Collaboration with Autodesk Design Review 2013

October 6th, 2012

Autodesk® Design Review 2013 is a free program used to create and review Design Web Format (DWF) files.  DWF is an open, published, and secure file that enables you to combine and publish 2D and 3D design data and share it with others.  Much like Adobe PDF files, DWF files are no more alterable than printed paper copies.  However, unlike PDF files, DWF files retain detailed design information and scale.  This makes them more suitable for architects, engineers, and designers.

When DWF drawings are marked up in Autodesk Design Review, you can then view these markups in AutoCAD® Architecture and make changes to your drawings. 

How does this work?  When you want to submit designs for review, you can publish a DWF file from AutoCAD Architecture and then send it to the reviewer of your designs. The reviewer can open the DWF file in Autodesk Design Review, mark up the file electronically, and then send it back to you.  When you open the marked-up DWF file in AutoCAD Architecture, you can view the redline markups in the AutoCAD Architecture drawing area, turn them off, make your changes, and republish the DWF file to send out for another review.  Doing all this electronically with AutoCAD Architecture and Autodesk Design Review greatly decreases the time normally spent in collaboration with others.

Publish Drawings for Review

Once your design is complete in AutoCAD Architecture, it is time to publish the drawings for review.  So that electronic markups created in Autodesk Design Review can align with the original drawing geometry, it is important not to change elements in your drawing file that can affect this alignment after you have published the DWF file for review.  These elements include the following.

  • Layers and layer states
  • Layers to which objects are tied
  • View rotation
  • Number and placement of viewports in layouts
  • Position and scale of objects within viewports.

To publish a drawing set in AutoCAD Architecture to a DWF file, select the main menu drop-down, print menu, and then select Batch Plot (see Figure 1).  This brings up the Publish dialog box.  If the Automatically Load All Open Drawings option is selected in the Publish dialog box, all the layouts in the current drawing are listed in the sheet list.  You can modify the list of sheets in the Publish dialog box as needed. 

When your list of drawing sheets is assembled and configured the way you want for your drawing set, click the Save Sheet List button (see Figure 2).  In the Save List As dialog box, enter a name for the list in the File Name box and then click Save.  The drawing set list is saved as a drawing set descriptions (DSD) file.  Now, in the Publish dialog box, under Publish To, select DWF File.  Then click Publish.  Next, in the Specify DWF File dialog box, enter a file name.  The Files of Type is DWF based on the selected DWF format.  Click Select to provide the name and destination for the DWF file.  Click Save to start the electronic drawing set creation. 

Figure 1: Batch plot

Figure 2: Publish dialog box

Insert Markups

A markup can be either a single comment or a redline geometry correction that is inserted into a DWF file.  Once the AutoCAD Architecture drawing has been published for review, you can use Autodesk Design Review to add markups electronically, just as you would mark up a paper version of the drawing.  You can also assign a status to the markup and add comments.  After you have made the markups you wish to make, resave the DWF file.  Now the markups can be viewed and corrections made.  Markups can be made using the Markup & Measure tab on the ribbon (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Markup & Measure tab

Secure Markups

Design Review enables you to lock and unlock markups, which helps prevent accidental changes and deletions.  Locking a markup prevents several actions such as cutting, deleting, moving, and modifying text.  However, not all changes are disabled when a markup is locked.  Locked markups do not prevent changing formatting and properties.  After creating new markups, they remain unlocked and you can manually lock and unlock markups as needed.  When a marked-up DWF file is opened, all existing markups are locked. You can determine whether a markup is unlocked or locked by looking at the grips.  On the canvas, the grips of a selected markup are either yellow, indicating unlocked, or gray, indicating locked.  You can also look at the Markups palette.  To the left of each markup, a lock icon indicates whether a markup is unlocked or locked. 

If you wish to change the security of a markup, begin by clicking Select on the Canvas toolbar.  On the Canvas or in the Markups palette, select the desired markup object.  To lock the markup, click the unlocked icon in the Markups palette to the left of the markup name or, on the canvas, right-click the markup and select Lock.  The selected markup is now locked.  To unlock a markup, click the locked icon in the Markups palette to the left of the markup name or, on the canvas, right-click the markup and select Lock.  The selected markup is now locked.  You can also double-click a locked markup on the canvas to unlock it.

View Markups

Now that you have received markups, it is time to review them so corrections can be made.  To view the markups in your designs, load the markup set into the Markup Set Manager.  What is a markup set?  A markup set is a group of markups contained within a single DWF file.  To open the Markup Set Manager, select the View tab on the ribbon in AutoCAD Architecture, then click the Markup Set Manager button on the Palettes panel.  This brings up the Markup Set Manager palette (see Figure 4). 

