Join Jim Rogers for an in-depth discussion in this video Selecting the right version: Vu, Standard, CAD, or eXtreme?, part of Learn Bluebeam: The Basics.
- Let's take a look at the features available in the different versions of the Bluebeam software that you can select from to help you decide which is best suited for you. Bluebeam currently markets four versions of its desktop software for PCs, and a fifth program, or app, that's available for the iPad. There are a couple of cautionary notes here. First, the four desktop versions of the software are PC only. There is no Mac version. Bluebeam notes that you can run their software on a Mac using a PC emulator, but there's not currently a native Mac version available. The second item worth noting here is that the paid versions of the software can only be installed on one computer at a time.
So, if you purchase an individual software license, you can't install it on multiple computers, for example, one at the office and one at home, or one at your desk and another on a tablet. You'd need to purchase multiple copies or licenses in order to do that. Because of the single computer restriction, you will need to think about where to install this software. So, if you have a laptop that you travel with, that might be the best installation. Or, I do see some companies deploying the new Windows tablets to their project team members, and that enables them to dock with a keyboard and a second screen at their desk and work in tablet mode in the field.
And this software does switch from desktop to tablet mode quite easily. I said earlier there's an iPad version available in the app store, and this is relatively inexpensive compared to the desktop version. So, you could purchase the desktop version for your office PC, and then purchase the app for your iPad. And use that in the field without spending too much extra money, if you have that platform available to you. There's not currently a version available for Android. But we are told that's in the works, so keep an eye out for that to become available in the future. Of the four PC versions of the program, there is one free version called Vu.
Now, think of this as being equivalent to the free Adobe Reader program many people use, or the free PDF Reader built into some web browsers. The difference is that with the Vu program, users can still see the markup log shown down here at the bottom of the screen, and they can access files stored in Bluebeam Studio Projects, which is Bluebeam's Cloud storage features. Vu users can also participate in Bluebeam Studio sessions. And Studio sessions will be discussed later in the course, but, in general, a Studio session gives all invited attendees access to a document or a set of documents and permits all invited users to markup and add comments.
So, in Studio sessions, even free Vu users have access to the markup tools when they're online and connected to the internet and logged in to a Studio session that they've been invited to. So, let's demonstrate that. We open up this window pane, and I'm logged in to a Studio session. So, you can see on my drawings that I've loaded up from this computer, all of the markup tools are grayed out. And they're not available to me. But if I open a file from a Studio session, all of those markup tools then become available. Vu also contains some simple versions of the more advanced Revu features.
For example, I can still take some simple measurements on drawings. But they're not going to be applied as markups. It's just useful for quickly taking some measurements. And Vu does inherit its user interface from the paid version of Revu. So, things like file access and tabbed navigation are all here and available to users of the free Vu program. However, if you need to regularly markup, edit, or comment on a document if you plan on using this software for quantity takeoffs, or if you need to create PDF files, or initiate a Studio project or a Studio session, then you need one of the paid versions of Revu.
For some members of the organization, the free Vu program may be appropriate. For example, if you have people who just need read-only access to documents, or who will only be marking up a document when they're an invited member of a Studio session, then the free Vu program may make sense. So, with that, let's take a look at Bluebeam Revu, which comes in three versions, Standard, CAD, and eXtreme. For the remainder of this course, we'll be utilizing the CAD version of Revu, but it's important to understand that virtually all of the features that I'm going to cover here in this course are available in Revu Standard.
Standard contains all of Bluebeam's editing and markup features, including its advanced features like Advanced markups, Measuring tools, and Document Editing tools. It also includes the ability to search by image, and the ability to set up and control Studio projects and Studio sessions. But the CAD version adds to these features by including tools and plugins that allow you to convert two and three dimensional CAD files and BIM models into PDFs.
So, if you don't need those conversion capabilities then Standard is probably just fine for you. For example, I am not a CAD operator, and I don't have any CAD programs on the laptop I typically use every day. So, I would probably not need the CAD version of Revu. Now, let's talk about the final version, the most expensive version of Revu, which is Revu eXtreme. This includes all of the Standard and CAD features, but then it does add some really cool additional tools that might make you think about spending the extra money. And I'll show you on Bluebeam's website, it gives a quick explanation of what these additional tools are, and I'll talk about a couple of them.
