How to Convert to DWG – The Ultimate Guide

image wih different file types on it

1. Introduction

Technical drawings – whether they be architectural plans, electrical schematics, GIS maps, fire safety plans, aerospace drawings, or any other such drawings – can often arrive in an array of different file formats.

Source formats could include raster images such as JPG, BMP, TIF, and even PDF files, which can uniquely contain both raster and vector imagery.

In some cases, these original drawings could even be in a physical format, such as a paper architectural floorplan.

Commonly, engineers, designers and draftspeople may need to edit these drawings in their CAD software. This CAD software could be AutoCAD, Vectorworks, ArchiCAD, Solidworks, CATIA or any other CAD application.

In order to edit these original drawings in their CAD software they must convert their file to a CAD file format i.e. DWG.

2. What is DWG file format?

The DWG file format is architectured by Autodesk – makers of AutoCAD. Although DWG is a proprietary file format, it is supported by much of the software in the CAD ecosystem including those not developed by Autodesk.

The name is taken from an abbreviation of ‘DraWinG’. It is considered to be very similar to the DXF format because most drawings saved in DWG format could exist in DXF format without any loss of data.

Along with DXF, DWG is the industry standard for 2D CAD drawings.

DWG do support 3D modelling data, however, the majority of use-cases for DWG files tend to be two-dimensional. This is likely due to the fact that most 3D modelling CAD applications utilize their own proprietary 3D file format due to the vast complexity of storing 3D model data.

3. Which file formats can be converted to DWG?

DWG is a vector image format, specifically designed for computer-aided design (CAD) applications. As such, any image format – whether they be raster or vector – could be converted to DWG, the key factor is the conversion software utilized for the conversion.

Raster images commonly converted to DWG include:

  • TIF
  • JPEG
  • BMP
  • PNG
  • Raster PDF

To convert one of the above image formats to DWG you must perform a raster-to-vector conversion, otherwise referred to as ‘vectorization’.

Vectorization converts the pixels in the raster images to mathematical equations representing the same imagery in vector format.

Vector images commonly converted to DWG include:

  • DXF
  • SVG
  • Vector PDF

In order to convert one of the above vector formats to DWG, you must utilize a vector-to-vector conversion. This process is technically very different to a vectorization. Instead the conversion software will translate the elements in the source vector file to a format that is compatible with the DWG file specification.

4. Converting to DWG

In the sections below, we introduce converting different files to DWG.

4.1 Converting PDF files to DWG

Adobe PDF icon

PDF is short for Portable Document Format and is a widely used file format for engineering and manufacturing documents. It’s common that a PDF version is the only version a design team will have of a technical drawing. At Scan2CAD, many customers want to convert PDFs to DWG for the use in AutoCAD and other CAD packages, so it is a good solution for that.

PDF files are popular in the CAD industry because they can store both raster and vector elements, which remain consistent across devices and operating systems. Like converting other file formats, you can convert PDF files to DWG using manual tracing or automatic conversion (using the likes of object recognition). It varies in difficulty depending on whether the PDF is in vector or raster formatting. The former making it much easier especially if you have lots of files to convert.

You can learn more about PDF files and how Scan2CAD can help you by checking out our ultimate guide on converting PDF files to DWG.

How to convert PDF to DWG in bulk?

To convert a large number of PDF files to DWG you will require CAD conversion software which offers the capabilities to automate tasks, this can sometimes be referred to as ‘bulk conversion’, ‘automation’ or ‘batch conversion’.

Be wary of software which will simply convert a directory of PDF files to DWG without allowing the user to define the individual conversion parameters. Those who are experienced with CAD conversion solutions will be aware that, more often than not, each collection of files should be treated individually, analysing which conversion parameters would provide the most accurate conversion results. Elements such as the image’s line width, character size and individual objects included will all affect the conversion accuracy.

Thankfully, Scan2CAD supports bulk PDF to DWG conversion. Scan2CAD’s Python API allows users to have granular control over every feature of the software. A draftsperson may simply convert a directory of PDF files to DWG with default settings, alternatively, they may control all settings of the conversion to obtain the DWG results they require.

How to convert PDF to DWG offline?

Those looking for an online PDF to DWG converter may have found some websites which offer free online conversions. In our experience, we believe you should avoid online PDF to DWG converters.

By contrast, an offline converter is software, native to Windows or macOS which you will download and install on your computer. Applications which run on your computer – rather than a website – have the ability to utilize your PC’s computing-power to convert your PDF files to DWG. CAD file conversion is a complex process which does benefit from some level of computing power.

A key benefit in converting your PDF files offline is security. Most drawings that a draftsperson wishes to convert are not created by themselves. Instead, they are the property of clients, partner companies or even the proprietary property of their own company. Therefore, using an online converter is not a suitable solution as this would require them to upload their files to a third-party server. Offline converters (Scan2CAD being one such solution) offers their users control over their files’ security.

How to convert PDF to DWG on mobile or tablet?
If you were to search the iOS or Android app stores for software to convert PDF to DWG on your mobile or tablet you will certainly find some apps purporting to offer this feature. Some are free, others are available at a small price, typically less than $5.

On closer inspection, the ratings for these apps seem to not offer the users the accurate PDF to DWG conversion they require, with reviews stating the software does not do as it is advertised.

This comes as little surprise for those with experience in converting files for CAD purposes. Mobile and tablet devices are not-yet suitable for complex and accurate CAD editing work and the same can be said for CAD file conversion. More often, a designer or engineer may use a mobile or tablet to purely view a CAD file – perhaps when visiting a client on-site – and in this case a mobile or tablet is perfectly suitable.

