Last year while I was working as a DWF Technical Evangelist, Dale Carlin of PacBlue Reprographics asked me to compare the various file formats used in the commercial printing industry - also known as reprography. Together he and I, along with fellow Autodesk employee Jennifer Toton, came up with the following chart.
As the DWF format gains acceptance in more and more workflows, customers will want to send those same files to reprographers. Autodesk continues to work with its various partners in the commercial printing industry. Although our customers have historically sent plot files to reprographers for printing, more and more customers are generating DWF files instead of plot files. Customers have various options based on the software in use at the reprographic shop.
- The downloadable and free Océ Client Tools batch process DWF files into LDF files. The LDF files can then be sent to a reprographer via Océ Plan Center. Alternatively, reprographers using Océ Repro Desk Server 1.6.3 can accept DWF files and automatically convert them to LDF using a makeldf.exe utility. For these reprographers, customers send them DWF files directly. Océ Repro Desk 2.0, whose release is imminent, supports DWF files right out of the box.
- PLP PlotWorks 5.5.1 features a PlotWorks DWF to Tiff module. This module is available at no cost to reprographers who have a maintenance contract with PLP. For these reprographers, customers send them DWF files for printing.
- The KIP 3000 includes DWF support via the KIP Powerprint 6 software and has been shipping since October 2005. Powerprint supports DWF on a variety of KIP devices.
The future of DWF is best summed up by a posting from Aitor Olaso of Cianoplan Reprographics on the Apprentice [Reprographics] Yahoo discussion forum:
I like the DWF idea. It’s an 'intelligent' file, and this means our clients will use it for sending information. Making PLT files for us, and only for us, must not be a good job for our clients. The best way that will improve their job is using the same file (DWF in this case) for several things (sharing information, order printing, asking for quotes, and so on).
Autodesk will continue to work with its partners in the commercial printing industry to ensure that as well as integrating with workflow solutions that go beyond the paper, DWF files make it to paper with accuracy and efficiency.