You probably knew that Design Review can convert a DWF file into a custom symbol catalog. But did you know that using the Autodesk DWF Writer (http://www.autodesk.com/dwfwriter), you can produce DWF files from PowerPoint 2007? Let’s turn a PowerPoint presentation into a custom symbol catalog for Design Review.
Prepare the slideshow
The number one fail-point when creating a custom symbol catalog using PowerPoint is not setting up the presentation file properly. If you don’t set the presentation background to be transparent, in Design Review, your custom symbol will look like a sheet of paper with a shape on it…which would obscure your drawing.
To create a PowerPoint presentation that will become the custom symbol catalog
1. In PowerPoint 2007, if necessary, create a new blank presentation.
2. On the Design tab, click Background Styles and choose Format Background.
3. From the Fill options, set the Transparency to 100%.
4. Click Apply to All.
5. Click Close.
Add a Shape
Once the presentation background is transparent, you’re ready to create your first slide that will eventually become the first symbol in the custom symbol catalog. We’re going to use shapes supplied by PowerPoint, but, of course, you can add content to the slide you want.
Worth repeating is that each slide in the presentation will become a custom symbol in the custom catalog. So only put one shape on a slide. If you put multiple shapes on a slide, then all those shapes on that slide will be converted into a single symbol in Design Review.
To add a shape to a slide
1. If necessary, delete the text placeholders from the slide.
2. On the Insert tab, click Shapes.
3. Draw the desired shape on the slide. The shape’s position on the slide doesn’t matter.
4. Optional: Format the shape as desired…change its color, size, etc.
5. To add more symbols, you need to add more blank slides and repeat steps 1-4.
Tip: Create a new slide without text placeholders, on the Home tab, click New Slide and choose Blank.
Make the DWF File
With your PowerPoint presentation ready, you have to print a copy of it as a DWF file.
To make a DWF file from the PowerPoint presentation
1. Click the Office button and choose Print > Print. The Print dialog box opens.
2. From the Name drop-down list, choose, Autodesk DWF Writer for 2D. Tip: You can tinker with the DWF Writer properties if you don’t like the results in the DWF file.
3. Click OK. The Save DWF File As dialog box opens.
4. Name the new DWF file.
5. Click Save. The DWF file opens in Design Review. Each sheet has one shape on it.
Label the Sheets in Design Review
In Design Review, each sheet has a relatively meaningless name. That sheet name will become the label for the custom symbol unless you change it. You should correct that so each symbol has a useful name.
Note: You cannot rename an individual symbol in a symbol catalog once it has been imported into Design Review. You will need to remove the symbol catalog, change the sheet name in the DWF file, and import the DWF file as a symbol catalog again.
To rename a sheet
1. In the Contents palette, right-click each sheet and choose Rename.
2. Type a meaningful label for each sheet. A sheet’s name will become its label shown after importing the DWF file as a custom symbol catalog.
3. Repeat the above steps until each sheet has been renamed.
4. Save the DWF file.
Import the DWF File as a Custom Symbol Catalog
With the sheets renamed, you are ready to make the DWF into a custom symbol catalog.
Note: You cannot rename a symbol catalog once it has been imported into Design Review. You will need to remove the symbol catalog, and import the DWF file as a symbol catalog again, providing the desired name.
To create a custom symbol catalog
1. In Design Review, on the Standard toolbar, click the Stamps and Symbols arrow and choose Import DWF as Symbol Catalog. The Import DWF File as Symbol Catalog dialog box opens.
2. Navigate to where the DWF file that contains the PowerPoint shapes.
3. Select the DWF file and click Open. The Add Symbol Catalog dialog box opens.
4. Accept the default catalog name or type a new name.
5. Select Import Each Sheet as a Symbol. This creates a separate symbol from each 2D sheet in the DWF file.
6. Click OK.
To delete a custom symbol catalog, refer to the “Remove a Symbol Catalog” topic in the Design Review Help file.
Stamp a Custom Symbol on a Sheet
Now that the custom symbol catalog has been imported, it is available whenever you want to stamp 2D content.
To stamp a custom symbol on a sheet
1. Open the DWF file that contains the 2D content you want to stamp.
2. Click the Stamps and Symbols arrow and choose the desired catalog and symbol.
3. On the 2D sheet, click where you want to position the symbol’s center. The symbol is shown on the canvas and as a markup item in the Markups palette.
4. Optional: Format the shape as desired…change its position, size, etc.
I’d be interested in seeing the custom symbol catalogs you create! So be sure to share them with us by responding to this blog.