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jim1

Creating a read only or locking a DWG file?

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jim1

How do we lock a dwg file so that the person that opens it can only view it?

 

We only want the file to have basic capabilities such as zoom and pan?

 

We would be willing to save the file as a different file format and resave or paste it into a dwg to accomplish this?

But we need to mantain the dwg format?

 

The read only function within windows won't work as it gives the person the ability to turn of the read only function and resave the file after modifying it.

 

We need to prevent any type of modificatons to the file by a third party user, ie. clients?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Jim

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ReMark

Send the file as a PDF. That is your best best.

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Tiger

This comes up time and time again, I maintain that a PDF is the most secure way to do what you are asking to do. Someone with enough wit and time can always crack whatever code or lock you put on the DWG.

 

That said, if you search on this site (and look at Similar Threads at the bottom of this page) for locking dwg, you'll find lots of threads about this with suggestions on various ways to do it.

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jim1

Does the client not also have to have this cadlock software? $300

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ReMark
Does the client not also have to have this cadlock software? $300

 

Doesn't look like it to me. But they do need the CADVault object enabler installed which is free to download from the CADVault website.

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Tiger

Please don't post your question more than once, it clutters up the forum. I have merged your threads here.

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rkmcswain
Send the file as a PDF. That is your best best.

 

I maintain that a PDF is the most secure way to do what you are asking to do.

 

Just curious as to why you think PDF is secure? If you print to PDF, I can convert this back to vector in almost no time. Scanning to PDF is better, but it can still be traced over; about the same as giving someone a hard copy.

 

Regardless, the OP said "...we need to mantain the dwg format" (I know (s)he ended this statement with a question mark, based on the context I think it was a statement, not a question.)

 

Someone with enough wit and time can always crack whatever code or lock you put on the DWG.

 

I have always heard that CADLOCK is virtually unbreakable. Do you have any evidence where it has been cracked? Thanks.

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ReMark

rkm: Then you have worked with a PDF file that has been converted to vector? What, if any, drawbacks did you encounter? And don't say "none".

 

Jim: Does the client have AutoCAD too?

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rkmcswain
rkm: Then you have worked with a PDF file that has been converted to vector? What, if any, drawbacks did you encounter? And don't say "none".

 

We used to do it pretty often, but less often now that you can xref a PDF into a DWG. Many standard details from local regulatory agencies are only provided in PDF format, and conversion to DWG gave us a better end result than converting to TIF and using that.

 

I think what you are fishing for is..... yes, you potentially lose layers, styles, blocks, text etc., Of course the result is fair to poor depending on several factors, but even a bad conversion is hours of time saved compared to redrawing from scratch.

 

For the purpose of this thread, we don't really know what the OP is trying to accomplish.

Assuming (s)he is required to send a DWG as was stated, then what is the purpose of wanting to allow view only???? Keep them from copying blocks???, stop them from printing???, prevent them from doing a Save or SaveAs????, all of the above?, something else?

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nukecad

I also have converted PDF to .dwg in the past using a downloaded converter.

 

Drawbacks?

Firstly it has to be a vector pdf to be able to convert it to a .dwg (there are raster and vector pdfs).

Everything was converted to lines on layer 0. (I think some, not all, circles and arcs were retained but no polylines or splines).

Dashed or chain dot lines were converted as seperate line segments.

Dimensions were seperate lines as if exploded.

Text was converted to lines.

Scale could be off depending on how the the pdf was created.

Axes could be skewed depending on how the pdf was created.

Everything was in modelspace.

 

All in all not very brilliant, but there again how good a conversion can you expect without a lot of user input.

At least a competent user would be able to sort out the scale and the skew fairy easily and could then use osnaps to trace their own lines over it.

 

Maybe the current crop of converters out there have improved, but I wouldnt expect miracles.

 

PS. If I can find one that I converted I will attach it to a later post; or why not download one of the free convertors and try for yourself.

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ReMark

Yes, I was fishing and I caught what I had expected.

 

Too many people hear "PDF to DWG" conversion and think they've hit the jackpot only to find out they may have many frustrating hours of work ahead of them to clean it up. Personally, I don't see too many clients going through all that trouble. They could always turn around and send the PDF to a job shop (probably in India or China) and pay $10 to have it manually reproduced and shipped back! So much simpler and cheaper in the end don't you think?

 

You raise some good questions and as you point out the OP has not been that forthcoming with the necessary information so we can fully understand what his motive is for wanting to lock the drawing. If his company does have this time of need on a continuing basis I would agree with your original suggestion regarding CADLOCK. Any other method can be circumvented with enough time and/or money.

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ReMark

I have a "scan" of a building layout here that is almost 3MB in size. The original dwg file is roughly 240KB. I wouldn't recommend using scanning services for anything other than archival purposes.

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rkmcswain

Too many people hear "PDF to DWG" conversion and think they've hit the jackpot only to find out they may have many frustrating hours of work ahead of them

 

Yes, it is just part 2 of the older, but similar, problem of "how do I convert my plot file to a DWG"... sure you can do it, but you get a flat, inaccurate "picture" of the drawing. PDF and DWFs are little more than plot files, so you generally get the same result. Having said that, for someone determined enough - then even a paper copy is a giant head start in recreating a drawing compared to starting with a blank DWG.

 

A couple of more ideas for the OP - DETER.VLX found at http://www.dotsoft.com/freestuff.htm uses some tricks that your average joe would not figure out, and I remember an old trick from long ago where you install the DXB printer (comes with AutoCAD), and print to that and them import the resulting DXB file back into AutoCAD, and save that as your drawing. IIRC, the result is similar to what NukeCad said -- everything is exploded into tiny pieces even thought on the surface it looks the same...

 

Above and beyond all of this, what does the contract say about the deliverable? If you have to turn over a usable DWG, then I wouldn't advise using one of the above methods.

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Tiger
Just curious as to why you think PDF is secure? If you print to PDF, I can convert this back to vector in almost no time. Scanning to PDF is better, but it can still be traced over; about the same as giving someone a hard copy.

 

Which is why I said the most secure, compared to sending a DWG.

 

 

 

I have always heard that CADLOCK is virtually unbreakable. Do you have any evidence where it has been cracked? Thanks.

 

I have no evidence at all, my opinion was just that, my opinion. But I still believe that with enough time and energy, nothing is unbreakable.

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rkmcswain
Which is why I said the most secure, compared to sending a DWG.

I would say CADLOCK is the most secure.

 

 

 

I have no evidence at all, my opinion was just that, my opinion. But I still believe that with enough time and energy, nothing is unbreakable.

I suspect it might take less time and energy to just recreate the drawing from scratch...

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Raymondo

I've been using CADLock/vault for a while on and off and I have not encounter anyone 'breaking' the security.

 

However the main problem is convincing your PM/Sales Dept. they need tell the client to install a piece of software to view/print your files and then the task of getting the client to agree to that. I've never managed to achieve this but working for a small to medium company I guess that's expected.

 

We do however still use CADLock on any native files sent. With a few setting tweaks they will get files that are about as useful as a vectorised PDF with no need to install software. That's the best I've managed so far. The support from CADlock is pretty good as well.

I was thinking Autodesk must have taken out some patents or something that prevents true 'locking'. They seem to be developing their own vault type of software... probably soon released at a high initial cost and with a need to purchase a new version every year, cheaper if you subscribe ;)

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