drawing interchange and file formats

 
[ this file is an excerpt from the autocad release 10 reference manual.
  copyright (c) 1988 autodesk, inc.  all rights reserved. ]
autocad can be used by itself as a complete drawing editor.  in some appli-
cations, however, other programs must examine drawings created by autocad
or generate drawings to be viewed, modified, or plotted with autocad.
for example, if you've made an architectural drawing with autocad, using
inserted parts to represent windows, doors, and so on, you can process the
drawing file and produce a bill of materials of all the items used in the
drawing, or even make energy use calculations based on the area and the
number and type of windows used.  another possible application is to use
autocad to describe structures that are then sent to a large computer for
finite element structural analysis.  you can compute stresses and displace-
ments and send back information to display the deformed structure as an
autocad drawing.
since the autocad drawing database (.dwg file) is written in a very compact
format that changes significantly from time to time as new features are
added, we do not document its format and do not recommend that you attempt
to write programs to read it directly.  to assist in interchanging drawings
between autocad and other programs, a "drawing interchange" file format
(dxf(tm)) has been defined.  all implementations of autocad accept this
format and are able to convert it to and from their internal drawing file
representation.
autocad also supports the initial graphics exchange standard (iges) file
format.  the information comprising an autocad drawing can be written out
in iges format, and iges files can be read and converted to autocad's
internal format.
c.1  ascii drawing interchange (dxf) files
this section describes autocad's dxf (drawing interchange) file format and
the commands provided to read and write these files.  dxf files are stan-
dard ascii text files.  they can easily be translated to the formats of
other cad systems, or submitted to other programs for specialized analysis.
c.1.1  dxfout command - writing a dxf file
you can generate a drawing interchange file from an existing drawing by
means of the drawing editor's dxfout command.  the command format is:
    command:  dxfout   file name <default>:  (name or return)
the default name for the output file is the same as that of the current
drawing, but with a file type of ".dxf".  if you specify an explicit file
name, do not include a file type; ".dxf" is assumed.  if a file with the
same name already exists, it is deleted.  next, dxfout asks what precision
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autocad reference manual
you want for floating-point numbers and permits output of a partial dxf
file containing only selected objects.
    enter decimal places of accuracy (0 to 16)/entities/binary <6>:
the "binary" option is described later in this appendix. if you respond
with "entities" (or just "e"), dxfout will ask you to select the objects
you want written to the dxf file.  only the objects you select will be
included in the output file - symbol tables (including block definitions)
will not be included.  once you've selected the desired objects, autocad
will prompt again for the numeric precision:
    enter decimal places of accuracy (0 to 16)/binary <6>:
c.1.2  dxfin command - loading a dxf file
a drawing interchange file can be converted into an autocad drawing by
means of the dxfin command.  first enter the drawing editor using the
"create new drawing" task from the main menu.  then issue the dxfin com-
mand.
    command:  dxfin   file name:  (name)
enter the name of the drawing interchange file to be loaded.
full dxfin
to load a complete dxf file, you must use dxfin in an empty drawing, before
any entities have been drawn and before any additional block definitions,
layers, linetypes, text styles, named views, named coordinate systems, or
named viewport configurations have been created.  (if your prototype draw-
ing contains any such items, use main menu task 1's "name=" technique to
create a new drawing without a prototype.)
if any errors are detected during the input, the new drawing is discarded.
otherwise, an automatic "zoom all" is performed to set the drawing extents.
partial dxfin
if the current drawing is not empty, dxfin loads only the entities section
of the dxf file, adding the entities found there to the current drawing.
in this case, dxfin displays the message:
    not a new drawing -- only entities section will be input.
if errors are detected during such partial dxf input, the drawing is
returned to the state it was in before the dxfin command.  otherwise, the
newly added entities are drawn.

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                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
c.1.3  dxf file format
this section describes the format of a dxf file in detail.  it contains a
great deal of technical information that you need only if you're writing
your own program to process dxf files.  otherwise, you can skip this sec-
tion.
it would probably be helpful to produce a dxf file from a small drawing,
print it out, and refer to it occasionally while reading the information
presented below.
c.1.3.1  general file structure
a drawing interchange file is simply an ascii text file with a file type of
".dxf" and specially-formatted text.  the overall organization of a dxf
file is as follows:
  1. header section - general information about the drawing is found in
     this section of the dxf file.  each parameter has a variable name
     and an associated value.
  2. tables section -- this section contains definitions of named
     items.
       o  linetype (ltype) table
       o  layer table
       o  text style (style) table
       o  view table
       o  user coordinate system (ucs) table
       o  viewport configuration (vport) table
       o  drawing manager (dwgmgr) table (for future use)
  3. blocks section - this section contains block definition entities
     describing the entities comprising each block in the drawing.
  4. entities section - this section contains the drawing entities,
     including any block references.
  5. end of file
if you use dxfout's "entities" option, the resulting dxf file will contain
only the entities and end of file sections, and the entities section will
reflect only the objects you select for output.
a dxf file is composed of a multiplicity of groups, each of which occupies
two lines in the dxf file.  the first line of a group is a group code,
which is a positive nonzero integer output in fortran "i3" format (that is,
right justified and blank filled in a three character field).  the second
line of the group is the group value, in a format which depends on the type
of the group as specified by the group code.

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autocad reference manual
the specific assignment of group codes depends upon the item being
described in the file.  however, the type of the value this group supplies
is derived from the group code in the following way:
                    group code range   following value
                          0 - 9       string
                         10 - 59      floating-point
                         60 - 79      integer
                        210 - 239     floating-point
                           999        comment (string)
thus a program can easily read the value following a group code without
knowing the particular use of this group in an item in the file.  the
appearance of values in the dxf file is not affected by the setting of the
units command: coordinates are always represented as decimal (or possibly
scientific notation if very large) numbers, and angles are always repre-
sented in decimal degrees with zero degrees to the east of origin.
variables, table entries, and entities are described by a group that intro-
duces the item, giving its type and/or name, followed by multiple groups
that supply the values associated with the item.  in addition, special
groups are used for file separators such as markers for the beginning and
end of sections, tables, and the file itself.
entities, table entries, and file separators are always introduced with a 0
group code that is followed by a name describing the item.
c.1.3.2  group codes
group codes are used both to indicate the type of the value of the group,
as explained above, and to indicate the general use of the group.  the spe-
cific function of the group code depends on the actual variable, table
item, or entity description.  this section indicates the general use of
groups, noting as "(fixed)" any that always have the same function.
   group code                           value type
       0        identifies the start of an entity, table entry, or file
                separator.  the text value that follows indicates which.
       1        the primary text value for an entity.
       2        a name; attribute tag, block name, etc.
      3-4       other textual or name values.
       5        entity handle expressed as a hexadecimal string.
