DXF/DWG and DWF export options

The DXF/DWG Export Options dialog box and the DWF Export Options dialog box are very similar, except for the file format settings. This is because when you export to DWF, the drawing objects are first converted to DXF/DWG, and then output in DWF format. Change the export options to retain the integrity of the Vectorworks drawings in the DXF/DWG format. The same export options display for export of single files and batches of files. The DXF/DWG and DWF Export Options dialog boxes organize export options settings on several panes. 

DXF/DWG and DWF export options: Saved settings options

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.

Parameter

Description

Saved Settings Options

See Using saved sets to save and apply saved settings

DXF/DWG and DWF export options: General pane

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.

Parameter

Description

File Format

 

Format

DXF/DWG export:

Choose from three exported file formats: DXF as plain text, DXF as a binary encoding, and DWG.

One of the main differences between these formats is file size. Although individual files can vary, an uncompressed text DXF file is generally larger than an uncompressed DWG file. However, the file size can be significantly reduced by using a compression utility. A compressed text DXF file is normally smaller than a compressed DWG file. Binary DXF file sizes generally fall between the two for both compressed and uncompressed files.

In addition to file size, consider the formats that other applications can support. Before exporting to binary DXF or to DWG, ensure that the receiving party’s software can read those formats. Since binary and text DXF both use the same .dxf extension, if the DXF file cannot be opened, it may be mistakenly considered corrupted. When in doubt, export as text DXF, which is universally supported.

Certain versions of AutoCAD have issues when reading some DXF files, such as losing links to images, so DWG is usually a safer choice in that situation.

DXB is a simpler file format used by some third-party applications that do not support the full DXF or DWG file format. It is not the same as binary DXF; do not use .dxb as the extension for binary DXF files. The Vectorworks program does not support DXB.

DWF export:

Choose from five file formats: DWF as plain text, DWF as a regular or compressed binary encoding, 3D DWF, or DWFx.

Version

For best results, export to the highest version supported by the recipient’s software, or the default export version, whichever is lower. The latest versions of DXF/DWG and DWF have features more similar to the Vectorworks program and may provide a better translation, but not all software packages can read the latest versions.

Other options on the dialog box can change or become grayed depending on the version selected.

Georeferencing

 

Export as georeferenced file

(Design Suite product required)

If the Vectorworks file is georeferenced, this option is available. The exported file includes a geographic marker and GIS coordinate system, so when it is opened in AutoCAD, Civil3D, or other software which can read georeferenced DWG files, the geometry is positioned correctly.

Files and References

 

Export layers as separate files

For single file export, select this option to export the included sheet layers or design layers to separate DXF/DWG or DWF files (named after the original layer); otherwise, the included layers are exported to one file.

DWF versions 4.2 and 5.5 do not support multiple layers, so this option is grayed if multiple layers are included for export to one of these versions.

For batch file export, this setting is ignored; each included layer is always exported as a separate file.

Export design layer viewports as separate files

Select this option to export each design layer viewport as a separate DXF/DWG file, named with the viewport name. If deselected, design layer viewports are bound into the master DXF/DWG file; this may cause the viewport objects to look different, because class and layer visibility overrides are not retained. This option is available only for DXF/DWG export.

Export single layer for classes with same name (on the Classes/Layers pane) is grayed when this option is selected.

Design/Sheet Layers to Include

 

Export

The options on this list change depending on the contents of the file being exported, on which export Version is selected.

Select the items to export from the list. By default, the selected layers are exported to a single file; to export multiple files instead, select Export layers as separate files.

The design layer options differ depending on whether Export classes as DXF/DWG/DWF layers or Export layers as DXF/DWG/DWF layers is selected on the Classes/Layers pane. Additionally, you have the option to Export as flattened 2D graphics (Objects pane) when you export design layers. For Selected Design Layers, select the layers from the list below.

Vectorworks takes into consideration several factors to determine which layers are visible for the purpose of the export: whether the design layers are set to be visible or gray, which design layer is active (this layer is always considered visible), and the Layer Options setting (Active Only results in only the active layer being exported, regardless of the visibility settings of other layers). All Visible Design Layers exports only the layers that meet the visibility criteria. All Design Layers and Selected Design Layers export invisible layers, which can be made visible later in the exported file format. Review the layer selection for export and the visibilities in the list below; if you need to change the design layers' visibility, cancel the export and adjust the visibility in the file.

If a sheet layers option is selected, the included sheet layers are exported as paper space layouts; also, design layers used in viewports are exported to model space. While multiple sheet layers can be exported to the same file, note that unrelated sheet layers usually should be exported to different files. For Selected Sheet Layers, select the sheet layers from the list below.

If a saved views option is selected, saved views are each exported as separate files. For Selected Saved Views, select the views from the list below.

