Firstly, you will need to download and install the free Design Review 2010 (or newer) program, and install it on your computer. Once that is done, the default setting will open DWFX format files in the design review program. Leave it at this setting if you wish to review and mark up drawings.
If you are planning on just looking at the drawings and 3D models, you may wish to have them open in Internet Explorer. If so, you should have the latest version installed as it has native support for xml programs such as Design Review. Try the Small House Model to see if things are working correctly.
The latest version of IE, as of this writing, is IE 8. To check your version, click the little down arrow next to ‘Help’ on IE’s tab bar, and choose ‘About Internet Explorer’. If you have version 8 (or greater) as shown in the image above, you should be OK.
Now for the files themselves. IE is very loopy in how it handles raw DWFX files –to the point of being useless. If there is a link directly to a raw DWFX file, when you click on it, it will decompress the file (DWFX is a compressed collection of files) instead of asking if you wish to open or save, leaving you with a bunch on unusable files and folders from the DWFX it just blew up for you (see below).
The way around this is to zip the DWFX before uploading it to the website. Now when you click on the link, it will unzip the zipped DWFX out of the package (zip archive) instead of unzipping the file itself, (and therefore destroying it) it will unzip the package to a temporary internet location and pop up a window where you can double click the file to open the program you have chosen to open DWFX files with.
In Google Chrome, when you click on the DWFX file it places the file in a bar at the bottom of the screen where you can access it and tell Google that you trust this type of file. After that, they will just open in Design Review when clicked on.
In Opera, you can click directly on the DWFX file in an unzipped state and select ‘Open’ to open the file in Design Review or the application of your choice. A much easier way to do things. It also has one of those “Remember this choice” checkboxes, but unfortunately, it did not remember for me.
Firefox works pretty much the same as Opera, (and how Internet Explorer used to work), and everything seems to work fine on the website.
Once you have everything up and running you can view, measure, print the 2D drawings, as well as go into 3D space and get a real good look at things that aren’t so obvious in the 2D drawings. You can also view animations if there are any, and a host of other stuff, all of which is covered in the Help file in the program itself. The help files in Most Autodesk products are very well done, so there is no need for me to try to duplicate that effort here.
After you have done all of the above, I have a Drain Waste Vent system DWFX model that you can download and take a look at by clicking on its image to the right. It is a zipped file. The raw file can be downloaded here: Plumbing_09-16-09_1.dwfx
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