DXF-DWG Export Translator Settings

by GRAPHISOFT, ShaunCoomber, Katalin Götz and Katalin Borszéki · updated: 08.03.2015

Available: File > File Special > DXF-DWG Translation Setup

 

By clicking on a Translator during export, you can see and edit its content in the fields below, which falls into six main groups:

  • Drawing Unit
  • Open Options
  • Save Options
  • Attributes
  • Miscellaneous
  • Custom functions

 

 

Drawing Units

  • Value of 1 DXF/DWG Drawing Unit in ArchiCAD: As you export or import something in DXF or  DWG, you must set the size and distance conversion factor to ensure that ArchiCAD interprets  the data correctly.
  • Prefer Drawing Unit definition in DXF/DWG file. This checkbox means that ArchiCAD will use  the Drawing Unit definition as set in the original imported DXF/DWG file.
  • If no such original definition is available, or if you want to redefine it, use the pop up list to  choose either a standard drawing unit (1 meter, 1 millimeter, 1 inch, 1 foot); or a custom unit  (any number of millimeters or inches).

When opening a DXF/DWG file, you must define a scale at which you would like to see the  correct ratios of elements drawn in AutoCAD. This particularly applies to arrowheads, symbol  line types and symbol fills.

Set Scale Factor for converting texts and arrowheads: Choose one of the three options:

  • Set scale factor separately with each conversion
  • Use constant factor for all conversions
  • Always use the scale set in the currently active ArchiCAD window

Open Options

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 14.02.15

These are options in the DXF/DWG Translation Setup dialog box.

  • AutoCAD Block translation with the additional option of including 3D Data in the resulting  Library Parts
  • The conversion of Dimensions
  • Import of ArchiCAD Hatch Blocks
  • Conversion format of pictures contained in AutoCAD drawings
  • 3D Conversion when AutoCAD drawing is opened as Library Part
  • Filter, by layer, the elements to be converted into ArchiCAD.

 

  • Opening as FloorPlan: TranslateAutoCADBlocks as:
    • 2D Elements
    • Grouped 2D Elements
    • Library Parts
  • Translate Dimensions As:
    • Lines and Text: you don‘t create a dimension out of the dimension entity; rather you use the  drawing details stored in the file to get the same look (arrowheads, colors, text positions) as  in AutoCAD.
    • Single Dimension Units: every dimension unit in the AutoCAD file gets converted into an  ArchiCAD dimension unit. Note: dimensions may have different visual features in ArchiCAD and AutoCAD. Not all of  these visual features can be reproduced during conversion. The most significant difference is  with arrowheads: ArchiCAD has a fixed set of them, whereas in AutoCAD you can design your  own set.
    • Dimension Chains: In AutoCAD only separate 2 point dimensions are available (even though  there is a method of creating sets of dimensions that look like dimension chains.)
  • Associative Dimensions where applicable: In former versions of AutoCAD, dimensions were not  associative the way we mean it in ArchiCAD: that is, glued to hotspots of other elements. If you  check this option the add-on will look for already imported elements to which to associate the  processed dimension. It may be time-consuming, therefore the default behavior is to create  hotspots on the element and associate the linear dimension to the hotspots.
  • Import AutoCAD Hatch Blocks: Check this box if you want AutoCAD fills transformed into  unnamed groups of individual lines (hatch blocks). These will not be recognized as fill types in  ArchiCAD. When importing a file from AutoCAD version R14 or later, hatches will be converted into fill  types in ArchiCAD.
  • Import Viewports as Embedded Drawings: Check this box to ensure that AutoCAD Viewpoints  are imported as embedded Drawings after opening a DXF/DWG file in ArchiCAD. If you uncheck  the box, Viewports will be converted to ArchiCAD views instead.
  • Convert Pictures to Format: Choose a file format to use in converting pictures
  • OpenasLibraryParts / 3DDataincreatedLibraryParts:
    • Binary 3D: store the 3D information in binary format,
    • GDL Script: store the 3D information in GDL script.

If you process 3D data, the Binary 3D form is recommended: it is much quicker if the script  doesn‘t have to be recompiled every time you generate the 3D view. The OpenObject command is the only way to get all the 3D data stored in a DXF/DWG  file!

  • Enable partial open

Check this box and save it as part of the Translator to filter, by layer, the elements of the DWG file  to be opened/merged or XREF’d in ArchiCAD. In this case, when you use File > Open or Merge on a DWG/DXF file, or when you Attach an XREF  file, the DWG/DXF Partial Open dialog box appears, listing the source file’s layer set and the  layers’ status. Uncheck the layers which you do not wish to include in the ArchiCAD project.