Export viewports as 2D graphics in model space

If a sheet layers option is selected, select this option to export all 2D and 3D objects that display inside a viewport as 2D projected (flattened) graphics in model space. Each selected sheet layer is exported to a separate file. On re-import, all exported graphics are imported into a design layer.

Rendered viewports in any view other than Top/Plan view are exported as groups.

Non-rendered viewports in an orthogonal view (Top, Bottom, Front, Back, Left, and Right) are set to hidden line rendering and then exported as groups.

Non-rendered viewports in an isometric view (including custom views) are converted to lines before export.

Section viewports are exported as groups.

Viewport annotations are extracted from the viewport groups and exported as single entities.

All other sheet layer graphics (such as title blocks) are exported as single entities.

Layers or views list

Depending on the Export setting, all the design layers, sheet layers, or saved views in the file display in a list browser. A check mark in the Select column indicates which items are included for export. 

When Export is set to a Selected option, click in the Select column to place a check mark beside the items to export. When Export is not set to a Selected option, you can scroll the list and click a column header to sort the list, but you cannot change the selection.

For design layers, a Visibility column displays whether each layer is currently visible for the purposes of the export. Vectorworks takes into consideration several factors to determine which layers are visible for the purpose of the export: whether the design layers are set to be visible or gray, which design layer is active (this layer is always considered visible), and the Layer Options setting (Active Only results in only the active layer being exported, regardless of the visibility settings of other layers). All Visible Design Layers exports only the layers that meet the visibility criteria. All Design Layers and Selected Design Layers export invisible layers, which can be made visible later in the exported file format. If you need to change layer visibilities, cancel the export and make the changes in the file. 

DXF/DWG and DWF export options: Classes/Layers pane

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.

Parameters

Description

Class/Layer Mapping

 

Name

To map Vectorworks classes or layers to a specific layer naming standard at export, select a mapping set

Manage

Opens the DXF/DWG Export Layer Mapping dialog box to create, edit, and rename mapping sets (see Mapping layer and class names)

Classes/Layers Conversions

 

Export classes as DXF/DWG/DWF layers

This option is available if design layers are selected in the Export option (General pane).

Since Vectorworks classes correspond most closely to DXF/DWG/DWF layers, normally, this option is recommended. There is no direct equivalent for Vectorworks layers in DXF/DWG. A single Vectorworks design layer is similar to DXF “model space.”

This is most important for the import of groups and symbols. In a Vectorworks file, the objects in groups and symbols can belong to different classes, but they must be on the same layer. In a DXF/DWG file, the entities equivalent to Vectorworks symbols and groups (known as “blocks”) can be on different DXF/DWG layers.

When you export from a Top view, each object’s position in 3D space is preserved.

Export invisible classes

DXF/DWG export:

Exports invisible classes to invisible DXF/DWG layers. If the option is selected, objects that are in invisible classes in the Vectorworks file are exported, and can be seen by making the DXF/DWG layer visible. This is the recommended option. However, if invisible classes contain private information or if the size of the exported file needs to be reduced, deselect this option to remove them from export. If classes are visible in a design layer but invisible in a sheet layer, this option prevents them from being exported.

If invisible classes are exported as DXF layers, objects on invisible Vectorworks layers are not exported. To export these items, first make the layers visible, and then select the appropriate Export option.

DWF export:

This option is grayed; only visible graphics can be exported to DWF.

Export layers as DXF/DWG/DWF layers

This option is available if design layers are selected in the Export option (General pane). Since Vectorworks classes correspond most closely to DXF/DWG layers, the Export classes as DXF/DWG/DWF layers option is usually recommended instead of this one. There is no direct equivalent for Vectorworks layers in DXF/DWG. A single Vectorworks design layer is similar to DXF “model space.”

If this option is selected, the additional Export option All Design Layers is available, in addition to All Visible Design Layers and Selected Design Layers, which are also available when Export classes as DXF/DWG/DWF layers is selected.

Objects in inivisible classes are not exported. If you want them exported, cancel and make sure all classes are visible before exporting.

Export single layer for classes with same names

Select this option to consolidate all referenced objects that have the same class name in the Vectorworks file into a single exported layer.

If the Vectorworks file contains a class with the same name, the exported layer will assume the attributes of that class.

If the class exists only in referenced files, all “By Class” attributes of the objects assume the attributes of the class from the most recently added reference.

This consolidates all of the objects with the same class name into one exported layer with the same object attributes rather than creating a separate layer for each variation.

This option is only available when exporting classes as layers.

This option is grayed if Export design layer viewports as separate files (General pane) is selected.

Layer Scale

 

Rescale Layers to

When the Export option is set to export design layers (General pane), paper space is not used; all items are placed in model space. Model space must be at one scale; DXF/DWG files do not have different layer scales. If the layers to be exported are at various scales, the option to rescale them to a common scale before export becomes available. By default, the most frequently used layer scale will be used.

