AutoCAD 2006-to-PDF Now Possible

15 Mar, 2006 By: Michael Dakan

Adobe Acrobat upgrade will please many a CAD user, as will planned improvements to LiveCycle Policy Server

In early February, Adobe Systems released the latest slip-stream update for Adobe Acrobat 7.0 -- v7.0.7. You can obtain this free upgrade by simply clicking on the Help menu in Acrobat 7.0 and selecting Check for Updates Now. If you have your Acrobat 7.0 preferences set to automatically check for updates, which I highly recommend, you probably have the upgrade already.

Adobe Acrobat 7.0.7 provides support for AutoCAD 2006, which has been eagerly awaited by many an AutoCAD user. This, unfortunately, happens to coincide with the recent release of AutoCAD 2007. AutoCAD 2007 ushers in a DWG file-format change, so we might expect that it will be a while before Acrobat will directly support AutoCAD 2007. This should not be a tremendous inconvenience because Autodesk says AutoCAD 2007 will export in PDF format. And perhaps Adobe will consider creating a PDFMaker that would do a Save As to AutoCAD 2006 in AutoCAD 2007, then process the 2006 DWG into a PDF. We’ll have to wait and see.

Acrobat 7.0.7 also improves support for working with 3D PDF files created with Adobe’s new Acrobat 3D. In Acrobat 7.0.7, you can manipulate views of 3D images embedded in a PDF; include 3D files in PDFs that are composed of multiple files of varying formats; change the 3D object view (to options including Front, Side and Isometric);change the rendering method; play animations; and more.

Concurrent with the release of Acrobat 7.0.7, Adobe unveiled a new version of the free Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader 7.0.7 also offers improved support for viewing files created with Acrobat 3D.

Adobe Acquisition to Extend Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server Capabilities

Early this year, Adobe acquired Navisware’s FileLine DRM (digital rights management) technology. Adobe intends to incorporate the FileLine technology in its Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server software to improve management and control of design data security across the lifecycle of a project, in whichever file format is most appropriate at any given point in the lifecycle.

Using Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server, you can greatly extend file security options beyond those built in to Adobe Acrobat 7.0. Acrobat 7.0 lets you restrict what a PDF file recipient can do with the PDF you send, and you can apply password protection to the file, provide document and user authentication, apply digital signatures and more. (For details about these features, see my tutorial in the February edition of Acrobat Insider (click here to view the archives).

Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server allows you to apply established company policies to your documents. The software gives you great flexibility in controlling the security and usage rights of documents you publish and distribute. You can establish restrictions for an individual or group or classification of users, make document availability time-sensitive, provide authentication of documents and recipients, revoke permissions and so on. Further details are available on the Adobe Web site.

The FileLine-LiveCycle marriage, which is expected to be complete by this fall, will extend LiveCycle policy-control features to native CAD and Microsoft Office file formats, in addition to PDF. AutoCAD and SolidWorks support will likely come first, with additional CAD formats added over time.

Adobe has expended a lot of time and energy improving security, confidentiality and usability of our valuable design data, while at the same time ensuring that access to and usability of the data will be ubiquitous for everyone on the project team. Adding the FileLine technology to LiveCycle Policy Server capabilities will extend the flexible LiveCycle policies beyond PDF to include many native file formats as well.

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