Sharing Inventor Files - Part 1 - Exporting Viewable Files

Dave Morse

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In this blog post, I wanted to cover exporting your Inventor models and drawings to image documents such as pdf and jpeg, to be used for marketing, review, procurement, etc...As I thought about all I wanted to share, I realized how big of a subject this really is, and decided that I needed to break it down into a 3-part blog.  So, here it goes, Part 1 in a 3-part series on using Inventor to export your models and drawings.

There are two specific methods for exporting files from Inventor that I am going to illustrate in this post.  The first method is using the Save Copy As.  As you can see from the image below, there are 21 different file formats using this method(our only focus is on the image files).  I've selected to save a .pdf(Adobe Acrobat) file to allow other departments to be able view my design and use it for their purposes.

In the resulting pdf document, layering visibility becomes available, and the end-users can selectively turn layers on and off to view or hide different geometry.  The only drawback to this file type is that the view is static, so if you preferred a different view, you are out of luck.

The second method is to use the Export command.  Simply click on the Application Icon in the top, left corner of the Inventor window, then select Export.  The expanded flyout provides you with an easy to see list of file types to select from for your preferred output.

Below is an example of using the Export command to save a dwf(or dwfx) file from Inventor.  This might be needed for viewing purposes, but is best suited to use for markup and review purposes.

In the Publish Drawing dialog box, you can select different publish options, depending upon the needs of those who will be using/viewing the files. In my teaching, I've often had students submit DWF files to me for grading purposes, which proved to be much easier and more efficient than trying to email design files.  In the example below, I've selected the Complete publish option, and left all other options in their default state. If I had De-selected any of the options, then those features would be disabled for this file when viewed by the end-user.

Because the Complete option was selected, I have made available all associated design files for review.  Autodesk Design Review is used as the file viewer, where I can look at all the drawing and model files.  I can rotate the models, take measurements, and add markups.  These markups can be saved in the file and viewed for modifications.

Image files can also be saved from the Export command.  Simply pick the proper file extension you want, and from the options button, the size of the image, and click Save.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where we will explore exporting files from Inventor using Autodesk Vault.