Preparing drawings for takeoff – existing markups

  • Preparing drawings for takeoff – existing markups

    Posted by David Cutler on March 1, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Something that I’ve found frustrating when performing takeoffs is having to deal with drawings that already have markups in them – especially when I’m looking to export my markups for importing into our estimating program.  What I’ve found helps is flattening the drawings <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>before</span> I start my takeoff.  That way I start off with a clean PDF with only my markups going forward.

    What else does everyone do to prepare their PDF’s for takeoff?


    Doug McLean replied 1 year, 3 months ago 6 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Troy DeGroot

    March 4, 2021 at 6:39 pm
    Points: 21,427
    Rank: UC2 Brainery Brown Belt I UC2 Brainery Brown Belt I

    This is a great tip David. Another option would be to select all the markups in the Markup List and delete them, however, your method of flattening would allow others to see the comments that were made so they’re not lost.

    Off the top of my head, a few other prep ideas would be:

    • Calibrate (of course)
    • make sure you have the correct Profile, Tools and custom columns set.
    • If using Quantity Link, make sure the connection is made and you’re using the correctly mapped custom tools.

    I’m interested to see what ideas others bring to the table.

  • Doug McLean

    March 9, 2021 at 2:55 pm
    Points: 13,101
    Rank: UC2 Brainery Blue Belt III UC2 Brainery Blue Belt III

    One thing I also do is add a note using the Headers and Footer’s option that tells me what drawing package its from.
    Nothing crazy, just something like Bid Set or Addendum X
    It also gives me another Tag for the set in a consistent location.

  • Andrew Veggian

    March 16, 2021 at 4:45 am
    Points: 2,608
    Rank: UC2 Brainery Orange Belt UC2 Brainery Orange Belt Rank

    If you do start your takeoffs and realize later that you forgot to flatten first, then turn on the “Author” column in the markups list. Sort by Author, select all markups that are not yours, then flatten them.

    Here’s my list of steps that I always go through to prep my drawings before takeoffs.

    1. Delete all viewports (if prompted when I open the file for the first time)
    2. Flatten (usually without recovery)
    3. Create page labels (using Automark – sheet number only)
    4. Create bookmarks (using Automark – sheet number and title)
    5. OCR
    6. Batch link (using the page labels I already created, and overwriting all existing hyperlinks)
    7. Set scales
    8. Create spaces (if needed to separate takeoffs)
    • Troy DeGroot

      April 1, 2021 at 12:29 pm
      Points: 21,427
      Rank: UC2 Brainery Brown Belt I UC2 Brainery Brown Belt I

      This is a great list, Andrew! I often forget OCR

    • Nic Bitting

      March 10, 2023 at 9:14 am
      Points: 943
      Rank: UC2 Brainery White Belt IIII UC2 Brainery White Belt IIII

      @andrew-veggian thanks for sharing your process very clearly. From what I gather it sounds like you’re not taking the next step to turn the PDF into a Bluebeam “Set”, but rather working within the Combined PDF.

      I’ve played around with marking up in Sets vs. the Combined PDF, and have found some drawbacks to Sets:

      • Bookmarks don’t seam to work across the set
      • Navigation among pages feels a bit cumbersome as I end up with many open tabs at the top as I work through sheets.
      • From what I can tell CSV export is one page at a time

      I understand Sets has advantages of loading quicker, and working better when multiple users need access to a file. That said, I’m curious how others have structured their workflow – do you create a Set for each project, or as Andrew described above do you work within the Combined PDF?

  • Chadd Vogt

    July 2, 2021 at 6:16 am
    Points: 692
    Rank: UC2 Brainery White Belt I UC2 Brainery White Belt I

    Everyone hit the nail on the head above me, I will throw in that sometimes running Repair PDF and Reduce File Size under Batch helps a lot if you notice your highlight tools being wonky or the file being slow. Noticed that running both of those helps keep things moving smooth.


  • Doug McLean

    March 10, 2023 at 10:40 am
    Points: 13,101
    Rank: UC2 Brainery Blue Belt III UC2 Brainery Blue Belt III

    My whole process is this

    1) Remove all Viewports

    2) Move any markups I wish to keep to their own layer

    3) Flatten any/ all AutoCAD markups

    4) Create new page labels

    5) Apply Custom Columns and Statuses

    We find we may have to do this if the person who sent us the drawings has done this as we want our own stuff. We may have to adjust our custom columns per the job as well. Its also a whole lot easier to do this as one drawing package

    6) Use Headers and Footers to apply a Drawing Package tag

    7) Hyperlink

    8) Break into individual pages

    9) Create a Set

    10) Create a Drawing Log (if its a larger drawing package with multiple disciplines)

    This actually works better in the long run when you work on something like SharePoint

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