Electrical Design Software | Elecdes Design Suite by Scada Systems Ltd

How to Convert DWG files to DGN files

Stand Alone versus Ebase Conversion

There are two different methods to initiate conversion of DWG files into DGN files:

  • By running DGN Converter from the EDS program group.

  • By using Ebase Export DWGs function with the option "Convert DWG files to DGN files" ticked.

When Export DWGs is run from Ebase, if you do not select the option "Show DGN conversion settings dialog", then the conversion will be performed in the background using the current settings. If you choose to see the settings dialog, you can make changes in mapping rules prior to converting drawings into DGN files.

Project directory and file filtering

Standalone mode: You must choose a directory in which to search for drawings, whether subdirectories will be searched recursively and enter a filter (e.g. *.dwg) or a semicolon-separated list of specific drawing file names to find.

Ebase mode: The project drawing files that were selected in Export DWGs will be displayed in the "Files" filter. You cannot modify the list of files or change the project directory or subdirectory searching.

DGN conversion scale

You can define the scale to be used for DGN conversion; the default is 1.0. This is a linear scale. If you choose the scale to be 2.0 then a circle of 5 mm radius in a DWG file will be drawn as a 10 mm radius circle in the converted DGN file.

Units of converted DGN file

The units are set to sub-units in the resultant DGN files. If metric DWG files are converted, the units of the DGN files will be set to millimetres. For imperial DWG files, the units will be set to inches.

DGN base file

Some of the properties of a DGN file (such as levels, colour tables, text styles and line types) can be predefined in a base file.

The default base files are stored in the directory: <EDS>\DGNConverter. The files are named "baseMetric2D.dgn" for metric conversion and "baseImperial2D.dgn" for imperial conversion.

You can create your own custom base files. You may wish to predefine text styles or levels in your base file so that you can specify these in the mapping rules for conversion of DWG properties to DGN properties.

The base file will be copied and renamed for each converted drawing, then DGN Converter will add the graphical elements to the final DGN file.

You may find other base files in your DGNConverter directory or subdirectories. The file Standard\base.dgn is an older inferior base file; the new units-specific 2D base files that are mentioned above are preferable. There is also a base file supplied containing SCECO colours and levels.

Converted entities

  • Polyline entities that contain only straight lines are converted to line strings in the DGN.

  • Polyline entities that contain arcs are converted to complex chains in the DGN.

  • Blocks are converted to shared cells in the DGN.

If you are running the conversion to DGN as part of the Ebase function Export DWGs, then polyline and block entities will only exist to be converted if you have not chosen to explode them to simple entities.


  1. Choose the project directory.

  2. Enter a file filter (e.g. *.dwg) or enter a semicolon-separated list of specific drawing names.

  3. Ensure the correct base file is specified and the correct conversion scale are specified.

  4. Check your DWG to DGN mapping rules if necessary.

  5. Press the Start Conversion button.

  6. If there are any syntax errors in your DGN Conversion mapping rules, then warning messages will be displayed giving you the opportunity to correct these errors prior to the conversion.

  7. All XREFS loaded into the DWG files are unloaded before conversion takes place.

  8. Each drawing name will be displayed in the bottom left of the DGN Converter window as it is processed.

  9. Once the conversion is complete a log file, which shows the number of files converted, will be opened in a text editor.

  10. Each DGN file is created in the same directory as its original drawing file.