Filing with revisions

I am interested to know how other people deal with filing their drawings and their revisions.

My general approach has been to create a Layout file with multiple pages for each project. Each page represents a presentation drawing and I can print out single pages or multiple pages according to need. This system works well for me but does have some drawbacks.

When I formally issue drawings, I try to issue a drawing register sheet (like most architects do). That sheet not only shows the drawing number but its revision letter. So every time someone asks me for a set of drawings, I have to open the Layout file and laboriously trawl through page by page making sure I am recording the correct revision letter. Is this what everyone has to do or has someone found a clever way to speed things up?

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You’re already more organized than I, and the fact that some of my drawings come from Layout and some from PowerCADD complicates it more. I need to improve my procedure even more. Happy to learn what others do.

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I have the revision letter and comments on the “on every page” layer, so that all drawings have the same letter.

I don’t see how that would work. Let’s say I have a project number 202005 with 5 drawings/pages ranging from 202005/01 to 202005/05. Let’s say that at the point I want to issue the revision status looks like this:


In this example, I would have the job number On Every Page and the drawing number the same as the page number. But if I had the revision letter On Every Page, each drawing would have the same revision letter, so I don’t think that would work.

Not sure I’m following you Simon.

At any point in time I have a current set of documents as PDFs, each one at some revision point .

If someone asks for a set I just email them the current set.

If I make a revision to a document I update the revision letter and revision notes on the relevant Layout page, PDF that page and archive the previous revision.

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I guess there may be mileage in something along those lines. Besides individual drawing revision letters, I could maintain an issue reference (date, say). Then you make a PDF of the whole set with that reference attached and always issue a full set, regardless of how few individual pages the recipient actually needs. Each time any drawing is updated or the set added to, you make a new PDF with new reference and archive the old one.

This would be very wasteful if we still relied on paper drawings, but it is now extremely rare for me to send out hard copies. Any covering email can easily make clear which drawing numbers are relevant to the recipient.

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that, and in most pdf softwares you can extract specific pages. So if you have the complete set of every version at the ready, and you need (like you say) to send pages from version Ø, A and B, you can just extract from your “archival” pdfs. the specific pages. And even recombine them (again, depend what pdf software you’re using)

The simple fact that you can export a new full set of drawings with PDF makes everyone sure that the latest PDF is always the full revised set.

So I ditched revision numbers and now only rely on revision dates. At the same time, for each revision I provide a new folder in the cloud with the full set. Everyone can access the old folders if they need to check things and the newest folder has all the new info.

If releasing in Trimble Connect, I simply overwrite the delivery file. Trimble Connect keeps all versions of the file and users can access and download the version they want to check. As these are always full sets, users can compare each page if needed.

NOTE: I actually don’t export full sets but several sets of each kind of drawing:

  • Plans, Elevations and Sections at 1:200 to 1:50 scale
  • Partial drawings like kitchens, toilets, stairs, elevators.
  • Openings like windows and doors;
  • Closets and other fixed furniture;
  • Construction details and detailed sections;
  • Extra details.

Doing revision letters for each release for a couple of drawings might be doable, but for more than 10… There must be some advantage in digital formats after all.

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It is not appropriate.
The date in the drawing table should be the date on which the drawing was created and should be immutable. In the revision table there should be a column for the revision date, its symbol and (often important) signature of the approver and (very important) what has changed !.
Deviation from the revision table may result in a situation where two contractors are working in one area and have different drawings! The table clearly indicates which is newer. Keep in mind that some programs have the function of auto-complete tables, and their users do not always use the correct tags and it often happens that the date of opening a file just to print it appears on the printout as the date of drawing! On the other hand, if they work longer, they may have encountered the situation that they have different dates, lack of a table of revisions, and … after a long time of comparing the drawings, it turned out that they are identical.
As for the topic. There is nothing better than some PDM system.

You’re right. But you can have a revision date and simply declare on the table what drawings have changed on that date. The two contractors will check the date in the drawing and aknowledge they have different drawings. That is enough. If you want only a single drawing, from a set of drawings,to change you can do that by exporting that single page.

What matters here is that you have to state that there is a revision of a drawing and having a revision letter isn’t needed most of the time. Only the date.

I will think further on that though.

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Probably true if you have enough large projects to warrant both the cost of the software and such a comprehensive solution. But then, you are probably not using SU as your main CAD system.

Here is what I currently use as a generic Issue Sheet.

