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CAD tip CAD tip # 2027:

Question CAD 
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Q - question

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using ePlot DWF format vs. PDF?

A - answer To transfer and archive electronic plots you can use both the PDF and DWF formats. AutoCAD e-Plot (DWF, Design Web Format) can be printed (published) more easily than PDF (Portable Document Format) from AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor or any other Windows application.

Let's try to compare some advantages and disadvantages of using DWF and DWFx.

DWF Advantages:

  • Keeps layer and view structure in e-Plot output (viewer can switch between them)
  • Support of redline comments (RML/XML) with ability to read them back into AutoCAD(!) - full round-trip support (AutoCAD 2005 and higher, Revit 8 and higher, Inventor 2008/11 DWFext and higher); free markup tool - Autodesk Design Review
  • Much easier and faster publishing from AutoCAD or other Autodesk applications (you need no other printing utility)
  • Free system driver for Windows (DWF pseudo-printer) DWFwriter - you can now publish DWF from any Windows application; plugin modules for Office and foreign CAD applications
  • Publishing of 3D DWF files from AutoCAD (2006+), Arch.Desktop (2005+), Inventor (9+), Revit (8+), VIZ (2006+) and 3ds max (8+) and other 3D applications (Catia, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, UGS NX, Microstation...) using "Autodesk DWF Writer for 3D"
  • Live sections in 3D models, mockup of 3D assemblies
  • Osnaps for precise measuring of design data in DWF
  • Easier and faster zoom/pan in the viewer
  • Hyperlinks are retained in your drawings
  • More compact output (much smaller/shorter ePlot .dwf files)
  • Multipage (multisheet) DWF files ("project book", "map book" in a single DWF file)
  • Plot scale
  • Easy scripting of the viewer (e.g. on a Web page)
  • Support for DWF drag-n-drop from Web to AutoCAD (associated block) - e.g. for Web catalogs
  • Multipage printing, tiling, print-to-scale, password protection (since the DWF6 version)
  • Publishing of drawing "intelligence", object properties in DWF (ADT/Map), block attributes
  • Black-only printing on any printer
  • Viewer can be auto-installed from Web
  • Online viewer service ( and Autodesk Cloud Documents
  • Important benefit - direct native support of DWF (DWFX) in Windows 7, Vista and Windows XP with .NET Framework or MSIE8
  • Offical free SDK library to create .DWF files from your applications

DWF Disadvantages:

  • Longer initial download of the viewer (4.6MB VVE1, resp. 26MB - VVE2, resp. cca 6MB-17MB - DWF Viewer or Design Review)
  • Acrobat Reader is on "every" PC already (DWFx is really on every one)
  • Smaller number of platforms (OS) supported by native viewer (except the Freewheel service)

DWF online viewing

DWF files (both local and web) can be viewed also without any viewer software - using the DWFit (Freewheel) service:

100% *  CAD 
10.3.2002    99345×   FAQ  

See also:
Tip 14075:Overview of CAD formats supported in Inventor 2025 (import/export/AnyCAD).
Tip 13773:What is the maximum paper size when plotting from AutoCAD?
Tip 12184:Overview of CAD formats supported in Inventor 2020 (import/export/AnyCAD).
Tip 12162:How to display previews of non-CAD files in Vault (doc,xls,jpg,bmp,pdf)?
Tip 11953:How to save PDF/A-1a archive from CAD software AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit?

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