       6        line type name (fixed).
       7        text style name (fixed).
       8        layer name (fixed).
       9        variable name identifier (used only in header section of
                the dxf file).
       10       primary x coordinate (start point of a line or text
                entity, center of a circle, etc.).
     11-18      other x coordinates.
                                                             continued ...
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                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
   group code                           value type
       20       primary y coordinate.  2n values always correspond to 1n
                values and immediately follow them in the file.
     21-28      other y coordinates.
       30       primary z coordinate.  3n values always correspond to 1n
                and 2n values and immediately follow them in the file.
     31-37      other z coordinates.
       38       this entity's elevation if nonzero (fixed).  output only
                if system variable flatland is set to 1.
       39       this entity's thickness if nonzero (fixed).
     40-48      floating-point values (text height, scale factors, etc.).
       49       repeated value - multiple 49 groups may appear in one
                entity for variable length tables (such as the dash
                lengths in the ltype table).  a 7x group always appears
                before the first 49 group to specify the table length.
     50-58      angles.
       62       color number (fixed).
       66       "entities follow" flag (fixed).
     70-78      integer values, such as repeat counts, flag bits, or
                modes.
 210, 220, 230  x, y, and z components of extrusion direction.
      999       comments
c.1.4  comments
the 999 group code indicates that the following line is a comment string.
dxfout does not currently include such groups in its output file, but dxfin
honors them and ignores the comments.  thus, you can use the 999 group to
include comments in a dxf file you've edited.  for example:
    999
    this is a comment.
    999
    this is another comment.
c.1.5  file sections
the dxf file is subdivided into four sections.  file separator groups are
used to delimit these file sections.  the following is an example of a void
dxf file with only the section markers and table headers present.
      0                           (begin header section)
    section
      2
    header
        <<<<header variable items go here>>>>
      0
    endsec                        (end header section)
      0                           (begin tables section)
    section
      2
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autocad reference manual
    tables
      0
    table
      2
    vport
     70
    (viewport table maximum item count)
        <<<<viewport table items go here>>>>
      0
    endtab
      0
    table
      2
    ltype, layer, style, view, ucs, or dwgmgr
     70
    (table maximum item count)
        <<<<table items go here>>>>
      0
    endtab
      0
    endsec                        (end tables section)
      0                           (begin blocks section)
    section
      2
    blocks
        <<<<block definition entities go here>>>>
      0
    endsec                        (end blocks section)
      0                           (begin entities section)
    section
      2
    entities
        <<<<drawing entities go here>>>>
      0
    endsec                        (end entities section)
      0
    eof                           (end of file)
c.1.5.1  header section
the header section of the dxf file contains settings of variables
associated with the drawing.  these variables are set with various commands
and are the type of information displayed by the status command.  each
variable is specified in the header section by a 9 group giving its name,
followed by groups that supply its value.  the header variables, the groups
that follow, and their meanings are listed below.
although this list is very similar to the list of system variables in
appendix a, the two lists are not identical.  be sure you're referring to
the proper list.

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                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
  $acadver       1     the autocad drawing database version number.
  $angbase      50     angle 0 direction.
  $angdir       70     1=clockwise angles, 0=counterclockwise.
  $attdia       70     attribute entry dialogues, 1 = on, 0 = off
  $attmode      70     attribute visibility: 0=none, 1=normal, 2=all.
  $attreq       70     attribute prompting during insert, 1 = on, 0 = off
  $aunits       70     units format for angles.
  $auprec       70     units precision for angles.
  $axismode     70     axis on if nonzero.
  $axisunit   10,20    axis x and y tick spacing.
  $blipmode     70     blip mode on if nonzero.
  $cecolor      62     entity color number; 0 = byblock, 256 = bylayer.
  $celtype       6     entity linetype name, or byblock or bylayer.
  $chamfera     40     first chamfer distance.
  $chamferb     40     second chamfer distance.
  $clayer        8     current layer name.
  $coords       70     0=static coordinate display, 1=continuous update,
                       2="d<a" format.
  $dimalt       70     alternate unit dimensioning performed if nonzero.
  $dimaltd      70     alternate unit decimal places.
  $dimaltf      40     alternate unit scale factor.
  $dimapost      1     alternate dimensioning suffix
  $dimaso       70     1=create associative dimensioning, 0=draw
                       individual entities.
  $dimasz       40     dimensioning arrow size.
  $dimblk        2     arrow block name.
  $dimblk1       1     first arrow block name.
  $dimblk2       1     second arrow block name.
  $dimcen       40     size of center mark/lines.
  $dimdle       40     dimension line extension.
  $dimdli       40     dimension line increment.
  $dimexe       40     extension line extension.
  $dimexo       40     extension line offset.
  $dimlfac      40     linear measurements scale factor.
  $dimlim       70     dimension limits generated if nonzero.
  $dimpost       1     general dimensioning suffix
  $dimrnd       40     rounding value for dimension distances.
  $dimsah       70     use separate arrow blocks if nonzero.
  $dimscale     40     overall dimensioning scale factor.
  $dimse1       70     first extension line suppressed if nonzero.
  $dimse2       70     second extension line suppressed if nonzero.
  $dimsho       70     1=recompute dimensions while dragging,
                       0=drag original image.
  $dimsoxd      70     suppress outside-extensions dimension lines
                       if nonzero.
  $dimtad       70     text above dimension line if nonzero.
  $dimtih       70     text inside horizontal if nonzero.
  $dimtix       70     force text inside extensions if nonzero.
  $dimtm        40     minus tolerance.
  $dimtofl      70     if text outside extensions, force line between
                       extensions if nonzero.
  $dimtoh       70     text outside horizontal if nonzero.
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autocad reference manual
  $dimtol       70     dimension tolerances generated if nonzero.
  $dimtp        40     plus tolerance.
  $dimtsz       40     dimensioning tick size: 0=no ticks.
  $dimtvp       40     text vertical position.
  $dimtxt       40     dimensioning text height.
  $dimzin       70     zero suppression for "feet & inch" dimensions.
  $dragmode     70     0=off, 1=on, 2=auto.
  $elevation    40     current elevation set by elev command.
  $extmax    10,20,30  xy drawing extents upper right corner (in wcs).
  $extmin    10,20,30  xy drawing extents lower left corner (in wcs).
  $filletrad    40     fillet radius.
  $fillmode     70     fill mode on if nonzero.
  $flatland     70     force compatibility with older versions if nonzero.
  $handling     70     handles enabled if nonzero.
  $handseed      5     next available handle.
  $insbase   10,20,30  insertion base set by base command (in wcs).
  $limcheck     70     nonzero if limits checking is on.
  $limmax     10,20    xy drawing limits upper right corner (in wcs).
