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Autodesk Serves up DWF Files to Search Engines

Autodesk Serves up DWF Files to Search Engines

Users of Autodesk Inc.'s popular DWF 3D file format can now search for and retrieve hundreds of thousands of drawings, maps, 3D models and other CAD documents simply by using familiar search engines such as Google and Microsoft Live Search.

As an extension of ongoing partnerships, the trio has added a DWF search capability to the search engines. As a result, users can construct queries that include the phrase "Filetype: dwf" along with terms related to the type of file sought - for example, "maps" for maps or "object node" for 3D models - and find pages that are CAD documents posted online.

The effort broadens access to 3D data, enabling designers, project teams and the general public to save time searching for information and improving collaboration. With the new functionality, manufacturers can more easily search for and view a part before making purchase decisions, while suppliers can leverage the new search capabilities to research a component's design prior to submitting bids for the project. "This allows people to use the most commonly used tools online - specifically Google and Microsoft Live Search - to locate and find 3D information," says Jennifer Toton, senior product marketing manager for Autodesk's Extended Design Group. "You could find DWF files online before, but you needed to know exactly where to go to find the information."

Making 3D data in DWF files more accessible to anyone, even those outside engineering, will facilitate collaboration among a supply chain and between manufacturers and their customers, according to Kathleen Maher, senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research. "It makes collaboration so much easier," she says. "Not that that in itself is revolutionary, but it's another step coming together to produce something that's useful."

For Paul Huff, senior developer and systems architect at Kysor Panel Systems, a manufacturer of freezers and walk-in coolers, the new DWF search capabilities will be extremely useful in encouraging more effective collaboration with customers. Kysor actively sends DWFs to customers, allowing them to securely view approval drawings and mark up any desired changes for the company to implement. Using the new DWF search capabilities coupled with Autodesk's Freewheel, a Web-based service for sharing 3D and 2-D designs, Kysor is able to publish a wider variety of 3D information, which in turn, expands that level of collaboration.

"Now as we publish more to our collaboration site, customers can use the indexed search to quickly find all relevant drawings and models," Huff says. "We don't need to write any custom software to do the search."

Popular search engines like Google now have the ability to search, index and retrieve 3D models, drawings and maps stored in DWF files.
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