Open and edit PDF drawings with pdf2cad
The best-selling tool PDF to CAD Converter for more than 25 years. pdf2cad transforms PDF files into editable CAD drawings. saving hours of redraw time. In seconds, you’ll extract accurate DWG, DXF or HPGL drawings. Works with virtually any PDF saved or printed from an application. Use the converted PDF-based drawings in engineering, scientific and architectural programs including AutoCAD, TurboCAD and MicroStation.
pdf2cad is ideal for converting CAD drawings, floor-plans, network diagrams and organization charts. It's easy to use and produces editable CAD drawings from computer-generated PDF files. All entities, layers, line-types, objects and text are ready for editing. Scanned PDF files have limitations. They are flat image files so the result is a tracing layer.
New Release - pdf2cad version 12
pdf2cad v12 dropped in December 2019. The current build is 12.2020.2. It converts password-protected PDF files, improves image control and adds automatic font mapping. For a more detailed overview of v12, read What's New in pdf2cad v12?
Convert PDF back to CAD formats
pdf2cad is a available for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X. We also make dedicated plug-ins. PDFin for AutoCAD and BricsCAD. Any of these programs with open a PDF file and present it for editing in your favorite technical editor. Click the tabs above to learn more about the key features of pdf2cad as well as how to use it on Windows or a Mac.
Try pdf2cad free for 30 days or send us a test file and we’ll do the conversion for you. It only takes one file to see whether pdf2cad will save you time and money. It’s easy to use yet has powerful options. If you’d rather skip the learning curve, upload a sample PDF file and we’ll do the rest. Try it either way today!
Key Features in pdf2cad
- Best-selling PDF to DWG, DXF and HPGL Converter for 26+ Years
- Convert PDF files into standard CAD formats, DWG, DXF and HPGL
- Convert one file or multiple files using the built in batch mode
- No limit on PDF size
- Works with any CAD/CAM system or technocal application with DWG, DXF or HPGL import
- Scaling based on PDF coordinates ensures precision
- DWG support independent of AutoCAD eliminates TrustedDWG errors and performance hits
- Convert all pages or specify a page range
- Intelligent object recognition
- Combines characters to form editable words and lines of text
- Add white space to page
- Rotate output by any degree
- Option to ignore text, images or paths during conversion
- Map fonts for high fidelity file match
- Scale page to match original dimensions of file
- Specify minimum line width
- Separates layers in CAD drawing based on PDF layers, color or other definitions
- Dashed/dotted lines as segments
- Saves all images as referenced file in DXF format
- Command-line version and Windows DLL available for developers
- Expanded support for non-standard fonts
- Option to remove or outline hatches/fills
- Improved reporting on errors and warnings
- Streamlined interface for faster and easier conversions
How to Convert PDF to DWG, DXF or HPGL
This tutorial assumes that you have already installed pdf2cad on your Windows PC and that you can access it from the Start Menu, Desktop or Quick Launch Ribbon. Choose your preferred method and launch pdf2cad.
Launch pdf2cad and choose the file(s) to convert:
Select General Conversion Options and Output Format.
General Settings Tab
- Characters as Strings. Combines characters into words, and words into text strings, based on context.
- Convert Characters to Curves. Creates a visual graphic match for text defined with unknown or unavailable fonts.
- Rotate: Rotates drawing any degree in either direction.
- Scale Text: Enlarges or reduces the size of the text in the converted file.
- Emulate PDF cropping: Cropping removes unnecessary outer areas of a drawing. PDF supports cropping but some vector formats (WMF, CGM, DXF and HPGL) don't. Without cropping, these formats would transfer unwanted elements during conversion. Activate 'Emulate PDF cropping' to ensue clean borders. Using this feature, the resulting file will match the original.PDF.
- Show Font Warning: If the fonts in a PDF file are not installed on your computer, the text will not look right. Font mapping ensures the closest match possible. It also compensates for different font naming conventions across systems.
- Ignore paths, text images: Turn certain elements on or off during conversion.
- CAD Format: Choose your output format. DWG for AutoCAD, DXF for most engineering and technical programs and HPGL for plotter specific applications.
Font Mappings Tab
Text converts fine when PDF files use standard fonts. If text converts but doesn't display right, you have a font mapping issue.