Additionally, there is usually little sense in using a smart phone or tablet for your CAD conversion requirements because the vast majority of CAD work is performed on Windows or macOS computers. Therefore the files will end-up on a computer to edit in AutoCAD or similar CAD applications. Moving files from a computer to a mobile device for conversion and back to a computer for editing is not the typical workflow for a designer or engineer.

Instead, users will make use of CAD conversion software developed for laptops or desktop computers which can be utilised in parallel with their CAD editing software on the same computer.

Whilst it is technically possible for users to convert PDF files to DWG using a mobile or tablet app, the practicality and the accuracy results are very much debatable.

4.2 Converting PDF to DWG with layers

Layers are used in CAD drawings to denote and separate whichever elements the draftsperson requires. The are extremely useful for the organization and presentation of many data points which can exist in a CAD drawing. For example, if a GIS engineer had a were working with a CAD contour map of a landscape, they may opt to have rivers on one layer and the lines representing roads on another.

Alternatively, an architect may be working with an architectural floorplan and they may wish to move all dimension blocks to a dedicated layer so that they could be shown or hidden at will.

Layers are therefore integral to typical CAD workflows yet layer data can commonly become lost when users convert PDF files to DWG.

Many PDF to DWG conversion applications do not translate the PDF layer data to a CAD format, instead, many will consolidate all of the drawing’s elements to a single layer.

At this point, the user could choose to manually relocate all of the drawing’s elements back to their original layers but this would be a truly painstaking process and near impossible for files which contain 100,000+ vectors.

Thankfully, CAD conversion software, Scan2CAD will preserve all of the layers in the original PDF file, converting them to the appropriate DWG layer structure. This means that the layers visible in your PDF would be visible in your CAD software, such as AutoCAD and any other DWG-supporting applications.

4.3 Converting JPG to DWG

JPG (or JPEG) is a well-known raster file formats. They have a 24-bit color depth, and use lossy compression, which means that they are typically small in memory size. A small memory size is good for storage. However, because of this lossy compression, when they are edited the quality of the file degrades, so JPGs are not best used for architectural or engineering drawings and images that have sharp, defined edges.

If you have a JPG that you want to convert to DWG, then you are best using software like Scan2CAD, which has thresholding and cleaning tools. Thresholding eliminates issues created with grey scale JPGs whereas the cleaning functionality is used to clean up the likes of speckles or holes, commonly found in poor quality JPGs.

There are many issues with JPGs, and converting them to DWG can be tricky, but check out our guide on how to achieve the best JPG to DWG conversion results.

illustrations about different issues with jpg files

How to convert JPG to DWG in bulk?
Scan2CAD once again comes to the rescue as it enables you to convert JPG to DWG in bulk. Available to users who have subscribed to the Scan2CAD business package, this batch conversion feature lets you convert multiple JPG images to DWG files simultaneously. Saying this feature provides convenience is an understatement as it performs the conversion accurately and with great attention to detail. This means it saves you time by converting all files at once; plus, it saves you the time you would have otherwise used to edit the converted drawing.
How to convert JPG to DWG offline?
You can convert JPG to DWG using desktop software such as AutoCAD and Scan2CAD. However, the approach you would take to complete the conversion will differ from one program to the other.

To convert JPG to DWG using AutoCAD, you have to import the image as an attachment. Then, you must use it as a reference in order to trace a DWG drawing over the outline of the image. This approach, however, is cumbersome, especially in instances where the reference image features plenty of geometric objects. What’s more, it likely leads to inaccurate drawings as you can easily err when tracing over the JPG image.

With Scan2CAD, you can seamlessly convert JPG to DWG offline. And, in fact, the software automatically and accurately traces over the outline of the image. It is also equipped with OCR capabilities to convert text into true-type (editable) text.

How to convert JPG to DWG on mobile or tablet?
A spot-check on Android Play Store and Apple App Store shows that most applications only support a one-way conversion from DWG to JPG. So, they do not enable users to convert JPG images to DWG. This could be due to a number of things, not the least of which is the lack of a RealDWG license. Plus, the RealDWG code is packaged as a software development kit (SDK), meaning it is only meant to be used to create desktop software.

Additionally, as we have stated earlier, a mobile phone or tablet is not part of what designers, architects, or engineers use in their day-to-day activities. So, it is no surprise that JPG to DWG conversion tools are unavailable on mobile or tablet.

4.4 Converting PNG to DWG

PNG (which formally stands for Portable Network Graphics, and informally PNG not Gif) stores image information in small squares of color called pixels. Unlike JPG, which loses quality during editing, a PNG file supports lossless data compression, and therefore does not lose quality when it is edited.

As a PNG image is made up of pixels instead of vector shapes, editing involves ‘painting over’ the original image, so editing affects the entire image. In contrast, when you are editing a vector image you can edit single elements (like a text block) that won’t affect the whole image when it is saved. For this reason, converting PNG to DWG is invaluable for working in CAD.

PNG files are easy to create and share. They usually come in the form of a screenshot of an old drawing, which is why you see their use in CAD. But for effective use in CAD, they need to be converted to DWG. As you will see in our ultimate guide to converting PNG to DWG, to make the conversion as effective as possible you need to:

  • Choose the right image quality
  • Reduce the number of colors in the PNG
  • Clean up the image before you convert
How to convert PNG to DWG in bulk?
Scan2CAD offers its business clients access to powerful automation and conversion tools, including the batch convert feature. Geared towards providing unmatched convenience, the Scan2CAD batch convert tool enables you to convert PNG images to DWG in bulk. And not only does it enable you to complete the simultaneous conversion of multiple files, but it also does not compromise on quality. This means that the DWG files appear as they would if you had converted the PNG files to DWG one at a time.

