How to Convert to DXF – The Ultimate Guide

Updated Aug 31, 2022
converting multiple file formats to dxf

1.0 Introduction

The maxim ‘sharing is caring’ features heavily in a collaborative work environment. That the DXF format exists is a true testament to the popular saying, which, though used in informal settings, bears much weight professionally. In the DXF files, designers find an open-source vector file format that can be opened by many a CAD programs.

But it is not uncommon for the CAD programs to have their native file formats – for AutoCAD, for example, that would be DWG. Secondly, some drawings may be saved using raster formats such as PNG, JPG, or TIFF. Combined, these aspects create a problem when everything is analyzed through the lens of collaboration – not every CAD program is designed to universally open all files, raster or vector. Thus, different team members whose workflow entails working with only one CAD software may be unable to work effectively. This is especially so if they receive files saved using raster or vector formats native to other programs and not what they are used to. This is where converting to DXF format comes in.

An integral piece in boosting collaboration and smoothing the workflow, converting JPG, PNG, PDF, SVG, and DWG formats as well as floorplans, paper drawings, and Matterport floorplans to DXF is more of a necessity than a rarity. And in this comprehensive guide, we extensively cover how to convert these myriad formats to DXF format. In addition, we cover how to convert raster file formats such as PNG, JPG, raster PDF, and TIFF, as well as vector formats, namely DWG and SVG. Welcome aboard!

2.0 What is DXF file format?

about dxf files

Short for Drawing Exchange Format – but can also stand for Drawing Interchange Format – DXF was developed by Autodesk. Its initial release in December 1982 coincided with the launch of AutoCAD 1.0. The intention behind the DXF’s development was simple: to create an open-source file format that would enable collaboration among different CAD programs.

At that time, Autodesk had already developed the DWG file format as AutoCAD’s native file format. And it guarded DWG’s documentation and technical specifications. Unfortunately, this meant that other developers who wanted their software to support DWG either had to part with some money in license fees or reverse engineer the format. But in came the DXF file format, which was designed to represent all the data stored in a typical DWG file. And being open-source, its source code was, and still is, freely available. Thus, any developer could use it, facilitating collaboration and sharing of files. The collaboration intent is even captured in the format’s full name.

Sample of DXF File format in text form (Straight line shape)

A sample of the DXF file format structure

Autodesk initially launched the ASCII format of DXF, a factor that perhaps explains its popularity to date (ASCII DXF files are more common than binary DXF files). The ASCII format completely represents an AutoCAD drawing in an ASCII text form and is easily processed by other CAD programs. On the other hand, the binary DXF format, introduced in 1988, stores the data in binary form, i.e., a cluster of zeros and ones.

The binary DXF file is technically superior to ASCII despite being less common. For instance, it takes up 25% less file space than a similar ASCII DXF file. It can also be read about five times faster than the ASCII DXF file and is more accurate. Generally, however, the acronym DXF denotes the ASCII type.

That said, what is the purpose/function of the DXF file format? DXF is an exchange format that allows engineers, architects, and designers to share drawings across different programs. And this fact has made it extremely popular.

3.0 Which file formats can be converted to DXF?

The evolution of technology has brought good tidings as far as file conversion is concerned. Now more than ever, you can convert both raster and vector files to DXF, despite the stark differences between the formats. For instance, raster drawings are made up of pixels, while vector drawings comprise vector elements that are created using mathematical formulas. Thus, whereas the resolution of a raster design diminishes with the uptick in magnification, the quality of a vector drawing remains constant as zooming in or out. This is because such actions only change the variables in the mathematical formulas, which are recalculated with every magnification.

And because DXF is a vector file format, the approach to converting a raster file varies from what would typically be required of a vector to vector file conversion. Typically, to convert a raster image to DXF, you would need to trace the outline of the drawing, manually or automatically, thereby creating a new vector drawing on top of the raster outline. This can sometimes be problematic in terms of accuracy and the time taken, especially if you elect to use the manual approach.

Fortunately, as we shall outline later, some software programs can undertake automatic raster to vector conversion with great accuracy. Using such programs, you can convert PNG, JPG, TIFF, and PDF file formats as well as SVG and DWG. You can also convert different types of drawings, from Matterport floorplans and architectural floorplans to paper drawings.

