Quick article from Scott Sheppard of the Autodesk DWF Team.
For many project and product teams, DWF is the format of choice. DWF enables organizations to connect critical design information into product, project, and asset workflows without compromising the accuracy, security, and intent of the original design idea. DWF is:
- DWF is an as-plotted view of a DWG. There's no need for Object Enablers, x-refs, special fonts, etc. As such, many reprography shops accept DWF files directly like plot files.
- DWF can contain an entire project's worth of drawings, especially easy when using AutoCAD 2006 to publish a single DWF from a collection or sheet set of DWG files.
- DWF does not depend on which versions of AutoCAD may be in use across team members. The free Autodesk DWF Viewer reads all DWF files past and present. The free Autodesk DWF Viewer is typically a smaller download and footprint than DWG viewers.
- DWF files provide a basis for archiving legacy data. The DWF files capture original "as printed" record documents that anyone can access easily – now and in the future.
- DWF can connect suppliers/buyers, architects/engineers, general/subcontractors using its rich metadata to identify product, project, and asset information.
- DWF is a smaller, more compressed file format than native DWG files, making them easier to transmit over the web. This is particularly pertinent when attaching files through email.
- DWF files can be generated from a variety of Autodesk products as well as non-Autodesk products using the free Autodesk DWF Writer. This neutral format allows design data that spans applications to be viewed with a single viewer.
- DWF is a read-only, secure file format.
- AutoCAD users decide what to include/exclude from a DWF.
- When sharing a DWG, users are sharing their true intellectual property.
- DWF is an open file format.
- Autodesk publishes the DWF specification and makes available C++ libraries for any developer who wants to build applications around the DWF format.
- DWF is based on other industry standards such as ZIP/ZLIB, XML, JPG/PNG/bitonal-G4-Tiff, and HSF.
Comparisons between DWG and DWF aside, with DWF, users can do more than just view the design data. They can make it more intelligent (which won't happen with a DWG in a viewer as easily). Users can turn data into a living breathing data warehouse that integrates with other enterprise systems. One of our users shared his feedback:
As an example, at a major a power utility I used to do contract work for, we turned all of their piping isometrics intro DWF files for distribution on their intranet. Any of the engineers could browse to a particular power plant, browse to which powerhouse unit that were working on, browse to the piping system, call up all the DWF drawings, see the piping, and click on any pipe, fitting, valve, etc. and immediately be brought to a history of its past testing results, replacement history, testing procedures, etc. I was told that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it was one of the best run documentation systems they had seen from any of the utilities they worked with.
DWF opens up a world of possibilities not easily accomplished before. For 23 years, Autodesk has invested in people, software, and technology to help customers realize their ideas to compete and win. DWF is another technology molded in that tradition.
Autodesk DWF Technical Evangelist
Note: Portions of this blog article were contributed by members from the http://myfeedback.autodesk.com private discussion groups. Get involved in feedback and beta testing of Autodesk products, sign up at http://myfeedback.autodesk.com. Participation will require that you agree to a non-disclosure beta site agreement due to the confidential discussion topics.