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The solution was software that would allow the construction estimator to measure directly from a plan provided as a PDF file or other digital format. One of the companies leading the way was Tally Systems, Inc., based in San Diego, California. After years of marketing digitizer based paper plan takeoff software, Tally Systems created QuickMeasure OnScreen, a software application designed specifically from measuring counts, lengths, areas and volumes from PDF drawings. QuickMeasure OnScreen uses the mouse on your computer to measure directly from PDF drawings. The software eliminates the need to print PDF files to paper which saves the contractor thousands of dollars in reproduction costs. QuickMeasure OnScreen also eliminates the time and effort taken to drive all over town to pick-up drawings.

What makes QuickMeasure OnScreen unique is its seamless tie-in to Microsoft Excel. When the QuickMeasure OnScreen software is installed, it adds 4 measuring icons to the Excel toolbar. The QuickMeasure icons add measuring functionality to Excel, allowing the construction estimator to populate his or her spreadsheet with takeoffs generated directly from a PDF plan.

When the quantities are sent back into the Excel spreadsheet, the QuickMeasure OnScreen software also sends back a link to the takeoff image. What the benefit of storing the takeoff images for the construction estimator? Every quantity in the Excel spreadsheet is linked to a picture that tells the story of how the quantity is generated.

Why is storing that takeoff image in the Excel spreadsheet so important? Imagine an estimator who completes 2 or 3 takeoffs per week. To recall how a quantity was generated is next to impossible. With QuickMeasure OnScreen if you want to see how a quantity is generated, all you need to do is click on the cell and then click on the QuickMeasure OnScreen view icon to see the mouse generated takeoff overlaying the original PDF drawing. It’s like a visual audit trail for every quantity stored in Microsoft Excel.

If the estimator stores the Excel spreadsheet on a server, others within the company can open the spreadsheet and view the takeoff images embedded in the spreadsheet without having to purchase a license of the software. This allows everyone in the office to share information and ward off conflicts that commonly occur during the lifespan of a project.

The technology within the QuickMeasure OnScreen software opens the door for contractors who are looking for a PDF plan takeoff application that adds measuring functionality to Microsoft Excel and allows them to populate their spreadsheet with digital plan takeoffs.