Technological advancements have, in fact, made it possible to complete the conversions online, offline, or on mobile or tablet. Additionally, you can convert multiple files simultaneously in a process known as batch conversion. Here’s how.

3.1 Converting PDF to DXF

converting PDF to DXF with conversion software

An abbreviation for Portable Document Format, PDF is a popular file format, the third most popular file format on the web after HTML and XHTML. First released in 1992, PDF enables anyone to send electronic versions of documents and subsequently view and print them in the same state they were initially saved. PDF not only supports encryption and digital signatures but also stores metadata and different types of content. Examples of the different types of content you can save using this file format are:

  • Text
  • Graphics
  • Rich media, such as video content
  • 3D objects
  • Logical structuring elements

There are two types of PDFs, namely raster PDFs and vector PDFs. As stated earlier, raster PDFs are made up of pixels and are created by saving a scanned image using this format. Conversely, vector PDFs, which are created by saving a drawing using vector software such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Illustrator, feature content that is defined by mathematical formulae.

That said, you cannot edit a PDF-based CAD drawing, begging the question, can you convert a PDF to a DXF file? Well, yes. When it comes to converting PDFs to DXF, you have to keep in mind the fact that you could be dealing with either a vector or raster PDF. Accordingly, as we have highlighted above, you need to take a different approach for each of the two types. But there is a simple method – using Scan2CAD.

Scan2CAD is a formidable and reliable PDF to DXF converter. (And though it enables you to convert PDFs to DXF, this is just one of the many file formats and conversions it supports.) Scan2CAD is packed with numerous helpful features with which you can clean up a raster PDF to ease the vectorization process.

How to convert PDF to DXF in bulk?

You can convert PDF to DXF in bulk using Scan2CAD. To execute batch conversion using this leading file conversion software, you need to hold a Scan2CAD Business license. Using a powerful Python API, whose documentation is available, you can even automate the batch conversion. And given that Scan2CAD emphasizes quality, you need not worry even if you intend to convert raster PDFs to DXF – the software can batch convert these files.

You can also ReaConverter to convert PDF to DXF in bulk, but keep in mind that this file conversion software, available as a desktop application or online, can only convert vector PDFs.

How to convert PDF to DXF offline?

Scan2CAD is an excellent offline file conversion software that lets you convert either raster or vector PDFs to DXF. It does this without requiring you to have an internet connection. The software’s advanced object character recognition (OCR) feature enables it to automatically recognize text-based objects and subsequently convert them into true-type text. Scan2CAD also emphasizes speed without compromising on quality.

Additionally, you can use ReaConverter desktop software, AutoCAD, or Adobe Illustrator to automatically convert PDFs to DXF offline. However, these applications only handle vector PDFs. For example, to convert a raster PDF to DXF using AutoCAD, you have to attach it as a reference file and subsequently trace over the outline of the drawing manually.

How to convert PDF to DXF on mobile or tablet?

You can convert PDF to DXF on mobile or tablet using online file converters such as ReaConverter and ZamZar. But, again, we emphasize that these online file converters cannot seamlessly convert raster PDFs. (On this front, ZamZar is superior to ReaConverter.) At the same time, some of the online file converters struggle with OCR even when the PDF is in a vector form. So, if you are working with any PDF, it would be best to consider an offline file converter such as Scan2CAD or AutoCAD.

Similarly, using a mobile or tablet presents a challenge. Firstly, the file management systems on mobile operating systems are inferior compared to what you find on a desktop computer. This means that you might not readily find the converted file once you download it. Secondly, the smaller screen size, particularly in mobile phones, may complicate matters.

Nonetheless, there are a small number of apps developed for mobile and tablet devices which feature PDF to DXF conversion.

Here are 3 mobile apps for converting PDF to DXF:

  1. ZWCAD Mobile – Available on iOS and Android
  2. DWG Tools – Available on iOS
  3. The Vector Converter – Available on iOS

All of the above apps are available for free but their most sought after features require in-app purchases.

3.2 Converting JPG to DXF

JPG or JPEG is the fourth most popular file format on the web after PDF and the most popular image file format on the web, according to Common Crawl. Outside of the web-based environment, JPG is still the most common image format used by digital cameras, mobile phones, and other image-capturing devices, particularly because it is the default format.

Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, JPEG, a raster image format, is famed for its lossy compression that enables it to capture and store high-quality images in small file sizes. But the compression often strips the image of vital data crucial to applications such as image editing and web design. Additionally, this format does not support transparency – the state wherein layers within an image become ‘see through.’ For this reason, JPG is rarely used to create images that require a transparent layer, such as icons and logos. But it can capture and store architectural and engineering drawings and designs.

JPG iconUnfortunately, drawings saved using the JPG format cannot be edited by adding or deleting objects such as lines or curves, as you would using CAD software. Of course, you can use image editing software to change elements such as the size, color, and even add text. But you cannot modify the length of an existing line or change the font size, for example. So, if you wish to modify the drawing, you have to convert JPG to DXF.

And that’s where Scan2CAD comes in. In addition to supporting PDFs, Scan2CAD enables you to flawlessly convert JPG to DXF, provided you use the available tools to clean up the raster image. And as we have highlighted below, there’s a lot you can achieve using Scan2CAD.

How to convert JPG to DXF in bulk?

One of the perks of the Scan2CAD Business package is the ability to convert JPG to DXF in bulk. In fact, you can automate the JPG to DXF batch conversion using a powerful Python API. This frees up the time you would have otherwise spent supervising the conversion process, further adding to the convenience.

You can use the ReaConverter file converter, which enables you to convert multiple JPG files simultaneously. It also eases file management by saving all the converted DXF files in a ZIP file. ReaConverter is available online as well as via desktop software. However, to convert JPG to DXF in bulk using the latter, you must have paid for a given subscription package.

Alternatively, you can use Convertio online converter, which lets you convert a maximum of two files if you are not signed up for a premium subscription account. For those who do choose to create purchase a subscription, they may convert unlimited files for prices starting at $9.99 per month and higher pricing tiers allow users to convert larger file sizes.

However, it is important to note that the quality of the conversion on online file converters depends on the quality of the JPG image. Thus, ensure you have a clean drawing before uploading it.

How to convert JPG to DXF offline?

Scan2CAD is your surest bet when undertaking JPG to DXF conversions offline. This is because not only does it offer image cleaning tools, but it also guarantees security. The latter aspect normally comes into play when working with online file converters.

Such online tools require you to upload JPG files to an external server, surrendering control to third parties. While this may not be an issue for non-sensitive files, sharing sensitive files is best avoided. And though some online file converters promise to delete the uploaded and converted files, you can never be too sure that they will honor their end of the agreement.

You could also use ReaConverter’s desktop software. Alternatively, you can use AutoCAD; but with AutoCAD, you have to manually trace over the outline of the drawing to create a vector DXF drawing.

How to convert JPG to DXF on mobile or tablet?

In the professional CAD world, mobile phones and tablets are not a commonality beyond facilitating communication. However, to some extent, they also facilitate collaboration thanks to the emergence of cloud storage and building information modeling (BIM) that can be accessed via mobile software or tablets.

Similarly, you are unlikely to find dedicated tools for converting JPG to DXF on mobile or tablet as the would-be user prefers desktop software. But all is not gloomy as you can access online file converters using your smartphone’s or tablet’s browser. That said, you will likely struggle to pinpoint the converted file’s location once you download it. This is especially so if you do not specify the storage location beforehand.

3.3 Converting PNG to DXF

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is a raster image format. Created in the mid-1990s, PNG is compressed using a lossless approach. (This is unlike JPG, which uses lossy compression.) It also supports greyscale images, 24-bit RGB color palettes, and full-color (true color) non-palette-based images. Additionally, PNG supports transparency and opacity.

Ironically, though Common Crawl ranks PNG lower than JPG in terms of the most popular image formats on the web, it was initially created to facilitate the transfer of images on the internet. The images could include anything from photos with illustrations and architectural drawings as well as scans of architectural drawings and more.

But like its JPG counterpart, PNG does not let you make drastic changes to the content of the photo, even using Photoshop. If you wish to modify a drawing or plan by either deleting or adding some objects, you would first have to convert PNG to DXF. And this requires you to use file conversion tools, such as Scan2CAD, which are designed to automatically complete the conversion. Alternatively, you can use CAD programs such as AutoCAD that allow you to attach the image as a reference file. You then have to manually trace over the outline of a drawing. This underlines the convenience that Scan2CAD offers.

