For years Autodesk programs such as AutoCAD have been able to create DWF files. As most know, creating DWF files within the vast majority of Autodesk’s products is very quick and easy. Of course despite how easy Autodesk has made the creation of DWF files, industry still largely demands Adobe’s PDF. Generally speaking Adobe’s PDF has become the de facto standard, as Adobe Reader is installed in most business environments. Since most clients demand PDF, many firms have virtually forgotten about DWF. If that sounds like your firm, well it may be time to take a second look at DWF. Why you ask?
As of February 1, 2007, Autodesk has made Design Review 2007 a free download. Formerly known as DWF Composer, Design Review is an electronic markup tool. While the purpose of this post isn’t to highlight its usage, Design Review is truly a tool that can easily save money across the board. Think for a moment the number of check plots you make for each project. Add in the time it takes the time it takes the CAD Tech to decipher the engineers handwriting, and for the engineer to re-markup the occasional missed item. It of course doesn’t take a long time for collaboration costs to add up, and Design Review dramatically reduces or completely eliminates many of them.
Since its introduction I have always seen the Design Review tool as a very impressive collaboration tool. Seeing the cost of sending numerous overnight UPS packages, and the time that went into preparing them always pained me. While the Design Review technology has been in place for some time now, asking clients to spend $199 per seat was never a viable option for many. I think the decision to make the Design Review package free is quite powerful. After all, asking a client to install this free program which will save him lot of money with UPS shipments should be music to any clients’ ears. Now instead of spending hours to publish and prepare markup sets, you can quickly create DWF’s and upload for the client to download. In the end it’s a win-win situation for everyone. We’ll begin taking a look at how to use DWF files in some future posts, but in the meantime hop over to Autodesk’s website to download Design Review. Be sure to download Service Pack 1 as well; among other things it addresses a conflict with the new Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.