Normally DWF files are as small as 1/20 the size of AutoCAD drawings (DWG files). There are a few possibilities as to why a user may perceive his DWF to be larger than his AutoCAD drawing.
- For example, a small parent DWG may XREF other DWG files. In contrast, a DWF contains all of the data in one file. So when a DWF is compared solely to its parent DWG, perhaps the DWF is larger.
- In addition to potential XREFs, a DWG may reference an external image file. In this case, a copy of the image file would be in the DWF. In contrast, it is external to the DWG, so it does not appear in the file size for the DWG. In this sense, the DWF file is one stop shopping in that the DWF contains everything a person who wants to use it would need.
- Besides images, there are even cases where font files can be embedded in a DWF. DWF files only contain data for the letters that appear in the file. The entire font is not embedded in the DWF file.
- Also of note is that some specialized objects such as AutoCAD gradients are finely tessellated into simpler (though more numerous) geometry when the DWF is created.
A DWF file is compressed. Under normal circumstances it is smaller than its corresponding DWG. It is certainly smaller than the collection of files associated with a DWG if not the DWG itself.