Scan2CAD’s bulk conversion capabilities are superior to any other solution available today. And we say this confidently, having compared it to applications that purport to offer this function but do not seamlessly complete the PNG to DWG conversion.

How to convert PNG to DWG offline?
Like the JPG to DWG offline conversion discussed above, you can convert PNG to DWG offline using AutoCAD or Scan2CAD. But where AutoCAD complicates the conversion process by requiring you to manually trace over the PNG image in order to create a DWG drawing, Scan2CAD simplifies it.

Scan2CAD achieves this by letting you use thresholding tools (which converts the drawing to black and white), remove holes or speckles, and thicken lines. And based on the black and white pixels, the software can now detect lines, edges, curves, and polygons that it then redraws automatically, creating vector entities. This saves time.

Our analysis has established that while some desktop software programs promise to complete the PNG to DWG conversion job, they do a shoddy job, making the converted drawing unusable. Simply put, you can never go wrong with Scan2CAD.

How to convert PNG to DWG on mobile or tablet?
Like the JPG to DWG mobile converters, you are unlikely to find a reliable PNG to DWG file converter on mobile. This is based on the fact that designers, engineers, and architects would ordinarily use and prefer software on more powerful desktop computers. In fact, these professionals prefer large screen monitors for CAD, meaning small mobile phone or tablet screens do not fit the bill.

So, you cannot find or use a mobile application to convert a PNG to DWG on mobile or tablet. That said, you can choose to use browser-based applications. But as we have warned time and again, online file converters are mostly unreliable.

4.5 Converting SVG to DWG

SVG – an acronym of ‘scalable vector graphics’ – is a file type most commonly used in graphic design. It is not common that CAD draftspeople would opt to export their drawing to SVG because it cannot contain the data associated with the vectors. Even simple elements like lines are not saved as true CAD line objects in SVG format.

The SVG file format is fantastic as a simple vessel for storing and displaying vector graphics such as graphic art and logos. The file type is also a common standard for printing houses, they require a fully vector format – for example SVG or vector PDF – to ensure the print is scalable to any physical size required.

Even though the SVG format is not designed (or indeed suitable) for CAD purposes, draftspeople can sometimes have the requirement to convert an SVG to DWG in order to edit the graphics contained in the SVG in their CAD software.

Both SVGs and DWGs are vector files. This type of vector-to-vector file conversion is much different to the raster-to-vector file conversion (e.g. converting a JPG to DWG) yet the conversion is by no means simplistic.

As we discuss in our article, there are online services which offer to instantly convert SVG files to DWG. Yet, the online services are typically problematic.

Typical problems with converting SVG files to DWG include:

  • Inaccurate conversion of the vector graphics to a suitable CAD object
  • The creation of DWG files which are not supported by Autodesk applications
  • The requirement to upload your files to a potentially insecure third-party service.

To convert SVG files to DWG an engineer or designer should utilize CAD conversion software which is specifically designed for this use-case. This is because simply converting vectors in an SVG to DWG would not create very useful data. Instead the conversion software will need to create the data in CAD object data.

How to convert SVG to DWG in bulk?
SVG files are a type of simplistic vector file format. Simplistic in how they compare to CAD files such as DWG, because they cannot contain the CAD data required to form a suitable engineering drawing. The bulk conversion of SVG files to DWG is a vector-to-vector conversion. Rather than converting individual SVG files you can use a batch converter to perform the same operation on hundreds – or thousands – of files at once. One such SVG to DWG bulk converter is ‘ReaConverter’ although this does seem to be quite a simplistic conversion solution for CAD purposes. As our initial investigation shows the software does not perform object recognition, required to form sophisticated CAD objects.
How to convert SVG to DWG offline?
An offline file converter is software that does not require an internet connection to perform its capabilities. Therefore, online websites which offer to convert your SVG files to DWG via your web-browser cannot be a suitable solution. We’ve also written extensively in the past about the woes of online conversion solutions discussing their inaccuracy and security issues. Again, reaconverter seems to offer the ability to download their software to install on your computer, subsequently converting the SVG files to DWG without the need for an active internet connection.
How to convert SVG to DWG on mobile or tablet?
If you wish to convert an SVG file to DWG on a mobile device such as an Apple iphone or iPad, the Apple App Store does list solutions which purport to offer this service.

One such solution is an app named ‘DWG Tools’ , describing themselves as a solution to ‘view and convert CAD drawings’. We cannot attest to validity of their marketing and the accuracy of their SVG to DWG conversions on mobile devices. It is, however more likely that a user will be able to find a vector-to-vector file converter for mobile devices compared to the less likely raster-to-vector converter. This is because raster-to-vector conversions are typically much more complex and would therefore not be suitable for mobile devices.

4.6 Converting TIFF to DWG

When scanning a drawing for optimal raster to vector conversions, we recommend saving your image as a TIFF file. It is a great format for high-quality graphics and supports over ****16 million colors (although we advise that you should opt to use as few colors as possible, ideally monochrome). Like PNG files, TIFF files make use of lossless compression, and therefore can be edited or compressed without any loss in quality – ensuring that the detail of the image is maintained.

