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DWG Export fill color problem (VW9.5)

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Hello Everyone,

We will appreciate your help with the following problem we received very much.

We are using Vectorworks 9.5 on Mac OS 9.2.2 (Mac Classic).

Our drawing consist of several different layers and a lot of self created symbols.

Now we want to export our drawings to AutoCad because the clients have only AutoCad and need to make alterations on that drawing.

Our problem is that we looses the fill colors in the exported DWG file. Also the exported DWG file has no fill behind the objects. Our drawings are all in 2D.

Can you tell us how we can export our VW drawing to AutoCad with the fill colors unchanged?

A side question : Will be the VW viewer an option for those people to view the VW document and make some very basic alterations?

I appreciate you help very much and thank you in advance.

I wish you also a very nice day and all the best.

Friendly greetings,


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the viewer will not allow for the creation of things, but it will allow the user to shift an object (i think). I think saving is also disabled, so even if they could change it...

Fills are not something that earlier versions of AutoCAD can deal with. With newer versions of VW (VW11) you can export to later versions of AutoCAD (2005). This will support fills, but only if your client has AutoCAD 2005.

It's not your fault that VW has better drawing than AutoCAD...

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Hello Jonathan,

Thank you very much for your fast reply. I do not know exactly what version of AutoCad our client is using. I will ask but I do not think they are using AutoCad 2005.

Despite the fact the viewer can only make very rudimentary changes which cannot be saved, I think it is still a good way to gain a good impression of how the drawings look.

Thank you very much for your time spent on our problem.

Have a nice day and all the best.

Friendly greetings,


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Hello Jonathan,

Our client really need to make corrections and changes, which is not allowed by PDF and the VW viewer.

On this moment I know too little about AutoCad to come up with a potential solution. Maybe we can create a VW script which writes the present objects parameters like fills and colors to a text file. This file will be stored within the same directory as the DWG file. After the DWG file is imported a script is activated in AutoCad which depending on the accompanion textfile, restores the fills.

But on this moment this is only a preluminary idea. Maybe tomorrow morning I will have a better solution.

Thank you very much for your help and have a nice day.

Friendly greetings,


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I don't know about version 9, but I know that version 10 exports solid fills to Autocad. The only problem is that Autocad doesn't allow custom colors. You have to pick one of their standard colors, so the export will pick the closest standard color, which might not be exactly the same as the color you used.

The PDF idea still might help you, even though your clients can't edit PDF's. It will show them what the drawing should look like and then they can add the fills in Autocad.

Or you could export an image file, such as a JPEG format file, and your clients can make some changes to it using any graphics editor. Even version 8 does a good image file export, so I'm sure version 9 will. Just be sure to specify a large number of pixels in the Export Image File window. You can experiment to see what size is good enough. I usually multiply the default width and height by 4.

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Chrissy, I just thought of another idea.

Replace the solid fills with hatches, using a hatch definition which has hatch lines very closely spaced so they'll print as solids. That was the only way to make solid fills in old versions of Autocad.

You'll only need one hatch definition to do this, no matter how many colors of solid fill you have. (Do you know how to make hatch definitions? If not, I can send you one.) Assign that hatch to all the solid fill areas. Use the pull-down Hatch command instead of the Hatch palette tool; then each hatch will be a group of regular lines, and you can assign a color and line weight to the group.

You'll have to export with the "Map Line Weights To Colors" option NOT selected. There won't be any way to export different line weights unless you export to Autocad 2000 or later. Earlier versions of Autocad didn't support line weight, and could only print different line weights by assigning a line weight to each color.

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Hello Jan15,

Thank you very much for your usefull reply.

Indeed your "hatches" idea sounds just what we need. Regretfully I do not know how to create a hatch. Can you tell me how to create a hatch?

I thank you very much for your help and good advice. It is highly appreciated.

I am glad that so many people here on this nice forum are willing to help each other.

