There are three ways to incorporate DWG/DXF files into ARCHICAD Projects. The first is to Merge the DWG/DXF file.
ARCHICAD’s Smart Merge Function Allows Intelligent Import of DWG Drawings
The second is to Attach the DWG/DXF file as an Xref file.
The third one is to place the DWG/DXF file as an External Drawing.
The following table shows the differences in the three methods:
Place as Drawing
Attributes Created? (e.g. Layers, Line types, Fill types)
Yes, created during Merge.
Yes, created during Attachment (Xref layers are separated in the layer list).
No attributes created.
Created Attributes Deleted?
Must be deleted individually.
When Detaching, all attributes can be deleted in one step.
No attributes, no such problem.
Individual layers of DWG/DXF file turned on/off?
Yes, by source (Embedded) layers in Drawing Settings
Can file be placed in Model Views?
Can file be placed on Layouts?
Can file have its own Pen Set?
Can its elements be snapped to?
Can its drawing content be resized?
Contents incorporated into and saved with the project?
Yes, immediately becomes part of the project.
Yes, use Bind command in Xref Management Dialog Box.
Yes, use Explode command.
Based on the above table, the solutions for the most common scenarios/requirements are:
Cleanness of attributes. When a DWG/DXF files is merged or attached, dozens of attributes may be created. If you wish to avoid that (e.g. long list of Layers in the Layer Settings Dialog), use the Place External Drawing method instead.
Cleaning up created attributes. The Xref method is preferable to the Merge method, because when you Detach an Xref file from the Project, ARCHICAD offers to delete all attributes coming from the Xref file in one step.
XRef Layers are Separated in the ARCHICAD Layer List
Ability to turn Layers ON/OFF individually. When using the Merge or Xref methods, you can turn the Layers of the imported files on and off individually. When using the Place External Drawing method, all DWG/DXF data are handled as a single unit and are placed on a single layer. The drawing’s source layers are not merged into your project, but you can use Drawing Settings to set the visibility (show/hide) of the DWG’s source layers.
Placement on Layouts. Xref files cannot be directly placed onto Layouts, so if you need to place DWG/DXF files onto Layouts, you should use either the Merge or the Place External Drawing method. (You can place DWG/DXF files in Model Views using any of the three methods.)
Use Pen Set from DWG/DXF file. If you wish to make the Pen Set of the DWG/DXF file part of the Project, use the Place External Drawing method. Then you can save the Pen Set of the Drawing generated from the DWG/DXF file.
Making DWG/DXF data permanently part of the Project File. The Merge method is the one which immediately results in DWG/DXF data becoming part of the Project. An External Drawing must be exploded. As for Xref files, the Bind command is required to achieve the same result.
Since there are some fundamental differences between the handling of attributes in ARCHICAD and AutoCAD, you have to pay special attention to their translation. Before implementing the company standard Translators, we recommend that you test them on a sample file that includes all the company standard layers, fills, line types and pen types. Adding a short description to your Translators is a good idea if there are many of them in the company template file.
Translator Description
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