The AEC process spins off many different types of data as a project progresses from the design phase into construction and ends at closeout. Access to this project data is critical to aid in the success of a project. There is a need for a centralized, simple, lightweight, up-to-date and user-friendly interface that all stakeholders can use. A PDF dashboard can act as a launchpad for connecting these users to a project’s data.
So how do you create a Project PDF Dashboards? Surprising easy. Using Bluebeam’s Revu PDF software you can follow these easy steps:
- Cartoon out interface – Isolate what information you are trying to share and make a simple sketch of what you want your dashboard to look at. User interface is important. Simplicity goes a long way
- Create buttons – Using Revu create ‘text boxes’ to serve as a button. Adding .png icon images (google these as they are plenty and free) to these text boxes helps for easy button identification. ‘Group’ the text button and image together.
- Add ‘Edit Actions’ – Here is where the magic happens.
- Flatten – Use the Revu command ‘Flatten’ so that your PDF elements lock down and your buttons activate outside of .
- Transmit – email off to your project team
But what kind of information can a PDF Dashboard access? Way more then you probably realize. PDFs, image/video media, BIM models, and project management content as low hanging fruit. Anything that has a hyperlink, files stored on a cloud system (think Dropbox, Sharepoint, Bluebeam Studio), or even local .exe files.
Tips and Tricks
- Keep the ‘Snap to grid’ setting on. Use the ‘Alignment’ commands as well.
- Text label your dashboard with version tracking so you know what version a person is using. I like to make the version number the date.
- Store your PDF Dashboard on Dropbox. Provide a way to download the current version of the dashboard to allow the user to auto update. Create an ‘edit action’ with a dropbox link to the hosted version of your dashboard that you keep live.
- Dropbox hyperlinks trick – the default dropbox hyperlink ends in “…filename.pdf?dl=0”, note the ending of dl=0. Change that to “…filename.pdf?dl=1” and the file will automatically download.
- Test your PDF Dashboard before transmitting. Seriously, click on every button to ensure function. Dashboard credibility is important.
- Error reporting feedback. Give an email address to send problems to in the event the content link goes bad.
- Templatize the process. Save your buttons.
- KEEP IT CURRENT! Update the data in the links behind the scene so the PDF Dashboard stays a valuable resource.
Case studies – See some dashboards in action. These dashboards were created to show the various types of information you can connect to.
The original article can be found here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sharing-aec-project-data-stakeholders-through-myles-martin
Myles M Martin AIA LEED AP
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Meetup with me monthly at the 'New Orleans area BIM User Group' http://www.meetup.com/nolaBIM/