  • Convert 3D Solids, Regions and Bodies into GDL objects

Check this box to convert the listed items into GDL objects upon opening the file in ArchiCAD.


Save Options

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 14.48.15

  • File FormatDefine which version of AutoCAD you are saving your files to.
  • Convert Images toChoose a format from the drop down list for images saved to AutoCAD.
  • Force output in AutoCAD picture formats: If this box is checked, the list of available image  formats will show only those which the selected version of AutoCAD can read. The rest of the  choices are disabled.
  • Template File

Some settings in AutoCAD cannot be matched to anything in ArchiCAD, and vice versa. For  example, in ArchiCAD, layers do not have color and line type; in AutoCAD they do. The solution  for the conversion of these settings is to choose a Template. The Template File is a DXF/DWG file  where these conversions and changes are already done. If you choose a Template File with DXF/

DWG export, elements going to the layer defined in the template file will have their layer’s color  and line type set to the same values as in the Template file. This happens without the user even  opening the resulting DXF/DWG file. The template file supplies the layer names defined in the  file, so you don’t have to type them in, making it easier to create the layer conversion table.

  • Save Layout Into

Controls how and into what Space of a DXF/DWG file the content of the Layout is saved.

  • Paper Space with Drawings as Blocks: All elements drawn on the Layout, plus all drawing data  will be saved into the Paper Space of the resulting AutoCAD drawing. All Drawings placed on the  Layout will be converted into AutoCAD Blocks, and these will be clipped so only those portions of  the Blocks will be visible in the AutoCAD Paper Space that were visible on the Layout in  ArchiCAD. The purpose is perfect reproduction of what you saw on the Layout. With this option  the Model Space of the resulting AutoCAD drawing will be completely empty.
  • Model Space: All elements drawn on the Layout, plus all drawing data will be saved into the  Model Space of the resulting AutoCAD drawing. All Drawings placed on the Layout will be  converted into AutoCAD Blocks, and these will be clipped so only those portions of the Blocks  will be visible in the AutoCAD Model Space that were visible on the Layout in ArchiCAD. The  purpose is perfect reproduction of what you saw on the Layout. With this option a default Paper  Space will be created in the resulting AutoCAD drawing, which will be empty.
    • For Drawings whose source is internal to the project and whose Drawing status is up  to date: their elements will be placed on identical layers in AutoCAD, subject to any  layer conversion preference in the DXF/DWG Translation Setup.
    • For Drawings whose source is internal to the project, but whose Drawing status is not  up to date (i.e. it is a manual update drawing detached from the model): their  elements will be placed on separate AutoCAD layers whose name is combined out of  the Drawing’s name and ID.
    • If the Drawings originated in external projects: their elements will be placed on a  default layer in AutoCAD named “Drawings and Figures”.
  • Paper Space with Cropped View’s content: Drawing elements manually drawn on the Layout  will be saved into the Paper Space of the resulting AutoCAD drawing. The image of the  Layout will be reconstructed in the Paper Space of the AutoCAD drawing. Drawings placed on  the Layout will first become cropped by their placement polygon on the Layout (meaning  only those elements and part of elements inside of the cropped area will be exported), and  then saved in DXF/DWG format.
  • Paper Space with Full View’s content: Drawing elements drawn on the Layout will be saved  into the Paper Space of the resulting AutoCAD drawing. The image of the Layout will be  reconstructed in the Paper Space of the AutoCAD drawing. Drawings placed on the Layout  will be saved in their entirety in DXF/DWG format.
  • Place Drawings into:
    • Single DXF/DWG file: All drawings (either cropped or in Full – depending on the value of the  Save Layout into field) are saved into a single DXF/DWG file. They will be placed side by side  in the Model Space of the file, and View Ports will be created in the Paper Space of this  resulting AutoCAD drawing so in Paper Space they will look like the Layout in ArchiCAD.
    • Linked XREF drawings: A DXF/DWG file will be saved. In this file there will be placement  references to XREF files. All files will be saved in other separate DXF/DWG files and these files  will be placed in the first DXF/DWG file as XREFs. They will be placed side by side in the  Model Space of the first file, and View Ports will be created in the Paper Space of this  resulting AutoCAD drawing, so in Paper Space they will look like the Layout in ArchiCAD.
  • To the right, click Settings to open the Xref Settings dialog box.
    • Xref Drawings: The settings on this panel affect the name/location of Xref drawings created in  ArchiCAD.
    • Attached Xrefs: The settings on this panel affect the name/location of external Xrefs attached to  the project.
  • Saving Floor Plan

