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Reading in drawing done in PDF

Most drawing these days are sent as PDF's as they are less likely to be altered. AutoCAD has a feature that reads in a high quality. V17 doesn't seem have that. Is there another way to handle it?


  • 1st, be sure you understand that PDFs of CAD files can take two different forms. The 1st is vector format, which is definitely the preferred version. But, they are also often done as raster images, even if they weren't physicality printed and scanned. Any viewport that has a render style applied to it will be a raster image.

    There are several 3rd party apps that will convert vector PDFs into CAD files. just search for "PDF to DWG". Some online versions are free. A few will also do raster-to-vector conversion for the raster versions of PDFs.

    Also note that PDFs do not store the data points of the vectors with the same amount of precision as a normal CAD file. Rater to vector is also very dependent on the resolution, and can be quite inaccurate in many circumstances.


  • I've been using pdf2bricscad and I've been pretty happy with it. As Joe mentions, there can be issues with coordinate precision when importing from PDF but that's a function of the source material, not the conversion.

    Note that the vendor has a newer version 11 for their general purpose PDF2CAD application, whereas pdf2bricscad is still (apparently) at V10.

  • I recently made use of an on-line trial for a PDF to CAD translator. It seems to be highly functional with the ability to recognize raster drawings as well as the vector type. It also has a calibration process to aid the precision. I have only used their free online trial. But, it is probably the best one I have come across.
    Print2CAD 2017.1 Professional $170 USD. (Their "ultimate" version is $500 USD, and adds the ability to convert a 3D PDF. This sort of PDF seems to be very rarely used)


  • I use Print2cad and very happy with it, my budget is tight but it has definitely paid for itself.

  • I use PDF2CAD and am OK with it. Just noticed they have a plugin for BricsCAD at $59 .
    Give it a try.
    As for raster Im yet to se something usable.
    As a matter of fact all results Ive seen are stiil in line with what PAFEC produced when I sold their CAD DOGS in the late 80s.
    I use a basic wall/door LISP to trace over JPG. Its still faster than trying to fix a bad vectorization.

  • Then again if you are bringing im mapping contours vectorization will do a great job.

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