Import DGN file into AutoCAD

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There are multiple ways to import a DGN file into AutoCAD. First you need to decide on whether or not you want to bring the DGN file in as a reference (think x-ref), or as regular CAD entities.

To import the DGN file as CAD entities, choose one of these methods

  • Ribbon > Insert Tab > Import Panel > Import
  • Application Menu > Open > DGN
  • Command line: DGNIMPORT

Each of these will prompt you to select a DGN file, then the following dialog will appear. The checkbox in the upper left corner determines whether or not the DGN is imported into the current drawing or opened as a new drawing.

Import DGN File

To create a reference to the DGN file, choose one of these methods

  • Drag and drop the DGN from Windows Explorer onto the AutoCAD drawing editor
  • Ribbon > Insert Tab > Reference Panel > Attach
  • Command line: DGNATTACH
  • Open the External References Palette, right click, choose Attach DGN

Each of these methods (except drag & drop) will give you the standard Attach DGN Underlay dialog as seen below. If you use drag & drop, the prompts will be on the commands line.

To convert an existing DGN Reference to CAD entities

Select the DGN reference on the screen. Pick the External References button on the contextual tab to open the External References palette. Select the DGN file and right-click, then choose Bind. In the “Bind Xrefs/DGN underlays” dialog, choose “Insert”, and click OK. Now you can explode the DGN until it is broken down to native CAD entities.

We have seen some occasions where certain DGN files fail to import. If you run across this, attach the DGN as a reference and then follow the steps to convert the attached reference to CAD entities.

This process applies to AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Civil 3D, and other AutoCAD based applications.

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