Quoting from PDFs: Tips and tricks

Although it's no secret that Paperless Parts can provide more automation with CAD files - and that we'd all rather quote from a model - quoting from prints is both a fact of life and a strength that separates job shops from entities like Protolabs.
Here are a few ways you can use our PDF viewer to add consistency and accuracy to your process when quoting off of a drawing. 

Gather information and take notes in the PDF viewer

Our PDF viewer was designed to supplement - or even replace - the manual process of printing and marking up prints from an RFQ. Before you start costing, head to the viewer to gather part info that you'll use when estimating a price. 

To open a part in the viewer, click the part thumbnail in the Build-a-Quote page or the Part Library. 

From here, take measurements, highlight important pieces of information, and take notes for each annotation in internal collaboration. Notes that you take in internal collaboration will stay with this part going forward, creating a central system of record that you can rely if you ever need to requote it. 

Plus, you can easily reference any notes you take in collaboration from the Build-a-Quote page by clicking the chat icon:

Keep the viewer open

Because Paperless Parts is browser-based, you can keep multiple pages open at the same time in different tabs or windows. Each tab will have a short descriptor letting you know what you have open. 

With this in mind, try keeping the Build-a-Quote page and the part viewer open side-by-side while quoting to keep important context readily available. 

Enter geometric attributes before you cost

Most shops have some sort of costing logic built into their operations that relies on the geometry of the part. One of the challenges of quoting from PDFs is that we can't automatically extract that information from prints the way we can with CAD files. However, you can still take advantage of costing automation by entering a part's geometric attributes before you start costing.  

Perform redactions in Paperless Parts

If you need to get a quote for an outside service as part of the estimating process, you may need to redact sensitive part data before sending prints to a vendor. Rather than relying on Adobe or a cumbersome post-it note process, you can quickly and securely redact prints in the PDF viewer.

For additional security, we recommend sending redacted prints to stakeholders outside of your shop through external collaboration. 

Use the Import historical work feature to reduce manual entry on requotes

Because PDF-only parts require a little more setup at the start of quoting, use the Import historical work feature to import a previously quoted part to a new quote. This feature allows you to import an existing part from your library to your quote along with its costing and quote-item level information. Using it will save you from having to reenter geometric attributes or important costing variables. 

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