Linux: AutoCAD DWG to SVG preview conversion.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Linux Years ago I did a small utility to convert DWG or DXF files into a vector-graphic, zoomable, SVG preview. The Linux command-line utility was used in a larger drawing management application that I had built before I left that company for greener pastures.

The Linux server-based application would scan the vast (100,000s of CAD drawings) and, depending on their format, attempt to create thumbnails and extract textual information from them and populate a database so we could easily find related drawings through a simple web-interface.

CAD File The software would present thumbnails of the drawings; when the drawing was in DWG or DXF format, the thumbnail would be an SVG vector representation of the original drawing instead of an image. That made the preview much more useful as you could zoom in and still retain enough detail to ascertain if the drawings was actually what you were looking for.

Other file formats (TIFF, HPGL plots, etc) were transformed into PNG image previews that were saved into 2 size: a small thumbnail, good enough to be displayed in a list, and a larger one that would show more details.

The server software was written in Perl, with some of the converters in C. Every night, the server would go through the whole tree of drawings on the filesystem, looking for drawings it hadn’t seen before and it would pass them to the appropriate plug-in for extracting text -where possible- and create thumbnails.

Memories of fun projects…

Download links:

Entry Filed under  :  Linux,Programming


  • 1. ADV  |  May 5th, 2009 at 05:40

    Sweet. I’m looking for some conversion utility for Linux. Can you share your application?


  • 2. Renaud  |  May 5th, 2009 at 07:39

    @ADV: the links are in the article but I’ve just added them explicitly at the bottom as well.

  • 3. Manipulando archivos DWG &hellip  |  July 6th, 2009 at 22:02

    […] Vía: Cypris’ lookout […]

  • 4. Léon  |  March 4th, 2011 at 22:24

    That’s seems to be a great soft but it doesn’t open my dwg file.

    Does OpenDWG ToolKit and ViewKit v2.x from still free for non commercial use ? because I didn’t find any toolkit on the website.


This is a simple technical weblog where I dump thoughts and experiences from my computer-related world. It is mostly focused on software development but I also have wider interests and dabble in architecture, business and system administration.

My StackOverflow Profile My (sporadically active) StackOVerflow account

Most Recent Posts