Due to the high quality of TIFF images the file size can be large however. They are also not easy to edit and like other rasters suffer resolution dependency. For these reasons, it is much better to convert your TIFF images to DWG. Not only will this make it easy to edit the file but you can also take elements from the image, and re-use them in an entirely new one, which is key for CAD designers and engineers.

How to convert SVG to DWG on mobile or tablet?
With Scan2CAD, an engineer or designer can convert hundreds or thousands of TIFF images to DWG in a single operation. This automatic batch conversion of TIFF to DWG is extremely valuable for those who may have a large number of images or paper drawings (subsequently scanned and saved to TIFF) which they wish to transform in their CAD software.

Scan2CAD’s batch conversion is available through a powerful Python API. The API enables users to write simple scripts which dictates all of the tasks a user may wish to perform on all files.

How to convert TIFF to DWG offline?
Many companies have strict digital security procedures. These procedures keep safe the data of the companies and their clients. Companies with strict security rules may be within the defence or governmental sectors. But companies from all sectors and of all sizes will typically adhere to basic security best practices. One such best practice may be to avoid uploading any company or client data to external websites and services. This therefore means that it is not possible for employees to make use of online file converters. Instead they will convert their TIFF files to DWG offline using software downloaded to their computer. Scan2CAD will convert a user’s TIFF to DWG offline without sending any file-related data to the Scan2CAD servers.
How to convert TIFF to DWG on mobile or tablet?
Mobile and tablet TIFF to DWG conversion apps are not yet in their maturity. There are some apps which purport to convert TIFF to DWG on smartphones, one of which being ‘The. Vector Converter’ on the iOS store, yet the solutions or in their nascency and do not achieve the output DWG file required for professional CAD work. In most cases, CAD blocks are not created and OCR (the process of converting text to vector text strings) is not used. Therefore when converting a TIFF to DWG on a mobile device, the user will most likely need to manually edit the DWG file in their CAD software to achieve the required output.

4.7 Converting DXF to DWG

In many scenarios a designer or engineer may prefer DXF over DWG when exporting their CAD drawings. This is because DXF is the most cross-compatible format of the two.

The DXF file name is taken from ‘Drawing eXchange Format’, it was developed by Autodesk (also developers of the DWG format) to be easily readable by any CAD/CAM and CNC application.

Unlike DXF, Autodesk did not intend for DWG to be easily decoded. DWG is a proprietary file format which Autodesk has – in the past – fought to protect, opting for a closed ecosystem of applications supporting this format.

DWG is encoded in binary, an extremely hard format to decode without knowledge of the file architecture. Whereas DXF is encoded in the much more easily-read ASCII.

So why would engineers and designers opt to convert their DXF files to DWG? Due to the fact that Autodesk architectured the DWG format to be specific for AutoCAD’s use-case, the file format supports niche elements such as dynamic blocks, not thoroughly supported by DXF.

Additionally, DWG, being a binary file format is smaller in file-size when compared to DXF which can become bloated when a drawing contains thousands of vectors. Finally there may be some applications which exclusively support DWG and not DXF, although such applications are quite few and far between.

A DXF to DWG conversion involves a vector-to-vector and ASCII-to-binary conversion. The two formats may appear similar in how they display the CAD drawing contents but their architecture is significantly different. Converting DXF to DWG is not comparable to converting a PNG to JPG.

Therefore CAD conversion software, such as Scan2CAD, which is specifically designed for this type of conversion is required. Scan2CAD will appropriately decode the contents of the DXF file and encode in the DWG binary architecture without any loss in the CAD drawing’s data. In fact even non-visual elements, for example the drawing’s scaling, will be kept intact between the file format conversions.

How to convert DXF to DWG in bulk?
Some individuals or companies may have a large number of DXF files which they need to batch convert to DWG. Both of these files are very similar in how they store and display CAD file data. Additionally, there is usually no loss in data quality between the two. Therefore, the most likely reason for converting large numbers of DXF files to DWG is conforming to software that only supports the DWG file format. This bulk conversion of DXF files to DWG is made possible with CAD conversion software, Scan2CAD. Scan2CAD will convert a folder containing hundreds of the DXF files to DWG in a few clicks, saving a huge amount of time compared to manual conversion of each individual file.
How to convert DXF to DWG offline?
Many engineers and designers who wish to convert their DXF files to DWG may have first attempted to achieve this with an online file conversion website. More often than not, this online file conversion is hugely unsuccessful, creating an unintelligent DWG which cannot be utilised in their CAD work. Subsequently they will broaden their searches to an offline DXF to DWG file converter. This is software which a user will download and install on their Windows PC or macOS computer. They will be able to convert their DXF files to DWG offline without the need to upload their files to a third party website. And the resultant DWG files will be converted accurately and appropriately for use in other CAD software such as AutoCAD, Vectorworks and ArchiCAD, to name a few.
How to convert DXF to DWG on mobile or tablet?
There are a small number of applications on both the iOS and Android store which advertise the ability to convert DXF files to DWG on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Luckily both DXF and DWG files are vector file formats. Consequently, a vector-to-vector file conversion (in particular DXF to DWG) is much more achievable on mobile devices when compared to a raster-to-vector conversion. That is because the data in the DXF is already in the CAD structure required (i.e. CAD blocks, layers, scaling) and the app only needs to decode the DXF file and encode the same data in DWG format. Of course, this is still a complex process and many applications do not achieve this conversion successfully. But users can test the available free mobile apps to investigate whether their DXF files can be successfully converted to DWG on mobile devices.

