Bluebeam OCR tutorial and error troubleshooting

2018-08-27 05:44:16 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to PDF Follow @ Rosa

The Bluebeam OCR (optical character recognition) tool can transform scanned PDF files into searchable and editable files. This OCR tool is available in Bluebeam Revu, a software program to create, markup and edit PDFs. This article will show you how to use Bluebeam OCR, what to do when Bluebeam OCR does not work properly, and the best OCR tools to use if OCR is not available in your Revu.

Bluebeam OCR availability

bluebeam revu editions

Bluebeam Revu has several editions, and the OCR feature is only available in one of them — Revu eXtreme.

Edition Supported OS OCR availability
Revu Standard Windows ×
Revu eXtreme Windows
Revu CAD Windows ×
Revu for Mac macOS ×

If you are a user of one of the other editions, then there won’t be a Bluebeam OCR button in your Revu, which means the feature to “transform scanned images into text-searchable PDFs” is not available to you. But don’t worry. You can still use other OCR tools to easily make your scanned PDFs and images text searchable, and convert them to text-searchable PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or other types of files you need.

Tutorial: how to use Bluebeam OCR

This part is about how to use Bluebeam OCR tool to convert one or multiple scanned PDF documents to text-searchable and selectable PDF files and export data to Excel, Word, etc.

Convert a single PDF

Step 1Add a PDF file

Launch Bluebeam Revu eXtreme. Go to File, click Open and add a PDF file.

Step 2Adjust OCR settings

Go to Document. Click the OCR button. You will find the OCR dialog box.

bluebeam ocr


The default language is American English. Add or remove languages by clicking Add or Remove. You can use one language or a combination of multiple languages on the same PDF.

OCR Configuration

Enable or disable Correct Skew and other Bluebeam OCR options according to your need. For example, if you want to exclude vector data from OCR, you can enable Skip Vector Pages by selecting it. You can also choose to optimize OCR for CAD drawings or for text documents.

Page Range

From the Pages dropdown list, select the All Pages option to use OCR on all pages of the PDF file. Select Custom to OCR custom selected pages, and you can enter a range of pages. For example, if you enter 12-15, 17, 21, it will include pages 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 and 21.

Step 3Run Bluebeam OCR

Click OK, and Bluebeam OCR will immediately start converting the scanned PDF to searchable data. Once the process is finished, you can select, copy and paste text.

Batch convert PDFs

Step 1Add PDFs

Go to File > Batch > OCR. You will find the Batch: OCR dialog box. Click Add to import multiple local files. To add all PDFs that are currently open in Revu Extreme, click Add Open Files.

bluebeam ocr batch

Step 2Set page range

Select a PDF from the File List box, select pages to run OCR. It’s the same as in the Convert a single PDF part. Repeat this step until Page Range has been set for all PDFs. Click OK. The OCR dialog box will show up.

Step 3Adjust OCR settings

Please refer to the Convert a single PDF part.

Step 4Run Bluebeam OCR

Click OK. After the process is finished, you can deal with the transformed, selectable and searchable files according to your needs.

Bluebeam OCR to Excel or Word

After these three steps are done, one more step is needed if you want to use Bluebeam Revu Extreme to export data from a scanned PDF into Excel or Word.

Go to File > Export > Excel Workbook (or Word Document). If you want to export selected content, just click Page Region. Once you have selected the table or text you wish to export, let go of the mouse click, and a Save As dialog box will appear. Choose a location to keep the Excel or Word file.

bluebeam ocr export to excel

Bluebeam OCR issues and how to troubleshoot

Bluebeam OCR not showing

Bluebeam does provide an OCR tool, but it is only available to Revu eXtreme users. The OCR button, menu and toolbar will not show in other editions. Before purchasing Bluebeam Revu, it’s important to know about the key features each edition can provide.

Pages automatically rotated

This is actually more of a bug than an issue. Sometimes, after you run Bluebeam OCR on multiple scanned PDF pages or scanned images, you will find that some of the pages have been rotated automatically. The fix is easy. You can rotate these pages back to the correct orientation. Another solution is to OCR your files in other software with OCR function and then continue working on them in Revu. However, an issue like this shouldn't have happened. Hopefully it will be fixed in the new version.

