AutoCAD

You may use the PDFIMPORT command in AutoCAD, and then save the new drawing as DXF format file.

Notes: 

  • Lines will become editable geometry and text will become editable text.
  • The accuracy of the resultant AutoCAD content is largely dependent upon the quality of the original PDF, so results may vary.
  • PDF underlays in drawings created with previous AutoCAD releases can be converted into editable drawing geometry using the PDFIMPORT command. 
  • Prior to AutoCAD 2017, it was not possible to convert a PDF file to a DXF file using AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT.
    • PDF files could only be inserted as underlays (external references). The content could then be traced and scaled to known dimensions, if desired.
  • Using PDFIMPORT with PDFs created from scanned images/documents will result in the creation of a raster image file, which is then attached to the drawing as an xref.
    • The raster imagery will not be converted into editable geometry.

PDF vs DXF

The data in PDF format supports the following:

  • Real numbers that are usually represented with single-precision floating-point accuracy in recent versions
  • Five graphical object types: path (line segments and Bézier curves), shading, TrueType™ text, inline image, and external
  • Several properties that include primarily colors, layers, and line widths

In contrast, the data in DXF format supports a far richer data set including the following:

  • Real numbers that are represented with double-precision floating-point accuracy, which is several orders of magnitude more precise than single precision
  • More than 60 types of geometric objects, including compound objects such as dimensions, hatches, and blocks
  • More than 50 types of properties
  • Object associativity such as is available with hatches, blocks, and dimensions

Due to the difference in precision between PDF and DXF formats, the values for coordinates, angles, distances, and widths are rounded off in PDF format. As a result, objects will be modified slightly when you output geometric data to a PDF file. These differences are most noticeable when working with large distances and dynamic ranges, as is common with large maps.

How Objects are Translated from pdf to dxf?

When a PDF file is generated, all supported objects are translated into paths, fills, raster images, markups, and TrueType text. In PDF, paths are composed of line segments and cubic Bézier curves, either connected or independent. However, when a PDF file is converted to DXF, note the following:

  • Bézier curves are converted into circles and arcs if they are within a reasonable tolerance to those shapes. Otherwise, they are converted into 2D polylines.
  • Elliptical shapes can be converted into 2D polylines, splines, or ellipses depending on how they were stored in the PDF.
  • As an option, each set of approximately collinear segments can be combined into a polyline with a dashed linetype named PDF_Import.
  • Compound objects such as dimensions, leaders, patterned hatches, and tables result in many separate objects as if these objects were exploded.
  • Solid-filled areas are imported as 2D solids, or optionally as solid-filled hatches. They are assigned a 50% transparency to make sure that any text within the areas is visible.
  • Text that used TrueType fonts is preserved, but text that originally used SHX fonts is imported as separate geometric objects.
  • Raster images generate PNG format files that are attached to the drawing file as external references. These image files are saved in a folder specified by the PDFIMPORTIMAGEPATH system variable, which can also be specified in the Options dialog box, Files tab.
  • Point objects are converted to zero-length polylines.
  • Markups are not imported.

If your AutoCAD is Prior to AutoCAD 2017, you may choose our AutoDWG PDF to DXF Converter or Online PDF to DXF Conversion to convert pdf to dxf, the converter supports batch conversions.

AutoDWG PDF to DXF Converter Pro

AutoDWG PDF to DXF Converter allows you to quickly and accurately convert mutiple PDF files to editable DXF formats, with support for vector and raster images.

PDF to DXF Conversion Free online

  1. Upload your pdf file to AutoDWG pdf to dxf online converter
  2. Wait a few seconds and then download your converted DXF
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AutoCAD has been available since 1982 and is considered by many the grandfather of computer-aided design (CAD). The software comes with an array of features that make it a versatile tool for many industries, including industry-specific features and toolsets for engineering, architecture, graphic design, city planning, and even project management.

All of these features come at a cost: currently $1,975 per year, to be precise. Autodesk no longer offers perpetual licenses for AutoCAD, so it’s accessible only with a subscription. It’s a significant cost for non-professional users.

Following are the best AutoCAD alternatives.

BricsCAD

Cost: Annual subscriptions from $314 (Lite), One-Time fee from $590(Lite)

BricsCAD is best known for having rich features in both 2D drawing and 3D modeling. There are five BricsCAD editions so you can choose the BricsCAD that suits your needs best. Whether you’re working in 2D, 3D or both, there’s a BricsCAD for you. Choose from BricsCAD® Lite, BricsCAD® Pro, BricsCAD® BIM, BricsCAD® Mechanical or BricsCAD® Ultimate.

BricsCAD Lite Version

It’s fully compatible with templates, blocks, and sheets created within AutoCAD, with the extra advantage of natively supporting LISP routines and dynamic blocks. BricsCAD also claims to apply AI-based tools to recognize user intent and optimize tasks through the Blockify feature.

