Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yes There are 4 Navisworks Programs

Many folks think there is only one Navisworks program and are very surprised to hear/see that there are actually 4 programs to choose from.  Okay, 3 that you have to pay for and a free one.  The 3 you have to pay for are Manage, Simulate and Review.  The free one, is Freedom Viewer.  While the literature on Autodesk’s website gives you a very brief overview, some people have been telling us that they really don’t know the difference between the products.  So, I’m going to attempt to explain the differences between all 4 programs in “plain english”.

First, starting with the free program, Freedom Viewer (FV).  FV allows you to view published files from the other 3 programs in either a DWF or NWD format.  (For more on Navisworks formats, see this post.)  You can view DWF files directly created from any program as well…not just from the other Navisworks programs.  FV also allows you to play back animations and 4D simulations, view any saved views (or viewpoints as they are called), object properties (as long as they are saved within the NWD), view comments that were made (including redlines) and be able to turn objects on and off.  What you cannot do is create a project, create redlines, measure, create animations, etc.  Basically, you can’t really create anything in FV.

Next up is Review.  This is the lowest “cost” program in the line-up.  With Review, you can create a project…meaning you can open up and merge together a number of file formats.  You can create redlines, do measurements, create simple animations (walk-thru, fly-by), create sections, create comments and link in database info… to hit the high points.

Next, is Simulate.  Simulate takes everything you could do in Review and adds on functionality.  This functionality includes doing 4D scheduling/animation, add materials, create renderings and animate objects (like opening a door during a walk-thru).

Last, but not least is Manage.  This is the “big boy” that many folks seem to think is the only one.  Manage takes everything discussed above in Review and Simulate and adds in Clash Detection.  Clash Detection is the big thing everyone is talking about…being able to check objects against each other to see if they are either too close or actually clashing.

Hopefully this clears things up a bit.


  1. There is even a 5th! The NW Navigator. This is a plug in you can load in AutoCAD. It produces a Temp NWC file you can navigate in. This is a very powerfull fead back tool when modeling. personaly I would like that AutoDesk upgraded this more, becase it works bettre tahn Walk and Fly in combination with Visual Styles.

    Unfortunatly it reloads unchanged xrefs again (in contradiction with the normal NWC) when reloding a file wher e.g. just one solid is changed, witch costs a lot of time. And one can not get the properties of items like in Freedom.

    We use this Navigator very much with piping engineering in ShipConstructor (


    Erwin Wieringa
    Royal Huisman
    The Netherlands

  2. Finally!!

    It all just about makes sense!

    If you could break this down even more it'd be great. There really isn't any useful (understandable) Autodesk info on Navisworks anywhere...

  3. Erwin, thanks for bringing up the NW Navigator! It definitely helps navigating around in AutoCAD.

    And...Thanks! I'll edit the post and add a little more to it. Maybe some screen shots as well.

  4. Can anyone tell me how to load a plugin in Navisworks Review?

  5. What kind of plug-in are you looking to add to Review?

  6. Can anyone tell me how to load a plugin in Navisworks 2011?
    It is an Export plugin I downloaded from the internet. As you know, in Navisworks 2009, we can use regasm/codecase to register the plugin. After this operation, the plugin can also appear in Navisworks 2011, but it doesn't work. There is a error message as follow:
    "The procedure entry point ??xxxx could not be located in the dynamic link library lcodyplugin.dll"

    Can anyone tell me how to solve this problem?