A leading conversion solution, Scan2CAD is a formidable and reliable PNG to DXF converter. Its reliability stems from the fact that it enables you to clean the PNG image using tools such as threshold, remove speckles and holes, thicken lines, and smooth. And that’s not all. Suppose the drawing contains both geometric objects and text-based objects. In that case, you can select the Vector & OCR option, which enables Scan2CAD to convert these raster objects into editable vector elements.

How to convert PNG to DXF in bulk?

Again, Scan2CAD’s batch conversion capability comes in handy when you intend to convert PNG to DXF in bulk. Available to users who have subscribed to the Business package, the software’s batch conversion guarantees convenience without compromising on the quality of the conversion. Moreover, you can use the Python API to automate the conversion, enabling you to sit back and relax as you wait for the lines of code you will have used – see the documentation – to begin and finalize the conversion.

You can also use ReaConverter or Convertio, but again, we emphasize that security and privacy are not always guaranteed when working with online file converters. Also, it is crucial to use high-quality image files for the best results.

How to convert PNG to DXF offline?

Scan2CAD enables you to convert raster PNG files to DXF offline. And the software has an added advantage as it can run on Windows or macOS devices. Scan2CAD’s minimum system requirements are not as stringent as those of, say, AutoCAD, which is another software you can use to convert PNG to DXF offline. This negates the need for external computing power that would require an internet connection. So, even if you are in the remotest part of the world without access to the internet, you can still complete a PNG to DXF conversion offline.

However, if your computer supports AutoCAD, you can use it to convert PNG to DXF. You would not need to import the image file as an attachment and subsequently use it as a reference as you trace over the outline of the drawing. Alternatively, you can use the ReaConverter desktop software.

How to convert PNG to DXF on mobile or tablet?

You can use online file converters to convert PNG to DXF on mobile or tablet. This is because Scan2CAD, as well as other CAD software, are not available on these devices. But as we have highlighted before, it is essential to read the fine print. Some online file converters do not clearly outline how they handle the uploaded/converted files. So, it would be best to avoid such solutions if you normally deal with sensitive files.

At the same time, ensure that the drawing stored in the PNG file is of the highest quality, sans blemishes such as speckles and holes. This is because the quality of the input directly impacts the output.

3.4 Converting SVG to DXF

convert svg to dxf

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a digital vector image format created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Being a vector format, SVG has a one up on raster image formats like TIFF, BMP, PNG, and JPG, all of which are pixel-based. This advantage stems from the fact that the quality of SVG images does not diminish if they are scaled up or down. Rather, the quality is maintained throughout. On top of its characteristic as a quality file format, SVG is also famed for having a smaller file size than comparative raster images.

Little wonder then that SVG is mostly used for website icons and buttons and digital company logos. Additionally, the format stores animations, illustrations, graphs, and infographics. But where SVG falls short is in facilitating drastic modifications. After all, it is an image format.

This means you cannot permanently delete certain components of the drawing, for example, even using a vector graphics editor such as Illustrator, CorelDraw, Vectornator, and more. Such modifications would require you to convert SVG to DXF. Unfortunately, Scan2CAD does not currently support SVG to DXF conversions, but that does not mean the market does not have SVG to DXF converters.

Inkscape is proven software that not only enables you to edit SVG files but also export the edited content as DXF. This program stands out, especially because it is a free tool. You can, however, elect to use non-free applications such as CorelDraw or ReaConverter.

How to convert SVG to DXF in bulk?

ReaConverter comes in clutch when you wish to convert SVG to DXF in bulk. You can elect to either use the converter’s web app or the desktop software, both of which maintain the same level of conversion quality. It is important to note, however, that ReaConverter is a paid software. So, it limits the maximum number of files you can convert simultaneously to five, particularly when using desktop software.

You can go around this problem using the online version of the software, which does not have such a restriction. In fact, it combines all the converted files in a single ZIP file for added convenience.

How to convert SVG to DXF offline?

Inkscape is a freeware that enables you to not only vectorize raster images using the Trace Bitmap feature but also convert SVG to DXF offline. As SVG is a vector format, you do not need to use the Trace Bitmap feature. Instead, all you have to do is to import the SVG file and subsequently save it as a DXF file. And the good thing with this is that an internet connection is not required beyond downloading Inkscape.

Alternatively, you can use the ReaConverter desktop software or CorelDraw, both of which require you to shell out a given amount in annual subscription fees.

How to convert SVG to DXF on mobile or tablet?

Smartphones and tablets do not have the same level of user experience as laptops and desktop computers. And this has never been clearer now as device manufacturers are increasingly creating keyboards for their tablets. So, tablets and mobiles are rarely used in a professional setting, and this is further evidenced by the lack of CAD applications for mobile that support as many functionalities as their desktop counterparts. In some cases, the developers avoid creating mobile applications altogether.

For this reason, Inkscape is not available on mobile. But you can convert SVG to DXF on mobile or tablet using the ReaConverter online conversion tool.

3.5 Converting TIFF to DXF

Tag Image File Format, or TIFF for short, is a raster format used to store image information and graphics. Like the PNG file format, TIFFs use a primarily lossless approach to file compression, meaning they retain a great deal of image detail and color depth. That said, TIFFs have better image quality and resolution than PNGs. This attribute makes them ideal for professional photography as well as saving satellite imagery and contour maps. It also makes them suitable for scans. Scans stored using the TIFF format feature unrivaled high-resolution image quality.

image of a tiff/tif icon Generally, the quality of TIFFs is pegged on the fact that they can store extra image data and information, an attribute that translates to a larger file size. In fact, a single TIFF file can be used to store multiple lower-resolution JPG images. The advantages that the TIFF format offer, however, are no match for vector formats such as DXF, especially in a CAD setting. Here, professionals who wish to quickly edit drawings or scans saved as TIFFs would find it extremely hard.

Ordinarily, a designer’s, engineer’s, or architect’s workflow involves dealing with CAD software programs, which cannot edit TIFF files but are designed to work with vector formats such as DXF. So, converting TIFF to DXF becomes a necessity in such a scenario. And again, Scan2CAD comes to the rescue. As a TIFF to DXF converter, Scan2CAD simplifies a process that would otherwise take up a considerable length of time using other software programs.

While you can manually convert TIFF to DXF using tools such as AutoCAD, you would have to attach the TIFF as a reference file. You then have to manually trace over every line and curve. Understandably, this is bound to take up a lot of time. Scan2CAD, however, automatically traces over the geometric objects. That said, you have to clean up the raster image for the best results.

How to convert TIFF to DXF in bulk?

The Scan2CAD Business package provides benefits such as the ability to convert TIFF to DXF in bulk. However, as TIFF is a raster image format, care should be taken to ensure that the vectorization espouses accuracy. And Scan2CAD guarantees this thanks to its specialized trace function. What’s more, you can use Scan2CAD’s powerful Python API to automate the batch TIFF to DXF conversion.

Still, it is crucial to keep in mind that Scan2CAD’s automatic tracing capabilities have limits around what they can achieve. This points to the need to clean the drawings before attempting to convert TIFF to DXF in bulk.

How to convert TIFF to DXF offline?

Scan2CAD is a fast, efficient, and accurate conversion tool that enables you to convert TIFF to DXF. One of the aspects that guarantees speed and accuracy when using this leading conversion software is that Scan2CAD lets you clean up the raster image. Secondly, the software allows you to choose from various vectorization settings guided by the type of drawing you are dealing with. The settings include a set of pre-programmed variables that define how the software will convert the drawing.

Additionally, Scan2CAD uses a specialized trace that converts objects appropriately. For instance, if the TIFF drawing has multiple curves, Scan2CAD will convert them into curves rather than a collection of polylines.

How to convert TIFF to DXF on mobile or tablet?

While you can convert TIFF to DXF on mobile or tablet using online file converters, we recommend against using such tools. This is because most online file converters struggle with converting curves. And given that the TIFF file format is used to store contour maps, some of which contain metadata tags such as the location, the outcome would not be useful in any way.

Moreover and as we have emphasized above, the safety of your files is not guaranteed once you upload them to an external server. For this reason, we advise that you use Scan2CAD.

3.6 Converting DWG to DXF

DWG stands for drawing and is the native file format for AutoCAD files. Converting a DWG to DWF is very useful when you have created the DWG in AutoCAD and it is being used in another CAD package at some point else in the design process. As DXF is a universally accepted file format, it’s quite common to convert form DWG to DWF.

As DWG is a propriety file format, developed by Autodesk, applications which open, edit and export DWGs require a specially designed software for this file support. More often than not, CAD development companies purchase a ‘library’ (a small software application designed for a specific purpose) licensed by Autodesk which enables support for DWG files.

This propriety nature of DWG files means the number of CAD, CAM and CNC applications which support them is much fewer when compared to those that support DXF files. By contrast, DXF files are comparatively easy to read and support.

Converting can be done many different ways including using Scan2CAD, online converters or even Autodesk’s free file viewing software, DWG TrueView. To learn more about the different options available check out our ultimate guide to converting DWG to DXF.

How to convert DWG to DXF in bulk?

Some software only supports DWG, so when you have a large number of files to convert to DXF, then you need to do a batch conversion. This is possible using conversion software. With the likes of Scan2CAD, you can choose a folder that contains many DWG files and easily configure the software to convert all the files in the folder.

How to convert DWG to DXF offline?

There are a good number of online conversion tools for converting DWG to DXF, but many of them produce low quality results. Typically, tools that are installed locally on MacOS or Windows are more powerful and produce far better results than the online convertors. AutoCAD, Vectorworks and ArchiCAD are examples of software packages that can be used for this.

How to convert DWG to DXF on mobile or tablet?

Converting CAD files is a complex process and needs a lot of computing power, so mobile and tablet apps are limited. However, because DWG and DXF are both vector formats and contain much of the CAD structure already like CAD blocks, a mobile or tablet app needs to work less to do the conversion, so there are apps in the Android and iOS stores that should be able to covert DWG and DXF files and that you can test for free.

3.7 Converting floorplans to DXF

Floor plan drawings are normally created by architects but they are increasingly being used for fire safety and security in buildings and therefore converting them to DXF is becoming more common. As not all buildings and homes are new, floor plans for the entire building or just one floor can be quite old, and in some cases over 100 years old.

These older drawings tend to be scanned images saved to a raster image format like a raster PDF. As these raster images are difficult to work with in CAD, they need to be converted. This process of digitizing these older drawings can be done on a one-off basis or in bulk, depending on the project requirements.

How to convert floorplans to DXF in bulk?

Batch conversion is available to Scan2CAD Business customers and is designed to save you time when converting lots of floorplans into DXF format. This could be as part of a digitizing old drawings or as part of a large project for a client where the client doesn’t have access to the original drawings. Scan2CAD can be configured to convert multiple floorplans to DXF, regardless of the original file format.

How to convert floorplans to DXF offline?

Desktop software like Vectorworks and AutoCAD can be used to convert floorplans to DXF by allowing you to manually trace over the floorplan image if it is a raster image. It is possible to import a vector PDF of a floorplan to AutoCAD, but the best solution to convert floorplans to DXF offline is by using a dedicated conversion tool like Scan2CAD. Scan2CAD will automatically trace over the outline of the floorplan and also recognize objects, arcs and text. There is not an online tool that overs this power.

How to convert floorplans to DXF on mobile or tablet?

Converting floorplans to DXF on a mobile or tablet is difficult. It normally involves tracing an image, which is difficult to do without a stylus and because it is on a smaller screen. So keeping it to a simple floorplan makes life easier. AutoCAD have a web app that makes it possible on Android or iOS machines but there are limitations, for instance, you can only import images to the app and not PDFs.

3.8 Converting paper drawings to DXF

Pen and ruler on architectural drawing

It’s very common for large organizations, government bodies or even small machining shops to have paper drawings – and lots of them. When design departments are updating CAD software or product management software, it can kick start a digitization process of moving paper drawings to a digital format – normally vector, so they can be edited at a later date.

The process of converting from paper to DXF is challenging. Original paper drawings can be of poor quality and will have deteriorated over time. So it is important to get as good a scan of the drawing before attempting to convert to DXF using software like Scan2CAD. We have an article on how to convert paper drawings for CAD that will help you get the best results.

How to convert paper drawings to DXF in bulk?

Converting bulk paper drawings to DXF can be done, but first you must digitize the drawings, normally using a paper scanner. This can be done inhouse or through a third party scanning office, who will have the best equipment to get the most accurate scans. Once you have digitized all your drawings, you can use a tool like Scan2CAD’s automation API to bulk-convert the images.

How to convert paper drawings to DXF offline?

Offline (desktop) software is much more advanced than online software at converting paper drawings to DXF. As the quality of paper drawings can be questionable, it’s best you use as good a scanner as you can and then an offline tool like Scan2CAD to convert the drawing. It’s best to create a lossless file format, most commonly TIFF, and then use Scan2CAD to convert the scan, as it is custom made for this. It’s also a bit more secure if your drawings are of a sensitive nature.

How to convert paper drawings to DXF on mobile or tablet?

The quality of the conversion to DXF depends on the quality of the scan and the complexity of the drawing. There are no specific mobile or tablet apps that will reliably convert paper drawings – or scans of – to DXF outside of AutoCAD’s web app, which has many limitations. So your options are limited.

3.9 Converting Matterport floorplans to DXF

Matterport schematic floorplans are drawings of an architectural 2D layout of a building. Once requested, Matterport takes up to 48 hours to deliver the floorplans in PNG and PDF format and their dimension accuracy tolerance is between 1% to 2%.

For designers, architects and engineers who wish to edit these schematics in their CAD software of choice, they would need to convert their Matterport floorplans to DXF with CAD conversion software, Scan2CAD.

Scan2CAD has the ability to convert both PDF and PNG versions of the schematics to DXF using raster-to-vector conversion technology. Scan2CAD will recognize all elements in the floorplan image, converting them to their correct CAD object equivalent. This is made possible with object recognition technology. In addition, text in the Matterport floorplan will be converted to vector text strings which can be edited in your CAD software.

Matterport floorplan schematics are typically used by the Estate Agents market in which companies will survey properties utilizing Matterports’ 3D scanning hardware. It is subsequently possible to request Matterport to deliver a 2D schematic generated from the 3D scans. These 2D floorplans are an integral tool in the Estate Agents’ sales process. And having such plans in DXF format provides an extra layer of freedom, enabling users to freely edit the floorplans in their CAD software.

How to convert Matterport floorplans to DXF in bulk?

Scan2CAD Automate is a Python API, available for users – on the appropriate tier – to freely automate any feature of Scan2CAD. This is an extremely powerful tool when users wish to convert a large number of PNG or PDF files to DXF without manually repeating every conversion task on each individual floorplan.

Users can batch-convert thousands of Matterport floorplan files to DXF by first creating a simple script which dictates the exact conversion features and settings you require. This script will repeat all conversion tasks on each file found within a pre-determined folder/directory until all files are converted to DXF.

For those who need to regularly edit Matterport schematics in their CAD software, the bulk conversion of these floorplans to DXF is an extremely useful feature, providing significant savings in workforce-hours and budgets.

How to convert Matterport floorplans to DXF offline?

If you are mindful of the privacy of your clients’ or company’s data, you will likely wish to convert your Matterport floorplans to DXF offline. An offline conversion is one that does not require internet connection and therefore does not send your company-sensitive files to a third-party such as a website.

Many website converters will offer to convert your PNG or PDF Matterport files to DXF for free. However their accuracy is usually so poor that it makes the output DXF file useless. At this current point, the highest accuracy is found in ‘offline’ converter software, applications that you download and install on your Windows or MacOS computer.

Offline conversion software will convert your Matterport schematics to DXF without sending the file to an external server. All computation is performed on your PC, therefore guaranteeing total security of your files.

How to convert Matterport floorplans to DXF on mobile or tablet?

For those who wish to convert their raster images (for example raster PDF files and PNG images) to DXF using a smartphone or tablet, there are solutions available. Although, through our testing we have found that there are no iOS or Android apps which can accurately convert Matterport floorplans to DXF on a mobile device.

The lack of accuracy of converting such schematics on mobile apps is due to the fact that many do not specialize in raster-to-vector conversions for AEC (architectural, engineering and construction) purposes. Instead these mobile apps offer a simplified conversion solution which is great for converting a simple image such as a logo to DXF with the majority of vectors being formed of polygons.

Unfortunately a vector architectural floorplan formed of polygons would be almost as useless as its raster version. Instead the DXF Matterport floorplan should be formed of the the appropriate CAD objects, such as lines, arcs, circles and text objects.

Such a conversion of Matterport floorplans to DXF is not currently possible with a mobile device and therefore a Windows or macOS computer is required.