Choosing the best scale for export is important. Select Rescale Layers to and click the common scale to use from the displayed list.

Symbols on rescaled layers are exported as scaled blocks in the DXF/DWG file.

When sheet layers are selected for export, all design layers export to model space at effectively a 1:1 scale, and viewports take care of showing the objects at other scales.

DXF/DWG and DWF export options: Graphic Attributes pane

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.

Parameters

Description

 2D Fills and Files

 

Export 2D fills

Select this option to export solid fills as wipeouts (DXF/DWG versions 2000 and later) or solid hatches (DXF/DWG version 14 and higher). You can control the export of tile and image fills separately.

Export tile fills

Select this option to export tile fills as clipped blocks; otherwise they are exported as solid fills or wipeouts (depending on the tile fill background color).

Export image fills

Select this option to export image fills as clipped images; otherwise they export as solid fills. This option is only enabled for DXF/DWG versions 14 or higher.

Export images and image files

Select this option to export image objects and image files (for example, PDFs and logos). This option is only enabled for DXF/DWG versions 14 or higher.

Export hatches

Select this option to export Vectorworks hatches as bhatches; no hatch pattern files are created unless Export hatch pattern files is also selected.

Export hatch pattern files

If Export hatches is enabled, select this option to create additional hatch pattern (.pat) files in a specified folder. A Vectorworks hatch with multiple levels and colors generates multiple hatch pattern definitions. See Preparing to export for more information on the conversion.

The hatch pattern files, and the DXF/DWG exported file and any support files, such as .jpg images, are placed in this folder. AutoCAD requires the hatch pattern files to retain the hatch associativity and to add hatches to additional objects with the same hatch pattern. When Export hatch pattern files is disabled, AutoCAD displays the hatch but cannot edit it.

This option is grayed during DWF export.

Export hatches and 2D fills into separate DXF/DWG layers

Select this option to export all of the fills, patterns, gradients, and hatches within a class (or design layer, if layers are exported to DXF/DWG/DWF layers) to a separate DXF/DWG/DWF layer. The DXF/DWG/DWF layers are named after the original class or layer that contains the object to which the fill, pattern, gradient, or hatch is applied. For example, if the Vectorworks file has an object on the “Hardscape” layer with a hatch applied to it, the export file will have a layer called “Hardscape_Hatch.”

Line Types

 

Export complex line types as blocks

Select this option to export complex Vectorworks line types as anonymous blocks, which preserves the exact appearance of the drawing. If the option is disabled, complex line types export as true line types, and additional graphic information is compiled into a shape file (.shx).

Line Weights and Colors

 

Use true colors

Exports line colors with the Vectorworks RGB values, and converts line weights to the closest possible DXF/DWG/DWF weight value. Named Vectorworks colors export as named DXF/DWG/DWF true colors.

For DXF/DWG version 2004 and later, select this option only if the exported file will not be used with a .ctb file for plotting or printing in AutoCAD. If the exported file is intended to be used with a .ctb file later on, select Use DXF/DWG indexed colors instead.

Use DXF/DWG indexed colors

Exports line colors with DXF/DWG/DWF indexed color values, and converts line weights to the closest possible DXF/DWG/DWF weight value.

Unlike Use true colors, this option allows you to use the exported file with a .ctb file for plotting or printing in AutoCAD. You can either use a predefined .ctb file, or select Map line weights to colors to create a .ctb file specific to this drawing upon export.

Map line weights to colors

If Use DXF/DWG indexed colors is selected, this additional option creates a .ctb file for each exported DXF/DWG/DWF file (named after the original .vwx file) to be used during plotting or printing in AutoCAD. The AutoCAD user must put this file in the support path, as AutoCAD does not read the .ctb file when it is simply included in the same folder as the DXF/DWG/DWF file.

During the export process, a list of line thicknesses (weights) in the file displays. Specify the color to map to each of these line thicknesses. To select a different color for a selected line thickness, click the color box and select a color from the displayed options.

If Export layers as separate files (General pane) is also selected, the mapping dialog box does not display; instead, the Vectorworks program automatically maps line thickness to colors according to a predefined standard.

To avoid having a color table file for each exported file, use a single .ctb file for each unique mapping set, and delete the others. When an exported file is opened in AutoCAD, edit the page setup and choose an appropriate color table file.

When you import the file back into the Vectorworks program, use the reverse process to convert the colors back to line thickness.

DXF/DWG and DWF export options: Objects pane

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.

Parameters

Description

 Objects

 

Export only selected objects

Select this option to export only the objects that are currently selected in the drawing; this option is grayed if no objects are selected

Export as flattened 2D graphics

Select this option to export objects as follows:

Design layers: All of the objects from the design layer export as flattened 2D graphics.

