It’s common that people want to protect their intellectual property. When it comes to AutoCAD drawing, the question is how we can protect our drawing and don’t let people take what’s inside. At least, we don’t want to make it easy for them.
The standard practice is to share our drawing in PDF or DWF format. These file formats can be reviewed and people can add markup/redlining if necessary. But they can’t modify it or use the drawing for their design.
However, sometimes the requirement is DWG. We need to figure out how to protect our DWG before sending it. Unfortunately, there are no features in AutoCAD that can protect your drawing. AutoCAD 2016 doesn’t even provide password protection anymore.
The unexplodable block
There is some workaround available to make it less easy for people to steal your work. The easiest way is to make your whole drawing as an anonymous block. You can’t explode anonymous block or insert it into your drawing. Certainly there is some workaround, but this is much better than nothing.
We can’t create anonymous block directly within the drawing area. Only LISP program can create it. Don’t worry; you don’t have to build it by yourself. WAI engineering provided free LISP routines that you can download. Go to http://www.wai.com.au/ and click the Freebies link in the left sidebar. There are 3 LISPs that you can use, but it seems that the only one that works is WAI-LOCKALL. WAI-LOCK and WAI-LOCKEACH don’t appear to work, probably because they were created for the old version of AutoCAD. I tested them on AutoCAD 2016.
Make a copy of your DWG file, then open the copy. Running WAI-LOCKALL will make your entire drawing as an anonymous block. So make sure you don’t run it on the original file.
This routine will not touch your existing block in your drawing. It means other people can insert your blocks with INSERT command and use it. If you don’t want them to use your block, explode all your blocks before you run the routine. And don’t forget to purge them. Otherwise, your effort will be useless. Exploding all objects before you run the routine probably will be better. Even if they can explode the anonymous block, the drawing will be practically useless.
Hint: Use QSELECT or FILTER to select only blocks.
This is probably not a perfect solution. But it works in most cases, and it’s free. Not many people know anonymous block (But if they read this, now they know) and they will need some time to find out how to explode it.
how i protect drawing from edit if some one need to edit or copy to new page or edit
Thanks for the tip, so far I’ve only had to do the explode everything method a few times to slow down/deter people from stealing designs. Now I rarely agree to give up dwg files, but if I come across needing to I might try this trick out.
How can i see or find out who’s open and copy my drawings, our computers are all linked on the server..
You need a data management software to do this. If you are on subscription, you can use Vault Basic for free. Read more about it here: https://www.cad-notes.com/autodesk-vault-better-data-management/
What I’ve run into here where I work is that my shop drawings are used by others in the fabrication process. Sometimes this creates a situation where the drawing is overwritten accidentally. Other than making the drawing read-only, is there a way to protect it from being overwritten? So far I haven’t figured out a way because the other users need to be able to use my drawings for tagging parts.
You can ask your IT guy to set different permissions for your shared folders. You can have your folder, and only you can save files in it. The others can be configured to use it, but can’t save files in that particular folder.
And you can also consider using Data Management like Vault.
Thank you ever so much!
News letter good tool
I got really excited about this…then realized it involves using a LISP and I’m currently working with LT. But the page is bookmarked and ready when the boss upgrades us to a full version of AutoCAD, I am definitely using this lisp. Thanks Edwin.
It should also be noted that if you are contractually bound to provide your client/partner/whoever with a valid DWG file, then any measures you might take to “protect” the file probably do not fall within the boundaries of the contract.
If you insist, regardless of the circumstances, there is another way of effectively exploding everything in the DWG down to line segments. If you are interested, see http://bit.ly/1wUPBUo
Just to clarify: password protection built into DWG files (when it was available) was in no way any kind of protection. Either you provided the recipient of the file the password, giving them full access to the DWG file, or you didn’t – which would be the same as not giving them the DWG file. It was pointless considering you could easily accomplish the same thing with a password protected ZIP file.