Bluebeam Revu Profiles: Rules of the Game

22 November 2022productivitybluebeam revu, markups list, PDF editing, profiles



I remember a time when I thought watching hockey was boring. Eventually, I realized it was boring because I didn’t know the rules. Once I got to know and understand the rules, the game opened up and became interesting to watch.

(Yes, this post is about Bluebeam Revu profiles, no, it is not about hockey!)

This concept can be applied to a variety of situations in life. Things can be boring or confusing until you understand the rules. Only then you can make an informed decision on whether you actually like something or not. Understanding doesn’t always lead to a love for the subject matter, but it is no longer a dismissive decision.

Software is something that is quickly put straight into the “confusing” category by so many people, and subsequent struggles with that software are blamed on the developer. Often, however, the developer has designed the software to function in a certain way on purpose and it’s our lack of understanding of the “rules” governing the software that makes it hard to work with the latter. I’m not saying all developers are flawless in their design and that there aren’t reasons to improve software based on user’s feedback, but before feedback can be levied, understanding must take place on the side of the user. If the system is understood, reasons for improvement can be better argued.

I find that Bluebeam Revu is source of a lot of confusion on the user’s side and sometimes that includes me, a Certified Bluebeam Support Representative. At first glance, Revu is a terrific, simple albeit expansive, software for companies of all types and, very specifically, the building industry. Regardless of the industry however, Bluebeam Revu does come with some nuances that, despite being  incredibly subtle, have a significant impact on how we use some features of this software. If you’ve ever used the Markup List, you might have experienced this firsthand.

Here, I’m going to focus on the role that Profiles play in the Markups List Custom Column feature, but similar repercussions on other Revu functions might not be so obvious.

(In-Depth Manage Status Guide)

Profiles can be used to separate workflow types in Bluebeam Revu, for example, if I’m doing a quantity takeoff on a document set, I can use the profile with that name to set up my workspace. Further, if I want to create a custom workflow or just set up my Revu interface to display my most used tools, I can create a custom Profile. Profiles, however, control more than just the software interface. For one, Profiles can also control the columns displayed in the Markups List.

Most profiles will display the same list of columns (Subject, Page Label, Comments, Author, Date, Status, Color, Layer, Space) right out of the box. However, you can change which columns are shown and record countless bits of information in the markups made to any document you open.

Basics rules:

A.      Standard columns as well as their order, and availability can be saved to a profile.

B.       Custom columns can also be saved to a profile, as well as to a document.

C.       Each document contains its own record of the columns used in that document.

Where these three rules intersect is where things get fuzzy, so let’s have a look!

Standard Columns, Display Order, and Their Relationship to the Document and Profile:

In the Markups List Manage Columns dialogue box, you can check or uncheck standard columns names in the Column Display Order list based on what columns (yellow) you want to see in your Markup List Columns. You can adjust the order of the columns as well.

Bluebeam Revu Manage Columns

The column names (yellow) that you checked in the Column Display Order will show in the Markups List > Columns where you can further turn specific columns on or off (green). When finished, only checked column headings will show as your Markups List column headings.

Markups List Columns
Markups List Column Headers in a Profile

Once a chosen configuration of column headings is set up, the Profile will remember it and keep this configuration, even without saving it to the Profile. However, if you want that everyone with this Profile (from a shared location or receiving it via another method) uses these same settings, it is necessary to save these settings to the Profile while they are active.

**NOTE: When only standard columns are used, the document itself does not retain chosen on/off column options, but displays the columns as per the settings of the active Profile . **

Custom Columns and Their Relationship to the Document and Profile:

How to create custom columns in Revu

In the Markups List > Manage Columns > Custom Columns area, custom columns can be created. When the document in which custom columns were created is saved, these custom columns are stored in the document. When a new document is opened or created, any custom columns created in a previous document are not carried to the new document.

The only way to have a custom column appear on ALL NEW documents is to hit the Save to Profile button after the custom columns are created. This makes sure the columns are not only in the current document but are saved to the active Revu Profile.

Save to Profile

Each new document opened after the Custom Column(s) have been saved to a Profile will display the same custom columns while using that Profile.

**NOTE: Custom Columns that are saved to a document are available in that document no matter which Profile is active. They will override the visibility of any custom columns set up in a Profile. **


Q: What does the ‘Delete (red X)’ button in the Custom Columns area do?
A: It removes a column from the document only. It does not remove a column from the Profile.
Q: What does the ‘Delete from Profile’ button do?
A: This button deletes a column from the Profile, but the deleted column will remain active in the current document.
Q: I forgot to save a column to a Profile and now the button is greyed out.
A: Select the column and click the ‘Delete from Profile’ button. Then select ‘Save to Profile’. This will reset the column settings and save the column to the Profile.
Q: What does the following warning mean? “You must apply the column template to the document before managing columns. Do you wish to do so now?”
A:  It means that the columns saved to the document in use and the columns in the active Profile are out of sync. Revu will apply the Profile column options to the document before any further Manage Columns tasks can be carried out.
Q: What happens if I delete a custom column from a document but this custom column is saved to the Profile I am using?
A: The document will no longer display that custom column. New documents will still have the custom column.
Q: If I have a document with custom columns I no longer want, how can I apply the Profile column options instead?
A: Start a blank document using your chosen profile, navigate to the Custom Columns dialogue box, and export the custom columns to an .xml file. Back in the document with columns you no longer want, in the Custom Columns area, import the .xml file. This will overwrite all existing custom columns in the document.


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