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line thickness trouble importing Autocad in to Vectorworks 2019

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I have been given an Autocad 2010 DWG file (and more recent versions) to import in to Vectorworks 


I do the import the way I normally have done,  but this time the imported image is problematic.   Colours and line thicknesses make the drawing unreadable  (The fat blue and fat red splurges are actually room numbers/ door numbers etc)


Changing classes does not appear to make a difference.

We tried with DXFs also but same problem


Is the sender creating DWGs incorrectly?

the sender also sent us a "CBT" file (CW_Plotstyle_2021.ctb) but we don't know what to do with it!!


I hope you can suggest what to do?


Many thanks



I have:

Vectorworks 2019 SP-6

Mac OS 10.15.7



Screenshot 2021-06-17 at 09.35.40.png

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@edwardus the fat lines are likely AutoCAD polylines with a polyline thickness set to something very large.  Simply edit the Vectorworks symbol or object and set the line weight to by class.  A CTB file is an AutoCAD file that tells AutoCAD which lineweight to print a particular color.  Whom ever made the dwg is using the antiquated color based system instead of the modern style based method.  That’s actually pretty good for you though, as color = lineweight for that file.  The person who sent the file didn’t do anything wrong, the problem is on your end.


You just need to set your dwg import up to handle the colors to your liking, or change them after the fact.

Edited by jeff prince
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I suspect that this is down to the use of "global" line thickness in AutoCAD. This is a setting where the thickness of the line varies proportionally with the extents of the drawing, instead of being a specific thickness.

Vectorworks does not have an equivalent, so if the drawing is imported at a different scale, then the lines can become very thick. The solution is to allow the drawing to be imported using the suggested Fit to Page scale on the import dialog, instead of at 1:1. Then, the line thicknesses will be in proportion with the rest of drawing.

The .ctb file is used in older AutoCAD files as a colour table. They use colour instead of line weight, and then the colour table translates this to line weights at plot/print time. The Map Colours to Line Weights option on the import dialog will list the colours found in the ctb file, and allows the Vectorworks user to assign different line weights to each colour on import. However, as the Vectorworks user hasn't yet seen the file, this is difficult to do. So, I usually encourage people to just edit the resulting classes once the drawing has been imported to set the desired colours and line weights.


In the case of this file, use the Select Similar tool (setting the preferences to Class), and select one of the objects with the thick lines. On the Object Info palette, notice which class they belong to. Edit this class and set the desired line weight (remove the fill at the same time, unless you specifically want a fill colour). Then check the Use at Creation box to ensure any future geometry in this class adopts these properties. ALso, on the Attributes palette, click the arrow at the bottom and choose Make All Attributes by Class. This will force the objects to pick up the class settings.
Repeat this process for objects in other classes.

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