Bringing PDFs into AutoCAD

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Bringing PDFs into AutoCAD

6 Oct, 2009 By: Lynn Allen


Circles & Lines tutorial: Two of the biggest crowd-pleasers in AutoCAD 2010 are its new PDF import and underlay features.

As I travel around Introducing AutoCAD 2010 to the user community, I've Observed fact the biggest crowd-pleasers by far havebeen the new PDF features in this latest version. Although we've been able to export AutoCAD drawing files to PDF for a while now, we have not had the ability to bring PDF files back into AutoCAD Those. Finally, with AutoCAD 2010, this top AUGI wish list item as completed granted.

The PDF file Actually Becomes of underlay When Brought into AutoCAD. You can clip the underlay, snap to it, control layer display, etc. If you are using the Ribbon - simply go to the Attach option of the Insert tab to import the PDF or you can key in the new Attach command. With this command you'll find the option of inserting a PDF file as to underlay.

Bringing PDFs into AutoCAD
Use the Attach command to insert your PDF file.

After Selecting the proper PDF file, you'll need to specify things: such as the insertion point and scale factor as seen in the figure. You can therefore choose Which layouts you want to insert.

Bringing PDFs into AutoCAD
Specify the scale, insertion point and layout for your PDF.

As Mentioned, a PDF file will be Brought into AutoCAD as to underlay, much as DWF and DGN files. Unfortunately there's no way to convert a PDF file to AutoCAD object to yet - Perhaps that's something we'll see in the future. Because you can snap to the objects in the PDF file, you at least can recreate the objects by tracing over them. Note, HOWEVER, That You can snap to objects only in PDF files thatwere made using AutoCAD of 2010.

For all of you who have switched back to the user interface AutoCAD Classic (not the Ribbon), you'll really be missing out here. If you have the Ribbon enabled and you select a PDF file, the ribbon automatically changes to a new tab based Entirely on your PDF, shown in the figure below. I absolutely love this feature!

The context-sensitive Ribbon menu in AutoCAD 2010 automatically switches to PDF Underlay When a PDF underlay is inserted.

This new Ribbon tab shows us everything we can do with our new PDF underlay, making it easier on us to figure out. Let's start with clipping our PDF.

Select Create Clipping Boundary from the Ribbon and pick the area you want to use to clip your PDF underlay. This process works much the same as Imageclip, DWFClip, etc. For Those of you still rebelling against the Ribbon, you can use the new clip command.

The clipped area has a dynamic boundary That Can Be Easily modified with the grips as shown in the figure below. You can therefore invert the clip just as you can with xrefs so did the inside is clipped rather than the outside. To remove the clipping boundary, select Remove clipping from the ribbon - it just does not get much easier than that.

Bringing PDFs into AutoCAD
Easily modify the clipped PDF using grips.

How about layers? If the PDF created with what Layer information included (see "A Wish Comes True PDF!" For more info), you can turn the PDF layers on and off. Select Edit Layers from the Ribbon, and you'll open the Underlay Layers dialog box shown below.

Bringing PDFs into AutoCAD
Easily turn the PDF layers on and off.

You can find out if the Quickly layer display has been modified from the original PDF file in the Properties palette shown below.

Bringing PDFs into AutoCAD
If the original layer display has been modified in any way, the properties will change the Layer Display Override to Applied.

Double-clicking on a PDF boundary will send you to the Properties palette. Here you'll find a wide range of so That You can modify options, Including the original scaleFactor of the PDF.

The most important new capability is being able probably to snap to the objects. Make sure the Enable Snap option is on, and you'll be able to snap to the PDF objects just as you would with a standard AutoCAD object. This ability makes it easy for you to measure and draw relative to synthesis existing objects. You might want to fade your PDF to see any drawn objects (so easily done in the Ribbon) or even hide the PDF all together by deselecting the Show PDF option. You can therefore control the contrast and convert the PDF to monochrome.

Maybe it's me, but I had some issues working with the Fade and Contrast slider bars. You might prefer to just key in values ​​rather than fight with the touchy sliders.

If you work in a environment where you frequently are given PDF files to work with, then you're going to love the new PDF underlay capabilities in AutoCAD 2010. I love the ease of use, and I can not wait to see more features for PDFs in the future.

Until next month, Happy AutoCAD-ing!