  $limmin     10,20    xy drawing limits lower left corner (in wcs).
  $ltscale      40     global linetype scale.
  $lunits       70     units format for coordinates and distances.
  $luprec       70     units precision for coordinates and distances.
  $menu          1     name of menu file.
  $mirrtext     70     mirror text if nonzero.
  $orthomode    70     ortho mode on if nonzero.
  $osmode       70     running object snap modes.
  $pdmode       70     point display mode.
  $pdsize       40     point display size.
  $plinewid     40     default polyline width.
  $qtextmode    70     quick text mode on if nonzero.
  $regenmode    70     regenauto mode on if nonzero.
  $sketchinc    40     sketch record increment.
  $skpoly       70     0=sketch lines, 1=sketch polylines.
  $splframe     70     spline control polygon display, 1 = on, 0 = off.
  $splinesegs   70     number of line segments per spline patch.
  $splinetype   70     spline curve type for "pedit spline"
                       (see appendix a).
  $surftab1     70     number of mesh tabulations in first direction.
  $surftab2     70     number of mesh tabulations in second direction.
  $surftype     70     surface type for "pedit smooth" (see appendix a).
  $surfu        70     surface density (for "pedit smooth") in m direction.
  $surfv        70     surface density (for "pedit smooth") in n direction.
  $tdcreate     40     date/time of drawing creation.
  $tdindwg      40     cumulative editing time for this drawing.
  $tdupdate     40     date/time of last drawing update.
  $tdusrtimer   40     user elapsed timer.
  $textsize     40     default text height.
  $textstyle     7     current text style name.
  $thickness    40     current thickness set by elev command.
  $tracewid     40     default trace width.
  $ucsname       1     name of current ucs.
  $ucsorg    10,20,30  origin of current ucs (in wcs).
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                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
  $ucsxdir   10,20,30  direction of current ucs's x axis
                       (in world coordinates).
  $ucsydir   10,20,30  direction of current ucs's y axis
                       (in world coordinates).
  $useri1 - 5   70     five integer variables intended for use by
                       third-party developers.
  $userr1 - 5   40     five real variables intended for use by
                       third-party developers.
  $usrtimer     70     0=timer off, 1=timer on.
  $worldview    70     1=set ucs to wcs during dview/vpoint,
                       0=don't change ucs
the header variables listed below existed prior to autocad release 10 but
now have independent settings for each active viewport.  they are not
output by dxfout unless system variable flatland is set to 1.  dxfin honors
these variables when read from dxf files, but if a vport symbol table with
"*active" entries is present (as is true for any dxf file produced by
release 10 or higher), the values in the vport table entries will override
the values of these header variables.
  $fastzoom     70     fast zoom enabled if nonzero.
  $gridmode     70     grid mode on if nonzero.
  $gridunit   10,20    grid x and y spacing.
  $snapang      50     snap grid rotation angle.
  $snapbase   10,20    snap/grid base point (in ucs).
  $snapisopair  70     isometric plane: 0=left, 1=top, 2=right.
  $snapmode     70     snap mode on if nonzero.
  $snapstyle    70     snap style: 0=standard, 1=isometric.
  $snapunit   10,20    snap grid x and y spacing.
  $viewctr    10,20    xy center of current view on screen.
  $viewdir   10,20,30  viewing direction (direction from target, in wcs).
  $viewsize     40     height of view.
the date/time variables ($tdcreate and $tdupdate) are output as real num-
bers in the format:
    <julian date>.<fraction>
the elapsed time variables ($tdindwg and $tdusrtimer) have a similar
format:
    <number of days>.<fraction>
c.1.5.2  tables section
the tables section contains several tables, each of which in turn contains
a variable number of table entries. the order of the tables may change, but
the ltype table will always precede the layer table.  each table is intro-
duced with a 0 group with the label "table".  this is followed by a 2 group
identifying the particular table (vport, ltype, layer, style, view, ucs, or
dwgmgr) and a 70 group that specifies the maximum number of table entries
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autocad reference manual
that may follow. the tables in a drawing may contain deleted items, but
these are not written to the dxf file.  thus, fewer table entries may
follow the table header than are indicated by the 70 group, so don't use
the count in the 70 group as an index to read in the table.  it is provided
so that your program to read dxf files can allocate an array in advance
large enough to hold all the table entries that follow.
following this header for each table are the table entries.  each table
item consists of a 0 group identifying the item type (same as table name,
e.g., "ltype" or "layer"), a 2 group giving the name of the table entry, a
70 group specifying flags relevant to the table entry (defined for each
table below), and additional groups that give the value of the table entry.
the end of each table is indicated by a 0 group with the value "endtab".
if any table entry has bit value 64 set in its group 70 flags, the table
entry was referenced by at least one entity in the drawing the last time
the drawing editor was entered to edit this drawing.  this "referenced"
flag is for the benefit of the purge command; it can be ignored by most
programs that read dxf files, and need not be set by programs that write
dxf files.
the following are the groups used for each type of table item.  all groups
are present for each table item.
  ltype    3 (descriptive text for linetype), 72 (alignment code), 73
           (number of dash length items), 40 (total pattern length), 49
           (dash length 1), 49 (dash length 2), . . .
  layer    62 (color number, negative if layer is off), 6 (linetype
           name).  the 1 bit is set in the 70 group flags if the layer is
           frozen.
  style    40 (fixed text height; 0 if not fixed), 41 (width factor), 50
           (obliquing angle), 71 (text generation flags), 42 (last height
           used), 3 (primary font file name), 4 ("bigfont" file name;
           blank if none).  if the third bit (4) is set in the 70 group
           flags, this is a vertically-oriented text style.
           a style table item is used to record shape file load requests
           also.  in this case the first bit (1) is set in the 70 group
           flags and only the 3 group (shape file name) is meaningful
           (all the other groups are output, however).
           the "text generation flags" are a bit-coded field with the
           following bit meanings:
                flag bit value                meaning
                       2        text is backwards (mirrored in x)
                       4        text is upside down (mirrored in y)



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                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
  view     40 and 41 (view height and width), 10 and 20 (view center
           point), 11, 21, 31 (view direction from target, in wcs), 12,
           22, 32 (target point, in wcs), 42 (lens length), 43 and 44
           (front and back clipping planes-offsets from target point), 50
           (twist angle), 71 view mode (see viewmode system variable
           appendix a).
  ucs      10, 20, 30 (origin), 11, 21, 31 (x axis direction), 12, 22, 32
           (y axis direction).  all in world coordinates.
