Using Design Review with Autodesk Inventor Files

11 Aug, 2010 By: Kevin Keene

Avatech Tricks Tutorial: A paperless review process enables designers and reviewers to electronically measure, mark up, and track changes to 2D and 3D designs.

Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of Avatech Solutions.

If your company is currently using a paper system for design review and has been considering using an electronic review process, you're not alone. More and more companies are considering the move to a paperless review system.

Products such as Autodesk's free viewer, Design Review, allow companies like yours to have engineering and non-engineering personnel, as well as outside customers, participate in that new paperless review process. Autodesk Design Review enables users to review, measure, mark up, and track changes to 2D and 3D designs.

The Autodesk Design Review Workflow

The following represents a typical workflow between a designer using Inventor and a reviewer using Autodesk Design Review.

Creating the DWF file. With the drawing file open in Inventor 2011, click on the Application Menu icon (the big yellow I in the top left corner of the Inventor screen) to start the Publish command. In the Application menu, select Export, followed by the Export to DWF command.

With the Publish dialog box open, there are three types of publishing options to choose from: Express, Complete, and Custom. The Express option is used to publish only the active sheet, without the 3D model. The Complete option is used to publish all sheets and all 3D models, except for sheets that have been excluded from printing. The Custom option is used to choose which sheets and 3D models to publish.

After the options have been set, users click the Publish button to give the file a name and location. There are two options for the file type: DWF and DWFx. DWF files can be viewed in Autodesk Design Review, while DWFx files can be viewed in Autodesk Design Review as well as in Internet Explorer 7 or higher (in 2D only).

Review and markup.
Once the DWFx file has been created and sent to a reviewer, it can be opened in Autodesk Design Review, where it can be marked up using tools such as revision clouds, text, shapes, and stamps.

As markup items are added to the file, they are recorded in the Markup Browser on the left side of the screen.

When all markups have been added, the file is saved and sent back to the designer so he or she can import it into Inventor and make the necessary changes.

Import and Revise.
When the DWFx file makes its way back to the design engineer, it is opened in Inventor and displayed over the top of the Inventor drawing. The Markup Browser displays the markups and any notes. The Markup Browser is toggled back and forth with the Model Browser using the drop-down menu.

(Click image to enlarge.)

After each change has been made to the part, the designer changes the status for each markup by right-clicking on it in the Markup Browser. 

When all changes have been made and the drawing is ready for another review, the DWF is saved and closed out of the Inventor session.

And the process begins again: review, mark up, import, and revise if needed.


By switching to a two-way electronic drawing review process, such as Autodesk Design Review, your company can save time and money in your mark up and approval process by eliminating the need to transfer paper copies back and forth.

About the Author: Kevin Keene

Kevin Keene

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