General Software

Autodesk DWF Composer 2-Drawing Publishing and Collaboration via the DWF format

1 Jul, 2005 By: Ron LaFon

If You Looked At The Debut version of Autodesk DWF Composer and thought it held promise but didn't quite do all you wanted it to do, it's time to have another look.


If You Looked At The Debut version of Autodesk DWF Composer and thought it held promise but didn't quite do all you wanted it to do, it's time to have another look. Autodesk DWF Composer 2 offers a wealth of enhancements and new features that go well beyond those in the initial release.

 Autodesk DWF Composer 2 enables users to review, mark up and revise drawings, maps and models without having AutoCAD installed.
Autodesk DWF Composer 2 enables users to review, mark up and revise drawings, maps and models without having AutoCAD installed.

Autodesk DWF Composer software offers a way to review, mark up and revise drawings, maps and models without the original design creation software. Your design review team can view and print the latest DWG files (AutoCAD 2006) accurately and publish the files to the DWF file format to measure and annotate the files with comments and changes. These files can then make the round trip back to either AutoCAD or Revit, where you can overlay the digital markups into the original CAD file.

Several additional applications come on the CD-ROM with DWF Composer 2, including a stand-alone Autodesk DWG Viewer that provides a way for users to work with both DWG and DXF files. The DWG Viewer is built on the same viewing engine as AutoCAD 2006, so users can view the latest DWG or DXF files with full fidelity. Also on the CD is Autodesk Inventor View, which displays IPT, IAM and IDW files. Finally, Autodesk DWF Writer is a driver for creating DWF files by printing to file from Microsoft Windows applications.

This release features an improved user interface and a new snapshot tool that lets you capture any onscreen information and bring it into your DWF file. The snapshot tool provides a fast, simple way to capture graphical information from anything on your display, automatically publish that information as a DWF file and add it to your DWF markup set.

Autodesk has added new custom symbols to DWF Composer's markup library, which also comes with shapes, text, markups, freehand and stamp tools. Custom symbols provide new ways to annotate and mark up information in the office or field. You can create your own catalog of symbols from any source, including block object data created in AutoCAD 2006 and any DWF file or raster image.

DWF Composer 2 lets users view and navigate DWF map books published from Autodesk Map 3D 2006. DWF map books can include index sheets and hyperlinks for quick map navigation. Also new in this release is a useful print preview function where users can select paper sizes and preview the sheet or view to be printed before sending a DWF file to a printer. Support for 3D files now extends to AutoCAD 2006 and related products, Inventor 9/10, Revit, VIZ 2006 and 3ds max 7.5.

 Autodesk DWF Composer 2
Autodesk DWF Composer 2

Priced at $199 for a new license, with upgrades available from the previous release, DWF Composer has much to offer for a relatively low price. Much more than I can cover here is new and improved in this release, so I'd suggest looking at the particulars on Autodesk's Web site.

Requirements for DWF Composer 2 are a system with 200MHz or faster Intel Pentium or compatible processor and Microsoft Windows XP/2000 SP 4 installed. At least 96MB of RAM is required, with 128MB recommended. Installation requires 32MB of free hard disk space. A pointing device, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later, and a CD-ROM drive are also needed.

Other applications that ship on the CD-ROM have different requirements, most notably Inventor View, which needs a 1GHz or faster processor and 512MB or more of RAM. Highly Recommended.

Ron LaFon, a contributing editor for Cadalyst, is a writer, editor and computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Productions.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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