How to Create a Colored Floor Plan – Bluebeam for Architects

Colored floor plan using photoshop

Hey there!

In this post, I’m going to go over a quick and easy way to create a colored floor plan using the 2019 version of Bluebeam. There’s not a lot of setup, you basically just have to open up your PDF and start drawing shapes.

You can use a variety of programs to create a colored floor plan. One of my previous posts goes into how to create a colored floor plan using Photoshop, which you can find here. There are uses for both programs, depending on what you want to do. I have a quick comparison below.



Feel free to check out my Youtube video for the tutorial. Or keep scrolling if you’d rather follow the step-by-step instructions.

1. Select Tool

To start out, you’ll need the right tool. We’ll start off with a rectangle for now. So select that, it’s probably on the right hand side of your screen. If not, you can find it under the tools dropdown at the very top.
Once that’s selected, open up your properties for that tool. It’s the cog wheel and should be docked on the right-hand side of your screen. Once it’s clicked, it will look like my screenshot below.
Image showing properties bar in Bluebeam

2. Draw Shape

Now you can go ahead and draw your rectangle around the space or room you’d like to have colored. (we’ll worry about the color and other settings in a second). It will look similar to my screenshot below.
Image showing a drawn rectangle in Bluebeam

3. Change Settings

After your shape is drawn, we’ll go ahead and modify the settings to make it the right color and opacity.
A couple of the settings you’ll want to pay attention to:
  • Color: Outside Border color
  • Fill Color: Inside color
  • Highlight: Checked = Transparent
  • Opacity: Border transparency
  • Fill Opacity: Inside color transparency
  • Line Width: Outside border thickness
Image showing properties of a rectangle in Bluebeam

In my example I have the following settings:

  • Color: Blue (doesn’t matter since I have the line width to 0)
  • Fill Color: Red
  • Highlight: Checked
  • Opacity: 100
  • Fill Opacity: 60
  • Line Width: 0

These settings are pretty typical for how I create my colored floor plans. I may go to a slightly lower fill opacity, maybe around 30% or so. It depends on how bright the original color is. I also do that if I want more of a pastel look to it.

3. Repeat

Once you’ve got those steps down, it’s all about repeating. If it’s a bunch of rectangular spaces you need to color, you can simply copy and paste your rectangle around changing the size and color as necessary. You can also use any of the other shape tools such as circles, or the polyline tool to create more complex shapes.

Helpful Hints

‘Set as Default’
As your creating the shapes, you’ll notice that your properties will keep reverting back to the original. If you know you’ll be using a certain color and opacity, you can click the button towards the bottom of your properties box labeled ‘Set as Default. That will save your settings and you won’t have to change them every time.
Double Click’
If you double click the rectangle tool (or any tool in bluebeam), that tool will stay selected after you create a shape. After your shape is created, you won’t have to select the tool again, it’s already selected so you can just keep clicking away. This can be a big time saver!

As always, thanks for following along! If you have any questions or comments on How to Create a Colored Floor Plan, let me know below!

I’ll catch you next time!

The Archi-Tech Guy

Thanks for following along! Check out my youtube channel for other How-To Videos for Architects.

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