Importing PDF Files into AutoCAD

Tips on bringing a PDF image into AutoCAD for use in your drawings. April 16, 2010

Question
Many manufacturers post drawings of their products for download in a PDF format. Is it possible to import a PDF drawing into AutoCAD?

Forum Responses
(CAD Forum)
From contributor E:
Depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you need to be able to modify or interact with the drawings directly inside AutoCAD there are a couple of limited options. The first being AutoCAD 2010 or 2009 (with PDF Subscription Bonus Pack) can attach PDFs and let you snap and interact with the geometry of them IF (big if) the PDF was generated with a decent PDF printer driver directly from the software the drawing was produced in. Scanned in PDF's don't work.

The other option is the slew of available third party tools that claim varying degrees of success at importing PDF's into AutoCAD as DXF's or similar. From some brief trials of them, I haven't seen one thatís really worth bothering with, let alone they aren't cheap typically for not being very good. Your best bet is still to request a DXF or DWG from the original source. Some companies are pretty good about providing them if you simply ask (assuming they have them).



From contributor A:
Rhinoceros 3-D CAD can directly import vector based PDF's. You "open with" Rhino and specify scale factor. Or import and dimension one of the PDF dims and then scale to the factor of desired dim divided by actual dimension in Rhino. This will work well for most PDF's plotted from vector based programs. Adobe Illustrator will do the same thing but is less functional for CAD. Rhino is a sweet CAD program. Either AI or Rhino will save as a DXF for AutoCAD. Rhino will also do DWG and layers and layer colors will work in AutoCAD. I CNC cut off of designer/ architectís PDF's all the time. Good luck!


From contributor S:
Corel Draw does that. Import PDF in to Corel and then export it in to DWG. Results are terrible but it produces true vector file. PDF must be vector based, not scanned image.



From contributor Y:
The easiest way is to convert PDF to JPEG and then insert JPEG into AutoCAD and redraw the objects to the desired dimensions.


From contributor K:
If you know someone with Adobe Illustrator then you can have them open the PDF in Illustrator and save it as a DWG file or WMF and then you can bring it into AutoCAD. The scale might be off but you can correct this if you have a reference dimension. This is assuming that the PDF is not password protected and that it isnít a picture scanned into a PDF file.


From contributor D:
You can use Pdfin PDF to DWG converter from AutoDWG.