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August 21, 2007


Scott Sheppard

DWF is not intended as a replacement for DWG or DXF. AutoCAD cannot directly translate DWF files, but AutoCAD can read in a DWF file as an underlay - much like an XREF. DWF is intended for extended teams - for people who do NOT have AutoCAD yet need access to the data. DWF was also intended for CAD processes. As an example, compression was included even in the original DWF file specification and implementation even though other popular file formats did not.


> "The biggest difference is that
> DWFs have always been intended
> for handling CAD data and
> project/product workflows.

I feel that this is only partly correct. DWF was originally invented by Autodesk as a very compact method of displaying AutoCAD drawings in Web pages -- nearly a decade ago. The first couple of versions broke all drawing elements down to just lines.

So, yes, it was for handling CAD drawings, but not CAD data, for not even layers were included. The original idea behind DWF was to eliminate as much CAD data as possible, leaving just colors and shapes.

And, yes, product workflows, but only in one direction: AutoCAD -> to Web page. Even today, AutoCAD cannot directly import (translate) DWF files.

After the Internet bubble burst in 2000, Autodesk ignored DWF, but in recent years remade it a cornerstone, even going to far as making it a translation format between some of its software programs.

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