Now, in the Markup Set Manager, click the Markup Set list control and select Open.  When you load a markup set into the Markup Set Manager, the tree view will display each marked-up drawing sheet and its associated markups.  It is important to note that if you try to load a markup set by opening a DWF file that does not contain markups, you will not be able to open the DWF file in AutoCAD Architecture. You can, however, open the DWF file in the DWF file viewer.

While in the Markup Set Manager, you can view details of an individual markup.  To do this, click on an individual markup node.  The Markup Details area in the lower portion of the Markup Set Manager will display details for the selected markup.  These details can include the creator of the markup, the date and time it was created, and any comments associated with the markup.  Markups are color-coded and have icons that are specific to their status (see Figure 5).

When you double-click a model space markup in the Markup Set Manager, the original drawing file opens in model space.  The drawing automatically reverts to the view rotation that was current when the drawing was published. Please note that if you then change the view rotation, the markups will not be shown in the drawing until you double-click a model space markup and revert to the published view.  Also note that visual style and Shademode must be set to 2D Wireframe.

The Markup Set Manager allows you to specify what is displayed in the drawing area.  You can show or hide the originating drawing file, the reviewed DWF file geometry, and the redline geometry. This allows you to view the redline geometry, turn it off to make the changes in your drawing file, and then view the redline geometry again in AutoCAD Architecture to check your corrections. 

If you wish to hide DWG geometry for drawing sheets with associated markups, click the View DWG Geometry button.  You can click the same button again to show the DWG geometry.  If you wish to show DWF file geometry in the drawing area, click the View DWF Geometry button to show the DWF geometry.  You can click the same button again to hide the DWF geometry.  If you wish to show or hide redline geometry (markups) in the drawing area, click a markup node to view the redline geometry in the drawing area.  Then click the View Redline Geometry button to hide the redline geometry.  You can click the same button again to show the redline geometry.

Figure 4: Markup Set Manager

Figure 5: Color-coded markups

Respond To Markups

Now that you have reviewed markups, you can change their status and add comments that are saved with the markup.  In the Markup Set Manager, select an individual markup in the tree view and the Markup Details area displays information about the markup.  In this area, you can change the status of the markup or you can right-click on a markup and select an option on the Markup Status shortcut menu.  You will notice that the default status for new markups is <None>.  A markup’s status can be changed to Question, For Review, or Done.

In the Markup Set Manager, you can add comments or notes for the selected markup in the Notes area under Markup Details.  Changes in markup status as well as added comments are automatically saved in the DWF file and are included when you republish it.  Markup changes can also be saved by right-clicking the markup set node and clicking Save Markup History Changes on the shortcut menu.

Republish a Markup Set

After you have viewed a markup set and made necessary changes to your drawings, you can then republish the markup set for another review, if needed.  It is important to note that when you republish the markup set, the markups and any changes that have been made to them are saved in the DWF file. When anyone reviews the republished DWF file in Autodesk Design Review, the changes that have been made to the drawings are visible, as are any changes that have been made to the status and the details of the markups.  If you republish a DWF file that has had sheets deleted from it or rearranged within it in Autodesk Design Review, the new order of sheets will be reflected in the republished DWF file.  However, if any sheets were added to the DWF file in Autodesk Design Review, those sheets will not be included in the republished DWF file.

To republish a markup set, click the Republish Markup DWF button at the top of the Markup Set Manager.  Next, select one of the following:

  • Republish All Sheets – Clicking this option republishes all sheets within the marked-up DWF.
  • Republish Markup Sheets – Clicking this option republishes only those sheets in the marked-up DWF file that have associated markups.

Then, in the Specify DWF File dialog box, select a DWF file or enter a name for the file and click Select.  By default, the previously created marked-up file name is displayed and is overwritten with a file of the same name that contains the drawing and markup changes.

Print a Drawing with Markups

If you desire, you can print a drawing with markups.  Begin in Windows Explorer and double-click a DWF file that contains markups.  The DWF file will open in Autodesk Design Review.  You can then print the marked-up DWF file.


When you are in the final stages of a design, drawings can be published for review.  Then you can receive corrections and comments electronically.  These can then be implemented and you can respond to these comments and then republish your drawings.  Doing all this electronically streamlines communication and results in a more efficient design process. 

What better way to accomplish this than through the use of AutoCAD Architecture and Autodesk Design Review?  If your company is thinking about “going green,” this is a perfect solution to stop printing all those paper drawings for markup and review.

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About the Author

Melinda Heavrin

Melinda Heavrin

Melinda Heavrin is a CAD Coordinator & Facility Planner for Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky.  She has been using AutoCAD Architecture since release 2000.  Melinda can be reached for comments and questions at


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