In Bluebeam Revu 2019 eXtreme edition, you are able to make scanned text in PDFs both selectable and searchable data using a powerful feature called Optical Character Recognition, or OCR. With just a click of the button, running OCR will allow Revu to scan through the pixels of your scanned document to identify any text and turn those pixels into text-searchable data.

This article will show you the steps for using Optical Character Recognition, with examples using the 64x Bluebeam Revu 2019 eXtreme edition.

To run Optical Character Recognition, you’ll want to first open up a scanned, raster text document for Revu to scan through.

Here, I have a document that I want to search through. To make sure that this document is fit to use OCR with, I’ll first zoom into the text to determine whether the document’s data is vector or raster. I can determine that the document contains raster data, as the text becomes very pixelated as I zoom in. Next, I’ll try to select the text using the Select Text button to determine whether this text is selectable, and thus, searchable. As you can see, the text is not selectable, so I know that this is a document that could benefit from Optical Character Recognition.

Select Text on a Scanned Document to see if you need to use OCR Optical Character Recognition in Bluebeam Revu 2019

To run OCR, I’ll navigate to the Document dropdown menu and select OCR.

How to use OCR Optical Character Recognition using the Document Menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019

The OCR dialogue box will appear. There are several sections and options available to you from this menu. First, there is the Files section, where you can choose the pages of the document you want to run the tool on, and add any additional files you want to run OCR on as well.

Next, there is an Options section where you can determine the settings for the tool so that you get the most accurate results possible. Under Language, you can choose from a list of language libraries depending on the language of the text you are scanning. The American English library is loaded by default, but if you had a multilingual text document, you could choose to use multiple languages on one document. Next, you can choose the Document Type that Revu will be searching through: CAD Drawings, Tables and Forms, and Text Documents. If you select Tables and Forms or Text Documents, you have an additional option to select what you want Revu to Optimize For, with the choices of Speed and Accuracy.

For my document, I’ll select English as my language, Text Document as my document type, and optimize for Accuracy.

How to use OCR Optical Character Recognition settings in Bluebeam Revu 2019

There are a few additional options available to you via check boxes. You have the option to:

  • Correct Skew, which enables Revu to correct any angular deviations in the text


  • Detect Orientation, which enables Revu to detect and correct the page orientation if needed


  • Detect Text in Pictures and Drawings, which enables Revu to detect any text in graphics or pictures
  • Skip Vector Pages, which enables Revu to skip pages with vector content, which will speed up the overall process
  • Page Chunk Size, which allows you to determine the maximum number of pages processed through OCR at any one time (increasing this may increase the speed of the process, but take’s more of your computer’s power – generally 1 is the recommended setting for Page Chunk)
  • Max Vector Size, which allows you to set the maximum vector size that will be analyzed during the OCR process (decreasing this may increase the speed of the process, but also may cause OCR to ignore larger font sizes)

For my document, I will check the boxes for Correct Skew, Detect Orientation, and Detect Vertical Text, just in case I have any text variations.

How to use OCR Optical Character Recognition Settings in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Once you have looked over all of your settings, you can press OK to run Optical Character Recognition.

How to use and run OCR Optical Character Recognition in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Once OCR has been run, the text on this document should now be selectable and searchable. I can double check that everything ran as it should have by grabbing my Select Text tool and trying to select the text, once again.

Selecting text after running OCR Optical Character Recognition on a PDF in Bluebeam Revu 2019

As you can see, my text is now selectable. I know that OCR ran smoothly and made this text both selectable and searchable. Now, I can open up my Search Panel and run a text search on this PDF.

Run text search on a PDF that used OCR Optical Character Recognition in Bluebeam Revu 2019

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please use the comment section on the bottom of this page, and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to get more Bluebeam tips & tricks directly in your inbox!

Lauren Hecker is a Bluebeam Certified Instructor and teaches Onsite Bluebeam Certified Courses, virtual Bluebeam Basics and Advanced courses, and custom onsite or virtual courses. To see her next open enrollment course, please visit our calendar. To schedule an onsite or custom course, please contact us!


  1. Ore

    If the OCR scan is missing smaller font sizes, do I reduce the Max Vector Size or Increase it?

    • Lauren Hecker

      Hi Ore,

      Try increasing Max Vector Size to its highest setting. This may not fix your issue, but it will ensure that none of the fonts are determined “too big” for OCR to search through.

      Let me know if that helps!


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