How to convert a PDF to DWG format with Adobe Illustrator

How to convert a PDF to DWG format with Adobe Illustrator

As remote designers we often find ourselves needing missing dimensions.  We often have to wait for our client’s to contact their client’s for a dimension, and this can cause costly delays to the design of a job. And waiting means lost earning potential. Here is a way around that, which you may find useful.

PDF’s can be converted into DWG files using Adobe Illustrator.  It is done with minimal effort.

1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Illustrator:


2. Choose “File Export”:


3. Save the file:


4. Select the following options:


5. Open the file in AutoCAD. You will notice that the file is not scaled correctly.  This can be fixed by dividing the correct dimension by the current dimension.

  • In our case it is 52’ – 8 1/8” / 99’ – 6 ½”.
  • This gives us 1.889658; this is our Scale Factor.


6. You can scale the drawings by selecting everything in AutoCAD and typing the SCALE command.  It will ask you to specify the base point.  I like to choose the bottom left corner.  It will now ask you for the Scale Factor (which is 1.889658 in this case).


You now have a DWG drawing of your PDF plan.  Now, you can easily find the dimensions that you need, even if they are missing from your plan. I hope you found this useful!

Tyler Martinez – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.

5 thoughts on “How to convert a PDF to DWG format with Adobe Illustrator

  1. Tyler, that’s pretty cool ! When scaling the DXF/DWG, you can have CAD figure the ratio – use the ‘Reference’ within Scale command. Thanks for sharing.