4.8 Converting DGN to DWG

DGN is a file format first developed by Intergraph Corporation but is now supported and maintained by Bentley Systems, Inc. The format can be opened using Bentley’s software such as MicroStation as well as third-party CAD software such as AutoCAD and is mainly used within the architectural, engineering and construction sectors (AEC).

There are several approaches you can use to convert DGN to DWG including Bentley MicroStation, AutoCAD, or ReaConverter. The first two options are the most secure and stand out because they save the end DWG files using a code authored by Autodesk (consisting of a RealDWG license) and therefore guarantee DWG read/write capability.

In contrast, ReaConverter does not use the RealDWG software development kit to convert DGN to DWG, so AutoCAD would display an error message when it tries to open your DWG. If you have DNG files you want to convert to DWG, then it is worth reading up more about RealDWG and how to use MicroStation or AutoCAD to carry out the conversion.

How to convert DGN to DWG in bulk?
Bentley MicroStation has a Batch Convert tool. Found under the Utilities tab, this feature lets you import multiple DGN files. You can also choose the DWG file version, ensuring that the converted drawing is compatible with even the latest release of AutoCAD. This feature also deals with the backward compatibility problem common with using AutoCAD – typically, you cannot open newer versions of DWG with older releases of AutoCAD.

Alternatively, you can use some dedicated file converters such as ReaConverter or DGN lab. ReaConverter is available as both an online file converter and a desktop-based converter, with the former allowing users to convert DGN to DWG in bulk for free. However, users of the desktop application have to part with a fee once their trial lapses. The DGN lab is available at a fee.

How to convert DGN to DWG offline?
You can convert DGN to DWG using Bentley MicroStation or AutoCAD. The former program offers three main approaches to completing the conversion. You can use the ExportSave as, or Batch convert (discussed above) options. To complete the conversion, you should select the DWG file format when prompted, regardless of the approach. And because MicroStation has a RealDWG license, it creates DWG files using a code developed by Autodesk. So, an error message will not be displayed once you open the converted file using AutoCAD.

Alternatively, you can convert a DGN file to DWG using AutoCAD. To complete the conversion, simply import the DGN drawing – for this, you can either type DGNIMPORT at the command line or click the application menu > Import > select the DGN option. Once the file has been imported, simply save it as a DWG file.

How to convert DGN to DWG on mobile or tablet?
iPhone users can use DGN Lab, a multifunctional application that enables you to view and convert DGN files. The app supports DGN to DWG conversion as one of several conversion options. But as stated, you have to pay to use this tool ($15.99 at the time of writing this article). To convert DGN to DWG, simply import your DGN file and then save it as a DWG file.

Android users may not be as lucky as their iPhone counterparts as the Play Store does not have any DGN to DWG conversion application. The discrepancy is perhaps due to the fact that iPhone apps are available on Mac App Store without any modification. So, an app made for macOS can equally be optimized for the mobile’s small form factor.

4.9 Converting DWF to DWG

Drawing Web Format (DWF) files can be considered as a much-simplified version of DWG files. The DWF file format cannot support a vast number of entities which make DWG files so useful, such as layer data and object data.

Much like DWG, DWF is a vector file format developed by Autodesk. As DWF files are more simplistic than DWG, they are also typically smaller in file size, even as much as 5% of the size of a similar DWG.

DWF files are not only capable of storing 2D CAD drawings. They can also store 3D models. DWF’s less intricate file structure and 2D/3D versatility means that the format has been supported by a number of applications including (unsurprisingly) Autodesks’s Revit, AutoCAD and Inventor.

If a draftsperson were to view a drawing, such as an aerospace mechanical plan, in DWF format, and compare directly to the same drawing in DWG, the draftsperson might observe no perceivable difference in the drawing contents. However, behind the scenes the DWF is representing the same block elements of the DWG in a less intelligent manner.

Given the significant simplifications in DWF files, it is common that users wish to convert their DWF files to DWG. Converting DWF to DWG involves a vector-to-vector file conversion. This requires software specifically designed for CAD conversions, the most prominent of which being Scan2CAD. The conversion software will encode the elements in the DWF files to the DWG format so that the resultant file can be fully transformed in any CAD software that supports the DWG file format.

How to convert DWF to DWG in bulk?
You can convert DWF to DWG in bulk using the ReaConverter Pro or Autodwg’s DWF to DWG Converter Pro desktop applications. Of these two options, however, we recommend you go with the former. First, this is because it supports multiple other file formats, whereas the latter will only let you convert DWF to DWG. Secondly, ReaConverter Pro is cheaper, meaning it offers value for money.

It is worth noting that while you can complete the conversion using the web-based version of ReaConverter, you will do so at the expense of your privacy. The application’s developer does not guarantee the safety or privacy of the original or converted files. So, keep this in mind if you do not want to download the desktop version.

How to convert DWF to DWG offline?
You take any one of three approaches when you want to convert DWF to DWG offline. Firstly, you can use AutoCAD (you must be using AutoCAD 2017 or later). But unlike other conversions you can complete with AutoCAD, this takes a different and longer approach – you first have to convert the DWF to PDF and save the PDF file using the DWG format.

If you do not wish to take this longer route, you can elect to use the ReaConverter or Autodwg’s DWF to DWG Converter Pro. These dedicated file converters are available at a fee, but they take a more straightforward approach to enabling users to convert DWF to DWG.

