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A quick guide to viewing and reviewing documents

This article gives an overview of the ways you can view, review and markup documents in Aconex.

The Online Viewer and markup tool is where you can view and review PDF documents online, and works in all modern browsers (Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox) without requiring any third party plugins (no Java, Flash, Silverlight etc required).

When you select a Workflow to review from the task page, you find yourself in List Mode. The List mode area has not changed significantly.

In List Mode you can:

  • Bulk Edit/Review – set the review status and step comments against multiple documents in one step
  • Bulk Submit – submit reviews for multiple documents as a batch
  • Zip Download – Download all the files from this workflow that are currently with you for review.
  • Start Sub Workflows
  • Upload Replacement Files
  • Upload Supplementary Files

Doc Mode

To access the new document-centric functionality, including the new viewer and markup tools – click the Document Number link for any of the documents displayed on the List Mode screen.

This takes you to the Doc Mode screen where you can review your documents in detail, one at a time.

Doc Mode allows you to see all the important information about the workflow and the document under review in one screen.

Doc Mode – Breakdown of the screen elements

Documents

The top left hand side of the screen shows the documents that are assigned to you for review as part of the workflow. The highlighted document number is the document that you are currently reviewing.

Supplementary Files

Lower down in the left panel you can see the Supplementary Files list. If any supplementary files have been attached to the workflow they will be listed here. Click on a supplementary file to download it to your computer for viewing.

You can attach additional supplementary files from the List Mode screen while the workflow is in progress.

Workflow Steps – Right Hand Panel

This section is where you enter your review outcome for a step and any summary comments.
It also provides the broader context of the workflow, like which other steps have been completed and what was their outcome, or which steps are yet to be completed.

The current step for you to review is highlighted.

You can submit your review as soon as you finish reviewing each document, or you can save each one and then send a batch from the list mode screen once they are all complete (useful if the reviewer needs all documents in order to complete the review).

Note: Sending documents one by one creates a separate transmittal for each document and means the next reviewer will receive each document one at a time.

Document navigation panel and tools

This collapsible panel contains optional tools to assist with navigating through multi-page documents. You can choose to navigate by thumbnail, by table of contents (if the document contains one) or via text search if the document contains searchable text.

Markup Tools

These are the tools which allow you to add markups and comments to your documents.

They are visible down the left hand side of the viewer pane whenever markups are enabled.

TEXT

If you can’t select or highlight individual words/phrases in the PDF then it’s likely that the document is a scan or image based document (literally a picture of text). In this case the text-based markup tools will not have any effect.

  • Highlighting - Highlights the selected text
  • Strikethrough - Adds a strikethrough to the selected text
  • Underline - Underlines the selected text
  • Squiggly Underline - Underlines the selected text with a squiggly line and automatically adds the text to the comment

COMMENTS

Note - Creates a note marker in the document that links to an extended text entry area off to the side the document in the Notes/Comments panel. When you place the note marker on the document the notes/comment panel automatically opens to allow entry of the extended text comment. This tool is very useful when space on the document is limited and/or the comments you need to add are extensive.

(If you want to print the document for display/distribution be aware that depending on the tool/driver used to view and print the document, you may need to select an option to make sure text comments  and markup are included in the print out.)

Callout This markup generates a text box with an arrow to highlight the desired area on the document. Click the point of interest on the document then move your mouse to the point where you wish to place the text box and click again. The text box appears and you can then enter your text into the box directly.

SHAPES

  • Rectangle Click and drag out a square or rectangle shape
  • Ellipse Click and drag out a circle or oval shape
  • Cloud Click for each corner of a polygon cloud shape. Double click to complete the shape
  • Arrow Click to place the arrow head, then drag out to create the line.
  • Select/Edit Markups Use this tool to select existing markups for additional editing.

Comments/Notes panel

Whenever a markup is added – it will be listed in the collapsible Comments/Notes panel on the right hand side of the viewer pane. Click the Notes icon in the header or the expand collapse icon on the panel to view it.

Here you can also add extra comments, clarifications or questions to someone else’s markups.

Comment/Notes Navigation When reviewing your comments/markups or those of other reviewers, you have several options open to you.

  • Text Search You can search directly within the comments themselves
  • Comment Sorting You can sort them by their position within the document or the order in which they were entered.
  • Comment Markers When dealing with multi page documents to save you from having to scroll through each and every page to find them, there is a small blue line visible in the notes comment panel for every markup in the document. Click one of those blue lines to navigate directly to that markup in the document.

Final Step/Lead Reviewer Consolidation

If you are using “Lead Reviewer” style Workflow templates, any reviewer assigned to the final step of the workflow will be able to consolidate the final markups and also:

  • add their own markups
  • comment and clarify other markups
  • change or delete markups added by other reviewers.

Note: All of the original markups entered during the workflow are retained in the document register as historical versions of the document.

Consolidating documents after a parallel review

When multiple reviewers use either online markups or replacement files within parallel steps, the document being reviewed will be automatically replaced by a zip file containing all of the different reviewers’ marked-up files.

Typically the next step in the workflow will then consolidate those markups to combine them into a single file.

The easiest way to do this is to click the Consolidate Markups link, this will merge all markups from the different reviewers into one file.

Alternatively you can do it by downloading the zip file and manually consolidating the comments into a single file. You will then need to upload the consolidated file back into the workflow.

Pre-Existing Autovue Markups

All markups which have been created using the old viewer (Autovue) are being automatically converted in the background and will be available as PDF renditions of the original documents. They will be accessible both as single or zip downloads.

Note:

  • Aconex will retain all of the original Autovue markup files so should there be any issues with individual documents which cannot be converted to PDF renditions for any reason, they will still be accessible on request.
  • Autovue markups which were added to zip files can’t be automatically converted. ie, if the markup was created by opening a zip file in Autovue, then opening one of the contained files and adding a markup to it, these will not be extracted as PDF renditions. This matches the behavior of the current Zip download with Markups feature.

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