Tidying imported drawings

I would like advice on the best way to tidy up a drawing imported from elsewhere.

When you import a drawing in DWG format, for example, it often has layers you don’t want. Or in the process of tidying the drawing, you delete things and leave a layer blank but still in the list.

You can use extensions like Cleanup to get rid of redundant items but I often find that I am left with layers that apparently have things still on them that aren’t immediately visible. If you try to delete the layer, SU rightly gives you the option to delete and lose contents or to transfer them somewhere else. But what to do when you don’t know what they are or if they are important?

I am sure experienced users will have a workflow for this kind of thing that ensures they neither keep anything unimportant nor lose anything important. All advice gratefully received.

Here’s an example with Hidden Lines and Hidden Objects on and Zoom to Extents. None of the tags labelled Scale can be deleted as they report contents. Yet nothing is visible on screen.

I would not trust any DWG to have things in the right layers so I usually do rough deletion of things I don’t need to see in Draftsight then import into SU, [an empty file] Delete all the tags, create a new tag called DWGS, place the linework in there , position it, lock it and only use it as a reference for my SU model

That’s useful to know Gary. But I guess I am also intrigued to understand how SU can report that there is geometry on a tag/layer that nothing seems to be able to reveal. Almost like ghost elements. I have a feeling there may be extensions that help unmask the culprits!

Looking at the original DWG, this is what I see with all layers off apart from the Scale ones:

So there is geometry there but strangely absent once imported.

Well , if you delete all the tags so everything is on “untagged” tag :slight_smile: , then ask to unhide all and unsmooth you should at least see everything that was in the file… trouble is with a lot of DWGS I find a real mess with clipped xrefs, special entities (forgotten there correct name), blocks inserted on layers but the entities in the block are in other layers, etc etc that is about the best my brain can cope with :slight_smile: I can spend an entire day tidying up some of the CAD files I receive , 500+ layers

hmmm maybe dotted linestyles with a crazy hatch style? or even worst exploded dotted hatch… often have that problem with people in the metric world using imperial hatch patterns [default autocad install] and linetypes and then also playing around with individual linetype scales on entities…

The dwg might also be corrupted… did you try the audit command on it ?

Crumbs, 500+ layers? That’s ridiculous. How can anyone cope with that level of subdivision? You’d need a textbook just to decide where to put anything! No wonder you find so many errors in them.

I think you’re probably right though. Best to use the DWG as an underlay and start afresh without using any of the DWG geometry in the SU drawing. Then my question becomes academic.

Actually, I find it generally quicker to tidy up [structure] the dwgs in SU rather that Autocad [Draftsight] as SU still respects all the blocks [components] and is much quicker to put things into my tag structure

Simon, was the dwg from a REVIT export?

AEC objects was the special autocad entity that has caused me translation headaches [often from the Autodesk Civil, Architectural, MEP desktop suites…

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Simon, for what I do, and I think you do similar work, I wouldn’t import a DWG to work from.

I was recently sent by the client a full measured survey done by others in the hope that my fee would be a little less. The survey was excellent but too accurate and nothing was rectilinear.

I ended up just using the the survey PDFs for reference and the DWG for checking my own measurements.

Simon, as far as the raw geometry and layers/tags thing with imported CAD files goes, run TIG’s Default Tag Geometry to correct all of that before you run CleanUp3 or TIG’s Purge All.

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Mine that I bring in are on the correct tags (layers) when imported into SU Pro 2021. What are you seeing?

This is my process, isolating only layers that I need and using wblock to have a clean dwg as base to model off of. Pretty easy to do.

AEC objects can be a pain for users who don’t own AutoDesk products. This is a fact, unfortunately.

I would agree with all said, and thanks for some good pointers too. Depending on the state of the dwg imported (and what is not imported is also a factor for me) I do a quick investigation of the state of it and burrow down into the layers to extract useful ones and copy into a new group elsewhere to the side. If there’s nothing useful and nothing is square as in too accurate a survey I do the same as mentioned above and lock it down and draw again. All boils down for me as a balance of what’s the fastest way to use what’s useable and what and why I am modelling off it.

Well, I am dealing with construction dwgs of 5 star hotels [i.e. complex] done in autocad in a foreign language which have bound xrefs from structural engineers, landscape consultants, international design architects, local documentation architects, kitchen consultants, lighting consultants, MEP engineers, Interior design consultants with 500+ layers, some in other languages, all with different cad standards which most have not been adhered too with entities not in the correct layers, blocks inserted in one layer [usually the wrong layer] while the entities in the block are in other layers… Xrefs that have been clipped [eg entire floor plan clipped [concealed] to show the furniture layout in only one room [but you still have all the layers) all most prepared by junior staff on low pay in offices with high staff turnover and where the files are generally not kept on a central server but on individual PCs and shuffled around by sneakernet!

Ohh, and common practice is to put all the plans in one file

Here is the layer list , sorry I was underestimating the layer count – actually 1000+
red underline

Ohh, I have had much worse :slight_smile: site survey of 1000 ha for a project in china


So bad CAD usage instead of a bad CAD system it seems. Not a lot different to the bad SU usage we see here just to the 10x power :wink:
That is pretty messed up. So hard to unteach bad habits.

Edit: Also noticed that this “user” has their sheets in model space OMFG!

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Agree… that is why I aways told my team your work is not your own… make a mess and we all suffer!


Dang good way to look at it.

Could have been. If they both use the DWG filetype, how would you know?

I guess we probably all end up taking the easy way out: if you can’t see it, don’t know what it is, and aren’t obviously missing anything you need, why spend time worrying? Just delete. It’s all still there in the DWG file if it became necessary later.

Yes, I have had similar when I get measured surveys done by specialist surveyors of old cottages. It’s great that they are totally accurate but for working purposes, you often have to “rationalize” them. Overdrawing seems the obvious thing in such cases.

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I’ll try that.