In the Version column, I put revision numbers. But if we use the date based system mentioned above, it all gets much simpler as I wouldn’t have to log each drawing and the Version column could be replaced by Issue Date. Then I’m thinking that maybe the Layout file would have a start page that had a schedule on it showing the drawing numbers and revision letters in the set. In the ideal world, that data would be populated automatically by reference to info on the individual sheets, but AFAIK there is no current way to achieve that in LO. So it would have to be done manually with all the potential for transcription errors that involves.


In the absence of PDM, this is a basic error - all drawings in one file. Multi-page files are not there to contain all the project documentation. One file should contain drawings of one “element”, eg foundation, its shape, reinforcement, installation channels. The directory on the disk should contain all project drawing files whose name is the same as the drawing name: Example OP 202005/02A it makes it easier to find the drawing. In addition, the numbering of drawings according to the principle: assembly-sub-assembly-detail was not invented by accident many years ago and works even when building satellites :wink: And of course there should be a catalog of drawings. This is what we did when there was no PDM.

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In my my projects I don’t need such complexity so I use an hybrid approach. Ive got all drawings of a certain scale or theme in one pdf file. I don’t deliver one file per page. I’ve got maybe 7 different files around sece different scales and themes.

I don’t draw foundations. That is for the structural engineering team. But for a window I might have one or two drawings. All windows are in one single file though it’s separated from the plans and sections which are all in another file.

I think that works fairly well for architecture.

The most important thing is systematics and consistency. It makes work easier.

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PowerCADD has a current time/date text object which I’ve always had in my title block preceded by “Printed on” in addition to any date/revision numbers above it. When you make a PDF, that date is frozen with the file, so even if you actually make physical prints later, they still bear that date. It makes a good double check on the other information offered which can be wrong depending on how well disciplined anyone was in execution of the system. Layout also has “CurrentDate” as autotext to do the same thing. That’s the only automated feature I can think of in Layout, but then I’m not a master of LO.

Layout has a current date and a published date. I prefer the current date.

This is another reason I do not load all my drawings into a single layout file. In addition to the obvious performance gains, accessing individual drawing types is much faster, as is documenting changes to specific drawings. Since you can have multiple drawing files open in a single instance of Layout, there really is no benefit to having an entire drawing set in a single file.

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I can see that this is another way of doing things. So in your drawing folder for a project, to use my example above, you would presumably see something like this:


This of course does not show the revision and you would have to open the layout drawing to see it. That is unless you keep changing the drawing reference each time you revise so that it looks more like this:


Is this your method?

I agree that individual sheets need to have their own version numbers recorded.
You can have an overall set of plans that has a Date of Issue, but that’s a different concept.

I have the same issue with you - needing to update each sheet’s revision number.

I use “Page Name” as the field where I record the drawing number and revision number. This also makes it easy to search in the Pages menu.
Then I add Page Name to a table in the front of the document (“Contents” in this example, but coudl say “Drawing Register”)

As a shortcut and fail safe if things get hectic, I sometimes use a Revision Number (custom auto text field) and update that for the document. It can be quickly added to the On All Pages layer it will make all sheets in the document have the same revision number.
In my area, it’s not the end of the world if I issue a a number of sheets as Rev1, Rev 3, Rev4, and then reissue them all as Rev5, Rev5, Rev5… even if the content on each plan is identical to the previous Rev.
Somebody might spend 30 seconds trying work out the difference on the plans, but it doesn’t lead to mistakes on site or with regulatory departments.

Some companies require revisions to be labelled with the changes and each change signed off…that’s a harder problem to solve.

A Sheet and Revision manager would be the only way to do it and I thought about creating one using Excel…here’s the theory:
Use an Excel Spreadsheet to record your list of drawings/sheets and the revisions, comments, etc. Then, you can import (reference) the applicable Row from that table into your LayOut file.
EG sheet 5 in your layout file would have a text field for Revision, which references from Row 5 in the excel file.
That entire excel file is then also referenced onto the first page of your layout document as the Drawing Register.

There would possibly be a bit of manual updating within LO to make sure the changes in excel feed into the document ( maybe that’s something the Trimble Team could automate).


One Layout file per collection of related sheets (or single sheet).

When I edit for a revision I change the revision letter on the sheet and PDF the sheet.

If I need to access any historic state of the Layout file prior to the latest revision - hardly - then I would use Manage Versions in Google Drive