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Canvas Draw 5 & DWG files

I've been using Canvas for many years, and recently have the need to export CVX and/or CVD files as DWG files. The files are being sent to either an architect or a mechanical engineer, either one using AutoCad, at the minimum the 2010 version. 

I'm getting feedback from them that when they open my file, all the lines, shapes, text, etc have shifted around the page. I've also tried exporting as a DFX file, which AutoCad can import, with similar results. 

I've kept my files free of any images (jpeg, png, tif's etc) and stayed with generic fonts - Arial and Arial Narrow. Has anyone been able to master with with Canvas 5 (or any Canvas version since 2) that can successfully be imported as a DWG file? If I'm doing something wrong, I'd like to find our what is is. - Thank you. Scott Leverenz 

I have had the same problem, I think possibly have lost one client because of it, and version 5 doesn't seem much if any better from earlier versions. I also wrote the developers and never received an answer. Anyway, in the puzzlement stage I did a lot of speculating and comparing what lines did and did not transfer in place and I drew some conclusions that may help you. I wrote my client that I had some insight and hoped he would still let me work around this but he probably decided in a crunch not to take the risk. Still, I have tested it out and you might want to do the same.

If you use the straight line tool, it will be way out of scale and in my case, far out to the upper right of the actual main image. You might not even see it if you don't zoom out in an auto cad viewer of some kind. Also the fonts are messed up but this loss of line scale and position was the big thing.

However, Canvas lines made with polygon tool do "stay put." So I don't know what you are drawing, but in my case site plans would  have straying road edges and sometimes parts of buildings, whereas building shapes with turned corners etc. came though okay and I think so did rectangles made with the rectangle tool. To get a straight line to stay in place required making the line with a midpoint, even if invisible in the final view, if that makes sense, or doubling back just a bit and making a third hidden point. 

The oval tool for circles also floated off and turned gigantic. I am unable therefore to do planting plans as a landscape architect because I would need a lot of circles for tree symbols, and in tests those are usless and I don't know a work-around other than maybe to create bezier approximations of circles but haven't tested it. By the way, variations in line weight also don't come through; everything is the same weight.

This realm and the font issue is pretty disappointing since it cuts off possible work I would like to do in Canvas and send to fellow professionals who want .dwg files. Hopefully someone will look into it although the font issue may be on the autocad side.

I'm using a Mac but doubt that makes a difference.  

Happy New Year Scott and Leslie... 

Can you please send the CVD & DWG version of your files for further testing? We will be releasing a 5.0.2 update in the coming weeks and hopefully we can address the issues that both of you are describing here.

Any other input regarding creation of the files that is not already posted here, is very welcome.



Here are 2 examples. I'm a slight bit rusty on the process other than making a canvas draw file, and needing to send a .pdf and .dwg to someone else. The .pdfs were fine but you will see what happened when saved as a .dwg 

I was kind of desperate to send something that wasn't splattered and even tried (I think) taking the .pdf which looked fine (rather than Canvas) and making a .dwg from a .pdf in the Plains group. I think I had to use an online service for that. The file name says experiment in the title. What then happened was sort of an improved font (it seemed to outline everything so it captured the original font look) but then things that were raster like the north arrow got jagged edges. That would have been easy to substitue with another arrow symbol but overall it still had some scattered elements, and you have to enlarge to 200% to see lines made with a dash.

Both Canvas files may have been made with Canvas 3 but they opened in later updates and in the Fall I asked for save as .dwg in Canvas Draw 4 ....and did it again tonight with version 5 and the results always turn out the same. As mentioned in my previous post, my theory is that the problem has to do with the tools. I don't know why the Patel file is so large except that the house footprint has a lot of detail and was imported from the architect's auto cad. That part could be manipulated and cleaned up without problems. However, trying to create a floor plan in Canvas when I use straight lines anywhere gets the results that you see. Walls or pavement areas stay in locations needed only if they incorporate some kind of angle.

Thanks for your interest, Leslie Wagle


Well an upgrade (5.02?) came with note that this had been worked on in the long list of things done, and I was excited to watch it automatically install. But I ran a text again and unfortunately, the same problem persists. This time notice what happens to the drafted circles, as I mentioned in Jan.  The big trees were a paint import which I don't need to use but the plain ones from Canvas are a concern. Also the font continues to be garbled. If you start to work on the text again, it never resolves. I think I'd have to ask the client to do all his/her own lettering, which is a pretty big imposition. 

I hope this has a solution.


I meant to say I ran a TEST again....

Besides these DWG files not saving properly, now I’m experiencing a problem when using the line tool, and holding down the shift key my lines are not straight. This has been a feature I use all the time, but starting with 5.0.1, the lines, vertical or horizontal, are off sometimes up to 5% - has anyone else experienced this?

