August 30, 2016

AutoCAD 2017: How PDF Creation Impacts Importing

The ability to import PDF data into your AutoCAD drawings is a time saving new feature in AutoCAD 2017, which I have explored in two previous posts, AutoCAD 2017: PDF Data Import by Choosing a File (Part 1) and AutoCAD 2017: PDF Data Import by Choosing an Underlay (Part 2). While testing this new feature, I have come across potential confusion around PDF files and how they relate to the import function.

In order to properly import a PDF it is important to understand how the PDF was originally created. PDFs are created in a variety of different software, from specific PDF editing software, like Bluebeam Revu or Adobe Acrobat, to design software such as AutoCAD, Microstation, or a myriad others.

If the PDF was created from a design software such as AutoCAD or Microstation, it was created with vector geometry. When importing PDF data into a drawing from a PDF created with vector data, AutoCAD uses inference to draw the data. Inference is the process of estimating the location of objects to reconstruct them with appropriate associations, object types, and locations.

However, if the PDF was created in a PDF editing software, it may simply not be importable, or, it's possible it will import, but not with all of the data. It depends on the editing software, and the PDF. As an example, if you have added markups to a PDF in Bluebeam Revu, the markups will not be imported when you use the PDF import function, unless the PDF has been flattened. So, be sure to flatten the PDF in your PDF editor, first.

Lastly, if the PDF was created from a scanned image, it will be imported as an image, and you will not obtain any linework from it.

To summarize, knowing how your PDF was created will help you take the right steps to import into AutoCAD successfully.

Thank you for reading. For more information on the software solutions, training and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate Inc. website.

Kate Ming
AEC Application Specialist 
Kate is a California licensed civil engineer with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley. Prior to Ideate, she worked at a multinational company for four years doing general civil design on large infrastructure projects. She is versed in roadway, rail, utility design and site development. She also has experience with utility demand analysis and Low Impact Development plans. As a Civil 3D Autodesk Certified Professional Kate provides training and support for Civil 3D, AutoCAD, and InfraWorks.