So yes, it seems like I’m on the DWF kick lately. It’s weird, as I’m not usually one of those “ooh, look how cool this technology is” types. I don’t really care that much about technology for its own sake – I care about what technology can do for me. Using DWF and DWF tools lets me do all sorts of interesting things, hence I keep blogging about DWF.
Publish a Project to DWF
One of the features available in AutoCAD P&ID 2008 is the ability to publish the project to a DWF set. In case you’ve never seen DWF sets and (free!) Design Review, I highly recommend that you give it a look. If you’ve never published a set before, you can do it by invoking the Publish option from the AutoCAD File menu. In the Publish dialog box, click the Add button to add all the P&ID drawings to the set (plus I wanted only Layout views so I unchecked Model). When you click Publish, you get one DWF file with all the P&IDs. Nice.
You not only get graphics, you can also get all the P&ID data. If for some reason you don’t want to publish some of the data fields, you can control this via the Publish Options button.
So you have an easy way to send the P&ID and the data in one file. My approximately 2 MB of 5 sample P&IDs (and data!) published out as a 72kb DWF. Anyone who has the (free!) Design Review can look at the drawing and review the component data. And add some markups if desired.
One of my favorite features in Design Review is the ability to compare DWFs. So, say I make some changes to a P&ID. I can republish the DWF, then use the compare feature in Design to show exactly what changed. Here I’ve moved some things around, you can see the old deleted items in red, the new items in green. (I clicked View in GrayScale from the View menu to turn the unchanged items gray.)
Simple, and yet powerful. And did I mention free?
FYI: If you happen to be going to Autodesk University, there are lots of sessions that highlight cool ways to use DWF. I’m especially looking forward to CP211-2 Develop Custom Websites and Applications with DWF.