How your clients can open DWF’s without downloading anything

Regardless if you think DWF’s are the best thing since sliced bread, if the person you’re sending the DWF to can’t open the DWF; how great DWF’s are becomes irrelevant mighty quick. In my experience, unless you’re sending a lot of DWF’s to someone, they’re not all that interested in installing yet another piece of software just so they can view your drawings. They’ll simply reply to your e-mail and ask you to send a PDF since they already have Adobe Reader installed on their machine. But did you know Microsoft Windows can open DWF’s without ANY third-party software? All you need is Internet Explorer. Let me explain…

PLOTPrinterPlotter

Selecting the DWFx ePlot plotter from the PLOT command

If you go to the PLOT command in AutoCAD 2009 or 2010 (or AutoCAD 2008 if the DWFx Driver was installed) you’ll have two DWF options; DWF6 ePlot and DWFx ePlot (XPS Compatible). Choosing the DWFx ePlot option will create a .dwfx file that uses the XPS – XML Paper Specification created by Microsoft. Using the DWFx option over the DWF6 option will make a .dwfx file that anyone with a compatible XPS viewer can open without downloading any additional software; all you need is Internet Explorer 7 or higher (Windows XP users with Internet Explorer 6 can install the XPS Viewer from Microsoft to get this functionality).

To open a .dwfx file in Internet Explorer:

  1. Launch Internet Explorer, and go to File > Open.
  2. Select the Browse button from the Open dialog that displays.
  3. Change the Files of Type drop-down list to All Files. Then browse to your .dwfx file and select Open.

    IEOpen

    Opening a .dwfx file with Internet Explorer

  4. You’ll return to the Open dialog where the path to your .dwfx file should display. Press Ok to open the .dwfx.
  5. Internet Explorer will begin opening the drawing for you. Depending on security settings, you may need to accept an ActiveX control, but the .dwfx drawing will then display inside your Internet Explorer browser.

    IEdwfx

    Viewing a .dwfx file with Internet Explorer

  • sathish

    Ya i done with myself bro thanks regards sathish

  • sathish

    Hi, I unable to plot my worked acad 2010 file, it reader shows some errrs like adobe reader could not open dwf file because not a supported file either or the file has been damaged. so could you please help me dear?

  • Me

    none of this helps, other than it will not work so do not bother downloading anything. My IE 7 will not open. Dragging into Word will not open, Cant install the design review same error.. so what is the fix? how do you view these dwfx files?

  • Abracadabra

    The article title is misleading – the instructions do not apply to dwf files (but to dwfx). Internet Explorer 8 does not find an ActiveX for opening dwf files. On my system I tried to install Autodesk Design Review in order to open dwf file, but the installation failed with an error:

    Visual Studio 2010 SP1 C++ Runtime (0x2: Failed downloading component.)

    I have AutoCAD 2012 installed, but it does not open dwf files. That’s remarkable because I have the full version of it, which costs more than 5000 euros with VAT, and it is created by the same company responsible for the dwf file format.

    • Abracadabra

      Autodesk Design Review 2013 failed to inform me that it is incapable of downloading the x86 version of Visual Studio 2010 SP1 C++ Runtime. I had the x64 version of this runtime.

  • http://www.onlineaustralia.org Jack Thakur

    Thanks for sharing such nice information as it is very helpful rather than downloading the softwares. thanks..

  • http://www.goglobaldirectories.co.uk Go Global

    Thank you. I have been searching everywhere to open a dwfx file. Great work

  • http://cad-1.com deb williams

    Donnie:
    Great tip…you can also drag and drop dwf(x) files in Microsoft Word.

    Deb

  • http://cad-1.com/ deb williams

    Donnie:
    Great tip…you can also drag and drop dwf(x) files in Microsoft Word.

    Deb

  • Jeff

    How is "may need to accept an ActiveX control" compatible with the article title "without downloading anything" ?

    • http://www.bim-managers.com Joseph Joseph

      The concept of downloading anything means to have your clients, developers, sub-consultants download viewers. Download and/or installing ActiveX is now a daily procedure as one uses the web browsers.

      I am one of the leaders in the industry that up to this point think that while DWF is a fantastic idea it will never measure up to PDF due to "downloading" and learning a new application. This article is an eye opener for me, I will be asking my technical CAD Managers to take a hard look at this as a solution.

      Regards,
      Joe

  • Jeff

    How is "may need to accept an ActiveX control" compatible with the article title "without downloading anything" ?

    • http://www.bim-managers.com/ Joseph Joseph

      The concept of downloading anything means to have your clients, developers, sub-consultants download viewers. Download and/or installing ActiveX is now a daily procedure as one uses the web browsers.

      I am one of the leaders in the industry that up to this point think that while DWF is a fantastic idea it will never measure up to PDF due to "downloading" and learning a new application. This article is an eye opener for me, I will be asking my technical CAD Managers to take a hard look at this as a solution.

      Regards,
      Joe

      • Abracadabra

         >Download and/or installing ActiveX is now a daily procedure as one uses the web browsers.

        Bullshits. Installing browser plugins increases the exposure of the system to security risks from Internet. Aside from that the browser plugins may have privacy and/or stability implications.

        • Chris Jackson

          The Microsoft update site itself uses activex controls to display and improve usability. They are very common now with the build of websites.

          There is no call or reason to be so rude

          There are some areas of life where if you stand still you are travelling backwards.