Direct 3D modeling tools are available with the Pro subscription (and above), with the Lite version only offering 2D drafting tools. The Platinum edition offers more advanced features than even those of AutoCAD, including sheet metal modeling. For those looking to use the software in the long term, BricsCAD also offers perpetual licenses for around double the price of an annual license, plus a small annual maintenance fee to keep your software updated.

DraftSight

Cost: Annual subscriptions from $250 (Professional) or $550 (Premium)

DraftSight is developed by the French company Dassault Systèmes, it provides an easy transition from AutoCAD by offering a familiar user interface. In fact, it shares a similar 2D drafting layer system that facilitates version control and revisions, and it also natively works with AutoCAD’s dynamic blocks. In addition, it can easily compare designs, add hardware symbols, and even append PDF files to the project file.

DraftSight Standard is no longer available since it merged with DraftSight Professional, and the Premium license includes all of the latter’s features and adds full 3D capabilities. Note that DraftSight Profesional does not include 3D modeling tools.

Key features: Familiar interface, dynamic blocks, image tracing

DWGSee CAD

Cost: One-Time Fee $198.00 USD

DWGSee CAD is a software application designed to view, edit, annotate, and manage DWG files. It’s developed by AutoDWG, allowing users to open and interact with DWG files without needing the full AutoCAD software.

DWGSee CAD provides functionalities such as viewing, editing, measuring, markup tools, layer management, and batch printing for DWG files. It’s particularly useful for users who need to review, modify, collaborate, and make annotations on CAD drawings but may not require the full range of design and drafting capabilities offered by AutoCAD.

The software is known for its user-friendly interface, ease of use, and compatibility with various versions of DWG files. DWGSee can be beneficial for professionals across industries such as architecture, engineering, construction, and manufacturing who need to view and analyze DWG files but don’t necessarily need to create or modify them extensively.

FreeCAD

Cost: Free

FreeCAD is an open-source CAD program best known for its parametric 3D modeling capabilities. Although not directly supported, DWG files can be easily imported and exported via the free ODA Converter plug-in. On the other hand, it does offer BIM support by default.

However, FreeCAD is more of a mechanical engineering tool, with its 2D drafting environment leaning toward technical drawings of parts and components. The parametric associative features automatically update drawings whenever a change is made to the 3D model.

FreeCAD can be extended through plug-ins, though, so it’s possible to shape it for the user’s needs. The software is completely free for any use.

Key features: Parametric 3D modeling tools, extendable with plug-ins

LibreCAD

Cost: Free

LibreCAD is a free, high-quality open-source 2D modeling program that grew out of QCAD. It’s particularly popular among Linux users who need a free tool to read DWG files. LibreCAD is resource-light and can operate on average hardware.

The interface is similar to AutoCAD’s but is rather uncluttered by comparison, presenting a friendlier alternative for the beginner user.

NanoCAD

Cost: annual subscriptions from $249

NanoCAD is a multi-purpose drafting tool developed by Nanosoft, it supports DWG files natively and offers a familiar layout and set of tools for AutoCAD users.

The software offers Excel-style table-editing tools, expediting documentation work by allowing macros and formulas to be embedded in each cell. NanoCAD also has open sets of APIs for building task automation applications, which can be a time saver.

Extra modules can be purchased to add parametric 3D modeling tools and a large library of standard parts, among many features.

Key features: Excel-style table editing

ProgeCAD

Cost: $400 for Professional version

ProgeCAD is yet another professional CAD program that works natively with DWG files and has a familiar user interface for AutoCAD users. It offers 3D modeling and fully supports BIM objects and dynamic blocks.

There are two primary versions available for Windows: ProgeCAD Professional and ProgeCAD Architecture. A third and somewhat different version is available for MacOS, the ICADMAC, which is general-purpose CAD software. All licenses are perpetual.

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AutoCAD LT is the lower-cost version of AutoCAD, with reduced capabilities, first released in November 1993. Autodesk developed AutoCAD LT to have an entry-level CAD package to compete in the lower price level. Priced at $490, it became the first AutoCAD product priced below $1000. It was sold directly by Autodesk and in computer stores unlike the full version of AutoCAD, which must be purchased from official Autodesk dealers. AutoCAD LT 2015 introduced Desktop Subscription service from $360 per year; as of AutoCAD LT 2024, three subscription plans were available, from $60 a month to a 3-year, $1470 license.

