Export a Layout to DWG


I need a way to create a 2D DWG file, which exactly resembles a given layout (paper space objects and the visible detail content )

I am using the layout function in Rhino for a project to generate PDF files.

My client demands DWG files which are the same as the pdf Layouts.

I am using the _HideInDetail and _HideLayersInDetail to manage the visibility of elements. I am doing the dimensions in the paper space, since different layouts require different dimensioning strategies and I do not want to create a dedicated layer for each one of these.

I have been searching the Forum for some time now, this seems to be a reoccurring wish since over 7 years! now.

Any chance that this might be implemented at some point? The workarounds are horrible (recreate / copy the paper space layout in model space, copy part of the drawing in this, delete / edit all you do not need, export as DWG…)

I have a hard time explaining my client that a program like Rhino is unable to do that…



Hi! I would need this too. Yet to be clear what this wish is actually about: it’s basically a “paper space to model space” converter.

When you save the scene as DWG and open it in AutoCAD, you get (almost) everything your scene contains in ACAD, including 3d, the layouts, the whole lot (some people are not aware of this).
Yet what people mostly want (or are used to) im ACAD is seeing everything in model space. It’s actually an ‘unclean’ workflow. A ‘clean’ workflow would be to do 3d in model space, and 2d (including 2d-excerpts from 3d space) in layouts.
However, only a chosen few do 3d in ACAD, that’s why nobody cares about this. ACAD, in contrast to Rhino, is mostly used for 2d (although it can import/export NURBS perfectly well).
Rhino - different story. There was a big debate about better layout tools in Rhino. It needs it, because the 3d <-> 2d topic is much more important here than in ACAD.

Anyway - the VisualArq guys are planning to bring such a feature in version 3.


Hi Andreas

Probably not the best solution if any, but how about import the pdf back into Rhino and save as dwg.



Well, I will give that a try, however I remember that I often had issues when I imported PDF into Rhino… sometimes distances were of , sometimes curves did not translate nicely… I am not sure about layers… but it is worth a try, I will report back tomorrow….

An idea that Might work:

Publish your pdf with your best pdf-generator.
Microsoft Print to PDF works pretty well.

In AutoCad, type PDFIMPORT and follow the prompts.
Save as DWG.

Might take some tinkering with settings, but should work reasonable well - even with layers, if I remember correctly.

Does acad haave this feature? If so, you should be able to save your 3dm as a dwg and then save a acad layout to individual dwg

Guys, I don’t have Autocrap…


Looks like it does:


So I followed Willems advice and gave the PDF print / PDF re import a try…

I have to say that either I did something wrong in the past, or something improved during the last 4 years, the PDF imported almost without issues, no precision problems, text objects looked healthy and even the layers came in alive while maintaining their hierarchy !
The only minor thing that I observed was that dimensions were converted to text + lines, but I guess that this is probably a limitation of the PDF format and for a CAD exchange approach this is OK for me.

There are a few things I found out that I have to do to get to a good outcome:

  1. Print layout as Rhino PDF.
  2. Open a new Rhino instance.
  3. open as (>>DO NOT USE IMPORT !!!<<) to open the PDF file you just created.
  4. In the import dialog make sure that your layout scale is reflected correctly e.g. PDF has a scale of 1" on paper equals 10’ in the real world → when opening the PDF you dial in “preserve units” and “1 inch in PDF 120 Rhino units”
  5. After the Import check the Rhino units again, somehow despite using inches during PDF printing and an inch template for the new Rhino instance I always end up with mm after the import, it is not a big deal, simply change the units to inch without scaling.
  6. Take a measurement of an element in the drawing and verify with the original file.
  7. save as DWG.

done !

P.S: I still would like to be able to do this directly out of Rhino :wink:

PPS: on of my biggest problems to overcome was that I first used “import” to open the PDF which totally messed up my text objects (scale was way off…)
however when I used “open” everything seems to work fine… what is the difference anyway?




Just out of curiosity, what does the PDF do to the control point structure of arcs, as you see them when they are brought back into Rhino?

Hi Andreas,

Good for you and thanks for the detailed feedback for future reference!

Frohe Festtage!


Thank you very much Willem,

Vrolijk kerstfeest !



I just had to (unvoluntary) invest a few hours to finally find out that another very important point is missing in my recipe above:

  1. Print layout as Rhino PDF. Make sure your DPI setting in the print dialog is tuned high enough to avoid bad precision when reimporting later (Point 4)
    E.G. for a page in size Arch D I had to turn the DPI up to 8000!
    Otherwise I ended up with rounding error (210.996" instead of 211.00").

For this Approachs it might be necessary to delete any imported bitmap graphics and turn every display mode to something which can be exported as vector lines (wireframe, hidden) not shaded.

1.1. If you are experiencing problems with text components when reimporting that might be related to using an exotic font. In my case switching all annotation styles to a standard font (Arial) did the trick.

For some reason I am not able to edit my former post, so I will leave this as a reply…


I’m used also to Archicad in the meantime, and it’s soo ridiculous that essentials like this are still missing im Rhino.
VisualArq 3 will have it, but they take their time.

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