AEC Tech News (#239)

5 Nov, 2008

PDF Tool Enhances Mainstay Design App

PDF creation and conversion becomes cheap and green with Bluebeam PDF Revu 6.5’s CAD-specific functions.

By Heather Livingston

Heather Livingston photo

Bluebeam released PDF Revu v6.5, the latest version of its PDF creation and editing tool, in September. Among the new features that will be beneficial to CAD users are PDF form filing, batch text stamping, and page de-skewing. The company states that PDF Revu's combined PDF creation, markup, and editing features enable CAD users and project members to collaborate and communicate faster and more efficiently by sharing and reviewing design data electronically.

Founded in 2002, Bluebeam is a spin-off from Alliance Spacesystems, an aerospace engineering firm best known for creating the robotic arm on the Mars Rover. According to marketing director Stephanie Haynes, ASI built the Bluebeam PDF tool in-house specifically to perform better and more easily than Adobe. The company quickly realized there was enough of a market to create a separate business endeavor, and in 2002, Bluebeam launched PDF Revu's predecessor, PushButton PDF.

Since that time, the product has evolved considerably in its functioning and capabilities. PDF Revu now is available in standard and a CAD version that allows one-button PDF creation from within the AutoCAD and SolidWorks programs via a plug-in. The CAD version was designed to work with large-format drawings, making it easy to convert drawings of any size while maintaining precision quality and saving time.

Tools of the Trade
The AutoCAD and SolidWorks plug-ins feature handy tools such as a custom settings creation for PDFs that allows you to select custom paper size, a different scale, and different pen assignments. Haynes noted that the new batch tool is the most popular feature of version 6.5 because it allows CAD users to convert a large volume of drawings to PDFs in a single batch. Other user benefits include custom PDF stamps, automatic PDF bookmarking, enhanced FTP and email functions, text-searchable PDFs, and PDF security. Both the standard and CAD versions have a PDF printer driver with presets for other CAD applications like Revit, Microstation, and Pro/Engineer so it recognizes the CAD file and uses the best conversion settings when converting a file to PDF. Additionally, PDF Revu v6.5 supports today's all-important interoperability needs by offering 11 file formats. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Heather Livingston is a Vermont-based freelance writer specializing in design, sustainability, and architectural technology. She can be reached at


Circles and Lines AutoCAD Tutorial:
Object Properties at Your Fingertips

By Lynn Allen

The Properties palette is definitely one of the most used tools in AutoCAD. (I think mine is actually starting to rub off a little.) Why is that? Because we spend much of our AutoCAD day searching for information about our objects or editing their properties. Being wise to this repetitive motion, Autodesk introduced the Quick Properties tool in AutoCAD 2009. For those of you who want to be incredibly efficient, you can customize this tool to suit your particular drawing needs. And incidentally you should do that - all of you. Anyone can easily customize this incredibly useful tool for maximum productivity.

This month we will take a look at the new Quick Properties tool as well as the fancy new Rollover Tooltips. Both are easy to use and customizable, and both are incredibly powerful.

Rollover Tooltips
The new Rollover Tooltips feature won't go unnoticed for long in AutoCAD 2009. As you move your cursor over objects, basic information will automatically display regarding the object. The information displayed is completely customizable per object. If for some reason you don't care for this cool feature, you can also turn it off. (But promise me you'll give it the good old college try first, please!) Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Daylighting Workflow from SketchUp or Revit
November 10, 2008
Boston, Massachusetts
Radiance training, hosted by Integrated Environmental Solutions, will show how to generate images for daylight and lighting using ray-tracing techniques. Read more »

Blast-Off With BIM Seminar
November 12, 2008
Cocoa Beach, Florida
DLT Solutions, with Autodesk and CADD Centers of Florida, will host a government-focused seminar on BIM that discusses new federal mandates. Read more »

Plan-Build-Operate Technology Summit
May 4-6, 2009
Nashville, Tennessee
Meridian Systems' event brings together organizations to share best practices, customer case studies, and technology demonstrations. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on