Importing CAD Data into LayOut

The CAD file importer in LayOut is a flexible tool that enables you to import the data you need and work with that data in different ways.

Tip: Your import results depend on whether you import CAD data into paper space or model space. For example, when you import a .dwg or .dxf file into paper space, you can import elements such as titleblocks and legends. However, if you can choose to import only model space data, LayOut ignores titleblocks and other paper space elements.

The following sections explain how each method works and the results LayOut generates in more detail.

Importing a CAD file using the Paper Space options

When you use LayOut to import CAD data into paper space, here's how LayOut handles that data:

  • Paper space information, such as titleblocks, legends, north arrows, and so on are imported at full size (1:1 scale). All paper space information is imported as native LayOut entities.
  • If the file contains model space information and you leave the SketchUp Model Reference checkbox cleared, LayOut imports that information as native LayOut entities using the scale in the CAD file.
  • If the file contains model space information and you select the SketchUp Model Reference checkbox, LayOut imports the model space information as a scaled SketchUp model reference (not LayOut entities). The imported model data appears in a SketchUp model viewport, and you can work with the data as you work with an inserted SketchUp model.
  • LayOut entities are organized into groups based on the layers in the original CAD file.

To import a CAD file using the paper space options in LayOut, follow these steps:

  1. Select File > Insert.
  2. Navigate to the CAD file you want to import, select the file, and click Open. The DWG/DXF Import Options dialog box appears, as shown in the following figure.
  3. Make sure the Paper Space option is selected. (It’s the default selection.)
  4. (Optional) If you’re importing a CAD file with multiple sheets (pages), select a sheet from the drop-down list.
  5. (Optional) If you want model space information to be imported as a SketchUp model reference instead of LayOut entities in paper space, select the SketchUp Model Reference checkbox in the Entity Type area.
  6. Click ImportOK.
To import CAD files in LayOut, select options in the DWG/DXF Import Options dialog box
To import CAD files in LayOut, select options in the DWG/DXF Import Options dialog box

The following figure shows a CAD file imported using the default settings for the Paper Space option.

An example of CAD data imported into LayOut using the default settings for the Paper Space option

Importing only model space data from a CAD file

If you want to import only model space information, LayOut enables you to do that. You can also choose to import that model data as LayOut entities or as a SketchUp model reference.

Follow these steps to import only model space data from a CAD file into LayOut:

  1. Select File > Insert.
  2. Navigate to the CAD file you want to import, select the file, and click Open. The DWG/DXF Import Options dialog box appears.
  3. Select the Model Space (Only) option.
  4. (Optional) To import model data as a SketchUp model reference, select the SketchUp Model Reference checkbox.
  5. Click ImportOK.

If you left the SketchUp Model Reference checkbox cleared, then LayOut imports only model data, but imports that data as native LayOut entities, which are editable. The LayOut entities are organized into groups based on the layers in the original CAD file.

However, if you selected the SketchUp Model Reference checkbox, model data from the CAD file is imported as a SketchUp model reference. The imported data appears in a SketchUp model viewport, and you can work with the data as you work with an inserted SketchUp model.

The following figure shows the same CAD file used in the preceding example, but imported with the default settings for the Model Space (Only) option.

An example of CAD data imported into LayOut using the default settings for the Paper Space option

Support for CAD elements in LayOut

The LayOut CAD file importer supports many CAD elements. The following list outlines what elements are supported.

  • 3D faces
  • 3D solids
  • Arcs
  • AutoCAD regions
  • Circles
  • Dimensions
  • Ellipses
  • Entities with thickness
  • Faces
  • Hatching
  • Images
  • Layers (Groups based on layers)
  • Leaders
  • Lines
  • Line weights
  • MInsert blocks
  • Polylines
  • Splines
  • Text (both Mtext and Dtext)
  • XREFs

The LayOut CAD importer does not support proprietary ADT or ARX objects.

The ability to import CAD files is available as of LayOut 2018. To access this great new feature, upgrade your license.