Convert PDF to DWG – the definitive guide

  • This article contains a brief overview of PDF and DWG files.
  • A PDF file can be converted to DWG format using AutoCAD easily. There also various free online tools. We reveal the best 3 tools on the web to use.
  • We'll also show you how to convert them in a few simple steps. It's easy!

DWG (drawing) files are most commonly used when working on furniture drawings, house and building architecture, and of course mechanical and industrial components. As more dimensional data, components and design features are added to a drawing, the saved DWG file format becomes too large and heavy for emailing. Therefore, it’s useful to convert it into a PDF (Portable Document Format) file. Once saved as a PDF, you can still view the detailed drawing. However, if you want to edit the drawing, you will need to convert PDF to DWG.

What is a PDF?

PDF files can be read with Adobe Acrobat reader, and other software. The acronym stands for Portable Document Format (PDF). This format is ‘read-only’ and makes it easy to visualise pages as they would look after being printed. A PDF saves the pages as an electronic image which can be viewed, magnified, printed and also emailed, as a much smaller file. Documents in PDF can’t be edited.

What is a DWG file extension?

DWG is short for the word drawing, as you might expect. It has a binary file format mostly used for saving 2 and 3 dimensional designs, with their dimensions, data and meta data. AutoCAD, DraftSight, Caddie and many others use this as a native file format to create and store design information. When a drawing is in progress or completed, it is saved in the DWG format. This file is usually very large due to all the detailed design components and dimensional information.

How to convert PDF to DWG

There is a variety of different software and online sources that can convert PDF to DWG. Let’s take a look at a few examples, starting with a very common one – AutoCAD.

AutoCAD – using the import icon: Once you’ve logged into AutoCAD, proceed to find the PDF import icon by clicking on the insert tab, and then on the import panel. Select the PDF file in the import PDF dialog box and then click open to import it. In the case that only a single, or a few specific pages are required to be converted from the PDF, then specific pages numbers can be entered. Clicking on a thumbnail image of a page also imports only that page. After choosing you options, click OK to open the drawing in a DWG format.

AutoCAD  – using the command bar: Another method to convert a PDF to DWG file in AutoCAD is by typing the word IMPORT into the command bar. Then select PDF, and click OK. The PDF will open in DWG format and can be edited. This method of conversion is very straight forward if you already have AutoCAD.

What are the benefits of converting files in AutoCAD?

The main benefits are that:

  • Changes to a drawing can be made quickly and efficiently.
  • The colours remain the same, even after conversion.
  • It’s extremely easy to convert from PDF to DWG.
  • Specific pages, or a specified area on a page can be selected for conversion.
  • The converted DWG file has all the drawing features including the dimensions, lines, arcs, thickness and shape.

Convert PDF to DWG – 3 free online tools

convert pdf to dwg autodwg

1) autodwg.com

Choose a PDF file and select it to upload to the website. From the second drop down menu on screen, simply select the AutoCAD version of the DWG drawing that is required. Enter the visual code and click convert. This will take a minute or two, and then it will take you to another page prompting you to download the converted file. There will be a DWG file and also image files in the download folder.

This is free to try out. You will need to pay though if you want to use it more regularly. There are 3 offers on the site with a variety of discounts as well. The site can convert to and from a variety of other file formats.
convert pdf to dwg free cadsofttools

2) cadsofttools.com

This is a quick and easy method if you need to convert the file and have it e-mailed. To start the conversion process, a PDF file has to be chosen and uploaded to the website. Then you can enter the email you wish to receive the converted DWG file to. There are a few limitations in this site, namely; the file size cannot be more than 3 Mb, and only the first 2 pages of the PDF file will convert from PDF to DWG. The good news is that you can convert 2 files everyday, so it could be handy for occasional conversions.

This tool is free for use, but also has enterprise paid offers with special tools, which is better if you’re going to be needing it regularly.

convert pdf to dwg zamzar

3) zamzar.com

There are 4 simple steps for conversion on this website.  After choosing the PDF file (files can also be dragged and dropped), you will need to select the DWG format from the drop down menu in step 2. Simply enter the email address to receive the converted file in step 3, then click convert from step 4.

This is another free tool and it has useful information about file types and extensions on the website.

There are many online tools and websites which make it quite easy to convert PDF to DWG, so there shouldn’t be a problem finding one that suits your application.

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