The draft horse pulling workflow into thepaperless world is the open-standard, portable document format, or PDF. Over the years, that plodder has become more and more like a thoroughbred racer.

Developers at Bluebeam Software Inc., Pasadena, Calif., came out of the gate on March 22 with Bluebeam Revu 9, their latest release of PDF products crafted for design and construction. The company says V.9 has more than 30 enhanced features to streamline PDF markup, viewing, processing, collaboration and sharing.

While some of the features—such as 3D viewing and manipulation—play catch-up with the competition, at least one is a new capability: VisualSearch, which lets users box a symbol or graphical detail and then find all instances of it on the document, in all open documents or in a folder; it then highlights, annotates or hyperlinks them all simultaneously. “Anything that you can draw a rectangle around you will be able to find with VisualSearch,” says Don Jacob, Bluebeam’s vice president of engineering.

Adobe Systems holds the patents to PDF but licenses them for royalty-free use by developers. The format has been an open standard for document exchange since 2008.

Jacob says the ability to develop the format has enabled Bluebeam’s refinement of a markup-based workflow specifically for design and construction. “We’re not necessarily the only tool architects and engineers have for marking up designs,” Jacob admits but says the firm has focused on developing features and functionality for the industry, such as a tool box that lets users create custom symbols that are automatically sequenced and numbered as placed. “Those are the sort of things where we really are markup-based, rather than document-publishing-based,” Jacob says. “We are taking markup to the next level.”

Bluebeam Revu 9 is available in three editions: Revu Standard for general CAD and Office users, RevuCAD for AutoCAD, Revit and SolidWorks users and Revu eXtreme with additional enhancements for expert users. Prices start at $179 per seat.