Fonts are a tricky subject. Installed fonts differ from system to system. Sometimes, the same font may even go by different names. For a perfect conversion, the same font needs to be on the source and target system. License agreements protect font vendors from illegal use of their typefaces. Embed only system fonts and permitted fonts. For more detail on font issues, read PDF Font Mapping When Converting Files.
Document fonts display based on comparing the font name in the PDF file with the font name on your system. If the fonts on your PC match the PDF, the file will look perfect. Often, the font names don't match and the text looks 'off' . The first thing to check is whether you have a font name mismatch. Arial Bold, for example, may be “EHJPKB+Arial-Bold” in the original file. The same font is "Arial" on your PC. When you match the two, it's known as "Font Mapping". In this example, map “EHJPKB_Arial-Bold” to “Arial” with font style “Bold”. If you can't make a successful match, we substitute the closest font. This is "Font Substitution" and is automatic.
Page Settings Tab
The Page Settings control options that apply to all files. All of the other option vary depending on whether you choose a vector or bitmap output format.
Crop Picture: Remove Margin: By default, the margins of the PDF file are used. This setting can adjust or remove white space.
Page Size: pdf2cad will automatically figure out the page size. If you want to force a standard or custom page size, select it or enter dimensions.
Convert Range: pdf2cad, by default, will convert all pages of a file. You can set a page range if you only want selected pages.
Page Mapping: By default, a multi-page PDF file converts into a vector page for each PDF page. Other choices included include merging all pages into one file and applying horizotal or vertical alignment.
DWG and DXF Options
The DWG and DXF options apply to specific CAD drawing attributes.
Scaling Factor: CAD programs define dimension in units. These units disappear when creating a PDF file but the scale remains. You can set a scaling factor for the x-y relationship during conversion. You can also set the units when you open the converted file in your CAD program. By default, pdf2cad uses 1mm (0,03937 inch) = 1 unit in the CAD output.
Precision Factor: The default precision is set to 10. Sometimes, it will help increase coordinate accuracy to change this to 1 or to 100. If none of these settings provide desirable results, please send us the file to diagnose.
Paths as Polylines/Polygons: PDF doesn't understand objects or their relationships. To compensate for this,, use our object recognition engine. It identifies lines and curves and renders them as shapes. Polylines are a connected sequence of lines and arcs that create a single object. Polygons are shapes with straight sides.
Layers: By default, all objects are on one layer. You can separate layers by color, line width, PDF layers, spot colors or a combination of color and line width.
Minimum line width: Defines the smallest line width for each vector object in mm. The default is 0.
Zero line width: Removes 3D effects
Dashed and Dotted lines as segments: PDF sees dashed and dotted lines as lots of individual lines. By selecting this feature, the lines will converted into whole lines with a pattern.
Fill option: Sometimes, white fills in a PDF file show up as black fills in a DXF file. If this is a problem, use this option to ignore white fills.
Advanced DXF and DWG Options
Recognize Circles/Ellipses: Our object recognition engine identifies closed polygons and circular paths. Convert them into circular and elliptical shapes.
Recognize Horizontal/Vertical Dashed Lines: Create one line object with a line-style attribute.
Error Tolerance: This is a tolerance level set for recognition of CAD objects. If one point on the closed polyline is outside of the specified range, it will remain a polyline.
Kerning Factor: This setting controls the space between letters or characters. Apply a kerning factor to make the space between characters wider or more narrow. A factor of 1.2 would increase the space by 120%, Important Note! A spacing problem may not be a kerning issue at all. It may be due to a font mismatch and is best solved through font mapping.
Compound Objects: A compound object is a group of objects that make up a discreet item. The object recognition engine identifies objects to group into compound objects. If you want all graphics to remain as singular objects, turn this off.
Convert Hidden Text Objects: PDF files can have transparent text or text hidden under an object. This option converts all text on the page, including hidden text.
Fit Drawing: This option scales the converted PDF to be fully visible on the page when opened in a CAD program.
Include AI Prologue File: Early Adobe Illustrator files (v8 or earlier) need an AI prologue file to convert. Only use this option if needed. Starting with Illustrator version 9, the AI file is PDF compatible.
Custom Line Styles: Map line styles in the PDF to custom line styles in the CAD file.
Use True Color: Uses RGB true color values in the CAD file. By default, files use an indexed 256-color table.
Expert CAD Options
Password Protected PDF. If the PDF file you are converting has a password, enter it here.
