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Is there a quick way to convert a PDF to lines on a drawing.  I'm importing a site plan from a client which is in PDF format.  It comes in scaled perfectly with lines very clear.  Do I need to trace it or is there a trick?

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Posted (edited)

Very simple solution, but only works if the pdf has been created using vectors and not by rastering.

 

  1. Import the pdf into a new blank drawing - choose design layer and scale to suit yourself
  2. Scale the pdf to the size you need it to be
  3. Ungroup it (cmd + U)
  4. Click away from it (to deselect it)
  5. Delete the 'bitmap' image - This should be on top
  6. You should be left with what looks like a filled rectangle with nothing in it
  7. Select all objects (there may be a number of groups and sub-groups - don't worry about it) and change the fill in the attributes palette to 'None'.  It would also be good practice to change all lines to solid black with a thickness (I usually go for 0.18mm or 0.25mm)
  8. Ungroup everything (as many times as it takes)
  9. Delete the junk you don't want

 

Line drawing created.

 

As a side note - any solid fill will import and convert as a bunch of unfilled polygons, and you may get RSI from methodically going round the drawing and clicking to delete.

 

 

 

Edited by Kevin C

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Thanks for the instructions it seems to be the Vectorworks standard. I can't seem to get it to work.   I ungrouped, deleted the bitmap, got it to the white box.  There is no data in the white box.  Is it possible that its been locked by the engineering firm that created it?  Or am I missing a setting.  I control Zd back to ungroup and then pulled the two apart.  

Screenshot (26).png

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Unfortunately, it's not locked or anything fancy.  It's just been created using a raster pdf maker - I.e. it creates an image only and not the vectors required to convert to lines.  I wouldn't think it has been done deliberately, just the way the originating firm has done it.

 

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I figured it was something like that.  I tried to Trace Bitmap but it only comes up with scattered pixels.  I'll mess with it and see what I can figure out...then I'll trace it.   Thanks for trying Kevin!

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Posted (edited)

I have had good luck using the online free service Zamzar to convert raster PDFs to vector DWG files, which can then be imported into Vw and scaled accordingly.

 

Edited by rDesign

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@Landartma um wait. maybe you have it?  my experience is that a raster pdf does not ungroup to reveal components.  A vector pdf ungroups to reveal  a stack of several components, usually 3: a bitmap on top, a white rectangle (this is the paper/page and  border) and, usually, at the bottom of the stack, another group containing (groups of) the vector geometry. in your image, you show the rectangle, and to the left, a “page“ of line work and text. is that “page” a group?  or is that the bitmap?  if it’s a group, ungroup it to access the vectors. if that is the bitmap, then resort to tracing or zamzar or other conversion technique.

 

note that the pdf vectors are close, but not necessarily accurately placed or sized. eg circles may end up faceted, walls may have weird widths, text is lines rather than fonts, etc.

 

hth

-B

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Ahhh so I need to do more than one ungroup?  Separate the bitmap from the white rectangle then ungroup the bitmap again and delete the white rectangle?  I already traced it out but I will try it again just to see.  I'll let you know what happens.

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No the bit map is static. It will not have any vectors. I just wondered if that image to the left was the vectors and not the bitmap. 
 

A vector based pdf can be ungrouped and will usually have the 3 components: bitmap, page rectangle and a group with the vectors. The page rectangle and bitmap can be deleted unless needed for some other use. 
 

Hope your trace works out. 
 

-B

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