4.0 FAQ

4.1 Why convert to DXF format?

The DXF file format takes its name from the acronym ‘Drawing eXchange Format’. As the name suggests, the file format is intended to be freely ‘exchangeable’ between different applications developed by various development companies.

The DXF file format can be considered a more ‘open’ variation of the similar DWG format. Unlike DWG, the DXF format is written in ASCII making it easily readable and extendable by applications. The format requires no official license in order to read and export the files.

These benefits mean that DXF has become an industry standard for storing 2D CAD data. It continues to be the file format of choice for those who value the freedom of editing their files in any CAD software they wish.

4.2 Are DXF files 2D or 3D?

DXFs are primarily a 2D CAD file format. However, as we discussed previously, the DXF format is freely extendable due to it being written in ASCII and the fact that any application has a free license to develop on this format. Therefore there are scenarios in which you can find DXF files containing 3D model data.

If you intend to work with 3D models (as opposed to 2D drafting) we would recommend using a file format designed specifically for this requirement because 3D models are highly complex and DXF files which contain 3D data are often very rudimentary. Additionally, most applications which support DXF files do not read the 3D data contained within the DXF. Instead they assume the DXF is 2D and subsequently retain only the vectors on the X&Y axis.

4.3 Does Photoshop support DXF?

Photoshop is primarily a raster editing application, developed by Adobe. These raster files (i.e. photographs) are often in JPEG format because this became the industry-standard format for digital cameras. DXF files are not supported by Photoshop, they are vector and therefore there would be no sensible reason to open a DXF file in Photoshop. Adobe’s vector editing application, Illustrator, does support DXF files. Therefore Adobe customers who wish to edit a DXF file should opt for Illustrator and not Photoshop. It should be noted that Illustrator cannot be used for CAD purposes as it is not a CAD application and therefore does not have the ability to create CAD blocks and it cannot store the file data in a CAD-standard structure.

4.4 What software can be used to open DXF files?

Most CAD work is done on desktop and laptop computers running Windows or macOS. We have previously collected a list of the best free DXF viewers for your computer.

If, instead, you wish to view your CAD DXF files on a mobile device (i.e. an iOS or Android smartphone) then we have collated our recommendations for the best apps to view DXF files on mobile.

4.5 Which free software can be used to edit DXF files?

If your requirement is to edit DXF files – and not simply view them – we would recommend that you do not use a mobile device for this purpose. Instead, we recommend using a macOS or Windows computer with software specifically developed for CAD purposes. There are many fantastic CAD drafting applications available. Some free and some premium. We have previously presented a list of the best free DXF editors.

4.6 Why you should avoid online DXF converters?

If your CAD work involves viewing and editing files provided by your clients or your organization, then it is likely that you cannot reasonably upload your DXF files to an online website which offers free DXF conversions. This is because you have no control over the security of a file once you have uploaded it to a third-party website server.

Even if the security of yours’, and your clients’, files were not your primary concern, the extremely low accuracy and basic features of online conversion websites typically drives all users to finally settle on downloading and installing an offline conversion application on their computer. We discuss this further in our article describing why you should avoid online DXF converters.

5.0 Conclusion

In this ultimate guide, we have discussed how you can convert your files to DXF. As we have learned, many files are suitable for conversion to the DXF file format. Suitable source files include raster images, such as JPG, TIFF and PNG, as well as vector files, such as DWG and PDF.
It should be noted that only 2D imagery is suitable for conversion to DXF. As previously mentioned, DXF files can contain 3D information but they are far from the most suitable file format for 3D models. Additionally automatic CAD conversion software can only convert 2D imagery to DXF.

We noted that if you wish to convert your files to DXF so you can open your drawings in your CAD/CNC software of choice, you should utilize computer software which is specifically designed for this requirement. The results should be accurate to the original design. Unfortunately, accurate results are not possible with online converters and the security of such third-party services cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, conversion software developed for your Windows and macOS computers is the solution of choice.

For those who have a recurring need to convert a large number of files to DXF, they may make use of a batch conversion feature. This allows users to convert a ‘batch’ of thousands of files within a single folder directory to DXF by instructing the software to automate the conversion tasks on each individual file until all are converted into their DXF equivalent.

As such, Scan2CAD is the ultimate solution for converting your images and PDF files to DXF, offering offline conversion, batch conversion and all the features required for market-leading accurate results.

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