Over six years ago, we published a table of tools that could be used to convert a PDF file to a DWG file. At the time, this list was composed of programs that you installed locally. Today, we want to tell you about a FREE online service that you might want to consider named ConvertPDFToAutoCAD.com - there is nothing to purchase or download, you simply upload the file to the service and provide an email address. When the file conversion is complete, you will receive an email containing a link to your file.

We know, the first things that probably cross your mind at this point are security and privacy. Their privacy policy states that they "will not share, lease, disclose, transfer, transmit, or rent any personal information you submit" This includes your email address and any files you upload. Moreover, the privacy policy states that files you upload are deleted as soon as the conversion is made and the converted files are only stored for 24 hours. Read more about Tool for converting PDF to DWG

Autodesk has announced a contest for developers of AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, and BIM 360 Glue.

The grand prize is $5000, a tablet computer and a trip to Las Vegas.

You can find more information on Apphack 2.0 here. The contest runs from today through October 11, 2013

Read more about Autodesk developers: Win prizes for your application

Previously we reported an issue in AutoCAD where imported DGN linetypes caused DWG file bloat. Soon afterwards a hotfix was released, but then pulled due to a potential data loss issue.

A revised hotfix for 2013 was released about a month later.

Autodesk has now made available the same hotfix for 2012 versions. The hotfix creates a command for cleaning up bloated files, and it also prevents the data from being copied during a copy+paste action. Read more about DGN linetype hotfix for 2012

If you want a date field that always updates (or at least as often as defined by the system variable FIELDEVAL), use a DIESEL expression. (DIESEL stands for Direct Interpretively Evaluated String Expression Language).

Here is an example that will give you the full month, spelled out and the four digit year, in uppercase.

$(upper,$(edtime, 0, MONTH YYYY))

Which will give you this:

The DIESEL function "edtime" allows for almost any date string you might need. In addition to the DIESEL reference, see this for more info also. Read more about Date Field that updates


Many people are aware of the AutoCAD drawing (v 2.18) of the solar system, circa 1985. The name of the file is solar.dwg and it was included as a sample drawing at one point. You can download the drawing from this Between the Lines post from a couple of years ago.

Why am I bringing this up again now? I just thought is was pretty awesome that you can view this drawing using AutoCAD 360, on a smartphone. At one extreme, you can view the entire solar system including the almost 6 BILLION km orbit of Pluto. At the other extreme, you can zoom all the way down to the ±1/3 inch writing on the plaque on the lunar lander sitting on the moon. See screenshots below. (Note: I changed the colors of the linework to green in the screenshots for visual clarity)

Read more about Solar System drawn to scale on your smartphone

If you have an AutoCAD shape file (.SHX) and you want to make changes to it, you will need the source file (.SHP) from which is was created. If you do not have the source file, there is a way to convert the .SHX to .SHP if you have Express Tools installed with your copy of AutoCAD. Read more about Converting AutoCAD SHX to SHP

Here is a list of "What's new in AutoCAD" by CAD Panacea for past AutoCAD versions. This page will be a permanent home for these links as they grow.

AutoCAD 2009

AutoCAD 2010

AutoCAD 2011

AutoCAD 2012

AutoCAD 2013

AutoCAD 2014 Read more about Links to our [What's new in AutoCAD] articles.

I have seen this question a few times in person and on various forums. For at least one version prior to AutoCAD 2011, AutoCAD arcs included directional arrow grips on the ends that performed as Lengthen grips.

AutoCAD 2011 introduced multifunctional grips that allow for (you guessed it) multiple functions, and the arrows disappeared.

If you want to restore the arrow grips, you can set GRIPMULTIFUNCTIONAL to 0

Read more about Missing those arrow grips on AutoCAD arcs?

If you work with scanned images in AutoCAD, have you ever wanted to perform OCR from right inside of AutoCAD? Raster Design includes this ability, and Raster Design is now included in many of the suites. Read more about OCR in AutoCAD

Here, we are going to add a custom paper size in AutoCAD. If you print to a Windows system printer, you can add the paper size to the system printer. In this tutorial, we are adding a custom paper size to a PC3 file, and in this particular case the built in printer DWF6 ePlot.pc3.

This is a new empty drawing and the default size for our layout is 8-1/2"x11" (dimensions were added manually to illustrate the paper size).

Read more about Adding a custom paper size in AutoCAD



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