LT On-line: Lesson 4

31 Mar, 2000 By: Mark Middlebrook

Send Drawing Files: Pack 'n' Go the LT Way

Page 1: Introduction

In our wired world, e-mail and FTP have largely replaced blue prints, overnight delivery, and floppy disks as the standard means to exchange drawings. Whether you exchange drawings in order to reuse CAD objects or simply to make hard-copy plots of someone else's drawings, you must be comfortable sending and receiving by e-mail and FTP.

Sending and receiving DWG files doesn't differ much from sending and receiving other kinds of files, except that:

DWG files tend to be bigger than word processing documents and spreadsheets. Consequently, you may find it worthwhile to invest in a faster Internet connection, such as DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or cable modem.You can easily forget to include all the dependent files. This tutorial shows you how to make sure that you send all the necessary files-and gives you information you can use to pester people who don't send you all of their necessary files.The procedure described here works with all current and recent versions of both AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD.

Package and go
Many people naively assume that an AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT drawing is always contained in a single DWG file, but that's often not the case. Each drawing file created in AutoCAD LT or AutoCAD can contain references to three kinds of files, as described in the following table.

Drawingfile references



File types

Consequences if missing


Other drawings (xrefs)


Stuff in the main drawing disappears.

Custom font files


LT "maps", or substitutes, another font.

If the SHX font is a supplementary big font file, AutoCAD can’t automatically substitute another font for it.

Raster graphics files

JPG, PCX, TIF, and so on.

Stuff in the drawing disappears.

You can attach raster graphics in AutoCAD only, not in LT.


As you can see from the table, the consequences of not including a custom font aren't that dire: The recipient will see your text, but the font will be different. There's one exception-big font files-which I'll describe in more detail later. If, on the other hand, you forget to send xrefs or raster graphics that are attached to your main drawing, the objects contained on those attached files will simply be gone when the recipient opens your drawing. Not good!

Like so much else in AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, the tools and rules for mapping fonts are flexible but somewhat complicated. Look up the FONTALT and FONTMAP system variables in the AutoCAD LT on-line Help for detailed information.

Send Drawing Files: Pack 'n' Go the LT Way
  Page 1: Introduction and exchange acronyms
  Page 2: Determining the files
  Page 3: Assemble the files
  Page 4: Round out, zip and send the files

About the Author: Mark Middlebrook

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!