How to convert DWF to DWG on mobile or tablet?
While Autodesk has developed the AutoCAD web app for Android and iOS, the application has limited capabilities. Because it is primarily designed to enable users to view DWG files, it does not support file formats such as DWF or PDF. (In fact, you cannot even save the DWG file as a PDF.) In this regard, you cannot use AutoCAD mobile app to convert DWF to DWG.

Our analysis did not reveal any reliable conversion tool on mobile or tablet. And this may again be due to the reasons we have listed above.

4.10 Converting Google map to DWG

If you wish to edit a map – perhaps of a city’s streets – in your CAD software, you must first convert the map to a CAD file format such as DWG. In our post, How to Convert a Google Map to DWG we discuss this exact process.

The two steps in converting a Google Map to DWG are:

  1. Download an image of the map area from Google Maps
  2. Convert the map image to DWG with Scan2CAD

Acquiring an image of your required Google Map area in a suitable layout can be more complex than typical drawings.

This is because your Google Map image should only contain the elements which you wish to convert to DWG. Typically, the map will contain a vast range of elements indicating everything from business names to public toilets. These elements would be useless information if you only required a map of the roads or buildings in a specific area. It’s important to remember that when converting images to CAD, whatever exists in the original image will be converted to DWG unless you choose to remove those elements prior to conversion.

Luckily, it is possible to remove multiple Google Map elements in relatively few clicks. To do this, we open Google Maps, navigate to the area we wish to convert and then – using a feature such as Google Chrome’s Inspect tool – we remove the unwanted labels overlayed on the map.

Finally, we export the image to a raster format such as PNG, TIFF or BMP and convert the image to DWG using CAD conversion software, Scan2CAD.

The result is a DWG file containing a map of your required area which can be edited and transformed in your favourite CAD software.

How to convert Google Maps to DWG in bulk?
To bulk convert a large number of Google Maps to DWG you must separate the process into two distinctive functions. First, extract all the images of the map areas which you wish to convert. These maps should be saved to a lossless raster image format such as BMP. Secondly you will batch convert all of the Google Map images to DWG using Scan2CAD. Scan2CAD’s batch conversion feature is available on via the powerful Python API. This API enables users to automate all features of the software utilizing simple scripts.
How to convert Google Maps to DWG offline?
It would be extremely challenging to completely convert Google Maps to DWG offline. This is due to the fact that we must first extract the image of the Google Map area using a website. Nonetheless, if a user has succeeded in obtaining an image of the Google Maps area, they can easily convert the Google Map to DWG offline using Scan2CAD. The Scan2CAD software is not a website. It is downloaded and installed on a user’s Windows or macOS computer. The software does not send your images to an external server and is far-superior to any online conversion websites.
How to convert Google Maps to DWG on mobile or tablet?
There are currently no apps available in either the Apple iOS of Google Android stores for converting Google Maps to DWG using a mobile or tablet device. The requirement is quite niche and consequently has not garnered much attention from app developers. It would be possible for a user to obtain a suitable image of a Google Map on their computer and subsequently transfer that image to their mobile device with the aim of utilizing an app to convert the image to DWG. Yet, we have seen that using a mobile app for raster-to-vector conversion will not usually achieve the required conversion results. It is for this reason that we recommend using Scan2CAD for this process.

4.11 Converting floor plans to DWG

A floor plan is a shortened term for the typical architectural building floor plan drawings.

Often, each drawing will represent the complete floor – or level – of a building. If a building comprises of three levels, there will usually be three floor plans, one for each of the building levels.

The requirement to convert floor plan drawings to DWG is very common. This is because floor plans have been around for well over a century. Since the mid 1800’s architects have been using blueprints. ‘Blueprints’ is a term synonymous with floor plans, they were created as an easily reproducible medium for building floor plans.

Given that the world now uses CAD software to design buildings, and there is a legacy of 100+ years of pre-digital drawings, you can see why many will need to convert images of floor plans to DWG.

More often than not, these images will be scanned paper drawings, saved to a raster image format such as TIF or raster PDF, and then converted to DWG using CAD conversion software, the most dominant being Scan2CAD.

A common use-case for floor plans is the creation of fire safety plans. Fire protection companies will convert floor-plans for Fire Safety Zone Plans using Scan2CAD so they can edit the newly created 2D DWG floor plan drawing in their CAD software of choice. This process of digitizing legacy paper drawings or images to a CAD file format becomes invaluable to engineers who need to capture the data previously lost in old drawings.

How to convert floorplans to DWG in bulk?
Scan2CAD users who have subscribed to the business package can use our software to convert floorplans to DWG in bulk. The idea behind the support for batch conversion is to save you time. And considering your workflow may involve working with clients, some of whom may not have access to CAD software that can open the floorplans in their original format, it goes without saying that you would have to save them using a different format.

So, what then happens when you do not have access to the original files but want to make changes to the floorplans? That’s where Scan2CAD comes in; it lets you convert multiple floorplans to DWG. And it does this regardless of whether the original file was saved as a PDF, JPG, TIFF, or PNG.

How to convert floorplans to DWG offline?
If you are looking to convert floorplans to DWG, you can use CAD software such as AutoCAD and Vectorworks or dedicated conversion software, namely Scan2CAD. For AutoCAD, you have to manually trace over the outline of the floorplan, especially if it was stored as a raster PDF or image. (If you are working with a vector PDF of the floorplan, AutoCAD will import it directly to the workspace as an editable DWG drawing.)

On the other hand, Vectorworks lets you use the Trace Bitmap feature. This tool automatically creates snap endpoints that guide you as you manually trace over the outline. Compared to AutoCAD, Vectorworks’ vectorization approach is less cumbersome and more accurate but is still time consuming.

