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Modeling Articles

Why Can’t I Read this AutoCAD File?

If you’re having difficulty finding something in a file imported from AutoCAD and think Graphite™ v8 didn’t import the entire thing, try using View > Sheets. A new feature in Graphite v8 is the support of what AutoCAD calls layouts and Ashlar-Vellum refers to as sheets. Using View > Sheets in Graphite v8 lets you select the sheet or layout with whatever you’re anticipating.

Be aware that later versions of the Graphite support different versions of AutoCAD. For example:

  • Graphite v7 SP1 Build 741 reads up to AutoCAD 2002 files.
  • Graphite v7 SP3 Build 788 reads up to AutoCAD 2006 files.
  • Graphite v8 SP0 Build 813 reads up to AutoCAD 2007 files.
  • A future build of Graphite v8 SP1 will read up to AutoCAD 2008 files.

Please note that Autodesk’s data content has not changed since AutoCAD 2000 for anything appropriate for data exchange, so for most purposes, using the AutoCAD 2000 format gives the widest compatibility.

Also bear in mind that DWG and DXF are not published standards but are proprietary file formats invented and encoded by Autodesk. While the encryption on any new version is quickly broken, it always requires changes to our file structure before it can be incorporated in a future release. If you need support for AutoCAD 2008 files, and can run Windows, we recommend purchasing Any DWG DXF Converter for about $75 from AnyDWG Software, Inc or getting DWG True View from Autodesk.

Graphite provides exact 2D/3D wireframe geometry for DXF and DWG translations. While Graphite offers high visual fidelity for dimensions and text in these formats, if your goal is to export archive drawings, preserving the text and dimensions, we recommend using a free copy of Ashlar-Vellum Share or using PDF.

DXF/DWG files present several inherent challenges. First, they do not always specify units. Be sure to set Graphite to match the source file prior to importing it. Second, because individual users customize their systems, there is often difficulty in translating fonts, line weights and patterns, dimensioning styles, hatch patterns and custom symbols. Be sure these are also present on your destination system.

DXF and DWG are different and may provide very different results. We recommend trying them both to see which provides the best results for your file.