Improved CAD Support in Visio 2010

Some of the earliest adopters of Visio were engineers and others who created technical drawings, and they loved the combination of power and simplicity that Visio provides. One of the most ubiquitous applications used by engineers is Autodesk’s AutoCAD, and Visio supports AutoCAD files by providing basic CAD integration features for import, conversion, and export.

While we made significant CAD improvements in Visio 2007, we did not provide support for newer AutoCAD file formats. This meant that Visio 2007 users required saving their CAD files in older formats in order to open them in Visio.

Now in Visio 2010, we’ve addressed this issue by adding the ability to read the latest AutoCAD file formats while providing the same CAD functionality as Visio 2007.

To learn about Visio CAD support, we recommend reading our past blog posts about Visio 2007 linked below:

Please comment on the blog to let us know what you think.

Comments (13)

  1. malky says:

    Please shine a big spotlight on this.

    Over the years I have tried to use Visio in conjunction with CAD – import and export.

    blocks, scaling, dimensioning and crashing at the end of computation have been my issues.

    have tried with the Visio 2010 beta to import and export and text seems to go all over the place – imported fonts are being recognized as vectors for example.

    could never understand why this Visio potential has never been addressed

    a 3D subset [legal] of Archicad/Autocad would be triffic ….

    oh and,

    with a Wizard front end for imports please

  2. Biju George says:


    Any detail on the CAD integration improvements in Visio 2010.  I didn’t see any noticeable change in Visio 2010 Beta1.  My issues are specific to converting Visio Drawing into AutoCAD DWG/DXF, following are my main pain points

    1. Text entities inside a rotated/flipped shape (grouped) not appearing at the right location in the dwg/dxf output.

    2. Some times connection lines re-route and overlap other shapes in the dwg/dxf output.

    3. End properties of lines/dynamic connectors don’t convert properly in to dwg/dxf


    Biju George

  3. Wayne Elstub says:

    My concern is also how Visio 2010 handles Autodesk files within Visio and judging from the beta, there is no significant change. Converting a complex CAD drawing is often not an option as the file size blows out significantly!

    I would like to see Visio handle a CAD file import with better integration and the ability to edit that CAD file and maintain it as a dwg or similar without converting it to Visio objects. Visio treats a converted CAD file as separate objects and thus an explosion in file size and efficiency. It was my understanding that this was going to be built into Visio 2010 but it appears not to be the case … a bit sad for architects who would find this feature very helpful. Visio is without doubt one of the most intuitive interfaces for handling drag and drop technology and its easy to teach a novice how to use it once the drawing is created. But its sad that it is not very useful to create the drawing in the first place particularly if it does not fit into the existing templates available and if the diagrams will contain a large number of objects.

    I will keep my fingers crossed that the Visio team may one day realize that the architectural community would see Visio in a better light if their complex designs could be worked on from within Visio as a CAD entity. Having said that, Working on a CAD (dwg) file as an embedded object within a Visio file would not work either as an architect would like to be able to distribute their Visio files and allow other non CAD users to make changes using Visio.

    That's my say ….

  4. Nick says:


    I imported one of our drawings into VISIO – needed an electron microscope to find the drawing!

  5. Daniel Maxwell says:

    I find it impossible to open AutoCAD drawings created in 2006 (in fact I am not able to open any AutoCAD drawings with a .dwg extension). I also find it hard to locate updated "drivers" or updates which I could add to Visio 2007 to open AutoCAD drawings. Our company is not able to afford many AutoCAD licenses but we have contractors that work in AutoCAD and I cannot open these files using Visio.

  6. Dean says:

    I've attempted to create P&ID's for my company in Visio 2010 because it is much easier to use (and I don't know how to use AutoCAD) but the director would like the final file in CAD format as contractors and engineering firms use the CAD format; however I have found that when converting the final Visio drawing (which looks marvelous) completely goes to hell when converting to AutoCAD.  Text changes size, format, location, etc.  Symbols (for example the Indicator 2 symbol) in Visio becomes two discreet objects in AutoCAD that doesn't look like it should and the tag ID isn't in the proper location.  Visio is therefore completely incapable in my mind of converting to AutoCAD format successfully and reliably.  I don't know how Microsoft can even claim that you can convert when really it's a poor conversion.

  7. Visio japan says:

    I have a question. Please let me know.

    Is Visio 2010 compatible with AutoCAD 2009?

    I'd like to import visio an AutoCAD 2009 drawing.

  8. Qboy61 says:

    I am importing DXF files into Visio 2010 with MAJOR dimension errors.  Not sure that Visio 2010 is ready for CAD.  The older vesion (2002 vintage) worked better.

  9. Um, it still hardly works, maybe M$ should try harder?  SP2 anyone?

    AutoCAD 2009 is not working well, tons of DWG file must be corrupt etc.  I do not see any reason to own Visio if i cannot get a simple 20-something layer AC 2007-2009 DWG file to stay happy in Visio.  

    Also, Visio callouts are problematic on imported ACs, i had to find & use the older annotations to get this kind of thing to work at all, too bad.

  10. ex user says:

    give the solutioN TO THE PROBLEM YOU CREATED. nOBODY HAS TIME TO READ microsoft error. Thats why I prefer apple.

  11. jbille says:

    Could someone send me one Autocad file (of any year) that is compatible with importing into Visio 2010, or can be opened by Visio 2010 ? Or visa versa ?

    I was so hoping this feature would work in Visio 2010 but I have been unable to ever get any ACAD drawing (2010, 2008, 2004, etc..) to open or import in Visio 2010.  

    I get the typical "Cannot open file. The file may not be a DWG or DXF file, it may not be in a supported version of the DWG file format, or it may be corrupted.  Check the file and try again."

    Look, I love Visio 2010, but I think it borders on false advertising for Visio to make the claim that Autocad can be integrated into Visio when so many find it impossible to do so.

    Email me any example of an actual Autocad file that can be opened or imported to Visio (

  12. Bill G. says:

    I rented Hubble microscope to see my imported cad drawing and I figured that drawing is out of whack…another false claim by MS.

  13. Dave Zimbrich says:

    Still using Visio 2010 and it works great most of the time. Currently, I am trying to import a DWG file that seems to go through the import wizard fine, but nothing is visible. I get the exact same result with the same drawing saved in DXF format. Any help on this? Is there an updated DWG/DXF import tool?

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