#015 – It’s All About The View (And The Viewers)

Welcome to another issue of Not Just CAD!, published in numerous forms; on the CADFMconsultants website, in the Not Just CAD! LinkedIn newsletter and on the Autodesk Community Voices page.

I’ve been away from social media for some time, purely for personal reasons, but I’m happy to say that I’m back with the Not Just CAD! take on all things CAD, BIM, and sometimes not just CAD!

You’ll notice that we are using a new format. Rather than have loads of links, we will concentrate on one main topic per blog, with associated links. This gives us more focus and gives you a precise topic to follow every fortnight. You will also see some interviews and podcasts appearing soon too.

One of the main reasons I have been under the radar is a big house move to East Yorkshire in the UK. This has also included moving our company office to the house, and the new office build in one of our outbuildings is underway. There are some incredible views in East Yorkshire, and Flamborough Head is one of them.

Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire (and yes, those are seals on the beach on the right of the picture)

This post is all about the view (and the viewers). And when I say that, I mean the various ways of viewing CAD and BIM files. There are quite a few out there, and I will talk about some of them below.

Autodesk Viewer

The Autodesk Viewer webpage at https://viewer.autodesk.com

The Autodesk Viewer can be found at https://viewer.autodesk.com. The viewer supports an incredible amount of 2D and 3D CAD and BIM file formats: –

A typical 2D DWG file being viewed in the Autodesk Viewer

The Autodesk Viewer allows any collaborative user with access to the shared collaboration file to provide feedback and add redline markups with callouts. As it’s browser-based, the collaboration files can be viewed on any device.

More tools become available if used with an Autodesk account, including commenting on the file and the redline markup facility mentioned above. The views can be shared using a URL link.

In AutoCAD, the shared views are available in the Shared Views palette for 30 days before expiring. The time limit can also be extended.

The Shared Views palette in use in the AutoCAD desktop app

Autodesk Design Review

The Autodesk Design Review splash screen as it starts up

You can find the link to download Autodesk Design Review at https://www.autodesk.com/products/design-review/overview. Design Review supports many file types and allows you to work with Autodesk DWF files.

A typical 2D DWF file marked up in Autodesk Design Review

The DWF files can then be marked up and reviewed by the originator in the AutoCAD desktop app, using the Markup Set Manager palette.

The markups shown in the AutoCAD desktop app, via the Markup Set Manager palette

In Autodesk Design Review, you can work with a variety of file formats, including: DWF, DWFx, DWG, and DXF (requires installation of free DWG TrueView software); Adobe PDF; as well as image file types such as.bmp, .jpg, .gif, .pcx, .pct, .png, .rlc, .tga, .tif, .mil, .cal, and many more.

AutoCAD web app

The AutoCAD web app page at https://web.autocad.com

You can find an overview of the AutoCAD web app here, https://www.autodesk.co.uk/products/autocad-web-app/overview, and you can log in to the AutoCAD web app at https://web.autocad.com.

The AutoCAD® web app gives quick, anytime access to edit, create, share and view CAD drawings from any computer web browser. Just sign in and get to work – no software installation needed.

A typical 2D DWG file in the AutoCAD web app

The AutoCAD web app allows you to work in a simplified browser-based version of AutoCAD, negating the need for a full AutoCAD when on-site or on the factory floor. Designs can be worked on in the web-based version of AutoCAD and shared and collaborated upon. There is also support for blocks and external reference files (XREFs)

The AutoCAD web app is part of your AutoCAD subscription, either full AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT.

AutoCAD mobile app

You can find an overview of the AutoCAD mobile app here, https://www.autodesk.com/products/autocad-mobile/overview.

The AutoCAD® mobile app has core design and drafting tools. You can work on your CAD drawings anytime, anywhere—even offline, using either a smartphone or a tablet. I use the AutoCAD mobile app on my iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPad Pro, which provides me with incredible mobility and allows for seamless editing of my DWG files when out on the road. DWG files can be collaborated on in real-time, and the app is included in the AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT subscription plans.

A typical DWG file in the AutoCAD mobile app on an iPad Pro


You can find Canvas here: https://canvas.io/

Using the LIDAR scanner in your smartphone or tablet, Canvas can capture thousands of measurements per second, as easily as taking a video. This saves a massive amount of time, and money, whilst allowing you to easily and quickly generate the necessary files you need in applications such as AutoCAD and Revit using the Canvas Scan To CAD service. These editable, design-ready CAD files are delivered in as little as one business day — as if you made them from scratch.

Canvas WILL save you a huge amount of time from site to drawing/model.

LinkedIn Learning

I have created several courses that work with the above applications. You can find them here: –

AutoCAD: Mobile and Web Collaborationhttps://linkedin-learning.pxf.io/n13jEM

AutoCAD web app: Take your drawings onlinehttps://linkedin-learning.pxf.io/W7kQZ

I have hardly touched the surface when it comes to viewers and collaborative applications. There are so many out there, and they are all helping us bring real-life data into CAD, BIM, and digital construction.

It really is all about the view.


Posted in AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2018, AutoCAD 2019, AutoCAD 2020, AutoCAD 2021, AutoCAD 2022, AutoCAD 2023, autodesk, Expert Elite, LinkedIn Learning, Not Just CAD!, Revit and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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