I have posted many times that the DWF Writer is not intended for Autodesk products. This is because Autodesk design software comes with the ability to publish a DWF built-in. The built-in approach provides a more powerful method of communication between the design application and the DWF Toolkit that writes the DWF files.
When a user downloads and installs the free Autodesk DWF Writer, he gets two things:
DWF Writer for 2D
This piece of software acts like a Windows system printer. Any application can print to it to publish a 2D DWF file. This is suitable for applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This is a bad idea for AutoCAD, since it already has a better way to publish DWF files.
DWF Writer for 3D
This piece of software is an application that you run. When you run it, you tell it what design application you are running. The DWF Writer for 3D then intercepts the OpenGL commands from the application and converts them to 3D calls to the DWF Toolkit to write a 3D DWF file.
The DWF Writer for 3D also comes with some design application plug-ins. These make communication with the design application more like built-in approach that is used for Autodesk applications. It's not exactly the same, but it is better than pretending to be a Windows printer or intercepting OpenGL calls. The DWF Writer for 3D comes with plug-ins for:
When using one of these three applications, it is better to use the plug-in instead of printing from the application to the DWF Writer for 2D printer.
From a user perspective, a user can create DWF files in a variety of ways. In order of preference, these include using the:
Built-in process from Autodesk design applications. An example of this is the PUBLISH command from AutoCAD.
Menu items that are added to non-Autodesk applications by the DWF Writer for 3D plug-ins. An example of this is the "Publish DWF" SolidWorks menu item added by the DWF Writer.
Printing capability that creates 2D DWF files. An example of this is using Microsoft Excel to print to the "DWF Writer for 2D" printer that gets installed by the DWF Writer.
So if you are an AutoCAD user, use the PUBLISH command (particularly good from the Sheet Set Manager menu). If you are a SolidWorks, PRO/Engineer, or CATIA user, use the "publish DWF" menu item. You should only be printing to the DWF Writer for 2D printer when the other alternatives are not available.