Feature Overview

The ability for the PowerDWG Translator to automatically bind AutoCAD Xrefs when translating a file

Feature Description:

Currently, the PowerDWG Translator External provides a warning dialog if the DWG file being translated contains Xref's. While this is a helpful warning, advising us that the translation will be incomplete, it requires translating each referenced drawing separately. The resulting individual files have to manually reassembled which can be difficult, or in some cases impossible due to a lack of common reference points in each file.

The only current work around is to have the original AutoCAD drawing author use the Bind Xref to make a single file for translation. In some cases, particularly on large scale projects with multiple consultants, this level of coordination is difficult as it requires additional steps by the coordinating consultant.

The fact PowerCADD knows which Xref drawing is missing is a big steps and tells us it knows the content exists... now the next logical step is to just include in the translation. A simple thing to say and we're sure quite a difficult thing to achieve but one that would be a significant step in cross platform coordination on large and small projects.

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Wish Was Granted!

This wish was granted with the ACAD Translator that ships with PowerCADD 8! Cool

Review the PowerCADD printed or PDF? manual for details. Generally all you need to do it put all the files in one folder and open the master drawing and all x-ref's will be included in your translated file. It's worth double checking with the sender of the file to make sure all the x-refs are there: unlike previous versions of the translator, PCD8's translator doesn't perform an audit to tell you if any were missing when the file is translated Sad


Equally important is support, perhpas not of Paperspace and Viewports of and in themselves, but the ability to create a PowerCAD that "looks like" the layout as-it-appears in AutoCAD and/or the printed sheet.Thsi should be possible as each viewport is loacted with some reference to the edges of the sheet, each is a view into AutoCAD's modelspace, and thus presents the coordinates from which "data" could be clipped, and, the viewport has a scale ration associated with in which could be used as the layer scale upon which the "clipped-data" could be pasted.

Try this: Using and AutoCAD drawing (such as AutoCAD's sample "Hummer.dwg"), do the dwg to PC conversion 'thing' holding the control-key while pressing OK (the convert both at once trick) The resultant drawing will show the title block, "viewport rectangle", all properly located in relation to at least one of the views. Expand the concept from there

I know, you all hate AutoCAD, PowerCADD is better, but, fact is, AutoCAd and its dwg format is out there


True, pressing Option and

True, pressing Option and clicking Ok in the PowerDWG incoming settings dialog will do that (has so since at least Oct. 2003). The paper and model space areas are combined as mentioned here but there are some issues with certain drawings (i.e. the feature isn't perfect yet)

We'd love to see that feature expanded upon as you're describing but it still doesn't resolve the problem with Xref?'s not being imported by PowerCADD when opening a DWG which seems to be a more pressing concern given there isn't any practical way to get around that problem -- and the Xref data often contains, in relative terms, data that's more important to the overal drawing content.

I also agree that AutoCAD is out there and no application is an island! It all needs to work as seamlessly as a possible and it gets better every version. Bottom line is the right tool for the right job Smile and if ACad is that tool for a particular set of circumstances then it's the right one to use.


I mentioned "paperspace" here, simply because it did not appear as a "Wishlisr Item else where - perhpas it could be added.

As for X-refs, other options apart from binding, could be translate separately and then insert as a symbol (Excuse if this is not the correct PC terminology) OR, after translation, treat as PC reference file.

Jim "Oldguy" L

good point, formal support

good point, formal support for merging paper/model space should be a wish list item, thanks for that.

Your terminology is pretty much dead on. There are a few choices with respect to xrefs today in PowerCADD:

  1. Translations of each Xref? drawing could be copied and pasted into a symbol library and inserted later into any powercadd drawing. The primary benefit of PowerCADD Symbol Libraries being they are drawing independent. That works but libraries currently do not support layers so it may not be practical depending on the drawing content. To be of tangible benefit in a symbol library (as they exist today but who knows about the future), using DWG? files that already represent typical blocks for simplier components is easiest (note I don't say 'best') and provides the most flexibility. I really should write a tutorial now to best use Symbols now that you mention this subject Smile
  2. Referencing: Yes, PowerCADD can reference any type of file format that is currently supports. That includes a DWG file. The primary issue with that approach is if a DWG file is inserted as a reference, the Translation Dialog appears every time the referenced dwg file is loaded in pcadd which is generally inconvenient. However, it could be a useful approach if there were frequent enough revisions in ACad to warrant dealing with the dialog every time. Otherwise it's generally more efficient to translate the DWG file, save it as a PCadd file, and reference that. If it changes at a later date just do the translation again and replace the PCADD file that's referenced
  3. If each DWG file is translated, then referenced as a PCADD file, that has pro's and con's. The pro being each referenced file can be updated separately. If a new dwg comes in that replaces just one reference file, it's a single translation and replacement in pcadd. If each referenced file contains a common element (say a site grid or architectural grid) then getting to line up and being confident they're lined up is a virtual no brainer and the process would work great.
  4. The down side is getting things to line up as noted below.

The fundamental problem with any of the above methods, be it referencing or inserting drawings as symbols, is the issue of coordination location and getting the xref translations to line up correctly in PowerCADD. While they are lined up correctly in AutoCAD coordinate space, they are not necessarily matched up once translated. I say it that way since I have successfully translated multiple xref's and had them line up correctly -- but that's the exception rather than the rule. Typically it's related to how the original AutoCAD files were setup and/or how the translation settings are specified in PowerCADD. It takes a very skilled hand at both ends to get that to work which is typically not a safe wager.

It's just not safe, in my mind, to trust that a separate translation of each Xref drawing can be successfully aligned after the fact. The risk of an error just seems to great to warrant the attempt so having the drawing bound in ACad first makes that process 'safer' from a cover my arse point of view. Binding the file isn't hard in Acad as you know but it is an extra step that some consultants are reluctant to do. In those cases, I typically use AutoCAD to bind them myself, then do the PowerCADD translation after that. Having just said that -- one can see the issues that Engineered Software have to address and their risk and time required to get the feature request we're discussing here to work correctly and be confident in their translation process.

Once translated, a DWG file (be it stand alone or xref'd) can be used as a distinct PowerCADD drawing, as a symbol in a library, or referenced into other PCadd drawings. The type of content and the ultimate end use and frequency of change really dictates how they should be managed and which one of those options should be used.

I hope that makes some sense

"Somewhere" in the native

"Somewhere" in the native DWG? file the information exists to "line up" Xrefs. What I am suggesting , for example, is:
IF (Big if as I am No Proprammer) the translation process and PC referwncing process could/should be transparent to the user, automated by PowerDWG. I assume, that in PowerCADD world, id you do Reference in another PC drawing, The paernt drawing, when saved, knows, what files were referenced AND where they were "Lined-Up" so to speak. After all, leave this to the programmers - they did over thar at Vectorworks, so it shows the info is exposed to the translation mechanism. For myself, if I went PC, I would be satisfied, however ENGSW migh what to do, to end up with a drawing that "looked like" (<- figure of speeach) the plotted output from AutoCAD

Jim "Oldguy" L

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