Converting PDFs to AutoCAD DWGs using Adobe Illustrator

The ubiquity of PDFs make them a great choice for collaboration when you’re not sure what software a recipient is using. By sending a PDF you can rest assured whomever the recipient – they’ll be able to open it. But what if you’re the recipient, who has AutoCAD, and you really needs a DWG version of the PDF?

Modern versions of AutoCAD come packed with lots of great PDF functionality. Still the closest AutoCAD comes to converting PDFs into a DWG format is the PDF Underlay function. PDF Underlays do not change the original PDF in anyway, instead they create a reference to the original PDF. The functionality mirrors that of Xref’s where you can snap to object, control the visibility of objects, and clip the reference.

Whilst I will typically start with the PDF Underlay functionality built into AutoCAD, sometimes I just need a DWG to work with. In those cases I typically turn to Adobe Illustrator. As an Adobe product, Illustrator does an excellent job working with PDFs. As luck would have it, Illustrator also includes the ability to export to the AutoCAD DWG file format. In the video above, I’ll share how I use Adobe Illustrator to convert PDFs to AutoCAD DWGs.

Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.

One comment

  1. I have found that this is an excellent way to convert a JPG or other graphic format to .DWG. Then it is much easier to insert into another drawing without just using a very losable link

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