Can I Open a PDF Drawing in AutoCAD?

Can I Open a PDF Drawing in AutoCAD?

If you are an AutoCAD user, you may have wondered whether it is possible to open a PDF drawing in AutoCAD. Well, the answer is both yes and no. Let’s dive deeper into this topic.

What is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is a popular computer-aided design (CAD) software that allows users to create, edit, and view 2D and 3D drawings. It is widely used in various industries such as architecture, engineering, construction, and manufacturing.

PDF Files and AutoCAD

PDF (Portable Document Format) files are commonly used for sharing documents that contain text, images, and even drawings. PDFs are often used because they preserve the layout and formatting across different devices and operating systems.

While AutoCAD does not have native support for opening PDF files directly, there are workarounds that allow you to import or convert a PDF drawing into an editable format within AutoCAD.

1. Importing the PDF File

To import a PDF file into AutoCAD, you can use the “PDFIMPORT” command. This command allows you to select a PDF file from your computer and imports it as an underlay into your drawing.

  • Step 1: Open AutoCAD
  • Step 2: Type “PDFIMPORT” in the command line
  • Step 3: Browse for the desired PDF file
  • Step 4: Adjust import settings if needed
  • Step 5: Place the imported PDF in the drawing

Once the PDF is imported, it becomes an underlay that you can scale, rotate, and snap to. However, keep in mind that the imported PDF is not editable as individual elements or objects. It serves as a reference for your AutoCAD drawing.

2. Converting the PDF File

If you want to convert a PDF drawing into editable AutoCAD objects, you can use third-party software or online converters. These tools allow you to convert the PDF file into a format that AutoCAD can recognize and edit.

There are various options available in the market, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, Able2Extract Professional, and many more. These tools usually provide options to convert the PDF drawing into DWG (AutoCAD Drawing), DXF (Drawing Exchange Format), or other compatible formats.

Note: The accuracy of the conversion depends on factors like the complexity of the drawing and the quality of the original PDF file. Some elements may not be converted perfectly and may require manual adjustments in AutoCAD.


In summary, while AutoCAD does not have built-in support for opening PDF drawings directly, you can import them as underlays or convert them into editable formats using third-party tools. Importing a PDF allows you to view and reference it within your AutoCAD drawing, while converting a PDF enables you to edit it as individual objects.

Remember to evaluate your needs and choose an appropriate method based on your specific requirements. With these workarounds, you can make use of both AutoCAD’s powerful drafting capabilities and leverage existing PDF drawings in your projects.