The following options are available only when saving Floor Plans:

    • Convert complex elements to Blocks: With this option, you will convert complex elements  (those that consist of multiple sub elements) to blocks that are recognized by AutoCAD, so  you do not have to explode them.
    • Explode complex ArchiCAD Elements: Use this if you are exporting DXF files from ArchiCAD  to a program which cannot process blocks. (Complex elements are those that consist of  multiple sub elements.) This option allows you to export data that these programs are able  to process.
    • Convert Objects to Blocks: With this option, you will convert only GDL Objects to blocks. All  other elements will be exported as drawing primitives.
  • Prepare File for Smart Merge: if you work with a consultant, you may have to supply extra  data for the DXF/DWG file. This option enables/disables Smart Merge.
  • Saving Zones as The Save Zones as option allows you to save Zones two ways: Stamp only, or Stamp and Fill.
  • Saving 3D Data
    • Omit Polygon Edges: The color of polygon edges in the 3D window of ArchiCAD is usually  different from the color of surfaces. If you want to reproduce this look in AutoCAD, leave this  checkbox empty. If you check the checkbox, the lines representing the edges won‘t get  exported.
    • Export File with Simplified Data Structure: The effect of this option is similar to the “Explode  Complex ArchiCAD Elements” option – all the data goes into the entity section, instead of  blocks.

Attributes

The attributes (divided into five groups: Layers, Pens & Colors, Line Types, Fills, and Font-Style Conversion) of the dxf/dwg file can be exported with specialized settings:

Layers

Methods

  • AttrLayMetCrLayAcc.png
  • Create Layers According to:
    ArchiCAD Layers: the layers in the ArchiCAD file will be created in the DWG.
    Pen Numbers: the created Custom Layer names will contain the pen numbers, and the elements will be placed to layers based on the pens that they were using. These layer names created can be customised in the Pen-Based Layer Names table.
    Element Types: layers will be created according to the types of elements placed, for example, “Roof”, “Slab”, “Polyline”, “Door”, Window etc.
    Layer or Declared Pen Number: custom layers will be created according to any entries in the Pen-Based Layer Names table. All remaining elements will be created based on the existing ArchiCAD layers.
    Layer extended by Pen Number: custom layers will be created in two parts, formed of both the existing layer name and the pen, as defined in the Pen-Based Layer Names table.
  • Save Elements on:- All layers: All elements will be exported regardless of whether they are on hidden or visible layers.
    Visible Layers only: Elements on hidden layers are omitted.
  • Create custom layer for: these fields can assign Windows, Doors and their Markers, Skylights, Drafting Fills, Cover Fills, Cut Fills, Skin Separator Lines of Walls and Zone related items to separate layers, instead of remaining on the same layer as the construction element they belong to. If these fields are left empty then the elements will remain on their default layers.
    For example, windows will be exported to the walls’ layers. Cut lines (contours of cut construction elements and composite structures) and lines set to the ‘Drafting Line’ category will remain on their original layers. If a column does not have a veneer, the contour belongs to the ‘Cut Line’ category. If there is a veneer, the contour of the Column belongs to the ‘Cut Line’ category, and the lines between the core and the veneer belong to the ‘Skin Separator Line’ category and will be saved accordingly. The contour of any fills set to the ‘Cut Fill’ category will belong to the ‘Cut Line’ category. Contours of other fill categories will belong to the ‘Drafting Line’ category.
    Please note that any custom layers created here will be regarded as an input for the Layer Name Conversion table and it will be decided in this table how the custom layers will be transformed to final DWG layers.
    The Insert source layer button allows a custom layer name to include the name of the elements’ existing layer in the ArchiCAD model. It places <Source Layer> into the layer field, which will be replaced by the existing layer name during export.
    For example: A wall containing windows is placed on a layer named EXTERIOR WALLS. If WINDOW_ON_ is entered as the Windows custom layer, and then Insert Source Layer is clicked, the Windows field will show WINDOW_ON_<Source Layer>. The resulting layer name in the exported DWG will be WINDOW_ON_EXTERIOR_WALLS.

Pen-Based Layer Names

These options are only available if the Layer Methods option is set to pen numbers, layer or declared pen number, or layer extended by pen number!

  • Custom tags to pen numbers: a prefix and a suffix can be added to the pen number.
  • Custom layer name assignment: this list allows exceptions to be specified, which will not contain the prefix/suffix entered above. Specify the ArchiCAD pen number, and the exact DWG layer to be created. If a template file has been specified in the Save Options then a layer can be selected from the drop-down menu.