First Page Number. When unchecked, the first converted page will be the same as the file name. For example, page one of myfile.pdf becomes myfile.dxf. Checking this option adds a numeric suffix. In our myfile.pdf example, the first page comes out as myfile-1.dxf (followed by myfile-2.dxf, etc.).
Number of Digits. If you choose the 'First Page Number' option, enter the number of digits for the suffix. A value of 0 makes page 2 of myfile.dxf will come out as myfile-2.dxf; page 3 as myfile-3.dxf, etc. Setting this option to 4, will add a 4 digit suffix (myfile-0002.dxf). Using this feature ensures logical alphanumeric listings in document management systems.
Filename is directory. When checked the file destination is a new directory. The directory is the chosen output name with no file extension. The converted files save to this directory using only their page number.
Show image warning. Check this option if you want alerts when the input file (PDF, EPS or AI) contains images. Images appear in the CAD output as non-editable IMAGE objects.
Z-Order Image Objects. Z-Order refers to the order of overlapping objects. The order in the PDF file is the default. You can place images at the back or reversed at the back of the drawing. This is useful when PDF images are transparent since IMAGE objects in DWG or DXF are opaque.
Convert cropped images to color lines. DWG and DXF don't support image cropping. Using this option is useful with small cropped images. It converts them to color lines and crops them that way.
Ignore Image Objects Size Less Than. This option strips small image objects during conversion.
Convert the file! That’s it...
Converted files appear in the same folder as the original, unless otherwise requested. You can now open them in your CAD application. At this point, you can choose New Conversion to convert more files or Exit pdf2cad.
A Word About Warnings and Errors
If there are any warnings, check the Details button to review them. In many, these will be warnings about fonts. Substitutions occur for any fonts in the PDF not present on your system. Click to Learn More About Font Mapping.
Errors are very rare and if you encounter one, please report it to us along with the PDF file that prompted it.
How to Convert PDF to DWG and DXF on Mac
This tutorial assumes that you have already installed pdf2cad on your Mac and that you can access it from the Applications Folder, the Dock or the Desktop. Choose your preferred method and launch pdf2cad.
Select files to convert
Choose Conversion Preferences
The selected files will be displayed in the preview pane on the left. On the right, are the most used settings. These defaults should be correct for most conversions. Click OK to continue. If you find that you need to change rotation or fine-tune the process, there is a Preferences button where more settings can be applied. If you do not need to make any adjustments, click OK to run the conversion. The Preferences are covered at the end of the tutorial.
Conversion Summary pdf2cad
The conversions to be performed will be summarized on screen. Choose where the results will be stored. The default is in the same directory as the original file. Click Convert to proceed.
The converted files will be in your file system, usually in the same folder as the original folder. You can now open them in your CAD application. At this point, you can choose New Conversion to perform more operations or Exit the application. If there are any warnings, check the Details button to review them. In almost all cases, these will be warnings about fonts which were in the original PDF file but are not on your Mac, meaning that a substitute font will be used. Errors are very rare and if you encounter one, please report it to us along with the file.
When you click on Preferences after selecting your files for conversion, you will see a number of options to define the conversion parameters. A description of each of the 4 tabs follows - General, Fonts, DWG/DXF and Advanced.
General Settings Tab
Characters as Strings. Combines characters into words, and words into text strings, based on context.
Convert Characters to Curves. Creates a visual graphic match for text defined with unknown or unavailable fonts.
Rotate: Rotates drawing any degree in either direction.
Scale Text: Enlarges or reduces the size of the text in the converted file.
Emulate PDF cropping: Cropping removes unnecessary outer areas of a drawing. PDF supports cropping but some vector formats (WMF, CGM, DXF and HPGL) don't. Without cropping, these formats would transfer unwanted elements during conversion. Activate 'Emulate PDF cropping' to ensue clean borders. Using this feature, the resulting file will match the original.PDF.
Show Font Warning: If the fonts in a PDF file are not installed on your computer, the text will not look right. Font mapping ensures the closest match possible. It also compensates for different font naming conventions across systems.
Ignore paths, text images: Turn certain elements on or off during conversion.
CAD Format: Choose your output format. DWG for AutoCAD, DXF for most engineering and technical programs and HPGL for plotter specific applications.
Font Mappings Tab
The DXF/DWG options apply specifically to the attributes of the CAD drawing. Here you can adjust scale as well as treatment of layers and composition.