Sheet layers: Section viewports export as groups directly in the paper space. Top/Plan viewports export as DXF viewports in the paper space, with corresponding flattened source graphics in the model space. Viewports with a view other than Top/Plan export in the paper space as blocks of lines, polys, or other primitives, depending on the current viewport rendering mode; no corresponding source graphics are provided in the model space.

This option is selected and cannot be changed if Export viewports as 2D graphics in model space (General pane) is selected.

Use data visualization and overridden attributes

Select this option to export objects within viewports with their overridden graphic attributes (fill/pen style/color and line start/end markers) from either a data visualization applied to the viewport or class overrides applied to the viewport, when possible. If this setting conflicts with other settings, the export preserves the objects’ appearance after export, even if that means losing class definitions and attributes.

This option could significantly increase the size of the resulting file, or the number of files if design layer viewports are exported as a separate file.

Text and Dimensions 

 

Preserve mapped font on export

If the file contains text that has been mapped to a different font, select this option to export the text with the replacement font; if the option is disabled, the text is exported with the original font

Support SIA dimensions

Preserves SIA formats and measurements, when SIA was selected as the default dimension standard (see Document preferences: Dimensions tab). Otherwise, SIA dimensions are converted to interactive dimension objects.

Preserve SIA dimension text appearance

Select this option to maintain the SIA dimension superscript formatting upon export. Dimensions are converted to non-interactive objects.

Deselect this option to change the SIA dimensions to a non-superscript dimension format that can be updated after export.

3D 

 

Export solids as ACIS solids

Select this option to export most Vectorworks solids and NURBS surfaces as ACIS objects. Deselect this option to export solids as polygonal faces (if the target software package cannot read ACIS solids, for example).

Walls, roof and floor slabs, filled 3D polygons, meshes, and NURBS curves cannot be exported as ACIS solids.

This option is grayed during DWF export.

Triangulate to preserve fills

Some software packages, such as AutoCAD, are not capable of rendering exported 3D surfaces that have more than three or four vertices per face. Select this option to break up such faces into a set of triangles that can be properly rendered. The algorithm used works best on planar or nearly planar surfaces, such as the top of an extruded circle.

Even if Export solids as ACIS solids is selected, this option may be used to handle 3D objects that cannot be exported as ACIS solids.

When in doubt, select this option (this increases the exported file size and the time necessary to export it, and may result in unwanted lines in some cases).

Symbols and Groups 

 

Decompose 3D symbols and groups

Some software packages cannot handle exported groups and symbols. If a problem occurs, select Decompose 3D symbols and groups to convert symbols and groups to ungrouped objects. Do not select this option unless it is absolutely necessary.

This option is grayed during DWF export.

Export groups as anonymous blocks

Normally, Vectorworks groups are exported as named blocks, which can be opened and edited in other software packages. However, the named blocks are imported back into Vectorworks files as symbols. If this creates a problem, select Export groups as anonymous blocks, which are imported back into Vectorworks files as groups.

This option is grayed during DWF export.

DXF/DWG and DWF export options: Update pane

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.

Parameters

Description

Update visible out of date viewports prior to exporting

Automatically updates any visible, out-of-date viewports before exporting

Reset all plug-in objects that require a reset prior to exporting

Automatically resets plug-in objects that require an update (such as title block borders) before exporting

Recalculate worksheets prior to exporting

Automatically recalculates worksheets before exporting

DXF/DWG and DWF export options: Export Location pane

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.

Parameters

Description

Custom location

Exports to a custom location; browse to specify the location after clicking OK.

When using the Publish command to export, this option is automatically selected.

Export in default location

Exports to a specified default location; click Choose to set the default location, which displays below this option

Create folder for the exported file

Creates a subfolder for the exported file in the selected location; the folder contains the exported file and any supporting files such as hatch pattern definitions, image files, .ctb files, etc. When this option is deselected, the exported file and supporting files are placed directly in the specified location.

Line thickness conversions

VW line thickness (mm)

DXF line weight (mm)

 

VW line thickness (mm)

DXF line weight (mm)

0

Deleted

 

0.52–0.56

0.53

0.01–0.07

0.05

 

0.57–0.65

0.60

0.08–0.11

0.09

 

0.66–0.75

0.70

0.12–0.14

0.13

 

0.76–0.85

0.80

0.15–0.16

0.15

 

0.86–0.95

0.90

0.17–0.19

0.18

 

0.96–1.03

1.00

0.20–0.22

0.20

 

1.04–1.13

1.06

0.23–0.27

0.25

 

1.14–1.30

1.20

0.28–0.32

0.30

 

1.31–1.49

1.40

0.33–0.37

0.35

 

1.50–1.75

1.58

0.38–0.45

0.40

 

1.76–2.05

2.00

0.46–0.51

0.50

 

2.06–6.48

2.11

 

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