So, one of the features contained in all versions of Revu is the ability to hyperlink documents. And when dealing with large sets of drawings, this hyperlinking can make it super easy to navigate through a large set of plans by doing things like adding a link to take you from a detail callout right to the detail itself, and we'll demonstrate that later on in the course. Now, this ability exists in all versions of Revu, but the eXtreme version adds the ability to automate this process and create and apply a huge batch of hyperlinks to an entire set of drawings in just a few steps.
EXtreme also contains the ability to create fillable PDF forms, and it adds optical character recognition to documents you scan into PDF format, as well as containing special redaction tools that help you permanently delete selected information from a document. So, if some of these features sound like tools you'll use, you may want to consider spending the extra money on Revu eXtreme. Now, I do get asked if you can use the CAD version to convert CAD and BIM files from their native format directly into a PDF document.
And the short answer is no, not without at least having some sort of compatible CAD viewer installed. And in that case, you may just be able to print to a PDF from that viewer anyways. So, again, I would say that if you don't have CAD or BIM software on your computer, and you don't need the added features of eXtreme, I would stick with Standard. Now, don't stress out too much over the decision. Bluebeam does allow you to download a 30 day free trial to help you decide. And in addition, if you opt for Standard now, and decide you need the features of eXtreme later, you can just purchase an upgrade as shown here on their website.
So, let's go to pricing. And you'll see that there's an upgrade price, so if I were to purchase Bluebeam Revu Standard and decide later that I need to purchase Revu eXtreme, you see I don't have to purchase a full seat license. I can just pay the upgrade price, then, gain those additional features. Now, it's not a direct dollar for dollar trade-off. You do pay a little bit of a penalty for upgrading later. But like I said, it does save you from having to purchase a whole separate license at full price when all you want to do is upgrade.
Since cost always factors into any software decision, especially when you're planning on purchasing multiple copies to deploy across the company. Another consideration may be taking a look at how the software would be used by different individuals or positions within your organization. In that case, you may consider CAD or eXtreme for anyone in your organization that also has CAD or BIM software on their computer, and purchase Standard for everyone else. Or, maybe Project Managers and Superintendents need Standard. Detailers need CAD, and pre-construction services need eXtreme, so they can set up the forms and files to be used by the rest of the team.
And then, you might encourage sales and scheduling to install the free Vu program to give them read-only access to a Studio project file. However you decide to start out, remember that you can always download a free trial of any version of the software, and these trial versions are fully functional for 30 days. You can also decide to upgrade and pay the current upgrade price if you find that you do need to add additional features later. And remember that even though I said you can't load individual licenses on to multiple computers, you can always uninstall the software from one computer and then install it on another one, for instance, if you purchase a new computer.
As long as you're connected to the internet when you uninstall the software, it will release that license for use on another computer. Finally, I do also want to mention that Bluebeam has recently introduced an open licensing program, shown here on their website. We'll click on open licensing. And this is a program that allows an organization to purchase a predetermined number of seats for Revu eXtreme. This is only available for Revu eXtreme, and then pay an annual fee. This does allow an organization to license the software based on the number of concurrent users it expects to be using the software at any given time.
Meaning the licenses, in this case, are not tied to individual computers. However, this option does involve an annual fee as opposed to a one time purchase price, and you do have to be connected to the internet to start a Bluebeam session in order to request access to one of those open licenses. This should give you the information you need to make an informed decision on which version of the software you need. As I said earlier, from here forward in the course, virtually all of the instruction and features that I'll demonstrate can be found in the Standard version of Revu.
Jim Rogers helps you choose the right version of Bluebeam for your company, customize the tools and views, convert files into PDFs, and create PDFs from scratch. In the final chapters, he covers Bluebeam Studio, the cloud components that make it easy to take projects mobile and global.
- Choosing a version of Bluebeam: Vu to eXtreme
- Installing Bluebeam and Bluebeam plugins
- Customizing Bluebeam
- Creating PDFs with Bluebeam Revu
- Converting images
- Editing Bluebeam PDFs
- Searching Bluebeam documents
- Making estimations and takeoffs
- Redlining as-built drawings
- Creating an active punch list
- Setting up a Studio Project or Studio Session