November 07, 2005
Free Tools for Viewing and Converting DWG Files
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! Research has shown that the vast majority of AutoCAD customers are at least on R14 or 2000. Also up to 85% percent of AutoCAD users share DWG files with their design counterparts. Read about Autodesk's just announced free tools for DWG users: DWG TrueConvert for converting DWG files between newer and older versions and vice versa and DWG TrueView for viewing DWG files.

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, Awards, Implementations, New Products, and Upcoming Events.

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Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Free Tools for Viewing and Converting DWG Files

By Susan Smith

Click to EnlargeDWG TrueView provides unsurpassed viewing and plotting fidelity.
Autodesk announced this week free tools for DWG users: DWG TrueConvert for converting DWG files between newer and older versions and vice versa and DWG TrueView for viewing DWG files.

Retirement of some older versions of AutoCAD has both spurred some new sales but also created a need for an avenue to access older versions of AutoCAD via the new versions. Earlier this year, Autodesk also added the
RealDWG Initiative technology for application development to support application developers who read/write DWG.

These efforts are in response to customers' requests for greater connectedness between versions and the assurance that those who are not using the latest release will not be left out in the cold. They also come most likely in response to the battering ram of other vendors who have offered enticing
alternatives to an AutoCAD upgrade.

Research has shown that the vast majority of AutoCAD customers are at least on R14 or 2000. Also up to 85% percent of AutoCAD users share DWG files with their design counterparts.

DWG has been Autodesk's primary file format for as long as the company has been in business - 20 years. As is often the case when various applications evolve over a period of years, there are more components put into the file format with each release. According to Kevin Wandryk, Senior Director Marketing for Autodesk Collaboration Services, the current version of AutoCAD does read the past versions, however, for those users who have upgraded recently to a newer version from a version two or three versions ago, who have lots of legacy files going back to the AutoCAD 2 file format, until now they could use the Autodesk Batch Drawing Converter for converting files one at a time. Now, with the
standalone DWG TrueConvert, users will be able to point at a whole directory of files and just convert them en masse.

"Smaller users may not be able to upgrade with each product release, plus if they work with a group, and some people in the group have different versions," noted Wandryk. "TrueConvert updates the Batch Drawing Converter and allows conversion from AutoCAD version 2 up to the most current release. In the reverse direction it takes the latest release down to R14 or 2000."

Click to EnlargeDWG TrueView can be downloaded at
Users reported that they need a convenient mechanism to re-use the wealth of designs they have archived in thousands of files from many from older versions of the product.

In the construction industry alone, companies do not upgrade every time a new release comes out.

"At the same time, information flow is occurring at a much greater rate, whether it's via the internet or with outsourcing, or a move towards construction projects going worldwide. The ability to be able to move files around is becoming increasingly critical to a broader user base, regardless of the version," said Wandryk.

To clarify the difference between the new DWG TrueView and DWF Viewer, Wandryk explained that the DWG TrueView is designed for the teams interested in communicating via DWG format who tend to be very close to a design team. "Their intent is to finalize a design and get some feedback on the design from other designers on their team."

However, there is a much broader group of downstream users who are consuming data. "For them, DWG files may not always be appropriate because they are focused on a different problem and may not need that same level of content. For that audience DWF is a much better solution. DWF files tend to be much smaller files and allow the capability of securing portions of them, so they're easier to exchange between different users."

DWF Composer allows users to redline and markup and the file is lightweight and easily exchanged. You could give that to a thousand people for a bidding process, for example. Users can also publish DWG files to the DWF file format for more compact versions of the same design documents, and can be viewed by people not familiar with AutoCAD software.

DWG TrueView is available for
DWG TrueConvert will be available in early November. Both are available in several languages. There is a
Viewer Comparison Chart available on the Autodesk Web site.


Graphisoft, provider of 5D Virtual Construction solutions and pioneer in 3D building modeling, has announced its Virtual Building solution tie-up with SketchUp. The integration of SketchUp with ArchiCAD lets architects and principals alike, focus on creativity early in the design phase, knowing that their designs can be automatically imported into ArchiCAD and further developed.

AEC CADCON, a provider of enterprise-wide engineering solutions and systems integration to the AEC marketplace, has recently been named a Cyco Software Partner.


Meridian Systems, a provider of enterprise software solutions for managing capital projects, programs and facilities, announced growing momentum for its Proliance solution within the retail, real estate, and construction markets based on several recent customer selections.

WHAT: Autodesk, Inc. Third Quarter FY2006 Financial Results

WHEN: Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. PST

HOW: If you would like to listen to the live call, Autodesk will be

hosting a webcast at

unable to access the Internet for the call, you may dial in at

866-510-0707 or 617-597-5376 and reference 19818852 as the pass

code. A replay of the call will be available at 4:00 p.m. PST

on our website at

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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