I opened a ticket on this (88 - as it also applies to circles and squares not being circular or square. The problem seems to be that the Smart Snaps are taking priority over the Shift key that constrains lines to 0,45,90 degrees, and rectangles/ovals to squares/circles. If you disable Smart Snaps, you may find that the problem disappears, but I find Smart Snaps to be useful and the real solution is that the Shift key should always override Smart Snaps. What's not in the ticket's conversation was an email from the Product Director of Canvas GFX saying that this would be fixed in "Canvas X 2019 and Canvas Draw 5 updates expected in the new year" - that was late December. At that time I was on 5.0.1, and checking now on 5.0.2 (build 51) it appears to be fixed although it wasn't noted in the release notes. Have you tried this with the current build 51?

I have smart snaps on and don't see that off angle problem, but on the .dwg file saving issue, as mentioned in my last message, the 5.02 upgrade didn't have any impact on that. I'm just back to say that after looking hard for some kind of work-around, today I downloaded DraftSight because it also can open and save in .dwg and wanted to pass on my experience.

I thought DraftSight would help me  as a detour software that could "fix" any flaws on Canvas .dwg documents and was free. This was in spite of it having reviews warning that it has an auto cad-like interface (steep learning in other words) but some people do just use it as a viewing, minor revisions, and re-save tool on .dwg files.

Unfortunately, the Canvas .dwg I opened was the expected mess, but I couldn't begin to grasp all the DraftSight commands and tools, so it isn't going to be a good work-around for me. I like Canvas in the first place because it's not heavy cost or slogging to produce what I need, and that route just returns to the original problem of how to stay out of either thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours learning. But it might work for someone else until Canvas can bridge the gap.

I do not need to export DWG files, but this thread made me curious about a work-around.  Canvas Draw will export good PDFs (best to use Advanced PDF).  There are online services and software to convert from PDFs to DWGs.  Here are some I found:

Perhaps something like those will help until Canvas Draw can do better exports.


Thanks for trying to be helpful and working on this, which isn't your own problem....but yes I have gone that way and just tried the 2 I'm not sure I've tried before. Some time ago, my zamzar experiment looked like it had made and "outline" of one of my drawings....sort of like double thin lines around the original Canvas sold lines, etc. and jagged edges if there was a small paint object so I thought it was relating to edges of pixels.

Just now, the cadsoft tools was fast but on opening (with draft sight), it only had portions of the original work and a lot missing, after a note that said some elements were "not supported." Although oddly, the part of the text labels that came through was ok looking, but overall, not a result I could send a client.

 The autodwg had a delay symbol that just  spun and spun without delivering anything (site overly busy perhaps?) . Maybe eventually someone else (less jinked then I seem to be) can tell us how to get a good flow-though.


First, thank you for all the input regarding this issue. All files and comments that have been posted here have been submitted to the Developers and they are working on this issue now. Any feedback received in the coming weeks will be posted here as well.  If anyone has further concerns or suggestions, please add to this thread.



I've had great phone support from Nikki and her reply gives me still more reason to believe in the progress being made by the Canvas GFX team. Looking forward to more and more improvements.

I also want to compliment one very important thing. I don't know why that one problem client wanted .dwg files anyway, unless there was some reason on their end, using dynascape, but I have found an efficient way to exchange with other offices. It turns out that .pdf files open well in Canvas Draw and are editable. I assumed this was an attribute of acrobat software they were made in, but it must also have involved the design of Canvas Draw. 

All the elements of an original, including how the draftsman set up the layers, work like Canvas Draw. Elements can be selected and deleted or moved, rotated, etc. Even the type although you will notice it is made of separate lines and isn't really a "font style" in the sense of desktop publishing. I haven't had a reason to change much else, but you can group and make invisible, etc. I do a lot of "cleaning up" sometimes intricate site plans and even some architectural drawings, rather than draw again from scratch. Once I get what I want to keep, then of course I can make new layers and manipulate Canvas Draw tools to modify the overall drawing into a new document that shows only what I want it to of the original plus what I added (in my case the landscape plantings overlay, schedule of species, details etc.). Added elements can use Canvas Draw textures etc. and colors if making more of an illustration. The final combined result can be sent back as my own renamed .pdf and seems to be well accepted.

I don't know enough about the background work that goes nto the software, but it makes Canvas Draw not only what I use for original startup documents, but that I can turn to during the flow of working remotely- so it was a great discovery I wanted to say something about as it was a "surprise" to me and might not have occurred to someone else who can use it (although I admit sometimes I have to stumble on the obvious).

Canvas in both its Windows and Apple versions has long been able to open PDF files and retain the elements in the file in an editable form.  When opening a PDF in Canvas Draw, you can select under "Embedded fonts" either "Substitute" or "Convert to paths."  Substituting gives editable text and convert to paths produces the separate lines you mention.  Canvas Draw, unlike the Windows version I formerly used, does not routinely ask which font you want to use as a substitute for the various fonts in the PDF.  After opening a PDF in Canvas Draw, I usually change it to an "Illustration" in Preferences.  That happens to be convenient for me.


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