6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2007 7:22 AM by Arnis Gubins RSS

    CAD and FrameMaker

    Seanb_us Community Member
      The question of getting CAD/CAM drawings into FrameMaker pops up regularly in the FrameMaker forum. If you have anything to add, please visit the "FAQ Corrections and Suggestions" topic and post your thoughts there.
        • 1. Re: CAD and FrameMaker
          Seanb_us Community Member
          There are a number of routes to go in presenting CAD drawings in FM.
          Directly importing a DWG, DXF, or IGES format isn't the best route, since
          the filters leave a lot to be desired, but in a pinch or if that's all
          you've got, then...

          (Most of this info applies to Wintel platforms.)

          Other export/output formats from various CAD packages usually allow HPGL
          and CGM formats. These are also supported import filters into FM. The CGM (and IGES) filter has actually two flavours and you have a bit of
          preference set-up that can be tweaked (see the FM Filters manual and look
          in the \filters folder at some of the .ini or .prf files). Typically you'll find that most of the lines import too fine and there may not be visual differentiation between different line styles (pens). Also, depending upon the version and export format from the CAD package, fills may consist of hundreds/thousands of vector strokes, rather than as truly filled polygons. It can be a crapshoot with how the text/fonts display and map in your drawing as well.

          For a quick&dirty, you may consider trying copy&paste from the CAD application into FM. This always creates a WMF graphic, regardless of
          whether you simply paste or link or embed. WMF is platform specific and
          doesn't always play nice in a postscript publishing environment.

          There is a tool called BetterWMF from Furix that gives you some more control over what elements to copy and how to map some of them:

          The best route (in terms of output quality when going to press and
          cross-platform compatibility) is to get an EPS format file to import into
          FM. There are several ways to get this. The one you choose will depend upon
          your resources, how often you need to do this and the presentation quality
          of the drawing that you're trying to achieve.

          If the DXF/DWG/IGES/CGM/HPGL filters don't provide sufficient quality for
          your needs, the first thing to try is the native EPS export of the
          application - usually mediocre.

          The next level to try would be to print/output to the Distiller printer and create a PDF. From the PDF you can crop and export via Acrobat/Exchange an
          EPS for FM. (Note: importing the PDF isn't that great of an option since FM
          has to internally convert the PDF to an EPS anyway. You're just making it
          do a lot more work and can mess things up if the switch in the maker.ini
          file isn't set properly.) However, fonts, line thickness, fills, and
          colouration may not be optimal for publication. There is some tweaking that can be done to the graphics content of a PDF if you use a tool such as PitStopPro from Enfocus at:

          There's a third-party tool called OttoPDF from Myndkryme that converts AutoCAD 12-14 & 2000 files to PDF with some additional controls, at:

          There's another set of tools for bringing DWG/DXF drawings into Illustrator so that you can edit/tweak there and produce an EPS that way. Check out AppliCraft's CADgate at:

          Other translation software packages that will get your DWG/DXF files into a
          format that can be imported into other drawing applications for further
          tweaking or directly into FM are:

          Also check out the import filters of some of the more popular drawing
          packages that you may already have - these also support various
          dwg/dxf/hpgl/cgm levels of import with various degrees of success.

          Then there's the Cad "publisher" software, such as John Walker's AutoSet
          CadPublisher at:

          which is the high-end (not necessarily in cost, but rather in quality), giving you total control over most features and how they will map on output (i.e. input into FM via EPS). This is the option if you want a "published" look to the CAD drawing.

          Finally, if you want to be able to edit your CAD drawing inside of FM,
          using FM's drawing tools, you can check out Square One's ps2vector tool

          This will convert postscript output
          into a variety of vector formats, including MIF.

          Thanks to Arnis Gubins for the above information.

          • 2. Re: CAD and FrameMaker
            Arnis Gubins CommunityMVP
            Just an addition to the above. The CadPublisher product from John Walker Graphics now has a freebie base module that will allow you to do some basics. See http://www.jwgraphics.com.au/FreeVersion/free_version.html for more details.
            • 3. Re: CAD and FrameMaker
              Arnis Gubins CommunityMVP
              A new tool has recently surfaced that adds PDF generation capability inside of the CAD application. The tool, called Pushbutton PDF from Bluebeam Software, is described at http://www.bluebeam.com/4_1.asp

              From the description,it seems to be a very powerful utility, but I haven't downloaded the demo.

              Anyway, from a PDF you can export to EPS or use direct PDF placement (but not heartily recommended) in FM.
              • 4. Re: CAD and FrameMaker
                Arnis Gubins CommunityMVP
                Another new tool in the CAD to PDF genre is AcroPlot from CADzation at http://www.cadzation.com/
                • 5. Re: CAD and FrameMaker
                  Arnis Gubins CommunityMVP
                  A new tool called CAD2PDF is available from Layton Graphics at http://www.layton-graphics.com/
                  • 6. Re: CAD and FrameMaker
                    Arnis Gubins CommunityMVP
                    FYI, starting with Acrobat 8, one can directly convert DWG to PDF. Right-click on a DWG file and select "Convert to PDF". You can even do multiple drawings to combine into a PDF.