How to use Bluebeam

Find out how to use Bluebeam, our plan review software.

Setting up Bluebeam


Each organization should only buy one license tied to one computer. You can have multiple Bluebeam Studio accounts with one license. 

Your Bluebeam Studio account should have your name. We prefer that the person who applies for the building permit is also the contact for the project.


You do not need a paid license to see our comments and markup. 

When you open a file we have added to a Bluebeam Session, you can see markups and respond to reviewer comments in any version, even a free or unlicensed version.

Bluebeam licenses cost between $349 and $599 per seat, depending on which level you buy. Here is the Bluebeam cost information from their website.

A free trial is available. After the trial expires, you can view comments and markups from City plan reviewers without paying for a license.


Bluebeam has 3 paid versions for Windows. 

We recommend either Bluebeam Standard or Bluebeam eXtreme. 

In Bluebeam Standard, you can:

  • Add page labels and bookmarks
  • Set floor plan scale(s)
  • Remove layers
  • Flatten the document

Bluebeam eXtreme has 3 advantages to our processes:

  • Add-ins for AutoCad and Revit make it easier to create PDFs
  • Batch OCR to run OCR on scanned-image-page drawings on an entire set of drawings at once
  • Batch hyperlinking to create hyperlinks on an entire set of drawings

OCR and hyperlinks are optional for our process.

Use the 2018 or newer version

We have written all of our instructions for Bluebeam 2018 and 2019.

Our process may be confusing if you have Bluebeam 2017. This version can do everything it needs to, but the program looks very different. 


Revu for Mac does not have all the features we need, like creating page labels.

Click here for the Plan review process for Apple Mac users and non-Bluebeam users.

Working in Bluebeam


You must include searchable text to create page labels and bookmarks. 

TrueType and OpenType fonts create searchable text within the PDF.

You may use SHX fonts, then run a batch OCR on the drawing set with Bluebeam eXtreme. This may be more labor-intensive than updating the AutoCAD drawings.

Searchable text function

Find the “magnifying glass” search button in the right or left side menus. Or press Ctrl-F to open the Search tab. 

Type the search word in the search bar. Results will be displayed within the Search tab.


We do not require bookmarks.

Reviewers can work faster if you add a bookmark for the table of contents (if your plan has a table of contents).

Calculations do not need to be bookmarked. 

Tip: When you create a PDF in Word, you can automatically create bookmarks for the Table of Contents or Headings. Click the “Options” button in the “Browse” dialog box to see this function.

Comments, markup, and notes

You can export comments as a CSV. You can open that file in Excel or Word.

You must respond within Bluebeam. If you write a response in an Excel or Word file, you must also make it inside of the Bluebeam Session.

Exporting from Bluebeam

Display name fields

In 2017 and older versions of Bluebeam, the display name is found in this path:

  • Preferences
  • Studio
  • Manage Servers
  • Double-click the Server profile name

Print a copy of the review set

You can print your review set with or without comments. Turn off the Markups List to print without comments. 

Send Bluebeam PDF via email

A Bluebeam PDF will keep the page labels when someone else opens it.


Bluebeam does not integrate with DocuSign. Do not use certificate-type digital signatures when submitting documents to us.

Last updated December 14, 2023