  vport    10 and 20 (lower left corner of viewport; 0.0 to 1.0), 11 and
           21 (upper right corner), 12 and 22 (view center point), 13 and
           23 (snap base point), 14 and 24 (snap spacing, x and y), 15
           and 25 (grid spacing, x and y), 16, 26, 36 (view direction
           from target point), 17, 27, 37 (view target point), 40 (view
           height), 41 (viewport aspect ratio), 42 (lens length), 43 and
           44 (front and back clipping planes; offsets from target
           point), 50 (snap rotation angle), 51 (view twist angle), 71
           (view mode; see viewmode system variable in appendix a), 72
           (circle zoom percent), 73 (fast zoom setting), 74 (ucsicon
           setting), 75 (snap on/off), 76 (grid on/off), 77 (snap style),
           78 (snap isopair).
           the vport table is unique in that it may contain several
           entries with the same name (indicating a multiple-viewport
           configuration).  the entries corresponding to the active view-
           port configuration all have the name "*active".  the first
           such entry describes the current viewport.
  dwgmgr   for future use.  fields not yet defined.
c.1.5.3  blocks section
the blocks section of the dxf file contains all the block definitions.
this section contains the entities that make up the blocks used in the
drawing, including "anonymous" blocks generated by the hatch command and by
associative dimensioning.  the format of the entities in this section is
identical to those in the entities section described below, so refer to
that section for details.  all entities in the blocks section appear
between block and endblk entities.  block and endblk entities appear only
in the blocks section.  block definitions are never nested (that is, no
block or endblk entity ever appears within another block-endblk pair).
c.1.5.4  entities section
entity items appear in both the block and entities sections of the dxf
file.  the appearance of entities in the two sections is identical, with
the exception that entities in the block section never have handles. the
following gives the format of each entity as it appears in the file.  some
groups that define an entity always appear, and some are optional and
appear only if they differ from their default values.  in the following
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autocad reference manual
discussion, groups that always occur are given by their group number and
function, while optional groups are indicated by "-optional n" following
the group description.  "n" is the default value if the group is omitted.
programs that read dxf files should not assume that the groups describing
an entity occur in the order given here.  the end of the groups that make
up an entity is indicated by the next 0 group, beginning the next entity or
indicating the end of the section.
remember that a dxf file is a complete representation of the drawing data-
base, and that as autocad is further enhanced, new groups will be added to
entities to accommodate additional features.  writing your dxf processing
program in a table-driven way, making no assumptions about the order of
groups in an entity, and ignoring any groups not presently defined, will
make it much easier to accommodate dxf files from future releases of
autocad.
each entity begins with a 0 group identifying the entity type.  the names
used for the entities are given in the table that follows.  every entity
contains an 8 group that gives the name of the layer on which the entity
resides.  each entity may have elevation, thickness, linetype, or color
information associated with it. if handles are enabled, every entity has a
5 group containing its handle (as a string representing a hexadecimal
number). the following groups are included only if the entity has nonde-
fault values for these properties.
  group code                         meaning
       6      linetype name (if not "bylayer").  the special name "byblock"
              indicates a floating linetype.
      38      elevation (if nonzero).  output only if system variable
              flatland is 1.  otherwise, z coordinates are supplied as
              3x-groups as part of each of the entity's defining points.
      39      thickness (if nonzero).
      62      color number (if not "bylayer").  zero indicates the
              "byblock" (floating) color.
     210,     these groups are included for each line, point, circle, shape,
     220,     text, arc, trace, solid, block reference, polyline, dimension,
     230      attribute, and attribute definition entity if its extrusion
              direction is not parallel to the world z axis.  the indicate
              the x, y, and z components of the entity's extrusion direction.
the rest of the groups that make up an entity item are described below.
many of the entities include "flag" groups.  these are integer codes (6x or
7x groups) that encode various pieces of information regarding the entity,
and are specific to the particular entity type.  in the following descrip-
tions, the term "bit-coded" means that the flag contains various true/false
values coded as the sum of the bit values given.  any bits not defined in
the following section should be ignored in these fields and set to zero
when constructing a dxf file.
12
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
  line      10, 20, 30 (start point), 11, 21, 31 (end point).
  point     10, 20, 30 (point), 50 (angle of x axis for the ucs in effect
            when the point was drawn -optional 0, for use when pdmode is
            nonzero).
  circle    10, 20, 30 (center), 40 (radius).
  arc       10, 20, 30 (center), 40 (radius), 50 (start angle), 51 (end
            angle).
  trace     four points defining the corners of the trace: (10, 20, 30),
            (11, 21, 31), (12, 22, 32), and (13, 23, 33).
  solid     four points defining the corners of the solid: (10, 20, 30),
            (11, 21, 31), (12, 22, 32), and (13, 23, 33).  if only three
            points were entered (forming a triangular solid), the third
            and fourth points will be the same.
  text      10, 20, 30 (insertion point), 40 (height), 1 (text value), 50
            (rotation angle -optional 0), 41 (relative x scale factor
            -optional 1), 51 (obliquing angle -optional 0), 7 (text style
            name -optional "standard"), 71 (text generation flags
            -optional 0), 72 (justification type -optional 0), 11, 21, 31
            (alignment point -optional, appears only if 72 group is
            present and nonzero).
            the "text generation flags" are a bit-coded field with mean-
            ings as follows:
                 flag bit value                meaning
                       2         text is backwards (mirrored in x)
                       4         text is upside down (mirrored in y)
            the "justification type" value (not bit-coded) indicates the
            text justification style used on this entity, as shown in the
            following table.
              value                       meaning
                0    text is left justified
                1    text is centered along its baseline
                2    text is right justified
                3    text is aligned between two points (height varies)
                4    text is "middle" (fully) centered
                5    text is fit between two points (width varies)
            if the justification is anything other than 0 (left justi-
            fied), 11, 21, and 31 groups will also appear in the entity
            to specify the alignment point of the text (center, right-
            most, or second alignment point).
            dxfout handles ascii control characters in text strings by
            expanding the character into a "^" (caret) followed by the
                                                                         13
autocad reference manual
            appropriate letter.  for example, an ascii control-g (bel,
            decimal code 7) is output as "^g".  if the text itself con-
            tains a caret character, it is expanded to "^ " (caret,
            space).  dxfin performs the complementary conversion.
  shape     10, 20, 30 (insertion point), 40 (size), 2 (shape name), 50
            (rotation angle -optional 0), 41 (relative x scale factor
            -optional 1), 51 (obliquing angle -optional 0).
  block     2 (block name), 70 (block type flags), 10, 20, 30 (block base
            point).  appears only in blocks section.  the "block type
            flags" are bit-coded, with the following bit meanings:
              flag bit value                   meaning
                    1         this is an "anonymous" block generated by
                              hatching, associative dimensioning, or
                              other internal operations.
