How do we get a DWG file

Open DWG / DXF files

You can open DXF and DWG files in ARCHICAD as drawings or layouts. Choose File> Open, and then choose the file you want in the directory dialog.

For details on placing external drawings, see: Placing a Drawing from an External Application.

You can adjust the size, scale, title and frame options for your drawings in the Drawing Settings dialog box. The Embedded Layers control, available for drawings with DWG, DXF, or DWF source files in the drawing settings, allows you to set the visibility of the source layer.

See drawing settings.

Conversion rules for data exchange between ARCHICAD and AutoCAD can be saved in a file called the translator (extension .XML).

To use the default translator, choose the Open command - the selected file will open in ARCHICAD. ARCHICAD's default translator is set up so that the translation will produce correct results in many cases.

Because of the differences between AutoCAD and ARCHICAD, individual settings must be made in certain cases for correct translations.

To select a different translator or to adjust settings before opening the files, select "Settings ..." to open the DXF / DWG translator settings dialog box.

This dialog window is available:

• when you start a data transfer by clicking the Settings button in the Save, Open or Upload dialog box or add the XREF dialog box if the import / export file format is DXF / DWG

• directly via the command File> Interoperability> DXF-DWG> DXF-DWG Translator ...,

• when you open a DXF / DWG file using the File> Libraries and Objects> Open Object command

• Using the command File> Libraries and Objects> Import blocks from DXF / DWG.

You can manage the translators each time the translator dialog box is displayed - whether during data exchange (opening and saving) or via the translator configuration.

Note for TeamWork users: The use of shared translators ensures that all users have access to the same conversion rules. It is therefore recommended that the CAD manager (or someone who has this role in your office) manage the translators and place them on a server. To use these translators, each user must first add them to their list of translators.

For more information about the translator settings, see DXF-DWG translation settings.

Open as a library part

You can also open a DXF / DWG file as a library part by choosing the File> Libraries and Objects> Open Object ... command. This opens the GDL main window in which you can configure the new object created from the entire file.

For more information, see GDL Object Editor.

Open via drag & drop

You can import the DXF / DWG drawings using drag and drop:

Click on the AutoCAD drawing, drag it to the desired position and release it. The file is always opened with the last DXF / DWG translator used. This method simply adds the DWG / DXF file to the ARCHICAD project file. The 3D content of the file is not imported, only its 2D view.

If several DXF / DWG files are moved with drag and drop, only one of them is stored. Since you cannot control which file it is, it is advisable to only drag and drop one file at a time.

There are several ways to use drag and drop techniques when opening / adding AutoCAD drawings:

• Drag and drop a DXF / DWG file onto the background of an ARCHICAD application window, the ARCHICAD menu bar or the ARCHICAD icon opens the file.

• Moving a DXF / DWG file to the ARCHICAD Floor Plan, Section / Elevation / IA or 3D Document Window or Detail / Worksheet Window places the file as a drawing.

• The drawing is placed on the layout by dragging and dropping a DXF / DWG file onto a layout.

Open password-protected files

In AutoCAD 2004 and later versions it is possible to protect such drawings with a password.

When you import or open a file you might face such a situation.

It is currently not possible on the Mac platform to open password-protected DXF / DWG files from AutoCAD 2004 and later because the operating system does not support the encryption method of the password mechanisms used in them. If so, a warning will appear on your Mac.

In Windows it is possible that the operating system does not support password decryption. In this case you will get a warning that the file cannot be opened.

If the system supports decryption, a dialog box appears in which you can enter the password that you received from the person who sent you the file.

For XREF files, the program requires the password when the XREF is loaded into ARCHICAD for the first time. If several XREF files are reloaded, only the password-protected file whose password was incorrectly entered is not loaded.

Open blocks as library elements

The closest analogy to an AutoCAD block is an ARCHICAD library part. Block references (insert units) correspond to the instances of the library elements. The difference: while a library part is a separate file, the block is saved directly to the AutoCAD file.

Converting blocks to library parts is the only way to preserve the 3D structure of the blocks. However, it may be more efficient and require less memory to break down relatively complex blocks (for example, if you break down 100 instances of a block of 100 rows, you get 10,000 rows).

Disadvantages of converting blocks into library parts:

• You usually have to go through the object libraries created during the DXF / DWG import in order to eliminate duplicate and unnecessary elements

• Some of the editing functions available for details in blocks are not available for instances of the library elements.

Import selected layers from DWG / DXF / DWF files

See “Enable partial opening” under Options when opening (DXF / DWG translation settings).

Show / hide layers of imported DWG / DXF / DWF files

Use the Embedded Layers control in the Drawing Settings Properties panel to control the display of an imported DWG, DXF, or DWF file by showing or hiding its own layers (that is, the layers in the source file).


This control is available when the source of the selected drawing is a DWG, DXF, or DWF file.

For more information, see Embedded Layers.