General Software

First Look Review: Autodesk Design Review 2007

31 Jul, 2006 By: Ron LaFon

Design review and approval software

Autodesk is now shipping Design Review 2007, the capable successor to DWF Composer. The new release is tightly integrated with several Autodesk productivity tools, many of which are also newly improved, as well as with Autodesk design applications. The software incorporates many new features, such as specific enhancements for manufacturing industry users and integration of the tools for round-trip design review.

With Design Review 2007, Autodesk has substantially improved the workflow. The application imports DWG and DXF files through the AutoCAD 2007 versions with accuracy. After a design file is imported, users have access to viewing, markup and revision features. Markup enhancements include Rotate Objects and Symbols—text, rectangles, ellipses and other symbols can be rotated, even if they contain raster images.

Autodesk Design Review 2007 lets users share, review and mark up 2D drawings and 3D models in a single file (figure 1). From the Navigator window, you can add, delete, reorder and rename sheets and models.

For users in the manufacturing industry, the ability to view animated assembly instructions and exploded views of complex designs simplifies the work (figure 2). The ability to view and mark up BOMs (bill of materials) allows users to securely review designs and product definition data early enough in the design process to be useful.

 Design Review 2007
Design Review 2007

Those involved in the building process can fully visualize drawings and models with tools to do walk-throughs and cross-sections, all without altering the original design file. Construction change orders can be documented easily using the markup and status-tracking tools.

There's just a lot to like here. The integration of the various components makes it possible to really round-trip a design through the review process without losing data or design integrity. Autodesk put a lot of effort into this release, and it shows.

Figure 1. Autodesk Design Review 2007 lets users review both 2D and 3D design files with an easy-to-use interface.
Figure 1. Autodesk Design Review 2007 lets users review both 2D and 3D design files with an easy-to-use interface.

In addition to the Design Review 2007 software that allows you to review, mark up and track changes for 2D and 3D drawings, the installation CD includes the following:

  • 1. DWG TrueView 2007 for viewing, plotting and publishing DWG and DXF files;
  • 2. DWF Writer v.3.1 for creating DWF files from any Windows application; and
  • 3. Inventor View for viewing and plotting Inventor IPT, IAM and IDW files.

The application installer presents a default installation based on the applications it finds on the system's hard disk, but users can choose a custom option to select specific components and subcomponents to install. If you need to work with Inventor files, for example, but don't have the application installed on your hard disk, you can choose to install Autodesk Inventor View. Autodesk notes that you need to install each component to access the full functionality of Design Review. The software installation was smooth and easy, with a number of options provided during the process, although I found the installation itself to be somewhat more time-consuming than expected.

Figure 2. Design Review 2007 includes features for reviewing, marking up, and measuring 2D and 3D manufacturing designs.
Figure 2. Design Review 2007 includes features for reviewing, marking up, and measuring 2D and 3D manufacturing designs.

The recommended system requirements for Design Review 2007 are a PC with an 800MHz Intel Pentium III or higher processor running Microsoft Windows XP/2000 (SP 4). You'll need at least 512MB of system RAM (96MB if DWG TrueView isn't installed), 550MB of free hard disk space for a full install, a display/graphics card capable of 1024x768 VGA or true color and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. You'll also need a mouse, trackball or compatible pointing device and a CD-ROM drive.

Design Review 2007 is available now for $199 through Autodesk's reseller channel and at the Autodesk online store. A trial version is expected to be available from the Autodesk Web site ( by midsummer. The Inventor 11 DWF Extension is available to Inventor subscription customers. Upgrades from DWF Composer are $99, or subscribers can add the product to their subscription account for $49 per seat.

For more information about Design Review 2007 and a more exhaustive list of its many features—which I can barely touch on here—visit the Autodesk Web site and check under Products, where you'll find lots of information as well as some tutorials. With its moderate price, excellent feature set and tight integration, Design Review 2007 earns Cadalyst's Highly Recommended rating. Highly Recommended.

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

About the Author: Ron LaFon