Choosing Between the Electronic
Hardcopy Versions of your Textbook
like to study Construction Blueprint Reading with a traditional hard copy
textbook or an online version of the text? The text we are using includes
70 sheets of 22" x 17" blueprint drawings. The electronic and hard
copy versions of the text and prints are identical in content. Review the
features of the print and online texts here to help you make your
Our recommendation is that you use the electronic version. Hard
copy blueprints are becoming rarer all the time. In a few years, almost
everyone will be using electronic blueprints exclusively due to cost
issues, so you might as well get comfortable with them now. If you work at
a company where electronic blueprints are common then you should opt for
the electronic version of the book for this course.
Hard Copy of the Text
Advantages of Hard Copy
The most obvious advantage is that with the hard copy drawings you can
write on them, use colored pencils on them, and lay tracing paper over
them to sketch what-if scenarios. You can't do any of that with the PDF files provided with online drawings.
Manually flipping through the plans helps orient us to the project and
the organization of the prints.
The first thing blueprint readers will have to do with the hard copy
drawings is to organize them. They will come in a shrink-wrapped
package individually folded. The student will have to unfold all 70
drawings and collate them into two sets of drawings. The 22" x
17" drawings are printed on both sides so it is not suggested that
you staple one edge. I found that using clamps that you can buy at the
office supply store will work to hold the drawings together and can be
shifted to the other side when you flip the drawings over to view the
project(s) on the reverse side. It took me less than 30 minutes to get the
Once collated and organized, you will have two sets of drawings, one
with 40 sheets, the other with 30 sheets. The plans are double sided. If you travel a lot you will
find it difficult to lug these drawings around with you. Just
carrying them from home to work and back again might be more trouble than
you care for.
If you lose your drawings or your 2 year old decides to get artistic
and use them for coloring practice then you have a problem. You may have to purchase a 2nd set
to replace the damaged sheets.
Online Version of the Textbook
Advantages to the Online Textbook and Drawings
Many companies use digital blueprints daily. If your company is one of
these, it may be in your best interest to choose the digital copy. The online drawings that come with our textbook are provided to
students as 140 PDF files similar to the one linked below. Those PDF
files are provided in a zipped
package which you can download and unzip to your own computer so you are
not dependent on the Internet to view the drawings.
Control + allows you to zoom in as far as you need. Control - zooms out. You can practice this by looking at this online
blueprint file (PDF, 315KB).
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader for Adobe PDF files [.pdf] - free viewer
Read the textbook and blueprints anywhere you can connect to the
Internet. Here is a sample from the online book http://www.g-wonlinetextbooks.com/print-reading-construction-2013/1 (new window) for you to test drive.
Enlarging the text and prints is very helpful. You can zoom in on
details which you cannot do with the hard copy versions.
Print the images and information you want to keep as a reference.
The online drawings do not need to be collated into sets as do the hard
copy drawings. I will share with
students an html file I created for easier access to the projects if they are interested in using
Use a graphic editing
program if you want to share a detail with classmates. Rather than send
the entire drawing, you can just crop out the area you want and send it
If you handle PDF drawings at work then you should probably use PDF
drawings in this class so you can more immediately apply the skills to what you need to
do in the work place.
The PDF blueprints are relatively slow to open when compared with
regular web pages. You can open the entire set of drawings for a project
but expect to wait a minute or two while they all load. Once loaded, you
can flip through the drawings but it still isn't quite as informative as
flipping through a hard copy set. You will either be looking at a small
overall picture of the print or a small area the size of your screen.
Either way, it isn't the same as looking at a full size blueprint.
Unless you have specialized software, you will not be able to mimic the
use of colored pencils unless you print out the prints. If you already have the software
in your workplace then this can become an advantage.
|Ease of Use
|Able to flip through the pages
||Good, may take some time to set up.
|Ease of set up
||You have to collate the drawings
||Ok, if you don't mind lugging the drawings around
|Able to mark up the drawings
||Ok, with software
|Use of scale
|| you have to use electronic
||Not to scale.
|Quick access to the prints
||Excellent when you have access to a
reliable Internet connection.
|Risk of losing or damaging the drawings
|Use as a future resource
||Access to the book is limited to one year,
however anything you can save to your computer is yours.
||Yes, you can put the book on your shelf but you may
never look at it again.
|Ease of reading text
||Better with zoom features
|Ease at reading drawings
||Good with the right software
||Can be a lot to carry around
|Which do we recommend?
||This is the way the industry is heading!
||Being phased out.
The final choice is yours even though we recommend the electronic version. If you are a foreign student, we suggest the
online version which will eliminate the long wait for your book to arrive by
mail and the problems associated with getting the book through customs.