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Autocad export advice



Hi all

We are working on many projects where we have to collaborate with other consultants who all use some version of AutoCad. Regularly we have calls/emails from them asking us to resend our DWG's with all the layers separated out and sometimes other requests.

Regardless when we export we try to keep file size minimal. To do this we make a copy of the file, purge all unused items, delete all referenced design layer viewports and any other drawings used for setup etc. Then we export the relevant sheet layers. The problem is that if we have many sheet layers with viewports to many different drawings in the same file the exported DWG gets big very quickly as it exports the complete design layer. You following still...? Also if there are multiple layers they all get stacked one on top of the other.... Grrrrrr. So we often have to export the layers as separate files so they can be combined properly at the other end by the consultants using AC - a time consuming and annoying job for the consultants.

Is this generally the way people handle exporting to AC or is there a more reliable and compatible way....?

Using VW2012 SP4 on an 27inch iMac i3. Lion OS.



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Its all in the setup of your own files/workflow. Remember Vectorworks has two complementary methods of organization (Classes and Layers) whereas Autocad only has one (Layers). In the original methodology, layers in Vectorworks were essentially seen as stories in a 3D model, so it didn't matter if they were stacked on top of each other. The only way that things won't be stacked is if you offset them in your own setup.

Are you working in 2D or 3D? Working in 3D solves many of these issues.

Unfortunately it sounds like you are trying to crunch two layers of organization into one. The weakness is Autocad here, which has a simpler organization workflow.


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Dxf can reduce file size, older dwg versions can reduce file size. If 3D is important the process will be more complicated.

As a complement to Kevins explanation.....Acad files can have many sheet layers/paper spaces but only one design layer/model space in one file, this makes exporting 'our' sheet and design layers to dwg quite complicated..... the current solution for a single file export is that all design layers become blocks (symbols) in the same Acad design layer/model space superimposed, each in their own respective class/acad layer.

Usually people using Acad have a file for each design layer and corresponding sheet layers in each file or a completely separate file with all sheet layers.

Or they draw everything in the same design layer with each floor offset with a certain distance. Ask your consultant what they prefer.


dwg sheet layer = paper space

dwg design layer = model space

Edited by Vincent C
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Thanks a million for the replies. We rarely draw in 3D so almost all files are 2D. I understand the limitations of AC better now and can see where you are coming from. For some jobs we may end up offsetting the individual floor layers of the building. Its just so much easier (and logical) to draw with the layers stacked. Might play around with reference files and see how we get on. Will also speak to the consultants to see which they would prefer.

Thanks again for your help. Kinda confirmed what I was thinking.


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