We are often asked by prospective users whether specific file formats are supported in Bricscad or not. To any existing Bricscad user, it is a trivial question, but for a first time evaluation user, it is an important piece of information to make a purchase decision. This post, written on July 24, 2012, helps to answer it for them. Please remember that new formats may get added in future.
DWG: The .dwg format: Needless to say, Bricscad supports the .dwg format which is its native vector format in which drawings are produced, saved and retrieved.
You also get to save in several older versions of DWG/DXF suitable for import in older versions of CAD software. The .dwg 2013 format is not support yet, as you can see. We hope to see that on the list in the next couple of quarters?
What are the other file formats that Bricscad can work with and which ones cannot? In this post, we examine the complete list of all such formats.
DWT: Drawing Template: From the File->Open menu, you can open a DWT file directly which is nothing but a renamed-DWG file which serves as a drawing template. You name a DWG file as DWT to be recognized as a drawing template. It contains all your layer, color, sysvar settings that you want to appear automatically each time you start a new drawing in Bricscad. You can also save a DWT file using the SaveAs... command.
DXF : The Drawing Exchange Format: The DXF is the de facto ASCII standard for drawing exchange between CAD systems. You can open a DXF file also from the File->Open menu. You can also save a DXF file using the SaveAs... command. Here, you also get to save in several older versions of DXF suitable for import into older versions of CAD software (see image above).
Microstation DGN format: The DGN is an open, documented format like DXF and is native to Mircstation and other Bentley products. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to import/export the DGN format in Bricscad yet.
ESRI SHP format: The ESRI Shape files (SHP) is another open, documented format from ESRI and used extensively in the geo-spatial industry. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to import/export the SHP format in Bricscad yet. The good news is that you do it using a third party add-on called MapWorks for Bricscad from DotSoft.
SAT file format: ACIS sat files can be imported/exported via ACISIN and ACISOUT commands.
PDF & RASTER files (also known as BITMAP or IMAGE files): Strictly speaking you cannot import a PDF or RASTER image into a DWG. The DWG format is a vector format and a pdf/raster can only be attached to it in the background and will never be part of the drawing. Bricscad does however enable you to attach a wide variety of raster files and pdf as a background (underlays). This is achieved via the IMAGE command from from the drawing explorer (the EXPLORER command).
PDF files are attached using the PDFUNDERLAY command or using the drawing explorer.
The following raster formats are supported: .BMP, .TIFF, .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG, .WMF, .EMF, .PCX, .RAS, .TGA, .ECW and .SID. (see image below)
A special mention about the last two of them (.ECW and .SID) : The .SID format from LizardTech's MrSID is one of the most efficient geospatial imagery, so is .ECW format from EarthMapper. It is good to see them supported in Bricscad, which is a first for a CAD platform in the under $500 price category.
Raster image files can have 'world files' or 'position files' associated to them. A world file is a text file which describes the size (scale), the orientation and the coordinates of the raster map images. World files are typically used in GIS. Supported world file formats are: .TFW , .BMW, .RAT, .JPW and .JGW
When you want to export data from Bricscad, you have a bunch of export options as shown in the image above. You can export into common raster graphics formats like .BMP, .JPG, .WMF etc as well as popular exchange formats like PDF, vector formats like .SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and .DWF (drawing web format).
In addition, you can save screen views to a .dwg-native raster view-only format called SLD (slide files).
If you use a virtual printer like PDFCreator, PDF995, CutePDF, you can produce (large scale) PDF output.
Finally many 'external' programs allow you to save a screen copy into various formats that they support.
If you have questions on any other formats not shown here, do let me know.
(Acknowledgements: Some inputs taken from www.bricsys.com knowledge-base articles)
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