Frequent tipster Danny Korem discusses several ways that AutoCAD users can collaborate with each other.
"When your drawings are ready for deployment, export them to DWFX format and transmit them to your collaborator. If he or she has any remarks, the drawing will be redlined, remarked, and so on, then transmitted back to you (this will be performed within the Autodesk Design Review shareware). Use the Markup Manager to import the updated DWFX file, refer to each remark, and redline by checking each item treated. This way, you can report to the other party about each item in the list, while everything is automatically documented. The DWFX file will keep a history of all modifications executed, and no texts are needed — just keep working.
"AutoCAD WS is a great tool for collaborating online. You can upload files to the web and interact online with permitted users while keeping track of the workflow. AutoCAD WS also has a very nice feature, Timeline, that lets you go back in time and keep track of all the modifications made to the drawing file. A nice toolset in shape of a plug-in is downloadable from the AutoCAD WS web site. Since it is a modern platform, you may co-edit a file with distant partners as well, but this requires a different approach for implementation."
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: Do you have the need to work with other people or to share your AutoCAD files? AutoCAD has several different tools to help you do this, and they are "green" (because they make previously paper-based processes digital).
If you have ever created a drawing (or any construction document), then you know that part of the process is having your work "redlined." Typically, a drawing is printed from AutoCAD. That print is reviewed by a project manager, engineer, architect, or even the client. The redline markups are then given to the drafter (CAD operator) in order to incorporate the suggested changes. Autodesk's Design Review program can help improve this process. Instead of printing your drawing, export it to a DWFX format, which can be read by Design Review and marked up or redlined digitally.
AutoCAD also has a tool called Markup Manager, which will read the marked-up DWFX file and display those corrections over the top of the DWG file. You won't even have to open the file; simply click the markups in the Manager and it will open the proper file. Note the markups as complete, and log any questions you may have. Send the DWFX file back to the reviewer, make a new DWFX file with the changes, and you'll have a digital copy (archive) of the markups, your questions, and the revised drawings.
AutoCAD WS is a mobile version of AutoCAD. It's not a true version of AutoCAD, but rather a small, free, browser-based application (there are also mobile OS versions available). It can read and write DWG files and make changes to them, and two users can access the same file at the same time. It keeps a history of changes made as well as comments. Together, these free tools make collaboration much simpler and more precise.