The deficiencies of both Vectorworks and AutoCAD point to the superiority of Scan2CAD, which can automatically trace over the outline of the floorplan. Scan2CAD can detect and automatically draw various geometric objects, including lines and curves. What’s more, it is capable of converting text to editable text.

How to convert flooplans to DWG on mobile or tablet?
You can use the AutoCAD web app (its mobile application available on Android or iOS) to convert floorplans to DWG. However, there’s a catch. These floorplans should be saved as images – you can only attach images, not PDFs, to the AutoCAD web app’s workspace.

To convert the attached images of the floorplans to DWG, simply use the Trace feature. This tool lets you manually trace over the outline of the floorplan to create a vector version of the drawing. However, given the phones’ small screen sizes (compared to a computer monitor) and that most smartphones do not come with styluses or pointing devices, you are more often than not likely to make errors. This is bound to lead to inaccuracies that compromise the quality of the converted DWG file. Thus, you would save plenty of time if you avoid converting floorplans to DWG on mobile or tablet

4.12. Converting paper drawings to DWG

A common requirement in CAD is to digitize paper drawings to a CAD format such as DWG. For instance, imagine a governmental land-planning office which has tens-of-thousands of paper drawings of architectural plans. With raster-to-vector conversion software such as Scan2CAD, users can convert scans of their paper drawings to CAD drawings which could be edited in their CAD software of choice such as AutoCAD, Vectorworks, ArchiCAD, to name a few.

Converting paper drawings can be a challenging process if the original paper drawing is poor quality, perhaps the paper has deteriorated or perhaps the original drawing itself is not accurate. In these circumstances, it is important to scan the drawing (with a flatbed or large format paper scanner) using the appropriate scanning settings. A scanned drawing in monochrome, saved in a lossless file format such as lossless-tiff will be much more successfully converted compared to a scanned drawing in 256+ colors, saved in JPEG format.

When performed correctly, an automatic conversion of an appropriately scanned image of an accurate paper drawing will save countless man-hours when compared to manually tracing or redrawing the plans. Additionally, Scan2CAD is a suitable alternative to outsourcing your conversion needs to a third-party company.

In our article ‘How to Convert Paper Drawings for CAD’ we discuss how to get the best results when digitizing your paper drawings for CAD, including how to edit the raster image scan of the earlier vectorization. With Scan2CAD, users can deskew the image (a form of rotation correction to make the image perfectly horizontal), remove speckles, holes and solve other unwanted raster image anomalies. By cleaning the image prior to conversion, the clean raster image will be converted into a clean vector drawing which can be saved to a DWG format.

How to convert paper drawings to DWG in bulk?
Bulk converting hundreds or thousands of paper drawings to DWG may not be a fast process compared to converting DXF to DWG.

This is because there is an extra step in the conversion process. Not only must a user convert a raster image to DWG but they must also first digitize the paper drawing to an image format (e.g. TIFF, BMP or PDF) with use of a paper scanner.

There are scanning offices which offer the services of digitizing a large number of paper drawings to image format. Choosing this option, the use should first send the paper drawings to the scanning office, they will later deliver all paper drawings in digital format. Alternatively, the user will obtain a flatbed or large-format paper scanner and digitize all paper drawings to a raster image format.

Finally, they will bulk-convert the paper drawing images to DWG with use of Scan2CAD’s automation API. This feature allows users to convert a huge amount of digitized paper drawings to DWG in just a few clicks.

How to convert paper drawings to DWG offline?
If a designer, engineer or architects wishes to convert paper drawings to DWG offline, they can achieve this with a paper scanner and the conversion software, Scan2CAD.

They will first scan the paper drawing to a lossless file format, most commonly TIFF. Consequently they can use Scan2CAD to convert the TIFF image (which contains the paper drawing scan) to DWG. The benefits of completing this whole process offline is that the accuracy of the resultant conversion is hugely better than any online converter can achieve. Additionally an offline conversion of paper drawings to DWG does not require you to upload your drawings to a potentially insecure server.

How to convert paper drawings to DWG on mobile or tablet?
If you wish to be more adventurous, you could utilise a scanning app – one of which is built into the iOS ‘Notes’ application. This app will use the phone or tablet’s camera to scan/photograph the paper drawing.

Next, it is possible to use an image-to-DWG converter app on your mobile device to complete the whole process without utilizing a desktop computer or laptop. However, as we’ve previously discussed in this article, raster-to-vector conversions on mobile devices is very-much in its nascency. Most DWG files created from an image of a paper drawing image will not be suitable for conversion.

Therefore we would recommend using Scan2CAD when converting the scanned paper drawing to DWG.

4.13 Converting Matterport floorplans to DWG

Matterport is web-based software used by real estate professionals. Its primary USP is that it creates 3D digital models of internal spaces like offices and homes using a variety of compatible cameras. Floor plans of those spaces can then be exported from Matterport typically in the format of raster images and PDFs. This is why many Scan2CAD customers then use Scan2CAD to convert the Matterport files to DWG for further processing in CAD software like AutoCAD.

Understanding the basics of Matterport is not too difficult but as we’ve explained above, raster images are made of colored pixels and, are not normally editable in CAD software, so the exported floor plans need to be converted to DWG.

Like all software, there are of course alternatives to Matterport but if the pricing of Matterport is a concern, then perhaps check out the free version first before upgrading.