                    2         this block has attributes.
  endblk    no groups.  appears only in blocks section.
  insert    66 ("attributes follow" flag -optional 0), 2 (block name),
            10, 20, 30 (insertion point), 41 (x scale factor -optional
            1), 42 (y scale factor -optional 1), 43 (z scale factor
            -optional 1), 50 (rotation angle -optional 0), 70 and 71
            (column and row counts -optional 1), 44 and 45 (column and
            row spacing -optional 0).
            if the value of the "attributes follow" flag is 1, a series
            of attribute (attrib) entities is expected to follow the
            insert, terminated by a sequence end (seqend) entity.
  attdef    10, 20, 30 (text start), 40 (text height), 1 (default value,
            see text above for handling of ascii control characters), 3
            (prompt string), 2 (tag string), 70 (attribute flags), 73
            (field length -optional 0), 50 (text rotation -optional 0),
            41 (relative x scale factor -optional 1), 51 (obliquing angle
            -optional 0), 7 (text style name -optional "standard"), 71
            (text generation flags -optional 0, see text above), 72 (text
            justification type -optional 0, see text above)), 11, 21, 31
            (alignment point -optional, appears only if 72 group is
            present and nonzero).
            the "attribute flags" are a bit-coded field in which the bits
            have the following meanings:
              flag bit value                   meaning
                    1         attribute is invisible (does not display)
                    2         this is a constant attribute
                    4         verification is required on input of this
                              attribute.
                    8         attribute is preset (no prompt during
                              insertion)
14
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
  attrib    10, 20, 30 (text start), 40 (text height), 1 (value, see text
            above for handling of ascii control characters), 2 (attribute
            tag), 70 (attribute flags; see attdef above), 73 (field
            length -optional 0), 50 (text rotation -optional 0), 41 (rel-
            ative x scale factor -optional 1), 51 (obliquing angle
            -optional 0), 7 (text style name -optional "standard"), 71
            (text generation flags -optional 0, see text above), 72 (text
            justification type -optional 0, see text above), 11, 21, 31
            (alignment point -optional, appears only if 72 group is
            present and nonzero).
  polyline  66 ("vertices follow flag"), 70 (polyline flags), 40 (default
            starting width), 41 (default ending width), 71 and 72 (poly-
            gon mesh m and n vertex counts -optional 0), 73 and 74
            (smooth surface m and n densities -optional 0), 75 (smooth
            surface type -optional 0).  the default widths apply to any
            vertex that doesn't supply widths (see below).
            the "vertices follow" flag is always 1, indicating that a
            series of vertex entities is expected to follow the polyline,
            terminated by a sequence end (seqend) entity.  the "polyline
            flags" group is a bit-coded field with bits defined as fol-
            lows:
             flag bit value                    meaning
                    1        this is a closed polyline (or a polygon
                             mesh closed in the m direction)
                    2        curve-fit vertices have been added
                    4        spline-fit vertices have been added
                    8        this is a 3d polyline
                   16        this is a 3d polygon mesh.  group 75 indi-
                             cates the smooth surface type, as follows:
                               0 = no smooth surface fitted
                               5 = quadratic b-spline surface
                               6 = cubic b-spline surface
                               8 = bezier surface
                   32        the polygon mesh is closed in the n direc-
                             tion
  vertex    10, 20, 30 (location), 40 (starting width -optional, see
            above), 41 (ending width -optional, see above), 42 (bulge),
            70 (vertex flags), 50 (curve fit tangent direction
            -optional).  the bulge is the tangent of 1/4 the included
            angle for an arc segment, made negative if the arc goes
            clockwise from the start point to the end point; a bulge of 0
            indicates a straight segment, and a bulge of 1 is a semicir-
            cle.  the meanings of the bit-coded "vertex flags" are shown
            in the following table.


                                                                         15
autocad reference manual
             flag bit value                    meaning
                   1         extra vertex created by curve fitting
                   2         curve fit tangent defined for this vertex.
                             a curve fit tangent direction of 0 may be
                             omitted from the dxf output, but is signif-
                             icant if this bit is set.
                   4         unused (never set in dxf files)
                   8         spline vertex created by spline fitting
                   16        spline frame control point
                   32        3d polyline vertex
                   64        3d polygon mesh vertex
  seqend    no fields.  this entity marks the end of vertices (vertex
            type name) for a polyline, or the end of attribute entities
            (attrib type name) for an insert entity that has attributes
            (indicated by 66 group present and nonzero in insert entity).
  3dline    10, 20, 30 (start point), 11, 21, 31 (end point).
  3dface    four points defining the corners of the face: (10, 20, 30),
            (11, 21, 31), (12, 22, 32), and (13, 23, 33).  70 (invisible
            edge flags -optional 0).  if only three points were entered
            (forming a triangular face), the third and fourth points will
            be the same.  the meanings of the bit-coded "invisible edge
            flags" are shown in the following table.
                      flag bit value           meaning
                             1        first edge is invisible
                             2        second edge is invisible
                             4        third edge is invisible
                             8        fourth edge is invisible
  dimension 2 (name of pseudo-block containing the current dimension pic-
            ture), 10, 20, 30 (definition point for all dimension types),
            11, 21, 31 (middle point of dimension text), 12, 22, 32
            (insertion point for clones of a dimension (for baseline and
            continue), 70 (dimension type; 0=rotated, horizontal, or ver-
            tical; 1=aligned; 2=angular; 3=diameter; 4=radius - the value
            128 is added to this field if the dimension text has been
            positioned at a user-defined location rather than at the
            default location), 1 (dimension text explicitly entered by
            the user.  if null, the dimension measurement is drawn as the
            text.  otherwise, this text is drawn (but if it includes the
            sequence "<>", the dimension measurement is drawn in place of
            the "<>")), 13, 23, 33 (definition point for linear and angu-
            lar dimensions), 14, 24, 34 (definition point for linear and
            angular dimensions), 15, 25, 35 (definition point for diame-
            ter, radius, and angular dimensions), 16, 26, 36 (point
            defining dimension arc for angular dimensions), 40 (leader
            length for radius and diameter dimensions), 50 (angle of
            rotated, horizontal, or vertical linear dimensions).

16
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
            in addition, all dimension types have an optional group (code
            51) that indicates the "horizontal" direction for the dimen-
            sion entity.  this determines the orientation of dimension
            text and dimension lines for horizontal, vertical and rotated
            linear dimensions.  the group value is the negative of the
            ecs angle of the ucs x axis in effect when the dimension was
            drawn.  in other words, the x axis of the ucs in effect when
            the dimension was drawn is always parallel to the xy plane
            for the dimension's ecs, and the angle between the ucs x axis
            and the ecs x axis is a single 2d angle.  the value in group
            51 is the angle from "horizontal" (the effective x axis) to
            the ecs x axis.  entity coordinate systems (ecs) are
            described later in this section.
            for all dimension types, the following groups represent 3d
            wcs points, regardless of the flatland setting.
