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How to Lock AutoCAD Drawing Files (.dwg) on Windows Computer

by Edwin Liu | September 2, 2013 14:34 PM
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In many industries, it is necessary to draw out the blueprints before production. The design is extremely important because the preemptive product design means more market opportunities. For the designers, their design drawings partly represent their personal intellectual property right, and should be protected. But, the phenomenon of drawing steal or falsification frequently occurs in working process, therefore, it is a very significant thing for AutoCAD users to lock the drawings (or DWG files) in AutoCAD. Then, How to lock the AutoCAD DWG files? Now let’s have a look.

The purpose of locking the AutoCAD DWG files in two, one is to prevent someone from viewing the drawing contents, the other is that the information in the drawings can be viewed but not be modified or copied. In response to the two requirements, here I will provide several different AutoCAD drawing security solutions for designers.

Ways to protect DWG files from being viewed or stolen

Way1:

AutoCAD’s built-in password protection. Run AutoCAD, from the Tool menu, click the Options button, and then click the Open and Save tab and click the Security Options button to open the password box. Type your password and click OK. When you try to open the DWG file again in AutoCAD, you will be asked to type the correct password. Note that this operation will password protect all later DWG files you saved. If you only want to encrypt a certain drawing, click Save as option from File menu, then in the Save Drawing As dialog box, click the Security Options from the Tool menu, finally click the Password tab to enter your password and click OK.

Way2:

Folder Lock 7. Folder Lock 7 is a well-recognized data security solution which lets you lock, hide, encrypt Office files, CAD drawings, photos, videos & audios, etc on Windows. This software lets you create one or more storage lockers which are encrypted using the U.S-Military-grade 256-bit AES encryption algorithm to store your DWG files. After you add your DWG files to these encrypted lockers, you can import, edit, save the DWG files in AutoCAD as usual, meanwhile, Folder Lock 7 will automatically encrypt the DWG files to keep them in ciphertext status all the time. Folder Lock 7 has a beautiful user interface, and the operation is very simple. Here’s a brief guide:

  1. Free download Folder Lock 7, install and run it on your computer.
  2. When you come to the software’s home screen, click the Encrypt Files option and then the Create Locker icon to build a new password-protected locker for your DWG files.
  3. Open the locker you created by entering the right password, and then drag & drop your target DWG files to it. That’s it.

Once your DWG files are locked by Folder Lock 7, the bad guys can hardly find the location of the DWG files. Even if they find them and copy them to other computers, there will be a pile of garbage waiting for them.

Ways to protect DWG files from being modified

Way1: Exporting AutoCAD drawing as the read-only PDF file. The main steps are as follows:

  1. Open the DWG file in AutoCAD. Click MODEL button to switch to the paper space.
  2. Open the Page Setup dialogue box by clicking the Output tab and then the Page Setup Manager button.
  3. In the Page Setup dialogue box, select “Adobe PDF” under the printer/plotter (If you don’t find the PDF printer, just obtain a virtual PDF printer through Google search and install in on your computer). Set up your paper size (A4 size is relatively common). Select Window on What to plot and check the Center to plot. Finally click OK to return to the paper space layout.
  4. Click the Plot button at the top-left of the screen, then name the file and specify an output folder to save the virtually printed PDF file. That’s it.

Way2: Exporting AutoCAD drawing as DWF file which is a non-editable security file. Others can view, mark, and print the DWF drawing through the free Autodesk&reg or Express Viewer, but can not edit it. Followings are the steps:

  1. Open the drawing in AutoCAD.
  2. Click DWF from Export menu.
  3. Change the file name, destination folder or the layer information by clicking Options.
  4. Click Save to export the DWF file.