File Sharing/Publishing

Autodesk Design Review 2009 (First Look Review)

31 Mar, 2008 By: Ron LaFon

Free application enables easy viewing and collaboration for all Windows users.

Autodesk first combined the best of its DWF Viewer and Autodesk Design Review software in Autodesk Design Review 2008. The best part of the combination for members of the design community was that the new version was free of charge.

Autodesk Design Review 2009
Autodesk Design Review 2009

The newest release — Autodesk Design Review 2009 — will be included with all major Autodesk releases. This release has many new features, so I'll only be able to touch on some of the highlights. Getting a copy of the software for evaluation and use, however, should not be a problem.

First up is a new default file format, DWFx, which is based on the XML Paper Specification (XPS) from Microsoft. This new format makes it easier to share design data with reviewers who do not have Design Review. They can view and print drawings without installing any software. You can now batch print directly from Design Review and print multiple DWF files without having to download and install a plug-in. The new Find feature lets you search for text in drawings and models in open DWF files, and you can rotate 2D content. In addition to raster images, you can now rotate 2D sheets that don't contain markups.

Right away you'll notice that Autodesk Design Review 2009 has an enhanced user interface, and you'll find that it's much more customizable with such navigation tools as steering wheels that customize movement and zooming within an open file. A rewind feature provides thumbnails of previously visited views so you can select and revisit a previously viewed location. Walkthroughs are amaz- ingly simple, as are making cross- sections and viewing animations of procedures, such as assembling an object from the available parts.

Design Review 2009 provides tools for you to view, mark up and measure, print, and republish DWF files to share with others or to return to the publisher of the original DWF for revision. Any changes you make to the Design Review window are preserved and available the next time you start the program.

This release of Design Review also can display flexible components in a DWF file. A flexible component is an object published by Inventor that illustrates a connection between other objects.

Autodesk Design Review 2009 can now share DWF files on the Autodesk Project Freewheel Web site, so DWF files can be reviewed without requiring customers to install software.

The recommended system requirements for Autodesk Design Review 2009 are a PC with an 800-MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor (faster processor recommended) with at least 512 MB of RAM (1 GB of RAM or more for Windows Vista users). Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, XP Professional or Home Edition (Service Pack 2 recommended), or Vista is required, as is Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (Service Pack 2 recommended) or later.

Autodesk Design Review 2009 is a free application that lets you find and view design  data. It offers enhanced 3D measure and mark-up capabilities, along with greatly  improved navigation tools.
Autodesk Design Review 2009 is a free application that lets you find and view design data. It offers enhanced 3D measure and mark-up capabilities, along with greatly improved navigation tools.

Additional requirements for Autodesk Design Review 2009 are a VGA display system capable of at least 1,024 x 768 resolution; 150 MB of hard disk space for installation; a mouse, trackball, or compatible pointing device; and a CD-ROM drive or DVD-ROM drive for 64-bit systems. Optional hardware includes a 3Dconnexion SpaceTraveler with support for 2D and 3D navigation, a GPS device set to communicate using NMEA 0183 standards, the standard 4800-baud rate, and a COM port (Com1 to Com10). An optional GPS system can be a GPS bundled with Microsoft Streets and Trips 2006, a Panasonic Toughbook with integrated GPS device, a USB-connected GPS device, or a Bluetooth-connected GPS device set to use a COM port.

The final English version of Autodesk Design Review 2009 is expected to be available for download in late March 2008 and will thereafter be included with new releases of major Autodesk products.

Autodesk has put a major amount of work into Autodesk Design Review 2009, making it an even more flexible design tool for use with the Autodesk family of products. In an age when free products often are worth what one pays for them, Autodesk Design Review 2009 stands out as a capable and well-designed, indeed brilliant, exception.

For additional information about Autodesk Design Review 2009, visit the company's Web site at You can also download the new version of the software free of charge at the Web site. Highly Recommended.

About the Author: Ron LaFon