                10, 20, 30
                13, 23, 33
                14, 24, 34
                15, 25, 35
            for all dimension types, the following groups represent ecs
            points, and are 2d or 3d depending on the flatland setting.
                11, 21(, 31)
                12, 22(, 32)
                16, 26(, 36)
  linear    (13,23,33)   the point used to specify the first extension line.
            (14,24,34)   the point used to specify the second extension line.
            (10,20,30)   the point used to specify the dimension line.
  angular   (13,23,33) and (14,24,34)  the endpoints of the first line
            (10,20,30) and (15,25,35)  the endpoints of the second line
            (16,26,36)                 the point used to specify the dimen-
                                       sion line arc
  diameter  (15,25,35)   the point used to pick the circle/arc to dimension
            (10,20,30)   the point on that circle directly across from the
                         pick point.
  radius    (15,25,35)   the point used to pick the circle/arc to dimension
            (10,20,30)   the center of that circle.








                                                                         17
autocad reference manual
entity coordinate systems (ecs)
to save space in the drawing database (and in the dxf file), the points
associated with each entity are expressed in terms of its own entity coor-
dinate system (ecs).  the entity coordinate system allows autocad to use a
much more compact means of representation for entities.  with ecs, the only
additional information needed to describe its position in 3d space is the
3d vector describing the z axis of the ecs, and the elevation value.
for a given z axis (or extrusion) direction, there is an infinite number of
coordinate systems, defined by translating the origin in 3d space and by
rotating the x and y axes around the z axis.  however, for the same z axis
direction, there is only one entity coordinate system.  it has the follow-
ing properties:
  o  its origin coincides with the wcs origin.
  o  the orientation of the x and y axes within the xy plane are calcu-
     lated in an arbitrary, but consistent manner.  autocad performs
     this calculation using the "arbitrary axis" algorithm described
     below.
for some entities, the ecs is equivalent to the world coordinate system and
all points (dxf groups 10-37) are expressed in world coordinates.  see the
following table.
                  entities                        notes
        line, point, 3dface, 3d       these entities do not lie in
        polyline, 3d vertex, 3d       a particular plane.  all
        mesh, 3d mesh vertex          points are expressed in
                                      world coordinates.  of these
                                      entities, only lines and
                                      points can be extruded;
                                      their extrusion direction can
                                      differ from the world z axis.
        circle, arc, solid, trace,    these entities are planar in
        text, attrib, attdef, shape,  nature.  all points are
        insert, 2d polyline, 2d       expressed in entity coordi-
        vertex                        nates.  all these entities
                                      can be extruded; their
                                      extrusion direction can
                                      differ from the world z axis.
        dimension                     some of a dimension's points are
                                      expressed in wcs, and some in ecs.
        others                        the remaining entities have
                                      no point data and their
                                      coordinate systems are
                                      therefore irrelevant.
once autocad has established the ecs for a given entity, here's how it
works:
18
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
  o  the elevation value stored with an entity indicates how far along
     the z axis to shift the xy plane from the wcs origin to make it
     coincide with the plane that the entity is in.  how much of this
     is the user-defined elevation is unimportant.
  o  any 2d points describing the entity that were entered through the
     ucs are transformed into the corresponding 2d points in the ecs,
     which (more often than not) is shifted and rotated with respect to
     the ucs.
a few ramifications of this process are:
  o  you can not reliably find out what ucs was in effect when an
     entity was acquired.  you can only find out where the entity is in
     the current ucs if the current ucs has the same z axis direction
     as the original ucs (i.e., they both reduce to the same ecs).
  o  when you enter the xy coordinates of an entity in a given ucs and
     then do a dxfout, you probably won't recognize those xy coordi-
     nates in the dxf file.  you'll have to know the method by which
     autocad calculates the x and y axes in order to work with these
     values.
  o  the elevation value stored with an entity and output in dxf files
     will be a sum of the z coordinate difference between the ucs xy
     plane and the ecs xy plane, and the elevation value that the user
     specified at the time the entity was drawn.
arbitrary axis algorithm
the arbitrary axis algorithm is used by autocad internally to implement the
"arbitrary but consistent" generation of entity coordinate systems for all
entities except lines, points, 3d faces, and 3d polylines, which contain
points in world coordinates.
given a unit-length vector to be used as the z axis of a coordinate system,
the arbitrary axis algorithm generates a corresponding x axis for the coor-
dinate system.  the y axis follows by application of the right hand rule.
the method is to examine the given z axis (also called the normal vector)
and see if it is close to the positive or negative world z axis.  if it is,
cross the world y axis with the given z axis to arrive at the arbitrary x
axis.  if not, cross the world z axis with the given z axis to arrive at
the arbitrary x axis.  the boundary at which the decision is made was
chosen to be both inexpensive to calculate and completely portable across
machines.  this is achieved by having a sort of "square" polar cap, the
bounds of which is 1/64, which is precisely specifiable in 6 decimal frac-
tion digits and in 6 binary fraction bits.
in mathematical terms, the algorithm does the following (all "vectors" are
assumed to be in 3d space, specified in the world coordinate system).
    let the given normal vector be called n.
    let the world y axis be called wy, which is always (0,1,0).
    let the world z axis be called wz, which is always (0,0,1).
                                                                         19
autocad reference manual
we are looking for the arbitrary x and y axes to go with the normal n.
they'll be called ax and ay.  n could also be called az (the arbitrary z
axis).
    if (nx < 1/64) and (ny < 1/64) then
       ax = wy * n      (where "*" is the cross-product operator).
    otherwise,
       ax = wz * n.
    scale ax to unit length.
the method of getting the ay vector would be:
    ay = n * ax.
    scale ay to unit length.
c.1.6  writing dxf interface programs
writing a program that communicates with autocad via the dxf mechanism
often appears far more difficult than it really is.  the dxf file contains
a seemingly overwhelming amount of information, and examining a dxf file
manually may lead to the conclusion that the task is hopeless.
however, the dxf file has been designed to be easy to process by program,
not manually.  the format was constructed with the deliberate intention of
making it easy to ignore information you don't care about while easily
reading the information you need.  just remember to handle the groups in
any order and ignore any group you don't care about, and you'll be home
free.
as an example, the following is a microsoft basic program that reads a dxf
file and extracts all the line entities from the drawing (ignoring lines
that appear inside blocks).  it prints the endpoints of these lines on the
screen.  as an exercise you might try entering this program into your com-
puter, running it on a dxf file from one of your drawings, then enhancing
it to print the center point and radius of any circles it encounters.  this
program is not put forward as an example of clean programming technique nor
the way a general dxf processor should be written; it is presented as an
example of just how simple a dxf-reading program can be.
    1000 rem
    1010 rem extract lines from dxf file
    1020 rem
    1030 g1% = 0
    1040 line input "dxf file name: "; a$
    1050 open "i", 1, a$ + ".dxf"
    1060 rem
    1070 rem ignore until section start encountered
    1080 rem
    1090 gosub 2000
    1100 if g% <> 0 then 1090
    1110 if s$ <> "section" then 1090
20
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
    1120 gosub 2000
    1130 rem
    1140 rem skip unless entities section
    1150 rem
    1160 if s$ <> "entities" then 1090
    1170 rem
    1180 rem scan until end of section, processing lines
    1190 rem
    1200 gosub 2000
    1210 if g% = 0 and s$ = "endsec" then 2200
    1220 if g% = 0 and s$ = "line" then gosub 1400 : goto 1210
    1230 goto 1200
    1400 rem
    1410 rem accumulate line entity groups
    1420 rem
    1430 gosub 2000
    1440 if g% = 10 then x1 = x : y1 = y : z1 = z
    1450 if g% = 11 then x2 = x : y2 = y : z2 = z
    1460 if g% = 0 then print "line from (";x1;",";y1;",";z1;") to (";x2;
                              ",";y2;",";z2;")
    1470 goto 1430
    2000 rem
    2010 rem read group code and following value
    2020 rem for x coordinates, read y and possibly z also
    2030 rem
    2040 if g1% < 0 then g% = -g1% : g1% = 0 else input #1, g%
    2050 if g% <   10 or  g% =  999 then line input #1, s$ : return
    2060 if g% >=  38 and g% <=  49 then input #1, v : return
    2080 if g% >=  50 and g% <=  59 then input #1, a : return
    2090 if g% >=  60 and g% <=  69 then input #1, p% : return
    2100 if g% >=  70 and g% <=  79 then input #1, f% : return
    2110 if g% >= 210 and g% <= 219 then 2130
    2120 if g% >=  20 then print "invalid group code";g% : stop
    2130 input #1, x
    2140 input #1, g1%
    2150 if g1% <> (g%+10) then print "invalid y coord code";g1% : stop
    2160 input #1, y
    2170 input #1, g1%
    2180 if g1% <> (g%+20) then g1% = -g1% else input #1, z
    2190 return
    2200 close 1
writing a program that constructs a dxf file is more difficult, because you
must maintain consistency within the drawing in order for autocad to find
it acceptable.  autocad allows you to omit many items in a dxf file and
still obtain a usable drawing.  the entire header section can be omitted if
you don't need to set any header variables.  any of the tables in the
tables section can be omitted if you don't need to make any entries, and in
fact the entire tables section can be dropped if nothing in it is required.
if you define any linetypes in the ltype table, this table must appear
before the layer table.  if no block definitions are used in the drawing,
the blocks section can be omitted.  if present, however, it must appear
before the entities section.  within the entities section, you can refer-
ence layer names even though you haven't defined them in the layer table.
                                                                         21
autocad reference manual
such layers will be automatically created with color 7 and the continuous
linetype.  the eof item must be present at the end of file.
the following microsoft basic program constructs a dxf file representing a
polygon with a specified number of sides, leftmost origin point, and side
length.  this program supplies only the entities section of the dxf file,
and places all entities generated on the default layer "0".  this may be
taken as an example of a minimum dxf generation program.  since this pro-
gram doesn't create the drawing header, the drawing limits, extents, and
current view will be invalid after performing a dxfin on the drawing gener-
ated by this program.  you can do a "zoom e" to fill the screen with the
drawing generated.  then adjust the limits manually.
    1000 rem
    1010 rem polygon generator
    1020 rem
    1030 line input "drawing (dxf) file name: "; a$
    1040 open "o", 1, a$ + ".dxf"
    1050 print #1, 0
    1060 print #1, "section"
    1070 print #1, 2
    1080 print #1, "entities"
    1090 pi = atn(1) * 4
    1100 input "number of sides for polygon: "; s%
    1110 input "starting point (x,y): "; x, y
    1120 input "polygon side: "; d
    1130 a1 = (2 * pi) / s%
    1140 a = pi / 2
    1150 for i% = 1 to s%
    1160 print #1, 0
    1170 print #1, "line"
    1180 print #1, 8
    1190 print #1, "0"
    1200 print #1, 10
    1210 print #1, x
    1220 print #1, 20
    1230 print #1, y
    1240 print #1, 30
    1250 print #1, 0.0
    1260 nx = d * cos(a) + x
    1270 ny = d * sin(a) + y
    1280 print #1, 11
    1290 print #1, nx
    1300 print #1, 21
    1310 print #1, ny
    1320 print #1, 31
    1330 print #1, 0.0
    1340 x = nx
    1350 y = ny
    1360 a = a + a1
    1370 next i%
    1380 print #1, 0
    1390 print #1, "endsec"
22
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
    1400 print #1, 0
    1410 print #1, "eof"
    1420 close 1
the dxfin command is relatively forgiving with respect to the format of
data items.  as long as a properly formatted item appears on the line on
which the data is expected, dxfin will accept it (of course, string items
should not have leading spaces unless these are intended to be part of the
string).  the above program takes advantage of this flexibility in input
format, and does not go to great effort to generate a file appearing
exactly like one generated by autocad.
in the case of error loading a dxf file using dxfin, autocad reports the
error with a message indicating the nature of the error detected and the
last line processed in the dxf file before the error was detected.  this
may not be the line on which the error occurred, especially in the case of
such errors as omission of required groups.

c.2  binary drawing interchange files
the ascii dxf file format described in the preceding sections of this
appendix is a complete representation of an autocad drawing in an ascii
text form easily processed by other programs.  in addition, autocad can
produce or read a binary form of the full dxf file, and accepts limited
input in another binary file format.  these binary files are described in
the following sections.
c.2.1  binary dxf files
the dxfout command provides a "binary" option that writes binary dxf files.
such a file contains all of the information present in an ascii dxf file,
but in a much more compact form that takes, typically, 25% less file space
and can be read and written more quickly (typically 5 times faster) by
autocad.  unlike ascii dxf files, which entail a trade-off between size and
floating-point accuracy, binary dxf files preserve all of the accuracy in
the drawing database.  autocad release 10 is the first version to support
this form of dxf file; it cannot be read by older versions.
a binary dxf file begins with a 22-byte sentinel consisting of:
    "autocad binary dxf<cr><lf><sub><nul>"
following the sentinel are (group,value) pairs as in an ascii dxf file, but
represented in binary form.  the group code is a single-byte binary value,
and the value that follows is one of the following:
  o  a two-byte integer with the least significant byte first and the
     most significant byte last,

                                                                         23
autocad reference manual
  o  an eight-byte ieee double precision floating-point number stored
     with the least significant byte first and the most significant
     byte last, or
  o  an ascii string terminated by a zero (nul) byte.