Layer name conversion

EditTheLayerConvItemBasedOnTempl.png

This table allows elements on a particular ArchiCAD layers or custom layers to be placed on a specified AutoCAD layer.
If a template file has been specified in the Save Options then the target layers from that particular DWG can be selected from the drop-down menu.

Note: A problem may arise when you convert both “Exterior Walls” and “Interior Walls” to“WALLS” in AutoCAD. When converting wall layers back to ArchiCAD, the dictionary will not distinguish between the two types of ArchiCAD wall layers.

 

Pens and Colors

ArchiCAD Pen Colors are configurable, while AutoCAD’s pen number association to colors cannot be modified.
You can convert ArchiCAD Pens to AutoCAD Colors by searching for the best color match or set up a conversion dictionary.

Methods

Pen Methods match ArchiCAD Pens to AutoCAD Colors

PensMethods.png

  • Convert ArchiCAD Pens to AutoCAD colours by setting:- The best matching standard AutoCAD color. Every ArchiCAD pen will be mapped to the AutoCAD color with the most similar color (RGB) components.
    – RGB color if no exactly matching AutoCAD color exists. While ArchiCAD pens can be set to any colors, AutoCAD has set pen colors that cannot be changed. In AutoCAD 2004 and later versions, it is possible to define further pen colors by specifying RGB values for them. These pens will have a pen index number of 256 or higher. If a color with the exact RGB value is not found then it is exported by the RGB value, with a pen index number higher than 256. This option is not available when exporting to DWG 2000 or 2002 formats.
  • Set all elements’ colours and lineweights to “BYLAYER”: this option overrides the convert ArchiCAD pens to AutoCAD colors option, and every saved element’s color will be set to BYLAYER. When the AutoCAD user changes the color attached to a layer, everything on that layer will change its color accordingly.
  • Do not export ArchiCAD pen weights: elements will be exported with line weights of 0.00 mm.

Pen-color conversion

DWGExportPenColours.png

Color pairs defined in the pen-color conversion dictionary will take precedence over the automatic conversion methods set in the Pen Methods. When exporting a DWG, ArchiCAD pens will be mapped to the AutoCAD color with the most similar color (RGB) components, except where the pen is defined in the conversion table.

This table pairs ArchiCAD pens with AutoCAD colors. During export the ID number of the pens will be converted according to this table. The pairs defined in the dictionary will take precedence over automatic conversion methods.
The pen weights are not used during DWG export.

 

Line Types

Line weight is assigned to Pen attributes in ArchiCAD as opposed to AutoCAD where each element can have its own line thickness value. When saving files, you can either set up a line type conversion table or choose to convert all ArchiCAD line types to a single type in AutoCAD named BYLAYER.
Note that symbol line types are stored differently in ArchiCAD and in AutoCAD. Due to these differences, some of ArchiCAD’s symbol line types will not look the same in AutoCAD.

Methods

DWGExportLineMethods.png

  • Set all elements’ line types to “BYLAYER”: when this option is checked, every saved entity’s line type will be set to BYLAYER. When the AutoCAD user changes the line type attached to a layer, everything on that layer will change its line type accordingly.
    Note that it overrides the effect of the Linetype-Linetype conversion dictionary.
  • LTScale value in output file: The value of LTScale is related to the scale at which drawings are printed from AutoCAD, according to the scale of the drawing. Enter the default LTScale for the exported DWG.

Linetype-linetype conversion

LineTypeConversion.png

Symbol line types are stored differently in ArchiCAD and in AutoCAD. Due to these differences, some of ArchiCAD’s symbol line types won‘t look the same in AutoCAD. There are two solutions to this problem:
– Redesign the problematic line type until the disturbing differences disappear. – Set up a template file containing an acceptable substitution for it.
For more information on creating a custom line type in an exported DWG, see the Export Custom DWG Line Type article.

The easiest way to set different Line weights as in ArchiCAD to assign line weights to layers or colors.
To simplify the process in AutoCAD:
– If objects require identical line weight by layers, check the Set All Elements’ Colors To BYLAYER box in Translator Setup > Attributes > Pens and Colors > Methods tab. When you open the file in AutoCAD, you can set the line weight using the Layer settings dialog.
– If you want to assign line weights to colors, save the DWG using ArchiCAD colors. When you open the DWG in AutoCAD you can select the elements by color, and set the object line weight or you can create a Plot style table, which is a table that contains parameters used by printing/plotting. Here you can assign pen weights to the corresponding colors.

 

Fills

ArchiCAD fill patterns can be saved as solid fills. You can also export fill backgrounds as additional polygons (as this feature is not supported by AutoCAD).

