Autodesk customers want to publish DWF files to share design data with other project members. They appreciate the benefits of: small file size, ability to measure accurately, no hassles with missing XREFs, multiple sheets in one file, single file for data from a variety of sources, and protection from sharing intellectual property in its original form; however, even though DWF files are print-ready, they are curious as to what will happen with their DWF files if they send them to commercial reprographers?
Commercial reprographers who provide "print for pay" services have a variety of options at their disposal.
A reprographer running Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3 has the ability to configure Océ Repro Desk Server to natively support DWF. Out of the box, Océ Repro Desk Server knows how to print Océ's proprietary Layered Document Format (LDF). The free Océ Client Tools package includes a utility application called makeldf.exe. A reprographer can specify makeldf.exe as an "external processor" for DWF for Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3. The makeldf.exe utility converts the DWF to LDF without print operator intervention.
The initial implementation of Océ Client Tools (version 1.6.3) had some performance issues when converting DWF to LDF. As a result, some reprographers charged extra for processing DWF files, since the processing consumed more of their machine's time as compared to Tiff. The most recent release of Océ Client Tools, version 1.6.4, has major performance improvements in terms of DWF processing. Now reprographers can use the 1.6.4 makeldf.exe and process DWF files to LDF in a fraction of the time. The process is sped up even more if the "simple dither" option is selected instead of the "error diffusion" default.
The "/DWFD=1" option selects simple dither. Simple dither is already the default algorithm for processing HPGL files. This option applies it to DWF files as well.With Océ Client Tools 1.6.4 on the same system as Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3, some reprographers have had to change the Don't Show LDF Driver Warning registry entry from 0 to 1.
makeldf "%f" /D=%d /DWFD=1
Some Autodesk customers use Océ Repro Desk Remote to FTP files directly to a reprographics shop. The makeldf.exe utility can be wired into Océ Repro Desk Remote 1.6.3 (supplied on Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3 CD) to provide the same automatic DWF to LDF functionality on the client side.
REG_DWORD: "Dont Show LDF Driver Warning" set to 1
Though Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3 became available in November 2003, some reprographers may still be running Océ Repro Desk 4.30.5. These reprographers can use Océ Publisher 1.6.4 (also included in the free Océ Client Tools) to convert the DWF to LDF. Another alternative is to use the free Autodesk DWF Viewer to print the DWF files to HPGL and process the HPGL files with Océ Repro Desk. Either of these processes can be applied until the reprographer upgrades to Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3 or Océ Repro Desk 2.0.
A reprographer running PLP PlotWorks 5.5.1 can make use of a PlotWorks DWF to Tiff module. This module is available at no cost to reprographers who have a maintenance contract with PLP. The DWF to Tiff modules uses the same DWF technology as Océ Client Tools 1.6.4, so it does not have the performance issues of the original implementation. The most recent DWF technology from Autodesk is incorporated as a patch to PlotWorks 5.5.1.
A reprographer running KIP Powerprint 6 software has DWF support built-in. Support for DWF originally shipped with the KIP 3000 device but has since been extended to other devices. Powerprint uses the same DWF technology as Océ Client Tools 1.6.4, so it does not have the performance issues of the original implementation.
A reprographer running MetaPrint 22.214.171.124 has DWF support built-in. MetaPrint is used by reprographers who are service centers for the American Reprographics Company (ARC). Océ, PLP, and KIP all use Autodesk DWF technology in their products to get accurate, high-fidelity output from DWF files. To date, MirrorPlus has their own rendering solution.
Customers sharing files with reprographers through Document Fulfillment Systems (DFS) 2.2 generate DWF files for viewing when uploading drawings from AutoCAD and AutoCAD-based products. Reprographers have the option of printing from these DWF files or accompanying HPGL files.
These software packages are popular among commercial reprographers. Odds are that a reprographer has one of them. If an Autodesk customer or reprographer wants to print DWF files using a device's Windows System Printer driver, there are options available.
- Printing "all" or "selected sheets" from the free Autodesk DWF Viewer or Autodesk Design Review is available from the user interface. This method can be used to print to HP, Ricoh, Epson, Xerox, etc. It can also be used with Océ, KIP, etc. and is very fast; however, many reprographers do not configure their large format devices to be visible as Windows print queues.
- With Autodesk DWF Viewer 6.5, users can select multiple DWF files from Windows Explorer, right click, and select print. This is an easy form of batch printing to a Windows print queue.
Users with HP devices can make use of the HP Instant Print capability. With HP Instant Print, the device driver selects the page size and orients the image to the paper to minimize paper usage.
DWF does go beyond the paper in that it allows design data to be shared and managed as compared to plot files; however, DWF can also be put to paper via software used by commercial reprographers. The benefits that DWF provides make it the format of choice for many projects. This choice (see comparison of file formats) even applies when sending files to commercial reprographers for printing. Autodesk customers want to generate one file and use it for sharing, managing, and printing. Thanks to the efforts of our DWF Partners in the commercial reprographics industry, they can.