Compare vs Overlay blog

Bluebeam Revu – Compare Documents vs. Overlay Pages, Why Not Both?

In All, Architecture and Engineering, Bluebeam, Construction by Brian HaileyLeave a Comment

The other day I was with a client and showing them some of the features available in the new Bluebeam Revu 2018, and they asked if they could somehow get the functionality of the Compare Documents (this is the one that clouds the differences between files) and the Overlay Pages (this is the one that shows the different pages different colors) at the same time. There’s no way that I know of to get either command to duplicate the functionality of the other one but, there is a nice trick you can do.


Compare Documents vs Overlay Pages

To get the clouds and the multicolored document, you have to go through a two step process. First, run the Document Compare. This is the tool that creates the clouds where there is a difference between the two files. To access the Document Compare tool, click on the Document menu and choose Compare Documents.


Compare Documents Command Location

In the next dialog box, choose the two files you would like to compare. This command will create a new document that is identical to the second document in the list (Document B) but with the clouds indicating where it differs from the first file.


Compare Documents Dialog Box

Once you have completed the Compare Documents command, save the new file in a location that you can find later and then run the Overlay Pages command. The Overlay Pages command is directly underneath the Compare Documents command in the Document menu.


Overlay Pages Command Location

In the next dialog box, make sure you have the correct documents selected for the overlay (these should be the same two documents you chose in the Compare Documents command). You can add additional documents if you like but for what we’re doing here, leave it at the two original. If you would like, you can change the colors that the two documents will display when they don’t match (this is handy for those red/green color blind folks as it defaults to red and green). Also, make sure you check the page ranges. By default this command only compares the first page of each document. To change any of these settings for one of the files, simply double click the file in the list of select the file and then choose Modify below the file list.


Overlay Pages Dialog Box

Once again, this will create a new file that displays the line work from both files. Where the line work is the same, the lines are gray or black. Where they differ, they will display the colors as indicated in the Overlay Pages dialog box.

You now have two files that show the difference between the two original files in two different ways. To see them both, you now simply import the markups of the results of the Compare Documents command (the file that ends with “…diff.pdf”) into the overlay file. To do this, in the overlay file, in the markups list, expand out the Markups List pulldown, choose Markups, and then choose Import (or type Ctrl+F3).


Import Markups

Once the markups come into your file, you’ll have the best of both worlds! I did decide to tone back the cloud markup fill just a bit to make the overlay differences a bit more obvious. Alternatively, I could have chosen a different color for the overlay to make them stand out a bit more.


Compare AND Overlay

What do you think? Have you come up with a better way of doing this? If so, leave a comment and let everyone know about it!

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