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Convert a Scanned (Raster) PDF to a DWG / DXF Drawing

Posted on 2010-09-16
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
Are there any packages that will convert Scanned PDFs to DWG files relatively cleanly?   We've looked at packages like aidecad and they do the conversion but with medium quality scans, walls end up looking more like alligatored paint.   I'm hoping to find a program with a noise filter built in that could smooth out some of these walls.    

Aidecad seems fine for background images and CAD generated PDFs but it isn't doing what we want for scanned images.

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Question by:kdubendorf
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borgunit earned 167 total points
ID: 33696776
This sort of thing has always been a mixed bag and nothing is perfect. Autodesk has Raster Design with a free trial.

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?siteID=123112&id=2600114
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by:CECTOPS
CECTOPS earned 167 total points
ID: 33700433
CorelDRAW works about as well as we have seen.  We tested over a dozen programs to convert a mulititude of raster image formats to vector images.  There are free trial versions available to test your application before purchasing.

http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite/us/en/Content/1152796555406

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by:victorus
victorus earned 166 total points
ID: 33739177
If you have PDF files that were created from the PLOT command in CAD there is software that can do a good conversion. This one http://www.aidecad.com/ I like.

If the PDF was created from a scan, then you have to use a raster to vector software. I have tried MANY programs with different levels of success depending on MANY variables. First, if the scan is not real clear you will not get very good results (dirty). Second, the vector to raster softwares that I have used can be "tuned" to give better results IF the scans are very consistent in quality.

What I do, for the most part, is to convert the PDFs to PNGs with Omniformat and then using Paint Shop Pro, convert the PNG to TIF with 2 colors and the background transparency to the background. This allows me to use IM (image) into AutoCAD and have a reversed image with the background clear and the lines in whatever color I have my layer set to.

I can send you a sample of that if you want.

Then, if the scan looks pretty good, depending on my application, I can draw on top of it, If it is really bad or the application requires a %100 CAD file, I trace the underlying file.

This is exactly what they CAD conversion folks are doing in India. And that is ANOTHER way to get a clean conversion - send it to an Indian CAD service firm. Of course you could send it to me as well but I will charge more than what they pay in India for CAD operators. I also give you a better product. It depends on your requirements what would be best for you.

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Expert Comment

by:borgunit
ID: 33742861
We place a lot of drawings in manuals and our most crisp looking drawings are from WMF files (WMFOUT command). We use a third party add on called Better WMF which works excellent for us.
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by:borgunit
ID: 33742873
Added Edit:

We place a lot of drawings in manuals and our most crisp looking drawings are from WMF files (WMFOUT command). We use a third party add on called Better WMF which works excellent for us.

Another benefit is that the drawing file is still vector and can be re-imported back into AutoCAD if necessary.
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Author Closing Comment

by:kdubendorf
ID: 33826796
Thank you for a good discussion.   We are leaning toward Corel Draw at this time.
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