Electrical Design Software | Elecdes Design Suite by Scada Systems Ltd

How to Export Simplified Drawings, DGN Files or PDF Files


Ebase Export Drawings creates copies of the drawings from your current project, applying optional processing to create drawings suitable for a variety of purposes, namely: protection of intellectual property, conversion to other CAD formats, and reduction of colour for plotting or printing.

Exporting will process ALL "layouts" in the original DWG and ensure that they are recreated in the exported DWG.

The exported drawings are created in a subdirectory of your project directory, named "ExportDrawings".

The drawings exported to PDF format are created in a subdirectory of your project directory named "ExportPdf".

Simplification of Drawings

Some CAD programs that support the DWG format do not have full support for all of the entities Elecdes creates in its project drawings. For some programs to be able to open drawings created in Elecdes it may be necessary to export those drawings to a simplified format to allow them to be displayed correctly.

When an Elecdes drawing is exported and blocks and polylines are exploded, a simplified copy of the drawing is made. That simplified copy cannot be used in the project, and cannot be converted back into a valid Elecdes drawing. The original copy should be the only drawing to be manipulated with Elecdes.

The simplified drawings do not contain the blocks and attributes that Elecdes has inserted into the original drawings. The blocks and attributes are converted into simplified entities like lines, arcs, circles and text. The original drawing and the simplified drawing have exactly the same graphical and plotted appearance. But the invisible data and the symbols from the original drawing are gone.

Submitting exported simplified drawings to clients ensures that your intellectual property is protected as the "intelligence" is removed from the drawings.


Any blocks that are on FROZEN or OFF layers are NOT transferred from the original DWG to the exported DWG. This provides the user a simple method for filtering and controlling the export process.

If the original drawing contains XREFs of other drawings then those XREFs are exploded and simplified in the same way as blocks in the original drawing. However, the XREF-named layers of the entities in the XREF are not retained in the exported drawings; the exported drawing will contain only the layers of the original drawing. If a layer in an XREF has the same name as a layer in the original drawing, then the entities on that layer in the XREF will appear on the layer of the same name in the exported drawing. If a layer in an XREF is unique to the XREF, then the entities on that layer in the XREF will appear on layer 0 in the exported drawing.

For example:

XREF contains layer "MV" and original drawing contains layer "MV", then entities on "MV" from the XREF will appear on layer "MV" in the exported drawing.

XREF contains layer "HV" but that layer is not in the original drawing, then entities on "HV" from the XREF will appear on layer "0" in the exported drawing.

Black and White Conversion

Plotting coloured drawings on monochrome laser or inkjet printers requires knowledge about creating and assigning plot styles to avoid getting light grey or dithered lines instead of easily viewed solid black lines.

Ebase can assist by removing all of the colour from the exported drawings. All of the entities in the drawing will be moved to a single new layer named "mono" and set to use the colour of the "mono" layer. Thus all of the graphics in the drawing can be viewed or plotted in a single colour, for example black on white paper.

DGN Conversion

Ebase can convert your exported drawings directly to MicroStation V8 .DGN files. This option produces both the DWG file and a DGN file with the same name in the ExportDrawings folder.

You can retain "intelligence" in the exported DGN files if you choose not to explode blocks and polylines. Blocks with attributes are converted to cells with tags and polylines are converted to either line strings and complex chains.

Currently only 2D Elecdes drawings can be exported to DGN files.

PDF Conversion

Ebase can convert your exported drawings directly to PDF format. The exported PDF files are produced in the ExportPdf folder under your project's folder. The exported PDFs can contain cross-reference links allowing you to click on a symbol to jump to a related symbol or cross-reference table. PDF cross-referencing will work only if your Elecdes project has been Cross-Referenced prior to exporting the drawings to PDF.

Note: Some of the exported file names may be modified after the PDF conversion so that spaces in filenames are replaced by underscores. e.g. A drawing in your project called "Sub U62.dwg" would become "Sub_U62.pdf" as an exported PDF file.

PDF conversion from Ebase makes use of GhostScript. Click the Browse... button to choose the executable file for GhostScript. If you do not have GhostScript installed, you can click the Download... button to open the downloads page for the GhostScript program, download an appropriate version and install it.


  1. Press the "Export DWGs" button.

  2. Tick the options that you require for your exported drawings.

    • If you choose to Explode blocks, you can further specify if you want to explode only the blocks that Elecdes has inserted.

    • Selecting Explode only the attributes will instead explode only the attribute entities from blocks and convert them into text entities in the output file but leave the graphic entities still contained in blocks. If you choose further to Remove hidden attributes then attributes that were on hidden layers will not be converted to text. Note that attributes that have the property "Invisible" will never be converted to text entities.

    • If you choose Convert BYLAYER to individually set properties then all entity properties in the original drawing that are set to BYLAYER will be copied from each entity's layer and set specifically on the entity in the exported file. As an example, if an attribute colour has been set to BYLAYER and it is on a layer that is coloured red then the exported file would have that attribute's colour set specifically to red (rather than BYLAYER).

    • If you choose Convert DWG files to DGN files, you can further specify if you want to Show the DGN conversion settings dialog, in which you can change the mapping of DWG entities and properties to DGN entities and properties, prior to converting the drawings.

      Note: If you choose to convert to DGN format then you should also choose to explode those drawing entities that are not converted to DGN format: multi-line text, hatches and dimensions. This will cause those complex entities to be exploded into simple entities that are converted to DGN format.

  3. To convert the project drawings into PDF format choose Convert DWG files to PDF format.

    • You can choose the orientation of your PDFs to be portrait OR landscape, choose the page size and choose whether to use a black or white background colour.

    • To produce a merged PDF file, a single PDF file with one page per drawing, you must tick Create multi-page PDF. Un-ticking this checkbox will produce one single-page PDF for each of the project drawings.

    Note: The cross referencing in the exported PDF file will not work if you choose to Explode blocks.

  4. Press OK when you are ready to proceed.

  5. You will be asked to select the drawings that you want to export from a list of your project drawings.

  6. The project drawings will now be processed.

  7. If you chose to show the DGN conversion settings dialog then this will appear after the drawings have been exported to the ExportDrawings directory but before the DGN conversion.

The simplified drawings and optional DGN files are created in a subdirectory called "ExportDrawings" which will be created under the project directory.

The simplified drawings have the same filenames as the original drawings from which they were made. The DGN's differ only in their suffix being "DGN" instead of DWG.

See also

DGN conversion is further explained in the following topic, How to Convert DWG files to DGN.