AutoCAD 2017 Feature – Share Design View

An interesting new feature of AutoCAD 2017 is Share Design View, which is invoked using the leftmost button on the A360 Ribbon tab or the ONLINEDESIGNSHARE command. The idea behind this command is to create a web-published snapshot of your drawing that can be accessed by anyone with a browser (they’ll need a fairly recent one).

This command works as advertised and provides another option to allow limited access to your design information without providing access to your DWG files. It creates a web page containing a view of your drawing and lets you have the URL (link) so you can access it. You can then share this URL with anyone you want to share the design with. They just follow the URL and can view the design using the Autodesk A360 Viewer (no download required).

Heidi Hewett wrote a fuller description of how it works on the AutoCAD blog that would be pointless to reproduce here.

One caveat: although Autodesk describes the design’s location as secure and anonymous, it’s important to understand that it’s an open location. Anybody with that URL has access to that page. Although the URL is long, complex and probably unguessable, if you email somebody that URL and they start an email forward/reply chain that ends up with other people, all of those people can also access that page and you might never know about it. Also, the index that Autodesk must maintain for all of these pages would be a prime target for hackers looking to steal design content, at which point “secure and anonymous” will be meaningless.

So maybe don’t use this method to share your nuclear plant designs. Also, rescind any sensitive designs as soon as access is no longer needed, in order to limit the exposure time (see About Conferring with Clients and Colleagues Online). The URL stays active for 30 days unless you rescind it earlier.

Autodesk is to be commended for providing this feature and documenting it well and honestly. There is little evidence of the misleading hype about security that tainted Autodesk’s DWF marketing back in the day. Here’s a Cloud-based feature that adds value to AutoCAD with little or no downside. Just be aware of its semi-open nature and use it appropriately.

Note: this feature requires A360 to be selected during installation or deployment creation (which it is by default). If A360 is not installed, the Share Design View button will be greyed out. The command will still exist and will attempt to connect to A360 but will then fail with a Service Unavailable message.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *