Free Cheat Sheet: CAD Technical Terms Explained

Updated Jul 11, 2017
CAD Terms Explained

If you’re new to working with CAD, you’ve probably come across some terminology that you’re not too sure about. Do you know a Bezier curve from an auto deskew? Or a command line from a command file? How about an ASCII? If this all sounds like another language, don’t worry – we’re here to help you become a pro.

We have a full glossary for you to download and refer to at any time just enter your email address below to get your cheat sheet in your inbox.

To get you started here are a few of the most common terms that you should know.

Attached raster image

A raster image that is attached to a vector file. When the vector file is loaded into a CAD program, the raster image is automatically loaded as well, at the correct scale and in the correct position. Note that the raster image is not actually contained in the vector file. If the raster image is moved, deleted or renamed it will no longer be attached to the vector file.


File extension for a bitmap. You can use Scan2CAD to convert BMP to DXF, DWG, or another vector file type.


Computer numeric cutting. Cutting of shapes and profiles from metal, etc. Raster to vector conversion is frequently used in CNC for converting raster images to vector outlines that can be cut with a CNC machine.

Compressed file

File that has been reduced in file size by compressing the data it contains. The reduction in file size that can be achieved depends on the level of detail in the file and the compression method used. Note that compression only affects the size of the file when it is saved. As soon as you open it up in a software program such as Scan2CAD or Photoshop, it expands back to its uncompressed size.


The automatic removal of unwanted dirt or noise from a raster image’s background.

Dots per inch (DPI)

The resolution of a printed page, expressed in the number of printer dots in an inch. Often used as a synonym for pixels per inch.


Graphics Interchange Format. A 256 color raster file format that uses lossless compression, usually used for web graphics. Not normally recommended for raster to vector conversion as GIF files are typically too low resolution to be useful.

Raster (raster image, raster file)

An image made up of rows and columns of pixels of two (black and white) or more colors. Scanners save images as raster files. Typical raster file formats are BMP, TIFF and JPEG.

Raster to vector conversion

R2V. Process of converting raster files, which cannot be edited in CAD, into CAD-editable vector files such as DXF. Often done automatically by raster to vector conversion software such as Scan2CAD. Aka vectorization.

Learned Something New?

If the above explanations have already taught you something new, make sure you download your personal copy of this PDF cheat sheet.

With over 120 CAD-related technical terms explained this is sure to become a handy reference to keep handy.

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