Methods

DWGExportFillMethods.png

Export all fills as “SOLID”: all fills will be exported as solid fills.
In case the dwg contains two overlapping fills, a solid (from the background) and a patterned (from the foreground). The empty fills are exported as solid fills, except the transparent ones, in this case they will be boundary polylines.
Export symbol fills as “SOLID”: all symbol fills will be exported as solid fills.
In case the DWG contains only solid fills from the foreground (the pattern is converted to solid), and the background info is lost. The empty fills are exported as solid fills, except the transparent ones, in this case they will be boundary polylines.
Export all fills “as is”: ArchiCAD fills will be recreated in AutoCAD to maintain the same appearance.

  • Export fill backgrounds as additional solid hatches: ArchiCAD fill patterns have a separate background fill, whereas AutoCAD fills are transparent between the pattern lines. This option allows the same appearance in the DWG by creating an extra fill for the background. Transparent backgrounds will not be exported.
    Note that the option to export fills as “SOLID” disables this option.
  • Explode gradient fills: gradient fills will be exploded into separate components. Gradient fills with transparent backgrounds will also be exploded.
  • Use the fill conversion table: the conversion table on the next page of the translator will be used.

Fill-Hatch Conversion Table

From ArchiCAD 12 the DWG translator can convert ArchiCAD fills to specified AutoCAD hatch types. Create a new table row by pressing the “New” button.

DWGExportFillTable.png

This requires that a template file is specified in the Save Options, and that the template file includes at least one placed instance of the desired hatch. The ArchiCAD Fill Type can be selected from the drop down menu, which will be converted into the AutoCAD Hatch pattern, which can selected in the drop-down menu displaying hatches used in the template.

Read more about Line and Fill Normalization

 

Font-Style Conversion

When an ArchiCAD Project is saved as DXF/DWG, Texts in the resulting file may differ from the way they looked in ArchiCAD. For example, the spacing of Texts may be different, so Texts block are not the same length or size. Furthermore, font names are stored differently in DXF/DWG files and in ArchiCAD. Even when one-by-one font matching is possible, a dictionary is necessary. (On Windows, ArchiCAD supports all available fonts including those installed by AutoCAD).

FontConversion.png

When exporting a DWG, if a text’s font is listed in the dictionary, it will be converted according to the conversion table, from the ArchiCAD style to the AutoCAD style. The ArchiCAD font can be selected in the drop-down menu. The AutoCAD style can be selected from the drop-down list if a template file is specified in the Save Options.
With oblique angle option you can set the degree value of the font.
If the slant parameter is 15 (15 degrees) or greater, the exported text will be in italics. Usually, an italic style has an oblique angle of 75 degrees. Unless a template file is selected, the style will use the AutoCAD counterpart of the ArchiCAD font. (A font conversion file specifies the best match, regardless of the platform ArchiCAD is running on).


Miscellaneous

This group of settings contains options for Font conversion, for spline convert and the opportunity for purging the unused Attributes.

Miscellaneous.png

  • Allow national characters in layer, linetype, blocknames: Use this setting to keep localised characters when DWGs are exported for use within the same national environment. Unchecking this option results in letters being exported without accents/diacritics and some special characters will be replaced with underscores.
  • Write binary DXF: This compressed version of DXF takes up about half the space of the text DXF format. However, this format is still not as compact as when exporting to DWG.
  • Convert splines into polylines: Check this box to convert Splines into Polylines in ArchiCAD. ArchiCAD will approximate AutoCAD Spline using a series of connected straight line segments (a Polyline). If this box is unchecked, AutoCAD Splines are converted into ArchiCAD Splines.
  • Purge all unused attributes: When saving an ArchiCAD file as DWG, only the ArchiCAD attributes used in the project will be exported. This is an automatic process, reducing file size.

If a template file has been specified in the Save Options , all attributes from the template file will be saved as part of the DWG project, regardless of whether they are used or not, if this option is not checked. Use this option to purge the unused attributes from the template file.


Custom Functions

Save Extras

Custom Functions contains add-ons for both Open (Open Extras) and Save (Save Extras) operations. Several functions are loaded by default; you need only turn them on or off using the checkboxes.

ArchiCAD labels to leaders

  • Convert labels to leaders: use this option to export ArchiCAD Labels as AutoCAD Leaders. If this option is not checked, labels will be exported either as blocks, or as polylines and text, depending on the Convert Complex Elements to Blocks option.

As you open the exported dwg file in AutoCAD, an alert message appears. With Continue Opening DWG file you can open the project. Read more: AutoCAD alert with DWG written by ArchiCAD

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