Importing Drawings with Smooth Curves
When importing a drawing file with complex curves, such as a roadway design, you may notice that the curves appear as straight segments instead of smooth curves. This can occur when the drawing is located at very large X, Y coordinates and the Circle\Arc Resolution is not set at a resolution to properly display the curve. Both issues must be addressed prior to importing the drawing into Visual Professional Edition.
An example of very large X,Y coordinates is when the lower-left coordinates of a drawing are located at X=500,000 and Y=1,600,000. To properly import the drawing with smooth curves, move the drawing closer to X=0,Y=0 in the application that was used to create it. Please refer to your design software’s support documentation for information about moving your design.
The Circle\Arc Resolution property located on the Options screen, determines how many segments are used to generate a curve in Visual Professional Edition. The Circle\Arc Resolution property determines the angle between each segment of the curve. This is called the Angle Per Segment. The smaller the Angle Per Segment, the more segments will be used to generate the curve and thus, the smoother the curve will appear when imported into Visual Professional Edition. To change the Circle\Arc Resolution in Visual, follow these instructions:
Scaling DXF and DWG Drawings
- From the Tools menu, select Options
- Select Drawing Aids
- Under Circle\Arc Resolution, type in an appropriate Angle Per Segment
Improper scaling occurs when architectural and engineering units are exported as decimal units or vice versa. Visual Professional Edition converts architectural and engineering units from inches to feet. However, decimal units are assumed to be feet, so they are not converted. If a drawing is created using one unit type and exported using another, the scale will be incorrect when the drawing is imported into Visual Professional Edition. However, the scale can be adjusted inside Visual Professional Edition.
First, check the scale of the drawing. Use the Distance command to verify the size of a known reference point. The scale will generally be incorrect by a factor of 12 if the drawing was exported in a unit type different than the unit type used to create it.
To use the Distance command, follow these directions:
- From the Tools menu, select Distance
- Left-click to set the starting coordinate
- Left-click to set the ending coordinate
- Reference the distance between the two locations
The distance is displayed on the Property Bar in the lower, left-hand corner of the viewing window.
If the Distance command indicates a known measurement is larger or smaller than it should be, the drawing must be scaled before a lighting design can be performed. To determine your scale factor, divide the length of the known measurement by the actual length of the object in Visual Professional Edition. For example, if the known measurement should be 100 feet and it measures 1200 feet in Visual Professional Edition, you divide 100 by 1200. This gives you a scale factor of 1/12.
To scale the entire drawing, follow these directions:
- From the Modify menu, select Scale
- In the Property Bar, select Uniform Scale Mode
- In the Property Bar, type the appropriate scale factor
The latest download of Visual allows you to type in a fraction for your scale. If your version of Visual does not allow you to type in fractions, you may type in a decimal value instead.
- Select the entire design by pressing the letter L on the keyboard, using a selection window, or using a crossing window.
- Right-click to complete the selection
- Left-click to set a Base Point
The entire design will scale towards that Base Point. We recommend setting the Base Point at the lower, left-hand corner of the drawing.
For a short demonstration of scaling, view the instructional video “Modify: Scaling an imported DXF/DWG file” on the Training - Instructional Videos Web page.
Training - Instructional Videos
DWG/ DXF Viewers
Owning a DWG/DXF viewer has two advantages. First, DWG/DXF viewers allow you to quickly determine the layer associated with each object contained in the drawing. This knowledge can help you determine which layers to include or exclude when you import the drawing into Visual Professional Edition.
Second, DWG/DXF viewers can be used to determine if a file is corrupt. If a file will not import into Visual Professional Edition and it cannot be opened with a DWG/DXF viewer, it is safe to assume the file is corrupt and you should request a another copy from your customer.
There are several free DWG/DXF viewers on the market. For your convenience, we have listed a few choices below.
Free DWG Viewer
Informative Graphics offers a program called Free DWG Viewer. Free DWG Viewer allows you to view DWG, DXF, DWF, and CSF files. To learn more about Free DWG Viewer, visit the product page at http://www.infograph.com/products/dwgviewer/.
AutoDWG also offers a free DWG viewer called DWGSee. DWGSee allows you to view both DWG and DXF files. To learn more, visit the DWGSee product page at http://www.autodwg.com/dwg-viewer/.
A free DWG/DXF viewer is also available from eDrawings. More information is available on the eDrawing Viewer product page at
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