A frequently asked question is "How does Autodesk define DWF?"
DWF is an acronym for Design Web Format.
DWF provides the foundation for lifecycle management.
DWF enables organizations to connect critical design information into product, project, and asset workflows without compromising the accuracy, security, and intent of the original design data.
DWF is: complete, connected, secure, and open. From a marketing perspective, this means:
Complete: Maintains data-rich design information built into CAD files and 3D models—at a fraction of the file size.
Connected: Efficiently manages and shares design information with project teams to streamline review, data management, and collaboration.
Secure: Allows for distribution of published design files, not originals.
Open: Built on open, standards-based technology and available to developers free of charge or royalties.
In technical terms what this means is:
Complete: DWF files have the proper coordinate system and data precision so they can be measured accurately. DWF files use advanced compression techniques to make them as small as possible. DWF files are self contained - no missing XREFs or image files.
Connected: DWF files do not require design application software. The user interfaces of the free Autodesk DWF Viewer and Autodesk Design Review are geared towards the non-CAD user. DWF files can be integrated into other documents such as HTML pages or Microsoft Office documents and leverage capabilities like hyperlinks and text search.
Secure: Autodesk design applications provide a user with the ability to decide what gets published into the DWF file. Afraid that users will turn off layers and work with incomplete information? Don't include layers in your DWF. Afraid intellectual property thieves will reverse engineer your mechanical design? Publish the DWF with measurement disabled.
Open: Autodesk takes the same DWF Toolkit that it uses in its own products and posts it to the web for anyone to download. The toolkit includes the DWF specification, C++ source code, as well as some sample programs.
So from either a marketing or technical perspective, DWF is the right format for the job of going beyond the paper.