Embed an Image File in AutoCAD

12 Jul, 2015

Attaching an image file into your AutoCAD drawing only inserts it as a reference, which means always sending the image file along with the AutoCAD drawing. (What a hassle!) Join Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen as she shows you how to embed an image file so it becomes part of the drawing file!

Video Transcript

Hello there, this is Lynn Allen. Thank you for joining me for another AutoCAD tip, courtesy of Cadalyst magazine. Hope your week is great so far. I received an email from someone asking if there was anyway to insert an image into an AutoCAD drawing file so that it was embedded and not just attached. If you've ever done this before, you know what talking about.

When you attach an image file, it's just referenced in the drawing file, so if you need to send your DWG to somebody, you have to always send the image file with it. Otherwise they'll have a big empty space in the drawing. It's not good.

Let me just make sure we are all on the same page just to make sure you know what I'm talking about. I'm going to attach the Autodesk logo. Why not? This is the way most of us normally do it. Drop it into place. Easy enough. I'm going to go into the Xref Manager, and you will see that it's referenced. So it's not really embedded inside the drawing file. Well, that's a drag.

Let me come back out here and let's erase that, right? Then we'll go back into the Xref Manager, and so you know I have nothing up my sleeve, let's do a right-click and detach it.

The way to insert an image file and have it embedded is genius from Greg, my buddy Greg, from Be sure to check it out. He has a solution that I would have never come up with. What a genius idea. What you are going to do is go to the image file, like Internet Explorer, for example. Do a right-click and you are going to go to Edit. More than likely it's going to bring it up into Paint, or you can go to Paint directly and open the file.

What I want to do is I'm going to a Ctrl-A. That selects everything, or you could do a right-click or a Select All -- whatever makes you happy. I'm going to do a right-click and I'm going a Copy -- or you can do a Ctrl-C. We all know there's lots of ways of doing it.

I'm going to go back over to my AutoCAD drawing file. Let's go over to the Home tab on the Ribbon and the Clipboard panel, and I'm going to do a Paste Special. My default is going to want to insert it as a Paintbrush Picture. Totally fine with me. Hit OK. Then simply place it just like we did before. It looks pretty simple and pretty straightforward. Now if I go into the Xref Manager, you will see that it did not come in as an attachment. It's actually physically embedded into the drawing file. Awesome! So, so clever.

Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you Greg for being a genius. I hope to see you back here in two more weeks. Give it a try!

Add comment


Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: DesignerDan
June 11, 2019 - 1:06pm
As a new user of this Site I say Thank You! The embedded file routine works on some and not on other files (autocad) For instance; It worked fine on 1 dwg, the one it didn't work on looses the embedded file and no matter how many ways I try it, it won't work! Pleas Help if you know why?
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: cadcoke5
September 8, 2016 - 12:08pm
I am more than a few versions old, but the issue I have with this method is that the embedded image is now an uncompressed raster image. So, it is easy to swell up your drawing file size considerably. But, external files are always a liability, just like plot tables and specialized fonts. As the drawing gets passed around, or sent to other companies, they nearly ALWAYS get separated from their external files. This is why I also never depend on a font that is not normally included in Acad or in Windows.
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: mikepo
February 23, 2016 - 2:29pm
Great tip! I wish you could rotate the image after embedding.
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: Koki
July 21, 2015 - 12:26am
Hi, Ive been using this technique for years, OLE embedding has been around long ago, and the handling improved over the years..Yes the Frame visualisation can be managed by the layer the OLE is it on .. This is fine for small (unreferenced) images as logos in title block/frame. I wish Autodesk can work on simple convert(or embedding) of Xrefed image (for example background orthophoto) into the model, Like Right Click on the Xref and not just Reload, detach, but BIND for Images .. It would be nice to see this coming.. I know It will add to the size of the file but for export purposes...
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: gforce123
July 20, 2015 - 2:14pm
I was able to imbed an image in a 3D cad drawing plan view. Even with the world UCS set the view had to be set to the flat plan plane or the image would appear on the drawing's view as flat, not in line with the object, and still could not be rotated or scaled.
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: Amazon2005
July 14, 2015 - 5:44pm
Any text or image you can copy to clipboard (any method) and simply paste to AutoCAD will work: Ctrl-A (or selection), Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V.
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: Kilted_CAD
July 14, 2015 - 8:41am
I've removed the frame by pasting the image to a layer with the same properties as the background. I've had a lot of "fun" as our logo was originally drawn in photoshop and trying to get the size right and exported as a jpg and then inserted, took some work.
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: dougrydman
July 13, 2015 - 1:11pm
I have verified this process works with our company logo. Is there any way to rotate and OLE?
Re: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
by: MKMcManus
July 13, 2015 - 12:54pm
Nice tip. I always wanted to do that with our logo so we didn't have to include the jpg file when sending the drawings out. The only question now is, can you do it in such a way so that you can turn off the frame so it can't be selected?
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