One of the benefits of BIM is being able to share information with the design and construction team. A great universal and very compact way to do that is through an Adobe Acrobat 3D PDF. The file size is very small, particularly with respect to some of the BIM files out there. No special program is required to view a 3D PDF; the free reader from Adobe is all you need and most users already have it installed on their computers.

So, you’ve received a 3D PDF – What can you do with it? Lots! This technote will give some ways to manipulate the view – from rotating to panning to zooming. We have other technotes that describe how to manipulate the elements and their display. But for just manipulating the view, here are some simple things to know:

When you open a 3D PDF you should see a tool bar across the top of the image space that looks like this when the cursor is in the image window:

If you don’t see this tool bar you can go to Edit->Preferences and select 3D & Mulitmedia in the left pane. In the 3D Tool Options select “Shown” or “Use Annotation’s Setting” then click OK. You’ll have to close and reopen the file.

Make sure the icon below is displayed:

This is Rotate mode. If another icon is displayed, click on the down arrow to display this list:

and click the Rotate item.

There are several mouse click/movements to manipulate the view on the screen. We have found these to be the easiest to use and do most anything you need. BTW, these instructions are based on a typical 2 button wheel mouse. If your mouse doesn’t have a wheel, you will have to use some of the alternates listed below.

  • Left click, hold down the button, move the mouse – rotates the image
  • Right click, hold down the button, move the mouse up/down on the screen – zoom in/out
  • Scroll wheel mouse – zoom in/out
  • Left and right click together, hold down buttons – pan

Here are some alternate mouse clicks:

  • Shift right click or shift left click, hold down button, move mouse up/down – zoom in/out
  • <Alt> left click or <Ctrl> left click, hold down buttons – pan
  • <Alt> right click or <Ctrl> right click, hold down buttons – zoom window
    • Note draw window from lower left corner to upper right corner

Here’s a sample 3D PDF so you can practice your skills

NE surgery 3D PDF (756 KB)

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