PDF to DWG Converter

I don’t very often review software products for my blog, but I decided to review Able2Extract PDF Converter 8 from Investintech.com.  This is a software that will convert PDF files to AutoCAD files.  It will also convert PDF files to Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, OpenOffice, HTML, and Images.  My primary interest is in conversion to AutoCAD, since I wanted to know how it works in assisting with building design.  I work with both Revit and AutoCAD products, so my focus is based on those software packages.

After launching the software and opening a PDF file, you have the ability to choose how much information gets exported to AutoCAD.  You can choose everything with the All option or just a portion of the information with the Area option via a selection window.

Able2Extract-Select

After selecting the desired information, simply pick the AutoCAD icon on the ribbon menu.  A dialog box appears that allows you specify a few different options, as shown below.

Able2Extract-ConvertDialog

After opening the newly created file in AutoCAD, I found three layers were created besides the standard “0” layer.  One solid fill hatch item at the drawing origin was on layer “B”, all other hatch in the file was on the “H” layer, and the remainder of the line work was on the “P” layer.

My Observations:

  • The software is very straightforward and easy to use.
  • The resultant drawing file was surprisingly accurate.  When checking distances, the measured distances were exactly what they needed to be and lines were true to the “X” and “Y” planes.
  • Circles came through as a series of segmented polylines in AutoCAD.
  • The drawing file will be scaled according to the scale specified in the conversion dialog box.  If a scale of “1” is specified, the dimensions are based upon the printed size of the PDF.  This means that you will likely need to scale the information up inside AutoCAD.  If you know the scale of the PDF, you can specify that scale value in the conversion dialog box and the resultant AutoCAD file line work will be the correct size.
  • Text that did come through into AutoCAD resulted in line work and not text.  In my testing, text that used Arial TrueType font did not come through at all, but text using the Simplex.shx font did come through and was line work.
  • Dashed/Hidden lines came through as individual line segments in AutoCAD.
  • All line work seems to come through as polylines.  The conversion dialog box has an option for handling the width of the polylines in AutoCAD.
  • I had some walls that consisted of line work with a solid hatch inside the lines to represent the wall completely filled.  The line work came in on layer “P” and the solid hatch came in on layer “H”.  I was worried that the overall wall would come through as a wide polyline, but it did not and came through exactly like I desired as separate information.
  • The resultant AutoCAD file would be easily utilized as a linked file within Revit if you need to construct a Revit model based upon the file.  This is nice since Revit does not yet allow you to link PDF files into Revit.
  • There is an option to batch process multiple PDF files.

My Thoughts:

  • This software does a very nice job of converting PDF files to AutoCAD drawing files when needed and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
  • As with any software that converts PDF files to something that can be modified, I worry that people will use the software to pirate information or otherwise use it in ways that they should not.  Many times, designers provide their files in PDF format to prevent modification by anyone else and it is imperative that this software NOT be used for unlawful or illegitimate purposes.

This review is based upon Able2Extract PDF Converter 8 – v8.0.43.

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3 thoughts on “PDF to DWG Converter

    • I am sorry, but I really can’t say. Abode Illustrator is not an inexpensive product and I have not had the need to spend that amount of money. Able2Extract is less than $100, so that makes it more affordable for me if I am just desiring to convert PDF to AutoCAD files. If you own Illustrator, I would guess that it does just as good. Maybe someone who owns Illustrator can chime in for a comparison.

  1. We routinely use Adobe Illustrator for this very purpose. It works great if the pdf was created using a vector-based program. It does not work when it was created from a bitmap.

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