Author: Kate Ming AutoCAD 2017, AutoCAD

At Ideate, we are reviewing Autodesk's latest software releases in an effort to detail the most useful new features for you. In this post, I am going to discuss using the PDF Import command to import geometry, text and images from a PDF underlay in AutoCAD 2017.

To learn how to use the PDF Import command to bring in data by choosing a file, check out last week's post, AutoCAD 2017: PDF Data Import by Choosing a File (Part 1).

The beauty of using the PDF import command for an underlay is the ability to individually choose objects from a PDF to import. For example, you may want the linework from a PDF, but not the titleblock.

First things first; prior to starting the PDF import command, I recommend turning off PDF layers that have objects you do not want to import. This will make choosing the objects you do want to import much easier. After editing the PDF underlay’s layers, go ahead and start the PDF Import command. You can find this command on the insert tab of the ribbon, the application menu, or the PDF Underlay tab. You can also type PDFIMPORT in the command line.



After starting the command, you need to select the PDF underlay option. Next, the command line will ask you to "Specify first corner of area to import or [Polygonal/All/Settings]." You can either use a selection box to select the objects you want to import, or you can invoke the Polygonal or All options to select items. The settings option brings up the PDF Import Settings dialog box. For an explanation of these options, refer to Part 1 of this post.



Once you choose the objects you want to import, the command line will ask if you want to keep, detach, or unload the PDF Underlay. Choose which option makes the most sense for you. The data will now import into the drawing. A status bar at the bottom right of the AutoCAD interface will show you how far along the import is. Please note, it may take a few minutes to import all the data.

If you get a message that says "No objects were imported," the most likely cause is xref pathing. In order for the PDF import command to work, the PDF needs to be underplayed using full path. If it is set to relative path, you will get the following message and your data will not import.



This is a quick fix. Open the xref manager and re-path the underlay. Select the ellipse button for the underlay to re-path it.



Using the PDF Import command on a PDF underlay is a quick way to insert specific PDF data from a PDF. After starting the PDF import command and choosing the underlay, you can select the PDF data you want to import, then determine what happens to the underlay.

For a closer look at importing a PDF by choosing an underlay watch my video on our Ideate, Inc. YouTube channel.

Get more tips and tricks here.

For more information on the software solutions, training and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate, Inc. homepage.

          Kate Ming
Kate Ming
AEC Application Specialist

Kate is a California licensed civil engineer with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley. Prior to Ideate, she worked at a multinational company for four years doing general civil design on large infrastructure projects. She is versed in roadway, rail, utility design and site development. She also has experience with utility demand analysis and Low Impact Development plans. As a Civil 3D Autodesk Certified Professional Kate provides training and support for Civil 3D, AutoCAD, and InfraWorks.