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How to Convert a PDF File to DXF – using Scan2CAD

Scan2CAD logo - blue geometric shapes

ScantoCAD PDF to DXF File ConverterIt’s incredibly common to receive PDF files from clients, especially since it’s the most popular format used for sharing in the design industry. It is equally common to have hard-copy versions of a drawing or a hand-drawn sketch, which you scan and save as PDF. In order to edit elements of these drawings, you’ll have to convert these PDF files into DXF file format! In this article, we should you how to do this using Scan2CAD — in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Load the PDF file.

Click “File” in the top-left hand corner of the screen, then select “PDF” and “Load”. A file browser dialog box will pop up. Here, locate the file you’d like to convert on your computer and click “Open”. Alternatively, you can also select File Menu > Raster > Load; or File Menu > Vector > Load.

Using Scan2CAD Convert files from PDF to DXF - Load File

Step 2: Select what elements you’d like to load onto Scan2CAD.

Before Scan2CAD can load your PDF file, it’ll ask you to make a couple of selections. First, you can choose to load a certain page on the PDF (if there are multiple pages in the PDF file).
Using Scan2CAD Convert files from PDF to DXF - Select PDF page

Secondly, if the PDF file is the wrong way up, you can turn it the right way around by clicking “Rotate Ac” for anti-clockwise rotation or “Rotate Cw” for clockwise. (Handy when you’re loading scanned documents!)

Finally, you can choose to load either the raster entities or the vector entities; or both. Scan2CAD will automatically detect the entities contained in your PDF file and present the relevant options to you.

Learn more: Raster and vector entities in PDF files
Using Scan2CAD Convert files from PDF to DXF - Identified raster & Vector shapes

In this example, the heart shape and text are vectors; whereas the swirly shape is a raster image. You can choose which to view with these keyboard shortcuts – R, V or B


Step 3: Save your PDF file as DXF.

Click “File” in the top-left corner of your screen, then select “Vector” and “Save as”. Then, choose the folder you’d like to save your file to and click “Save”. Within 30 seconds and a few simple clicks, you have a DXF file that you can load onto any CAD, CNC and GIS software.

Tip: If you want the raster image to preserved in your DXF file, you must follow these steps before saving: File Menu > Vector > DXF Export Options > Attach Raster Image.

Using Scan2CAD Convert files from PDF to DXF - Save DXF file

Depending on your needs, you can also make use of Scan2CAD’s extensive range of functions.

Using Scan2CAD’s raster and vector editing tools

You could make simple changes like editing the text in the file or more complicated ones like editing the grab points of a vector curve. As for raster elements, you can erase parts of the photograph with the eraser tool or play around with color contrast and depth! Learn how to use all of these tools in our User Manual.

Converting any raster entities to vector

If you want to convert the raster elements to vector format, click either of the following:

  • All – to convert any raster text, lines or shapes
  • Vector – to only convert raster lines or shapes
  • OCR– to only convert raster text

The software will intelligently trace the raster image and create a vector entity that you can edit on any CAD program. Here’s a handy graphic to explain the entire concept of vectorization or image tracing:

Converting Raster to Vector Example

The software traces the outline of raster image and produces an identical vector shape

There you have it! You can convert PDF files to DXF within 30 seconds; and make all sorts of edits using Scan2CAD DXF Conversion and editing functions. Read more about PDF to DXF conversion, including our Ultimate Guide. You can also check out our guide to 5 Top Hacks When Converting from PDF to DXF.

Looking to convert to a different format? Learn how to convert from PDF to DWG by visiting our ultimate guide.

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