later. But, I must confess, I missed more than a few comments and suggestions. It would have been more productive and efficient if the participants could have attached their remarks to specific document locations and, better, put them right on my paper-based annotations in real time.

Today’s Editor’s Pick of the Week is about a solution that has that kind of capability and more, should you need it. Even if you don’t think you need it, you probably do. Bluebeam Revu is a toolset you really should look into because it’s more than a capsule summary like this can cover.

The basic story is that Bluebeam Revu is a suite of applications for PDF file creation, markup, editing, and collaboration. It’s all about making your workflows as paperless as you want to be. Revu provides you 2D and 3D PDF markup tools like callouts, highlighter, lines, notes, and stamps (dates, signatures, etc.). It offers one-click PDFs from MS Office applications as well as PDFs from other Windows applications or CAD programs.

You can also save or share frequently used markups, take measurements, compare versions of drawings and documents, and search for keywords within PDF files. Revu has a built-in worksheet and formula editor so you can do calculations. A camera tool lets you add image annotations to PDFs from the field using a tablet PC’s built-in camera. Touch and pen input options let Windows 8 tablets users pan and zoom while making annotations with a stylus. Revu comes in a version tailored for CAD users as well as an edition with advanced paperless workflow features. The CAD edition, BTW, provides one-click PDFs from AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and a few other CAD environments.

But that’s not the part that caught my attention. Each edition of Revu from standard to the full enchilada comes with something called Bluebeam Studio. This is a cloud-based collaboration solution from which you can securely manage projects from start to finish from a desktop, tablet PC, or iPad. There’s more to Bluebeam Studio than that.

What you really have with Bluebeam Studio is a paperless workflow and collaboration solution coupled with a simple document management system. See, you can call a meeting — known as a Studio Session. In a collaborative session, all users can markup the same PDF document in real-time or individually. As an aside, there’s a downloadable, no-cost tool for your collaborators to use, so not everybody needs a Bluebeam license. Markup activity is tracked and linked to a session’s PDFs. It has permission settings and digital signatures.

Next, you have Studio Projects. Here you have things like check-in/check-out tracking, and you can sync files, go offline, and work on them then re-sync. Shared document can be uploaded to a Studio Session or simply stored. Project files can be stored, managed, protected, and shared in Studio Sessions too. The icing on the cake with all this is that you can store and manage an unlimited number of PDFs and any other file type in the cloud using Studio Projects without cost. Studio Sessions have some limitations, such as only 500 people (yikes!) can collaborate on a PDF simultaneously.

The takeaway is that Revu, whether for the single user or the enterprise, sounds like neat stuff. Give the news write-up on Bluebeam Revu version 11.5 a read from today’s Editor’s Pick of the Week link. Then go and learn more from some of the links at the end of the write-up. (The Bluebeam website is bursting with details.) Make sure to take in some of the videos, especially the one on Bluebeam Studio. And there’s a link to a trial version at the end of the write-up too.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

Read today’s pick of the week write-up.

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@digitaleng.news.