PDF to DWG hack – Import PDF or EPS vector graphics into AutoCAD using Microsoft Word

Please note! I do not recommend this method any more. Before attempting this hack, instead try using Inkscape ! Full step by step guide here: https://nirklars.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/pdf-to-dwg-using-free-open-source-inkscape/

If you’ve worked in AutoCAD for a time you’ve probably encountered the problem of wanting to import an actual PDF or EPS file into your drawing instead of just making external references. Why is it so messy? And why does it require third party tools to do? And why don’t they do it properly?

One of the excuses you’ll hear is that its a question about accuracy (or lack thereof) and that part is correct. This limitation is down to the accuracy of PDF files. But who is to judge if and when you need accuracy? Sometimes you don’t, it should just work.

Here is an alternative “hacky” way to convert vector graphics from PDF to DWG without third party programs using only Microsoft Office Word. It’s not perfect, but it won’t cost you a dime!

1. Print the PDF to a file

Open your PDF file in your favorite program like Acrobat Reader. Or maybe Sumatra PDF?

print to file

Choose your standard printer. If you don’t have a printer installed a PDF converter of some kind will work as well.
Microsoft XPS Document Writer won’t work unfortunately.

Check the little checkbox next to “Print to file”. Microsoft has a guide as well.

Pressing “Print” won’t print an actual page, it will parse the PDF document, convert it into EPS and instead of sending it to the printer ask you where you wan’t to save it.

After you press “Print” you will be greeted by a very discrete dialog input box. Here you will need to enter the full path and file name of where to store the file.

print to file output name

For example enter: C:\MyFile.eps and click OK.

2. Import the EPS file into an empty Word Document

Open a new empty document using Microsoft Word. Drag and drop the EPS file MyFile.eps into the window to import it.

Save your document and close Word. Example: C:\Dok1.docx

It is important that you choose to save in the *.docx format. This is part of the trick.

3. Rename the *docx document file extension to *.zip

Example: C:\Dok1.zip

rename

If you can’t see any file extensions Microsoft has a guide on how to enable that. Here is another guide with images.

4. Browse the renamed ZIP file and locate image1.wmf

Inside you will find the following content:

cont

This shows you the complete contents of the office open XML document file format.

Browse into \word\media\ and here you will find image1.wmf. Extract this file into a temporary folder.

This is the hacky trick, we utilize Microsoft Word’s internal conversion of EPS to WMF!

5. Import image1.wmf into AutoCAD

The easiest way is to drag and drop the file onto the window. File -> Import also works.

drag drop

6. Correct the scale

Unfortunately the proper scale is lost using this procedure. You have to re-scale the drawing to the proper size. I recommend finding a comparable measurement and using the method scale by reference.

7. [Optional] Explode the block to get lines

8. Compare with the original to make sure that everything went ok.

And there you have it!

Remember that only vector graphics (lines) will be included when importing using this “hacky” method. All solids or raster graphics will be missing. Make sure to carefully scale the imported document!

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6 Comments on “PDF to DWG hack – Import PDF or EPS vector graphics into AutoCAD using Microsoft Word”

  1. Matt says:

    This is incredible. Thank you.

  2. Giulia says:

    Hi
    thanks for the post
    I tried but it didn’t work,
    in the zipped word folder I found a image1.emf instead .wmf
    I tried to import the .emf in cad with no success
    do you know a way around it?
    thanks
    Giulia

  3. Hien says:

    I have tried your tut and it worked great with word 2007 but not with word 2013. Thank you.


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