Friendly greetings,


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1. Draw a rectangle and leave it selected.

2. Pull down Tool > Hatch...

--The "Select Hatch" window will open.

3. Select "Default Hatch" from the list on the left (it's probably the only one in the list) and then click "Duplicate" and then "Edit"

--The "Edit Hatch" window for "Default Hatch-0" (or some such name) will open.

4. Edit the hatch definition as follows:

..a. Give it a meaningful name, such as "Solid".

..b. Make sure "Units" is set to "Page"

..c. Un-select "Background Fill"

..d. Under "Pen", set thickness to whatever line thickness Autocad will print at.

..e. You can also assign a color if you want.

...f. Under "Offset", set "L" to the same value as the line thickness.

..g. Click "OK" to close the editing window.

5. Click "OK" to close the hatch selection window.

6. Place the paint can cursor inside the selected rectangle and click.

--The hatch will appear as a group of lines. The original rectangle won't be a part of the group, but it will remain selected. The new hatch group will also be selected. The hatch lines won't have the thickness and color you assigned when editing the hatch definition. They'll have the default attributes as shown on the lower part of the Attributes palette. (If you hatch a rectangle by using the Attributes pallette, then the hatch lines will have the color and thickness of the hatch definition.)

7. Deselect all, then select the new hatch group.

8. Use the lower part of the Attributes palette to give the hatch lines the thickness that Autocad will print at and the color you want it to have.

To create more hatches, select "Solid" in step 3, and skip the rest of step 3 and all of step 4.

Remember to export the file without the "Map Line Weights to Colors" option.

The difficult part is getting the line thickness and offset distance correct. They should be the same, and they should be the thickness that Autocad will print at. Perhaps your client can tell you that. If they're using Autocad 2000 or later, which allows objects to have lineweight, and if they print using the "Print Object Lineweights" option, then the hatch lines will print at whatever line weight you give them.

A thinner line and offset distance will mean more lines and a bigger file, but a thicker line will make the hatch lines stick out at the perimeter in a saw-tooth pattern if there is no boundary line or if the boundary line is thinner than the hatch lines.

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Hello Jan15,

Thank you very much for your clear and very helpfull explanation. Indeed this is just what we are looking for. I did a little experimentation and indeed it can solve our future export problems (for the present one it was not possible).

I also want to apologize for the delay in my reply to your post. I was not at my home for several days, so I could not reply sooner.

I thank you very much for your advice, which I also appreciate very much.

I wish you a very nice day and all the best. Very much success in everything you do.

Friendly greetings,


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You're quite welcome. I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to communicate with someone so polite and charming, though it was difficult for me to think of including similar pleasantries in my own postings.

Are you familiar with the "Custom Selection" command in the "Organize" pull-down menu? You could use it to "List Objects Whose..." "Pen Back Color" is the color you've solid filled with. Then use the Attributes palette to change the fill style of all of them at once to "None". Then, while they're still selected, issue the "Hatch" command and go around clicking inside each area to give them a fill that Autocad can understand.

If there are a very large number of such fills, or if you have to convert them on repeated occaisions, you might consider making a special hatch definition that not only specifies the closely spaced lines of the right thickness, but also gives them the right color. Then you could just use the Attributes palette to change the fill style of all of them at once from "Solid" to "Hatch", and to specify the correct colored hatch definition. And you can copy hatch definitions from one file to another very easily. One way to do that is to simply Copy and Paste an object that's filled with that hatch definition.

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Hello Jan15,

Thank you very much for your advice and nice thoughts.

I was not used with the "Custom Selection..." but I tried it out. This method has certainly very powerfull options. Indeed by classing or naming the objects, you can make a very precise selection.

In fact I do VectorScript programming. I am not the person who create the drawings. Therefore I try it out and then when I have an understanding it goes up the hierarchical ladder to the person who actually does the drawings.

Thank you again for your help and I wish you a very nice day.

Friendly greetings,


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