I started to find the Autodesk Vault Preview orientation incorrect in portrait drawings. Autodesk Vault allow users to preview their CAD file data using DWF files. However the preview orientation for the sheets can often show up poorly if your configuration is setup poorly.

I didn’t see the issue for some time, because most of our work is in landscape. I noticed a trend where the portrait sheets were previewed with the wrong sized paper and were not to scale. What was actually happening was landscape was being forced onto the portrait drawing. The preview generation settings were wrong.

The DWF files, are hidden by default, and are shown through the Preview Tab in the Vault. You can opt out of this, and expose the DWF files which are stored alongside the DWG and respective PDF files. The DWF is still stored there, you just can’t see them by default. These files also referred to as ‘Visualization Attachments’.

Troubleshooting the Vault Preview

I reviewed the rather few Autodesk Vault forum comments describing similar symptoms and was often steered to the DWF Fine Tuning Article at Autodesk. Both of these are useful and helped me figure out the issue, but it was the first link that saved me.

The troubleshooting for this issue was essentially identify:

  1. what method is being used to create the DWF preview file and,
  2. what settings are being used during the process.

The settings are scattered about in a few different places.

The variations of apparently overlapping regions of control can be disorienting. So, to get a decent control baseline, you need to test the DWF creation separately to see if it is CAD software creating the problem, or just the Vault settings. In my case, AutoCAD created a perfectly oriented DWF file with no extra intervention from me. So the problem is in the Vault settings.

Job Processor or Local Preview Creation

There are two indirect methods that are used to automate the DWF preview file creation: Local machine creation and by using the Job Processor. The decision is made at check-in, and is found behind the Settings button on the Check-In dialog.

‘Create during check-in’ will cause your machine to take the task, and will add a delay to the check-in process. Offloading to the Job Processor allows you to tell the Vault to farm this operation off to a server at a later time and speed up your process. See the addendum below for information about the Job Processor’s default files and paths.

The Vault Visualization Settings

The settings that I am focused on today are the Vault settings. You can find these here: Vault -> Tools -> Administration -> Vault Settings -> Visualization Tab -> Options button.

These are the Civil 3D settings related to this process; However there is a section for all the different AutoCAD varieties out there. You can set various options here that can be controlled beyond the ‘SetupDWG’ files mentioned above. Note if you will, the Orientation setting.

I presumed this was the default setting if my drawing file did not indicate what the page setup needed to be, and I was correct. I changed the orientation, but still had problems. The page size was still holding a minimum of 11×17, as you can see specified above. Each sheet in my drawings are setup with the sheet size and orientation as needed, and none are this default. After a little head scratching, I found a Chris Benner comment that saved the day.

There is a hidden setting that’s found in the AutoCAD COMMON setting. I never even realized that COMMON item was there.

After I opened the dialog I saw it immediately: “Use Page Settings From User Dwg”. I think the shocking part is that it was set to off by default. What the hell?

Addendum Notes about Preview Visualization Generation Default Drawings

This article is intended to offer some background for DWF preview Visualization Attachments, and to help solve on portion of associated issues. Therefore I am only going to offer a brief synopsis of the Autodesk distributed information.

The DWF Preview files are created using either your AutoCAD system with it’s respective AutoCAD Vault Add-on, or by the Job Processor aka Job Server.

Previews generated locally area controlled by a base default CAD file used named either “Setup.dwg”, “ACM_setup.dwg”, or “TrueViewSetup.dwg” depending on your software. The baseline settings are stored therein and can be modified as desired. The default file path is C:\users\<user profile>\Application Data\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 20XX Vault AddIn\”.

Preview files generated by the Job Processor or the Vault Preview Update are handled using Autodesk TrueView. These are controlled by the “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Vault [Edition] 20xx\Explorer\TrueViewSetup.dwg” file.

Take a look at the DWF Fine Tuning Article for a lot more information.

More Vault Reading