Annotation scale between Rhino and AutoCAD

When saving a Rhino file as a .DWG, I am having problems with the dimension annotations not transferring correctly.

I do all of our shop drawings in Rhino, both 2D and 3D stuff. On occasion, we have to submit our drawings to an engineer and they like them in .DWG format. Opening the DWG in AutoCAD, all the dimensions are scaled extra large, and they’re not even the correct dimensions. Is it because I do all the dimensions in layout space vs. model space? Does it have to do with annotation scaling? I’d like to still be able to work in Rhino, and I’d like for the engineer to be able to make edits in AutoCAD, but currently it’s a giant clusterf…

What would be the best way to accomplish getting the model space and layout space to get translated correctly?
Can someone clarify the best way to skin this proverbial cat?

Thanks in advance!


I’d be interested in this too… Ideally being able to export the model space as a .dwg rather than just the model space.

In the past i’ve had to print to PDF and then import it back into model space. In recent years I just submit PDFs but on occasion I have a client who needs purely a DWG for AutoCAD.



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@mary is this something you can help with?

Yeah, 90% of the time, PDFs are what we submit, and they work great for what they are. But when an engineer needs that DWG, it’s like Ralph in “A Christmas Story”…“Ah, fudge…”

Hi Ryan,
Sorry to hear about this.
Basically, the Rhino model space geometry/annotations, exports to the AutoCAD model space.
And the Rhino layouts & layout annotations/geometry exports to the AutoCAD Layout.

There are some models where the text scaling is not standard, and AutoCAD imports oddly.
I think the best approach to really understand this issue is to get a file from you that will show me this behavior.
Feel free to purge of any confidential information.
But, I need the 3DM and exported DWG that is giving you issues.

What is your Rhino version? I guess it is Rhino 5 sr12?
What is the AutoCAD version in which you are importing your models?

Thanks for letting us know.
I am looking forward to getting your files. If you prefer not to post them tot he forum, please email them to

Thanks for your helps.
Mary Ann Fugier
McNeel Technical Support and Training
Seattle, WA

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to hijack on a related issue:

  • Mary I assume the scaling issue your referring to is the dimstyle text size by scaled by a factor of the dimstyle scale… Is there anyway we can have these dimstyle text height settings scaled upon import?

Thanks for clarifying, I wasn’t aware that layouts was exported too. I don’t use AutoCAD any more so hadn’t checked - I’ll have to have a look using the viewer.

Is there a way that the layout space can be exported as a drawing? Some clients are old school and don’t use layouts, they painfully draw everything to scale in model space. It would be handy if Rhino layout could export to a .dwg as a typical CAD drawing.

This would also be useful if you’re sending limited information to the client. As an example, it’s not always prudent to send the client your working files so rather than stripping a file of data and then exporting just the stuff needed for the layout it would be handy if the layout could be exported as a .dwg



Thanks so much, Mary. I sent you an email with the attached files.
Forgot to mention in the email that I am using Rhino 5 sr12.
The AutoCAD version is 2017 LT that we tried to view it in.
(I’m not sure what version the engineer has. Probably most recent…)

And like I said in the email, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
for your Intro to Layouts video series! That’s what got me started
really being able to use Rhino for our 2d and 3d shop drawings
and submittals.

Like I told you (in the email), I will say it here as well:
This is the first time for me having to create drawings in Rhino
that play nice as an AutoCAD .DWG. Definitely, user error on my part.
I just want to be able to figure out the proper workflow so that my drawings
become more professional and look great across multiple applications.

I have an issue when I export (save as) from Rhino 6 to AutoCAD. I annotate in the layout. Some of my annotations change when i export. For example i have a radius that should be R200 (mm) and it turns out to be R2000 in AutoCAD (or actually in my case Draftsight). When i look at the annotations property it mesures it correctly to R200 but there is a text override R2000.

I don’t have AutoCAD, nor Draftsight, but I might be seeing “something” when round-tripping from-to Rhino.
Just to be clear, could you round-trip your exported file back into Rhino and check if you see what you are seeing in Draftsight? What file format (and flavor) do you export to?

Added YT item: RH-50063

I am using the “default” settings when exporting. I see the same phenomena when round tripping to Rhino. The drawing was made in Rhino v5. But I see the same thing when making a drawing entierly in Rhino v6. It seems to be radial dimensions that behave in this way.

Thanks for confirming that!

Hi @mary!

It seems that when Rhino exports any objects with annotation scale (text, dimensions, hatches etc.) it won’t save the annotation scale into the dwg file.

If I open the exported file in AutoCAD and tick “Annotative” parameter of the objects, and set the annotation scale of the objects to the ones used in Rhino, everything looks good again.

Also when exporting text from Rhino to dwg with “Orient text toward reader when viewed from behind” parameter enabled, in Autocad the texts will appear mirrored along their x and/or y axis.

Hope this helps some way in resolving the issue.


Hi Zsolti,
I can not duplicate issue “Orient text toward reader when viewed from behind” with my 3DM. I export DWG and import to Rhino.
Rhino File

“Orient text toward reader when viewed from behind”

Import to AutoCAD 2019

I am using the Rhino 7 WIP. What version are you using?
Could you please send me a file?

Rhino’s layout scale settings do not parallel or directly relate to AutoCAD’s very advanced and complicated Annotation scale. The difference is AutoCAD’s annotation scale is set at the object level. Text, dimensions, blocks can be configure to use annotation scale or not, and the amount to scale is set by the layout.

This is not how Rhino works: When layout scale is on in Rhino, text is displayed full size on the layout. So text that is .25" high, Rhino displays .25" high text on the layout, even though the detail may be scaling it down by the scale factor of the details, like 1/24, 1/50, 1/96, 1/100, 1/500 and more!

We have AutoCAD style Annotation scale on the wishlist for future Rhino under RH-36209, but until that is part of Rhino, there will not be a direct correspondence between Rhino layout scale and AutoCAD’s Annotation scale…

Hope that helps.
At your convenience, please send me a file for the “Orient text toward reader” issue that you report above.

Mary Ann Fugier
McNeel Technical Support and Training
Seattle, WA