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Acrobat 9 with AutoCAD

I was speaking to a client this morning who wanted to work with AutoCAD files. Now, AutoCAD is hugely popular in the Construction and Engineering industries, however it does have the occasional limitation in terms of sharing the information it produces.

The easiest way to share CAD drawings with the largest number of people is to use Acrobat. It's really easy to convert from AutoCAD drawings into PDF files...

You can use PDFMaker to convert AutoCAD files from within the AutoCAD application. You can also use the Batch Conversion feature to convert many AutoCAD files in one operation. Even if you don’t have AutoCAD, you can convert AutoCAD files to PDF from Acrobat.

So let's start with a quick look at how to convert AutoCAD files when AutoCAD is not installed

The default Acrobat installation installs Autodesk filters. These filters allow you to convert files in DWG, DWF, DST, DWT, and DXF format into PDF, without the native application installed.

1. In Acrobat, choose File > Create PDF > From File.
2. (Optional) From the Files Of Type menu, select Autodesk AutoCAD, then click the Settings button and change the conversion settings as needed.
3. Locate and select the AutoCAD file.
4. If the Adobe PDF Settings For Autodesk AutoCAD Documents dialog box appears, specify the settings as needed, and click OK.

"Nice! So I don't even need to have AutoCAD installed to be able to turn a CAD file into a PDF for commenting and sharing with all of my non-CAD aware colleagues in Finance and Legal"

So, now then, let's assume that I have AutoCAD installed, how can I turn my work into a PDF for sharing?

Firstly, good news! When converting individual AutoCAD files, you don't usually need to change page size and plotting settings. PDFMaker uses the appropriate layout page size and plotting information to create a correctly sized PDF file.

1. To change the PDF conversion settings, choose Adobe PDF > Change Conversion Settings in AutoCAD.
2. Do one of the following:

• Click a button in the Adobe PDF toolbar: Convert To Adobe PDF or Convert To Adobe PDF And Send For Review .
• Choose Adobe PDF > Convert To Adobe PDF.
• Choose Adobe PDF > Convert To Adobe PDF And Email.
• Choose Adobe PDF > Convert To Adobe PDF And Send For Review.

3. In the Choose Layouts dialog box, add or remove layouts as needed. To reorder the layouts, select a layout from the Layouts In PDF list, and click Move Up or Move Down.
4. To determine how the AutoCAD layers are converted, select one of the following, and then click Continue:
• Flatten All Layers. When layers are flattened, only those entities belonging to layers that are not frozen and are printable appear in the converted PDF.
• Retain All Or Some Layers. In the next dialog box, specify the layers to include in the resulting PDF.
5. Specify a filename and location in the Save As dialog box, and click Save.

"So now I can take the work I produce in AutoCAD and convert it to PDF so that those chaps in marketing and Sales can get a better visualisation of what we're doing"


Blimey, you ask a lot don't you? Well, I'm busy so let's just say that from here we could really delve into working with CAD layers and even running batch processing for converting multiple files in one hit! But you can find out about that some other time

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