Inserting DWG’s into MS Word or PowerPoint

image Just this evening I received an e-mail from Autodesk letting me know my AU Unplugged session "The Training Trinity: Fundamentals of a Successful Training Program" was accepted.  Thank you to everyone who voted for my session.  If you’re attending AU, be sure to check out the AU Unplugged Schedule.  There you will find the full list of, and information on each of the AU Unplugged sessions.  I do look forward to meeting some of you guys!

Throughout the years, I have seen both high and low-tech ways of inserting AutoCAD DWG’s into Microsoft Office documents.  I believe the most low tech way I have seen included printing each the MS Word file, and the AutoCAD DWG, then using Scotch Tape to insert the DWG onto the printed document.  Run it through a photocopier, and no one will ever know (unless you were a messy Scotch Taper).  But what do you say we jump into the 21st century?

Staying in the 21st century, AutoCAD does actually provide us with a fair number of options for inserting AutoCAD DWG’s into MS Office documents.  Although a Ctrl + C (Copy) and Ctrl + V (Paste) will work, it will insert your AutoCAD DWG just as it looks in AutoCAD – including the black background.  My guess is you would rather have it look similar to the way your DWG plots?

Image Method

image Built into AutoCAD are a number of "Publish to Web" functions.  These tools can be helpful even if you have no clue what HTML is, in fact they can be incredibly helpful for making MS Office and AutoCAD play nice with each other.

AutoCAD ships with three image, or "PublishToWeb" plotters; JPG, PNG, and EPS.  Most people recognize with the JPG format, especially if they own a digital camera.  The JPG format is probably the most popular raster image format.  A raster image is an image comprised of many dots, or pixels.  As the image is enlarged, these dots get bigger, which in turn makes the image look worse.  Both JPG and PNG files are raster image files.

On the other hand an EPS file is known as a vector image file.  Vector image files are much like AutoCAD DWG’s in the way a line is stored as having a distinct start and end point (coordinate).  By comparison, a raster image would create a line by placing many dots close together to construct what appears to be a line.  Since an EPS file is a vector image, that means we can scale it up as much as we want, and it will not loose any visual fidelity.

To create an EPS file from AutoCAD:

  1. Start the PLOT Command
  2. Select "PublishToWeb EPS" as the plotter name.
  3. Set your remaining Plot Options as you would for a normal paper plot.
  4. When prompted, select a filename and location for your EPS file to be created.

imageOnce AutoCAD finishes plotting, you will have an EPS file in your specified location.  By default MS Windows cannot open an EPS file.  But what we can do is from MS Word/PowerPoint go to the "Insert > Picture".  Then simply browse to your EPS file, and insert it like you would any other image.

An alternate way of creating images from AutoCAD is with a free download called PDF Creator.  It will not only allow you to create PDF’s, but also PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, and EPS.  Since the PDF Creator installs as a printer on your computer, you can create image files of anything you can print.  Learn more at www.PDFForge.org.

The DWF Method

While many seem to prefer the image format outlined above, it is also possible to embed a DWF into a MS Word/PowerPoint file.

  1. Start by creating a DWF from AutoCAD.  This can be done using either the PLOT or PUBLISH command.
  2. In MS Word / PowerPoint, go to the Insert Tab and select "Object"
    image
  3. From the resulting dialog, select "Autodesk DWF Document".  Older versions may say "Autodesk DWF Viewer".
    image
  4. Select your DWF file from the resulting Open Dialog.
  5. Upon insertion you will be able to perform some basic functions using the toolbar which displays.  If you need to get back to this toolbar later on, simply double-click the DWF.
    image

Both the EPS and DWF options use vector based formats.  What this means is you can shrink/enlarge the DWG as much as you wish, and never experience any degradation issues.  Regardless the format you choose (EPS or DWF), both will give you results far superior to more popular formats like JPG and EPS.

 

**EDIT (1/23/2008): Apparently recent releases of AutoCAD (namely 2008) do not ship with the EPS PC3.  In fact after looking at our EPS PC3, it has a last modified date of 2002.  No less, I have uploaded our EPS PC3 for your use. 

Since this is not something inside of the current AutoCAD product, I share this PC3 without warranty.

Download PublishToWeb EPS.pc3