Thursday, January 29, 2015

How to Send Your AutoCAD Project Files to Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime

Working with AutoCAD and AutoCAD Verticals (Civil3D, Map Mechanical, etc.) has become much more complex than it was when I first started over 20 years ago. We didn’t use reference files and we didn’t have source files like we do in Civil3D. We had one file, in model space (there was no paper space back then) to send. We put it on a 3.5” floppy disk and sent it on its way.  Much has changed since then.

Sending project files these days is a bit more complicated. We have multiple drawing files, xref files, point files, PDF files, data sheets, word documents, spreadsheets, DWF files, fonts, CTB files, Sheet Set data files, and more. How do you get the right files to the right people right now?


If you have one small file just attach it to an email and off you go to the next fire. But when a client wants a CAD file of site plan 3, well, you can’t just send them that drawing. In this case people forget that we don’t work with single sheet drawings anymore. What we actually do is create a database that consists of linework, geometric shapes, point data, text, project metadata, and images (amongst other things). There are many files and sources of information that work together to create that one sheet of paper we still call a DRAWING. If I had a dollar for every time I was told “just send them that one sheet”.

One of the best tools to ever come to AutoCAD and its Verticals (and the LT series) is eTransmit. The eTransmit command will package all files needed in order to recreate any specific file or group of files. The AutoCAD user starts the eTransmit command through the Sheet Set Manager or from inside an open file. AutoCAD then looks at the selected files (or the open file) and traces back to all other files needed to recreate that drawing. It puts them in a list and readies them for you to gather. Click OK and AutoCAD will gather your files together and organize them however you instructed it to.  It can simply copy the files to a folder or place them in a ZIP file; either way, the setup is the same and you will get everything you need. Once gathered send your files via FTP or a cloud-based file sharing service. Typically this group of files will be too large for email.

Quick Tip: Save before using AutoCAD eTransmit
eTransmit can do a lot of things for you that will make your life easier. It can bind xrefs, purge files, set printers to none, find all used fonts, ctb files, stb files, images, pdf files, rendering image files, remove Design Feed information, sheet set information, templates, photometric web files, and even unreferenced data files. Wow that’s a lot. It can also save the DWG files into older versions, you know, for those people that refuse to update! You can have AutoCAD create a single folder to place all of the files in, or it can recreate the folder structure you are already using. It can also save these files, in either folder structure, into a ZIP file. This is my preference because it makes it very easy to send.

eTransmit will fully process your files to any format you will need, several file formats, and in easy to use folder structures. When you need to send files eTransmit is the way to go. It gets your files ready to send to anyone in any way you want.

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