DXF/DWG and DWF file import

There are three commands to import DXF/DWG and DWF files into Vectorworks.

       Import Single DXF/DWG and Import Single DWF are very similar; they both import a single file into the current file, either directly, or by reference. When a master DXF/DWG file is imported, the external reference files (“xrefs”) are automatically bound. The Vectorworks program displays an alert if any xrefs are missing, along with the names of the missing files.

       Import DXF/DWG or DWF imports one or more files that are in any of these three formats. There are three options for importing the files: import into the current file, which creates a new design layer for each imported file; import objects into the current file as symbol resources; or import each file into a separate Vectorworks file in a designated folder. The results of the import process are summarized in a log file. Referencing is not allowed when multiple files are imported. Also, no alert displays if xrefs are missing when multiple files are imported.

Verify that the best possible options were selected for import by checking the imported file(s). If the import was not successful, try again with different options. Import options can be saved as a set.

Sometimes the original file contains large numbers of small lines that are connected end to end. To create a single object after import, first use the Edit > Select Connected Objects command to select all connected lines. Then use the Modify > Compose command to compose them into one object. See Selecting connected objects, and Composing and decomposing objects and surfaces.

Consider the following points when importing from DXF/DWG or DWF file format to Vectorworks file format.


Import notes

Line Weights

If no .ctb file is present and true line weights are present, then the line weights import exactly. If no .ctb file is present and no true line weights are present, values will have to be entered manually. The values in the dialog box can be initialized by first importing a file that does have an associated .ctb file. This creates a hidden record that stores the mapping information. A template file could be created after doing such an import, to save the values for future use.


       Text is sometimes unlinked from symbols when imported to preserve the original look. Options are provided for preserving the links instead.

       Some text styles are not supported; when the active plane is set to Layer, text in 3D symbols is imported; when the active plane is set to Screen Plane, text in 3D symbols is not imported.

Model Space Entities

Model space entities are imported as design layer objects

Paper Space and Viewports

Each paper space layout creates a Vectorworks sheet layer when imported. DXF viewports are imported as Vectorworks viewports, with the same scale, view, and projection.


Points are imported as symbols or as loci, depending on the file and the import options chosen


Multilines are imported as grouped lines. An option is provided to import them as walls.

Hatches, Images, and Wipeouts

       bhatch definitions are imported as hatch definitions.

       A single object associative hatch with no islands is imported as an equivalent object with a solid, gradient, or hatch fill.

       A multi-object, non-associative bhatch or associative bhatch is imported as an object with zero line weight and solid, gradient, or hatch fill.

       A bhatch with islands is imported as one or more polylines with holes, with solid, gradient, or hatch fill.

       Images referenced by the DXF/DWG file are imported as Vectorworks images.

       A wipeout is imported as a polygon with a solid fill that is the same color as the background.

AEC objects created with AutoCAD Architecture

AEC (architectural, engineering, and construction) objects such as walls, doors, and windows are imported as grouped lines and polygons (2D conversion), or grouped meshes (3D conversion)

Items that cannot import to Vectorworks

Certain DXF/DWG and DWF items have no equivalent in a Vectorworks file and cannot be imported. A few other objects theoretically could be imported, but the Vectorworks program does not currently support them.

       Named views



       SHX fonts

       OLE objects

       User coordinate systems (UCS)

       DXF groups (selection set objects are imported, but they aren’t grouped)

       Certain objects from industry-specific variations of AutoCAD may cause problems. For example, Civil 3D files must be exported to DWG to import properly (as opposed to simply being saved in DWG format). AEC objects that were created with AutoCAD Architecture can be imported as groups of 2D or 3D objects, depending on how you import; for example, a door imported from a DWG file with a 3D view is converted to a group of 3D mesh objects in a Vectorworks file.

Preparing to import

The Vectorworks program imports versions 2.5 through 2020 of DWG and text and binary DXF. Additionally, DWF files of the format .dwf (3D DWF), .dwfx (DWFx), and .w2d (DWF 2D sheet) can be imported. Before import, the following steps are recommended to increase the likelihood of a satisfactory translation:

       It is not necessary to explode the entire drawing in AutoCAD before importing. If a file is not importing correctly, try exploding individual problem objects before import.

       If possible, communicate with the file originator. Determine the intended units, page size, and scale of the file, along with the intended color-to-line weight mapping, if any.


Importing DXF/DWG and DWF files

Importing a single DXF/DWG or DWF file

DXF/DWG and DWF file formats


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