Data Extraction from an AutoCAD Drawing


Have you ever gotten a file that you are certain contains valuable information that you can use, but you aren’t quite sure how to grab it and use it in your own project?  For example, have you ever received a drawing file from another source, which contains “pseudo-points” (blocks that look like points but are actually two intersecting line segments), established elevations (insertion point), but no defined attributes?  Of course not!  That would make it too easy.  However, there is a way to extract information from the drawing and it only takes a few minutes to get there. 


Although this is not a new trick, it is one that is tried and true and worth mentioning so we don’t forget it is there.  The command is _DATAEXTRACTION, and it opens the same dialog box as EATTEXT, which is used to extract data from block attributes.  As mentioned before, the drawing obtained has no editable attributes-only a symbol with an elevation.  The Data Extraction series of dialog boxes will walk you through choosing the appropriate settings, see explanation below.



1.       _DATAEXTRACTION—opens a dialog box.  Select Create a new data extraction, follow prompts to name and save it.  Select Next.




2.       For this particular drawing, choose “Select objects in the current drawing” and pick the box to select from the screen.  Choose the objects you need (hint—it’s much easier if you isolate those objects first)



3.        Select the name of your block, in this case “SPT9”, we only want the information about the insertion point in our table.  If you choose line and point, the results would contain information on each one of those entities, including ‘start x, y, and z’, angle in xy plane, and other information that may be useful in other scenarios, but for this one we only want x, y, z of the insertion points.




4.        This page allows us to choose what we want to export in our table.  You have the opportunity to pick and choose the information you want to export.  For this case, I exported everything available, then made changes once I opened in excel.




5.        The next screen shows what your table will look like.  You can do some editing here, too, but again I did all the editing once I exported to excel. 


6.        Next you will select “Output data to external file” which will allow you to choose format.  You can create point files or a txt file if you are secure with what you created, I like to double check my information in excel first.


7.        Select next and finish to complete the extraction.  Then you can edit in your excel file, save as a txt, and import into your dwg file.  The information you import can be used as points to define a surface, volume calcs, and other necessary Civil 3D functions.

Hope this information is helpful, have a great day!


One Response to “Data Extraction from an AutoCAD Drawing”

  1. John Smith Says:

    This is by far one of the most comprehensive posts I have seen here. Theses steps are really useful to follow for the data extraction. Many thanks for sharing…

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