AcroPlot, Pushbutton PDFReview

DWF and PDF Solutions

  Lachmi Khemlani

  January 15, 2004

   reprinted with permission

With Autodesk pushing DWF as an alternative to Adobe's PDF for electronic documentation, this aspect is gaining in importance and the choice between the two formats can become as critical to a design firm as the choice of a CAD or modeling solution. There are other DWF and PDF solution providers in addition to Autodesk and Adobe, and two of these were exhibiting at Autodesk University: CADzation and Bluebeam.

CADzation happily circumvents the PDF versus DWF debate by providing solutions for both formats. It has four different products for different kinds of CAD documentation needs: AcroPlot, the company's flagship product, converts AutoCAD and Microsoft Word files into PDF files that are fully text searchable; AcroPlot Pro converts all major office, CAD, and graphics formats into both PDF and DWF files; AcroPlot Matrix allows viewing, printing, markup, and editing (page insertion, deletion, reordering, etc.) of PDF and DWF files; and finally, AcroPlot Auto converts entire drives of drawings, including legacy data, to PDF and DWF, and can be set to run nightly or continuously.

The other electronic documentation solution on display was a PDF-only solution, Bluebeam Pushbutton PDF. When installed, it appears as a three tool palette in AutoCAD and ADT. The first tool creates a single PDF of theHyperlinks and block attributes from the drawing are automatically transferred to the PDF files, along with layout size, orientation, and plot style table. In addition, text stamps and external files can be attached to the PDF file. Since the application is customized for CAD documents, it does a better job of maintaining the scale, line weights, color, and resolution of the drawing in comparison to a general-purpose PDF creation application.

This article appears in AECbytes issue #3:

About AECbytes

AECbytes is an online publication launched by Lachmi Khemlani in November 2003. It is focused on researching, analyzing, and reviewing technology products and services for the building industry. In addition to a biweekly e-mail newsletter, it includes product reviews, feature articles, and external viewpoints. Subscription to AECbytes is free.

About Lachmi Khemlani

Lachmi Khemlani has a Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, specializing in intelligent building modeling, and is the founder of Arcwiz, a consulting, training, and services company in the area of computer-aided building design. She has written extensively on CAD, BIM, and AEC technology in various industry publications such as Cadence, Autodesk Toplines, Augiworld, and AEC Automation Newsletter, and has given presentations before both academic and professional audiences. Her new book is form.Z 4: 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Animation (McGraw-Hill, Nov 2003).

Lachmi's credentials include a professional B.Arch. (Honors) degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, and an M.Phil. in Architecture from the University of Cambridge, England. She has worked on numerous design projecsts as a practicing architect, and taught CAD and 3D modeling for several years at UC Berkeley. She continues to stay closely involved with the research community, and serves on the editorial board of the journal, Automation in Construction.