Draft DXF

From FreeCAD Documentation
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Under construction icon-blue.svg
This documentation is a work in progress. Please don't mark it as translatable since it will change in the next hours and days.
Other languages:
Deutsch • ‎English • ‎Türkçe • ‎español • ‎français • ‎italiano • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎română • ‎svenska • ‎čeština • ‎русский
Arrow-left.svg Previous: Preferences
Next: Draft SVG Arrow-right.svg


Draft DXF is a software module used by the Std Open.svg Std Open, Std Import.svg Std Import and Std Export.svg Std Export commands to handle the DXF file format.

Screenshot qcad.jpg

Qcad drawing exported to DXF, which is subsequently opened in FreeCAD


Two importers are available, which one is used can be specified under Edit → Preferences... → Import-Export → DXF. One is built-in, C++-based and fast, the other is legacy, coded in Python, slower, and requires the installation of an add-on, but can handle some entities better and can create more refined FreeCAD objects. Both support all DXF versions starting from R12.

3D objects inside a DXF file are stored under a binary ACIS/SAT blob, which at the moment cannot be read by FreeCAD. Simpler entities like 3DFACEs, though, are supported.

The following DXF objects can be imported:

  • lines
  • polylines (and lwpolylines)
  • circles
  • arcs
  • splines
  • ellipses
  • layers
  • texts and mtexts
  • dimensions
  • blocks (only geometry. texts, dimensions and attributes inside blocks will be skipped)
  • points
  • leaders
  • paper space objects


There are also two exporters. The legacy exporter exports in the R12 DXF format, the C++ exporter in the R14 DXF format. Both formats can be handled by many applications.

C++ exporter

Some of the features and limitations of this exporter are:

  • All FreeCAD 2D geometry is exported, except Draft CubicBezCurves, Draft BezCurves and Draft Points.
  • Straight edges from faces of 3D objects are exported, but curved edges only if they are on a plane parallel to the XY plane of the global coordinate system. Note that a DXF created from 3D objects will contain duplicate lines.
  • Texts and dimensions are not exported.
  • Colors are ignored.
  • Layers are mapped from object names.

Legacy exporter

The following FreeCAD objects can be exported:

  • All FreeCAD 2D geometry such as Draft objects and sketches.
  • 3D objects are exported as a flattened 2D view.
  • Compound objects are exported as blocks.
  • Texts.
  • Colors are mapped from objects RGB colors to autocad color index (ACI). Black will always be "by layer".
  • Layers are mapped from group names. When groups are nested, the deepest group gives the layer name.
  • Dimensions, which are exported with "Standard" dimstyle.


For licensing reasons, the required DXF import/export libraries needed by the legacy version of the importer are not part of the FreeCAD source code. For more information see: FreeCAD and DXF Import.


For more information see: Import Export Preferences.


See also: Draft API and FreeCAD Scripting Basics.

You can export elements to DXF by using the following function:

importDXF.export(objectslist, filename, nospline=False, lwPoly=False)


import Draft, importDXF

Polygon1 = Draft.makePolygon(3, radius=500)
Polygon2 = Draft.makePolygon(5, radius=1500)

objects = [Polygon1, Polygon2]

importDXF.export(objects, "/home/user/Pictures/myfile.dxf")
Arrow-left.svg Previous: Preferences
Next: Draft SVG Arrow-right.svg