In his address to the International Reprographics Association (IRgA), Senior Architect and DWF Technical Evangelist, Brian Mathews, pointed out the ways in which DWF files can be printed.
Basically DWF files can be printed 4 ways:
Directly from a DWF viewer
The Autodesk DWF Viewer and Autodesk Design Review provide basic Windows printing capabilities. Unlike AutoCAD which has drivers specific to the application, the Autodesk DWF Viewer and Autodesk Design Review use standard Windows printer drivers. Thus DWF files can be printed to any Windows printer. In addition, Autodesk Design Review includes a Batch Printing solution that prints to Windows printers. Features like HP Instant Print make printing of many files, including DWF, even easier while reducing paper waste.
Using a Converter Program with Legacy Commercial Reprographics Software
The workflow at many commercial reprographic shops is not suited to printing via the user interface of an Autodesk viewer. These shops need a process where a DWF file can be printed through an automatic process without user intervention. Many legacy printing systems for commercial printing were developed prior to the advent of DWF files. For these systems, conversion software is used to convert the DWF file to a format that is known to the printing system such as Tiff. The resulting Tiff file then integrates into the reprographic shop workflow. AcroPlot Repro from CADzation is an example of a DWF to Tiff converter program. Similarly Océ Client Tools 1.6.4 converts DWF to the Océ LDF format.
Using Modern Commercial Reprographics Software
As the popularity of DWF files continues to grow, Autodesk continues to work with industry leaders to build support for DWF into commercial reprographics software. Solutions like Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3 (with makeldf.exe as an integrated processor), Océ Repro Desk 2.0, PLP PlowWorks 5.7, and ARC MetaPrint accept and process DWF files. Document Fulfillment System 2.2 from Adenium Systems allows DWF files to be viewed on the web and printed via Tiff or through HP Instant Print.
Through Native Device Support
Some hardware manufacturers recognize DWF as a differentiator when it comes to comparing printing devices. As such they integrate support for DWF into the controllers for their devices. This allows the DWF file to be sent to the device where it will be processed to paper. The KIP 3000 was the first device to do this via Powerprint 6 that is included with the printer.
In addition to these technical working relationships, DWF has also been featured in some promotional activities. Autodesk DWF Composer R2 (former name of Autodesk Design Review) was bundled with devices from HP and Epson.
For DWF to go beyond the paper, it has to get to paper first. There is more than one way to skin a cat. There is also more than one way to print a DWF.