PricingAutoCAD LTAutoCAD
Monthly$60 $245 
Annual$490 $1,975 
3 years$1,470 $5,925 

While there are hundreds of small differences between the full AutoCAD package and AutoCAD LT, there are a few recognized major differences in the software’s features:

  • 3D capabilities: AutoCAD LT lacks the ability to create, visualize and render 3D models as well as 3D printing.
  • Network licensing: AutoCAD LT cannot be used on multiple machines over a network.
  • Customization: AutoCAD LT does not support customization with LISP, ARX, .NET and VBA.
  • Management and automation capabilities with Sheet Set Manager and Action Recorder.
  • CAD standards management tools.

One of the biggest differences between AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT is that AutoCAD LT provides precision 2D drafting and documentation capabilities, while AutoCAD also provides 3D functionalities. AutoCAD LT supports some customization through capabilities like AutoLISP. However, it does not include third party connections, development tools, or the seven specialized toolsets.

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Blocks can contain special objects called attribute definitions, also known as block attributes. Attributes can be added to a block to store values such as part numbers, product names, ratings, descriptions, item cost, and so on. Some block attributes can contain static information such as a part number, while other block attributes can include information that varies from one block to the next such as its finish, cost or location. All block attribute values can later be extracted into a table object or CSV file that can be imported into another application.

Some of the common uses for attributes are:

  • Title blocks which can contain different Project and Client information from drawing to drawing or even layout to layout
  • Room, door, and window labels
  • Blocks that represent physical objects or locations which need to be tracked in the real-world; screws, office furniture, and land plats

The ability to extract attribute information from blocks into a table object or CSV file for use in another application can help save time and reduce costly errors that might occur from re-entering the data. The Data Extraction wizard is the most efficient way to extract attribute information from blocks inserted into a drawing. It can also be used to extract property values that are associated with the other types of geometry defined in a drawing along with general information about a drawing file.

Extract Block Attribute Data in AutoCAD

  1. Open drawing that contains blocks with attributes that you want to extract.
  2. Enter DATAEXTRACTION at the command prompt.
  3. In the Data Extraction Wizard, choose Create a New Data Extraction and click Next to continue.
  4. Specify a name and location for the new DXE file, such as Office Furniture.dxe and place it in your My Documents folder.A DXE file is a data extraction file which is used to store the extraction settings chosen in the Data Extraction wizard, and to then be able to use those same settings when extracting data from other drawing files.
  5. Use the Drawings/Sheet Set and Include Current Drawing options, and click Next to continue.
  6. Clear the Display All Object Types checkbox and choose Display Blocks Only, and click Next to continue.
  7. Under Category Filter, clear all options except Attribute and then make sure the properties checked match the attribute values to extract.
  8. Double-click the Display Name field for each attribute and change its value to match the previous image. Click Next to continue.
  9. On the Refine Data page, reorder, rename and hide columns to control the extracted output. Click Next to continue.
  10. On the Choose Output page, check Insert Data Extraction Table into the Drawing and click Next.
  11. On the Table Style page, select the table style to use and type an appropriate name for the title of the table. Click Next and then Finish to place the table in the drawing.

Batch Extract Block Attribute Data with AutoDWG Attribute Extractor

AutoDWG Attribute Extractor is for batch extracting of attribute data from AutoCAD attribute blocks without running AutoCAD.

  • Stand-alone application, run without AutoCAD.
  • Batch extract attribute data from numerous files in one go.
  • Output format of TXT, CSV and Excel file are supported.
  • Command line is supported (Server version only).
  • DWG/DXF file versions from R9 to 2024 are supported.
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Starting from AutoCAD 2015, the classic workspace is no longer included as the default workspace.

To recreate the classic workspace, perform the following actions.

1, Display the Classic Menu

Click Quick Access Toolbar drop-down > Show Menu Bar

2, Hide the Ribbon

Click Tools menu > Palettes > Ribbon.

Note: Make sure you have a drawing open so the Tools menu is included.

3, Display the Toolbars You Require

  • Click Tools menu > Toolbars and select the required toolbar.
  • Repeat until all required toolbars are visible.

4, Save the Workspace

  1. Click Tools menu > Workspaces > Save Current As.
  2. In the Save Workspace dialog box, in the Name box, type AutoCAD Classic.
  3. Click Save.

How to Use a Script to Recreate the Classic Workspace Automaticly?

Download and run the script included in the Classic Workspace Script.zip file:

  1. Click the attached ZIP file to download it.
  2. Extract the ZIP file to find the ClassicWS.scr script file.
  3. Start AutoCAD.
  4. Drag the ClassicWS.scr file into any drawing window or use the SCRIPT command to run it.

Note: The ZIP attachment also contains CUIx files from AutoCAD 2014 and AutoCAD LT 2014. These files may be used to manually import the Classic Workspace as described later in this article.

See also:

Best Lightweight CAD With AutoCAD Classic Interface

DWGSee CAD– A lightweight CAD program with AutoCAD classic interface and lifetime license

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