OCR requires using the 64-bit version of Revu installed on this operating system

This error message can appear when you try to run Bluebeam OCR on a file using Revu (32-bit) on 64-bit Windows. After you purchase and install Revu eXtreme 2017 (and above) on a computer with 64-bit Windows installed on it, you will get 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Revu. To troubleshoot, you just need to close Revu (32-bit) and use Bluebeam Revu (instead of the 32-bit version) to reopen the file.

To permanently get rid of this Bluebeam OCR error, you can set the 64-bit Revu as your default PDF viewing tool. Below is how.

Step 1. Launch Revu. With Revu 2017, go to Help > Administrator. With Revu 2018, go to Revu > Administrator.

Step 2. Select the Revu tab in the Administrator and select 64-bit as the default PDF viewing tool.

Step 3. Click OK so you can save the setting.

If you are a user of Revu Standard, Revu CAD or Revu for Mac and want to OCR PDF documents, or if you have problems running OCR in Bluebeam eXtreme, you can use other OCR tools that are capable of accurately and reliably OCRing scanned PDF and images.

Best OCR software to use when Bluebeam OCR is not available

For Mac users

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac is an all-around OCR tool, PDF converter, PDF creator, PDF page extractor, PDF password remover and PDF compressor. Using advanced OCR technology, it can help you convert scanned (and native) PDFs and images to:

  • Searchable, selectable and copyable PDFs
  • Word, Excel, and PPT files
  • Keynote, and Pages files
  • Other file types such as RTFD, EPUB and HTML
  • Images such as JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and more

It can also extract images from scanned PDFs to JPEG, PNG, etc. Compared with Bluebeam OCR, this tool has more export formats and more PDF related functions.

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac does an excellent job of OCRing scanned and native PDF files and images and converting them to searchable PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and various other types of files. At the same time, it can keep the original layout and formatting. Also, you can manually adjust OCR recognition according to your need.

Free Download

Step 1Add scanned PDF documents

Download and install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac. Launch it.

Add a PDF file by dragging and dropping. To batch OCR, just add multiple PDFs.

Step 2Select language(s) and the export format

Click the language dropdown list and choose a language or a combination of languages.

From the output format dropdown list, select to PDF, to Excel, or other options you need.

ocr output format

Step 3Adjust OCR (optional)

This Bluebeam OCR alternative will automatically recognize and accurately mark any text, image and table in each page. It also allows you to manually OCR recognition according to your need.

adjust ocr recognation

Clicking the setting icon, and a new window will appear. To rotate the selected page, just click the rotation button. On the right hand side, there are four buttons: Select, Mark Text, Mark Images, and Mark Tables. For example, if you want to mark a table (automatically recognized as table) as an image, just click the Mark Images button and then draw a box around the table. You can also resize the box by dragging its borders. Also, there is a zoom feature.

Step 4Start OCRing

Click the Convert button. Choose a location to keep your OCRed files. Click Save. The OCR will start immediately.

For Windows PC users

OmniPage can be an alternative to Bluebeam OCR on Windows. It comes in four editions: Standard, Ultimate, Server and Capture SDK. The standard edition is the most budget friendly one. You can use this Bluebeam OCR alternative to convert PDFs and images to different kinds of searchable and editable files such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

In addition to local files, it can also deal with files from cloud storages and online documents sites. The instructions below will show you how to use it.

Step 1. Open the software on your computer. Click Open File button to add a PDF file.

Step 2. Once the file loads up, click the Automatic button. It will perform an automatic OCR. The time it will take depends on the file size.

omnipage ocr

Step 3. After the process is finished and click the Save to Files button. Select a place to save the file and choose a file type to save to. Click OK.

In conclusion

The Bluebeam OCR tool is one of the key features in Bluebeam Revu. The tutorial above shows you how to use it to scan your PDF documents to searchable and selectable data. If Bluebeam OCR is unavailable in your edition of Revu, or if this feature fails when you try to use it, you can use other OCR software such as Cisdem PDF Converter OCR or OmniPage to do the job instead.

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