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Chapter 17. Using CAD Drawings in Visio > Converting CAD Drawings into Visio Fo...

Converting CAD Drawings into Visio Format

You can make many changes to inserted CAD drawings without converting them. However, you cannot delete, resize, or modify the objects in a drawing unless you convert them to Visio shapes. If you have an existing library of CAD symbols that you want to use in Visio diagrams, you probably want to convert them into reusable master shapes. Because a typical CAD drawing can include hundreds or thousands of objects, it’s best to convert selectively. Visio lets you convert objects in a CAD drawing that you’ve already imported on the basis of their layers or levels. You can also convert several CAD drawings and all their layers at once.

Converting a CAD drawing brings to light the very different natures of the DWG/DXF file formats and the Visio file format. As one Visio product planner put it, “CAD is just a bag of vectors.” When you convert a CAD drawing, each vector is converted to a shape, as Figure 17-11 shows. For example, the four lines that make up a rectangular room in a CAD drawing might become four Visio shapes—one for each wall. By contrast, a room shape from the Walls, Doors And Windows stencil is just one shape no matter how many lines it contains. In addition, the speed with which Visio can redraw the display is based on the number of shapes in a drawing, so more shapes means slower performance.


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