Our (Brian Mathews and I) Autodesk University class was entitled "What Can DWF Do For You?" Here is a summary.
Comparison of DWF files to Plot files
- You can print the same DWF file on any printer since a DWF file is not device specific.
- You can zoom in on a DWF file and see additional details instead of fuzzy pixels.
- You can navigate hyperlinks in a DWF file to meaningfully connect parts of your designs.
- You can locate design information by searching for text in DWF files.
- You can share DWF files that are much smaller than plot files.
Comparison of DWF files to DWG files
- You can publish one DWF file that contains all of the data in one file instead of multiple files as is done with DWG.
- You can share files without worrying which versions (e.g. 2007, 2002i, R14) or flavors (i.e., no object enablers) of AutoCAD others have.
- You can share files that are not your original intellectual property (DWG). You decide the precision of the DWF files and what is in them (e.g., layer info or not).
- You can share DWF files that are generally about one twentieth the size of the original DWG files.
- You can print DWF files using the familiar Windows print process instead of the more complicated AutoCAD plotting process.
- You can include other types of information (e.g. spreadsheets, specifications) in a DWF file instead of just the design data (DWG).
Comparison of DWF files to PDF files
- You can send DWF files via email since they are smaller than corresponding PDF files.
- You can count and snap to objects in a DWF since DWF is an information model instead of a picture of a model.
- You can use a 3D viewer that most users prefer.
Text Search of DWF files
- You can locate designs on the web using the Google search engine.
- You can display your search results as hyperlinks or thumbnails (using the Project Freewheel Viewer: http://freewheel.labs.autodesk.com).
- You can locate designs on your local hard drive using the Windows file search capability (requires an install of Autodesk DWF Viewer or Autodesk Design Review).
Publishing DWF files
- You can publish DWF files from Autodesk design software using the built-in capabilities. You should not use the DWF Writer for Autodesk products.
- You can use the PUBLISH command from AutoCAD to produce optimal DWF files. You can include attribute information using AutoCAD blocks.
- You can capture 3D models from other design software using the DWF Writer for 3D.
- You can publish Word documents, Excel workbooks, and Project schedules to DWF using the DWF Writer for 2D.
- You can combine sheets from the DWF Writer with your design data (from Autodesk software) into one DWF file using Autodesk Design Review.
- You can combine 3D design data, 2D design data, and other types of data (e.g. cost, schedule, action items) in the same DWF file.
Using the DWF Viewer with DWF files
- Content Pane: You can easily see and navigate to the list of 3D models and 2D sheets in a DWF file.
- Model Pane: You can use how your 3D data is organized to select and view portions of your model.
- Markups Pane: You can easily step through the various reviewer comments and examine them one at a time.
- Properties Pane: You can learn more about an object than what it looks like, such as its cost, center of gravity, or fire rating.
- Layers Pane: You can turn layers on or off to highlight only the aspects of the design you are interested in.
- Views Pane: You can conveniently look at a model from various angles.
- Cross Sections Pane: You can examine what’s inside a model to obtain additional detail.
- Animations Pane: You can see how parts are combined to assemble a design.
Using the Project Freewheel Viewer with DWF files
- You can view and print a DWF file without installing any additional software. You can do this on Windows, Linux, or Mac OSX.
- You can email others links to your DWF files and they can view them without installing any additional software. All they need is a web browser and an internet connection.
Using Autodesk Design Review with DWF files
- You can leverage an electronic review process to reduce the time associated with the process.
- You can measure accurately since Autodesk Design Review snaps intelligently to objects. DWF files are viewport aware when measurements are taken.
- You can track the status of markup items as part of an electronic review process.
Using DWF files with AutoCAD, Revit, and Inventor
- You can view the review comments captured in a DWF file in the design application.
- You can update the original design while viewing the review comments.
- AutoCAD: You can view a DWF file as a DWF Underlay which works much like an XREF.
Embedding DWF Files
- You can include a DWF file in a web page to showcase your design data as part of your company’s web site.
- You can include a DWF file as part of an Office Document to integrate design data as part of an overall presentation.
Integrate the ActiveX Control for DWF files
- You can turn off the Autodesk-supplied user interface and control your design data with your own Visual Basic application.
Create Your Own DWF Application
- You can download the Autodesk DWF Toolkit for free and develop your own C++ application.
- You can become a DWF partner to join part of the ecosystem being built around DWF.
Local Printing of DWF files
- You can print your design data using the familiar Windows printing process.
- You can take advantage of HP Instant Printing to reduce paper waste.
- You can save time by batch printing DWF files with Autodesk Design Review.
Commercial Printing of DWF files
- You can send (ftp, email, Buzzsaw) DWF files to commercial reprographers for printing.
- You can view DWF files and order prints as part of the DFS online plan room from Adenium Systems.
- You can receive prints from reprographers who process DWF files using Océ Repro Desk, PLP PlotWorks, Kip Powerprint, ARC MetaPrint, CADzation AcroPlot Repro, or Ratio PLOTBASE|PM.
- Facilities Management - You can manage office moves and other facilities management tasks using DWF with Autodesk FMDesktop and FM:Systems Interact Workspace Management Suite.
- Quantity Takeoff - You will be able to count objects (automatically), electronically compute square footage and other measurements, and apply cost factors in a DWF files with Autodesk Takeoff.
- Dynamic Maps - You can select a country, state, city, street, and eventually building and see increased levels of detail as you go.
- Illustration - You can apply styles to designs (without having to color them by hand) using DWF files and Autodesk Impression.
These are a few of my favorite things.