When working with large scale plans, it’s useful to be able to quickly locate specific items on the PDF. In Bluebeam Revu, the Visual Search tool lets you do just that. Much like text searches, Visual Search allows you to search for visual elements on a document. Once found, you can perform actions on all search results at once – such as highlighting or counting them.
 
This article will cover how to use Visual Search to find and perform actions on images in Bluebeam Revu. The following examples are from Bluebeam Revu 2019. However, the process will be exactly the same for all versions of the program, from Revu 2018 to Revu 21.
 

Performing Visual Search

 

To perform a Visual Search, first open up an image based document. It’s important to work with vector PDFs for searches. It’s possible to run a search on a raster scanned document, but you most likely will not get accurate results. You can check if your document is vector or raster by zooming in on it. If the lines on the PDF stay clear, rather than become pixelated, you’re working with vector data. Therefore, you know you can then run a search.
 
Additionally, you can run Visual Search on multiple documents at once. Within Bluebeam Revu, open all documents you wish to search. With a document or drawing set open, select the Search icon on the Panel Access bar. The Search panel will open.
Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

The Search Panel has options for performing both text and visual searches. By default, the Text Search option will be selected. Next to the Search header, select the icon showing a magnifying glass icon over a photograph icon. This will open the Visual Search menu.

Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Here, you are able to select which documents to perform the search on using the drop-down menu on the panel. You have the option of searching the Current Document or the Current Page. For multiple documents, you have the option to search any Open PDFs, any recent documents, or even an entire folder of documents. By default, Current Page will be selected. For this example, I only need to search the current page, so I’ll keep the default selection.

Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Next, we can adjust the Visual Search options. First, we can set the sensitivity for the search by moving the Sensitivity bar. This will determine how exact the image needs to be matched. Moving the bar to the left will lessen the sensitivity, and may include results that aren’t exactly the same as the one searched for. Moving the bar to the right will make it more sensitive, which may leave out some desired items if they look a little different. It’s a good idea to test out different sensitivities to ensure that you are able to capture all needed results.

There are few other important options here to consider. Search Multiple Rotations will include items with different rotations. By default, this will be checked and I’ll keep it as is. Search Markups will include markups in the search results. If you had taken a Snapshot markup of the searched image, this will be included in the results. You can also choose to Filter by Color and Search for Fine Details to refine your results down further.
 
In this example, I’m going to perform a basic visual search with the default selections left as they are.
Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Next, locate and zoom in to the item you want to search for on the drawing. In the Search panel, select Get Rectangle. Then, click, hold and drag the cursor over the item on the PDF you want to search for. It’s useful to zoom in while doing this to ensure you capture all details needed. Your selection will appear at the top of the Search panel.

Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Before running the search, we have the option to Refine Colors. Selecting this will open a window where you can specify your search further. Under Source Template, you’ll see the item you chose to search for. Under Refine Template, you can see the image that Revu will search for on the document. In my example, the Refine Template image is much choppier than the Source Template. This is because my sensitivity bar is set to low. Below the Template window is an option to filter out colors. In this case, the drawing we are going to search is black and white. If it had other colors, you would be able to filter the results by color.

Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Once statisfied with your selection, select the Search button. Depending on the size of the document and the number of results, it could take up to a couple minutes to complete.

Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

The results for the search will display under the Results field in the panel. A thumbnail representing the item will display next to each result. Selecting a search result will jump to and select the result on the document.

Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Performing Actions on Search Results

 

Once you have your search results, you can perform actions on them. These options can are in a toolbar above the results.
 
The first option is to check all search results. Actions you perform on results will only apply to the checked results. You can manually select and deselect search results, or select them all by pressing Select All.
Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019

The second option, Check Options, allows you to apply actions to all checked results. You have the option to hyperlink them, redact them, apply a count markup, or apply text edits – like highlighting or underlining. Applying Count Measurement to Checked is especially useful for estimation and takeoffs. You can even specify which count markup tool to apply. Using Visual Search can help you to quickly count items across the PDF, speeding up the takeoff process.

Search Panel in Bluebeam Revu 2019
The third option, Replace Checked, will only apply to text based results. It allows you to replace the text in a search result with different text. In this case, my search results do not feature text, so this option will not apply to them.
 
Lastly, we have an option to Clear Search Results, which will clear the results. This allows us to get ready to perform another Visual Search in Bluebeam Revu as needed.

Search Panel 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 Revu tips & tricks directly in your inbox!

Lauren Hecker is the instructor for the Bluebeam Revu Essentials and Advanced courses. To see her next open enrollment course, please visit our Bluebeam Revu training page. To schedule an onsite or custom course, please contact us!

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer Donelli

    Is there a way to export this information to excel? Or anything else that can be done with the information once the search is complete?

    Reply
    • Lauren Hecker

      Hi Jennifer, unfortunately you won’t be able to export the search results but what you can do is perform an action on all of the search results, such as placing a Count Measurement on them. You can then export the Markups List as a CSV Summary report which will give you a summary of all of the Counts in the drawing. You can see how to create a CSV summary in this article: https://www.taradigm.com/2020/06/01/5-ways-to-use-bluebeam-revu-for-quantity-takeoff-and-estimation/

      Reply

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