Scan2CAD is a perfect conversion partner for Matterport users that need to use a vector version of the floor plans in another CAD package. If that’s you, then check out the video below or read through our guide on how to convert Matterport floor plans to DXG and DWG.

How to convert Matterport floorplans to DWG in bulk?
Matterport floorplans are most often found in PDF format. Thus, if you wish to batch convert thousands of Matterport floorplans to DWG in a few clicks we recommend Scan2CAD. With Scan2CAD’s Automation API, you will create a simple script dictating the exact conversion you wish to perform on all Matterport PDF files contained in a defined directory (folder). Once initiated the script will perform all tasks (including image cleaning, conversion, scaling and more) on the PDF file and repeat those same tasks for all reaming Matterport PDFs. The output will be a DWG file for each of the individual PDFs which can be freely transformed in the CAD software of your choice.
How to convert Matterport floorplans to DWG offline?
For those who have experienced the woes of inaccurate online converters, or perhaps are concerned about the lack of data security in uploading their files to a website, there are offline converters. An offline conversion solution is a software application which you can download for your PC or Mac. This application will allow you to convert your Matterport floorplans to DWG offline without the need to access any website. Scan2CAD is one such offline application. With Scan2CAD you can convert your Matterport floorplan PDF files to DWG accurately and seamlessly.
How to convert Matterport floorplans to DWG on mobile or tablet?
Matterport floorplans are mostly in PDF format. PDFs can contain both raster and vector images. If you were to attempt to convert a vector PDF to DWG using a mobile device (e.g. smartphone) or tablet you would mostly likely achieve acceptable results. This is because vector-to-vector conversions can be considered more simplistic and therefore they are possible with iOS and Android apps that are lacking maturity. Unfortunately, in our experience, almost all Matterport floorplans are raster PDF files. And therefore the likelihood of a successful raster-to-vector conversion with a mobile app is not high. Instead it would be our recommendation to use CAD conversion software, Scan2CAD, which is specifically designed for this process.

5. FAQ

5.1 Why convert to DWG format?

The DWG file format is maintained by the leading CAD development behemoth, Autodesk. Autodesk develops some of the most well-known CAD applications including their flagship product, AutoCAD. With such development might behind the DWG file format, it has become the industry standard CAD file-type alongside DXF. DWGs are not-only supported by Autodesk products but also a wide variety of other CAD applications whether they be web-based, Windows or macOS applications. DWG is a smaller file size when compared to DXF due to the DWG Binary encoding method. Overall, DWG can be considered a very stable and somewhat versatile file format, supporting both 2D and 3D information.

5.2 How to convert only certain parts of PDF to DWG?

We’ve discussed earlier in this article how PDF files can contain both raster and vector images as well as text strings. PDF files are very versatile because they are able to store the rasters and vectors in individual layers and separate pages. With the appropriate CAD conversion software (e.g. Scan2CAD) you can define whether you wish to convert specific layers, specific pages or perhaps only raster information in the PDF to DWG. The ability to convert only certain defined parts of the PDF to DWG is a common requirement when a PDF contains information which would be useless in CAD software. For example you may wish to extract an engineering drawing from a PDF which is surrounded by text. In Scan2CAD you can choose to automatically remove all text, keeping only the necessary drawing for CAD drafting.

5.3 How to convert DWG to an older version?

The DWG file format is constantly updated by Autodesk. If an app wishes to keep up-to-date support for the current DWG file version then they must continuously update their software to align with these new updates. It is very common that applications are not able to ‘keep up’ with the constant DWG file format changes and therefore some applications in the CAD ecosystem may only support older DWG file formats. If you have a new DWG file which you would like to convert to an older DWG version, this is possible with Scan2CAD. Scan2CAD supports multiple DWG file format versions, therefore you can freely convert your DWG files to newer or older versions as you require.

5.4 Which free software can be used to edit DWG files?

There are many free DXF/DWG editors including DWG FastView, FreeCAD, LibreCAD and nanoCAD – to mention a few. They all offer a range of features like editing polylines, arcs, shapes and lines and adding text. Some even support 3D objects.

5.5 What software can be used to open DWG files?

Autodesk licenses and develops the DWG format, so if you have a DWG file to view, then AutoCAD is the obvious choice to use. Scan2CAD and other conversion software can also be used to open a DWG file. And if you already use a CAD tool like CorelCAD, then it’s likely that you can open the file with that. If you don’t have another CAD package or a license to AutoCAD, then check out our article on ways to open DWG files without AutoCAD.

5.6 Why you should avoid online DWG converters?

Online converters have many pitfalls. For example, additional capabilities and features tend to be to saved for paying customers, so as a free user you are limited and you may only have a few options to tweak quality settings, which are important to have access to. In addition, the security and privacy of your files is not guaranteed plus conversion can be slow, as conversion is done over the internet.

6. Conclusion

In this article we have discussed how you can convert your files to DWG with the appropriate CAD conversion software. We have discovered how it is possible to convert file formats to DWG including PDF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, SVG and more. We also learned how users can convert similar CAD file formats to DWG, for example, DXF, DGN and DWF.

As we delve into each file type, we answered commonly asked questions including ‘how to convert files to DWG in bulk’ and ‘how to to convert files on mobile and tablet devices.’. As with all cases in CAD, most common requirements are achievable with the suitable software designed to solve for that specific problem. We’ve seen how some engineers and designers have attempted to utilise online websites to convert their files to DWG with little success. And we’ve also learned how offline converters (i.e. those which you download and install on your computer) will most-likely garner the best results.

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