How To Convert PDF To CAD File 2020


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How To Convert PDF To CAD File 2020

Overview of Converting PDF to CAD

Converting a PDF to a CAD file is a common requirement for professionals in the fields of engineering, architecture, and construction. This process involves transforming a flat, non-editable document into a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) file that can be manipulated and edited using specialized software like AutoCAD. CAD files offer precision and flexibility for design modifications that PDFs do not allow. Understanding how to convert a PDF to a CAD file can streamline workflow, improve productivity, and ensure that design information is easily transferable between different stages of a project.

Benefits of Converting PDF to CAD

  • Editable Designs: CAD files allow for easy manipulation and editing of the design elements.
  • Enhanced Accuracy: CAD formats provide superior precision for technical drawings compared to PDFs.
  • Better Integration: CAD files are better suited for integration with various design and simulation tools.
  • Improved Collaboration: Sharing editable designs with team members or clients enhances collaborative efforts.
  • Scalability: CAD files can be scaled without losing quality, which is crucial for detailed engineering plans.

Step-by-Step Guide to Convert PDF to CAD File

Follow these steps to convert a PDF document into a CAD file using manual tracing or automatic conversion methods. This guide focuses on the automatic conversion method using Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD as an example.


  • Ensure you have Adobe Illustrator installed for converting vector PDFs to DWG format.
  • Ensure you have AutoCAD or similar CAD software installed to open and edit the converted DWG file.

Step 1: Open the PDF in Adobe Illustrator

  • Launch Adobe Illustrator on your computer.
  • Navigate to ‘File’ > ‘Open’ and select the PDF file you wish to convert.
  • If prompted, choose the page or pages you want to convert and click ‘OK’.

Step 2: Check for Vector Content

Step 3: Save the File as DWG

  • With the PDF open in Illustrator, go to ‘File’ > ‘Save As…’.
  • In the save dialog, choose ‘AutoCAD Drawing (*.dwg)’ as the file format.
  • Click ‘Save’, then configure any necessary options in the DWG/DXF Export Options dialog box.
  • Click ‘OK’ to complete the export process.

Step 4: Import DWG into AutoCAD

  • Open AutoCAD on your computer.
  • Navigate to ‘File’ > ‘Open’ or press ‘Ctrl + O’ and select the exported DWG file.
  • Inspect the file for accuracy and make any necessary adjustments within AutoCAD.

Tips for Successful Conversion

  • Always check if the PDF content is primarily vector before attempting conversion; raster images may require redrawing or tracing within CAD software.
  • Clean up the PDF beforehand by removing any unnecessary elements or text that you don’t want to include in the CAD file.
  • Remember that text within PDFs may not always convert perfectly, so it might require manual adjustment after conversion.
  • For raster images, consider using specialized software with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capabilities to aid in conversion.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • If lines appear jagged or text is not editable after conversion, double-check that you’re working with a vector PDF and not a scanned raster image.
  • In case of missing elements after opening in AutoCAD, ensure all layers were visible and unlocked in Illustrator before saving as DWG.
  • If colors or line weights do not match original expectations, adjust them manually within AutoCAD after import.

Note: The actual steps may vary depending on the software versions used, but this guide provides a general approach applicable to most recent versions as of 2020. For best results, always use up-to-date software and refer to specific instructions provided by your software’s help resources if you encounter issues unique to your version.

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