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As you might expect, the new release of AutoCAD has brought with it a new release of Design Review. It’s been a free download for a few years now, and until this year it’s interface had remained largely the same. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of Design Review 2010 is the ribbon. Personally, I do not know the former interface was so complex that ribbonizing was necessary, but I can appreciate synchronizing the interface among the most popular design applications (AutoCAD, Revit, Design Review, etc). Love it, hate it, Design Review now sports the ribbon interface.

My advice to those not so keen on the ribbon interface is to give it an honest chance. When I first installed Office 2007 I too was not a huge fan of the change, but over time, it grew on me. Nonetheless, something I am betting many of you will especially love is Design Review’s new PDF support. That’s right, Design Review can now open the arch rival to the DWF format itself – PDF!

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This seemingly insignificant feature could potentially save you hundreds because Design Review carries the best price of all – FREE, and even the cheapest version of Adobe Acrobat doesn’t come close to that price! To be fair, Design Review can’t do everything to PDF’s Adobe Acrobat can, but it can certainly do some of the most common tasks designers face today. For instance, if you purchased Adobe Acrobat just so you can combine multiple single-page PDF’s into a single multi-page file, save yourself some money and use Design Review to do it for FREE.

Likewise, Design Review 2010 works with PDF’s in much the same way it works with DWF’s. You can rearrange sheets (pages) inside Design Review by simply dragging and dropping in the order, you want. It is even possible to markup PDF’s with the new version of Design Review. At this point, you are probably wandering what is the catch? It is most definitely true Design Review 2010 can do much of what the paid version of Adobe Acrobat can. The catch however is while Design Review 2010 lets us open a PDF; it only lets us save to the DWF/DWFX file format.

For a number of tasks you could get around that by using something like CutePDF to print from Design Review to PDF, but that’s certainly not an incredibly efficient workflow. Of course it’s hard to argue with a price of FREE, so the more efficient option would be to get those you collaborate with to download Design Review too, and embrace the efficiencies of the digital workflow.

Download Design Review 2010 for FREE