the type of the datum following a group is determined from the group code
according to the same rules used in decoding ascii dxf files.  translation
of angles to degrees, and dates to fractional julian date representation,
is performed for binary files as well as for ascii dxf files.  the comment
group, 999, is not used in binary dxf files.
dxfout writes binary dxf files with the same file type (".dxf") as for
ascii dxf files.  the dxfin command automatically recognizes a binary file
(by means of its sentinel string) and loads it.  there is no need for you
to identify it as a binary file.
if dxfin encounters an error in a binary dxf file, it reports the byte
address within the file where the error was detected.
c.3  binary drawing interchange (dxb) files
the dxf file formats described earlier in this appendix are complete repre-
sentations of an autocad drawing that can be written and read by autocad
and other programs.  however, autoshade(tm) and programs executed via the
"external commands" facility (appendix b) often have a need to supply
simple geometric input to autocad.  for these purposes, another file format
even more compact than the binary dxf format is supported.  this format,
called dxb (for "drawing interchange binary") is limited in the entities it
can represent.  furthermore, autocad has a command to read such files, but
no direct method of writing them.  (the adi plotter driver can plot to a
file in dxb format.)
c.3.1  dxbin command
to load a dxb file produced by a program such as autoshade, enter the dxbin
command:
    command:  dxbin
    dxb file:
enter the name of the file you wish to load.  don't include a file type;
".dxb" is assumed.







24
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
c.3.2  dxb file format
this information is for experienced programmers, and is subject to change
without notice.
the format of a dxb file is as follows:
    header:      "autocad dxb 1.0" cr lf ^z nul       (19 bytes)
    data:      . . . zero or more data records . . .
    terminator:  nul                                  (1 byte)
each data record begins with a single byte giving its type, followed by
data items.  the data items have various forms of representation and encod-
ing.  in the descriptions below, each data item is prefixed with a letter
and a hyphen.  the meaning of the letter codes is as follows:
  w-  16-bit integer, byte reversed in the standard 8086 style (least
      significant byte first, most significant byte second).
  f-  ieee 64-bit floating-point value stored with lsb first, msb last
      (as stored by an 8087).
  l-  32-bit integer with the bytes reversed 8086-style.
  n-  number which may be either a 16-bit integer or a floating-point
      number depending on the most recent setting of the "number mode"
      data item.  the number mode defaults to 0, signifying integers.  if
      set to 1, all n- items will be read as floating-point.
  u-  item which is either a 32-bit integer or a floating-point number
      depending on the most recent number mode setting.  if a 32-bit
      integer, the value is scaled by multiplying it by 65536 (2^16).  if
      a floating-point value, no scaling is applied.
  a-  item representing an angle.  if number mode is integer, this is a
      32-bit integer representing an angle in units of millionths of a
      degree (range 0 to 360,000,000).  if a floating-point number, rep-
      resents degrees.
in the following table, the lengths include the item-type byte and assume
the number mode is set to zero (integer mode).  if number mode is floating-
point, add 6 bytes to the length for each n- item present and 4 bytes for
each a-, or u- item present.
        item type        code           data items           length
                       (decimal)                             (bytes)
     line                  1      n-fromx n-fromy               9
                                  n-tox n-toy
     point                 2      n-x n-y                       5
     circle                3      n-ctrx n-ctry n-rad           7
     arc                   8      n-ctrx n-ctry n-rad          19
                                  a-starta a-enda
                                                      continued ...
                                                                         25
autocad reference manual
        item type        code           data items           length
                       (decimal)                             (bytes)
     trace                 9      n-x1 n-y1 n-x2 n-y2          17
                                  n-x3 n-y3 n-x4 n-y4
     solid                11      n-x1 n-y1 n-x2 n-y2          17
                                  n-x3 n-y3 n-x4 n-y4
     seqend               17      (none)                        1
     polyline             19      w-closureflag                 3
     vertex               20      n-x n-y                       5
     3dline               21      n-fromx n-fromy n-fromz      13
                                  n-tox n-toy n-toz
     3dface               22      n-x1 n-y1 n-z1               25
                                  n-x2 n-y2 n-x2
                                  n-x3 n-y3 n-z3
                                  n-x4 n-y4 n-z4
     scale factor         128     f-scalefac                    9
     new layer            129     "layername" nul          "layername"
                                                           length + 2
     line extension       130     n-tox n-toy                   5
     trace extension      131     n-x3 n-y3 n-x4 n-y4           9
     block base           132     n-bx n-by                     5
     bulge                133     u-2h/d                        5
     width                134     n-startw n-endw               5
     number mode          135     w-mode                        3
     new color            136     w-colornum                    3
     3dline extension     137     n-tox n-toy n-toz             7
the line extension item extends the last line or line extension from its
"to" point to a new "to point".  the trace extension item similarly extends
the last trace solid, or trace extension from its x3,y3-x4,y4 ending line
to a new x3,y3-x4,y4 line.
the scale factor is a floating-point value by which all integer coordinates
are multiplied to obtain the floating-point coordinates used by the actual
entities.  the initial scale factor when a file is read is 1.0.  the new
layer item will create a layer if none exists, giving it the same defaults
as the "layer new" command, and will set that layer as the current layer
for subsequent entities.  at the end of the dxb file load, the layer in
effect before the command will be restored.
the block base item specifies the base (origin) point of a block being cre-
ated.  the block base must be defined before the first entity record is
encountered.  if dxb is not defining a block, this specification will be
ignored.
a polyline consists of straight segments of fixed width connecting the ver-
tices, except as overridden by the bulge and width items described below.
the closure flag should be 0 or 1; if it is 1, then there is an implicit
segment from the last vertex (immediately before the seqend) to the first
vertex.
a bulge item, encountered between two vertex items (or after the last
vertex of a closed polyline), indicates that the two vertices are connected
26
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
by an arc rather than a straight segment.  if the line segment connecting
the vertices would have length d, and the perpendicular distance from the
midpoint of that segment to the arc is h, then the magnitude of the bulge
is (2 * h / d).  the sign is negative if the arc from the first vertex to
the second is clockwise.  a semicircle thus has a bulge of 1 (or -1).  if
the number mode is 0 (integer), bulge items are scaled by 216.  if the
number mode has been set to floating-point, then the floating-point value
supplied is just 2*h/d (not scaled).
the width item indicates the starting and ending widths of the segment
(straight or curved) connecting two vertices.  this width stays in effect
until the next width item or the seqend.  if there is a width item between
the polyline item and the first vertex, it is stored as a default width for
the polyline; this will save considerable database space if the polyline
has several segments of this width.
the number mode item controls the mode of items with types given in the
table above as n-, a-, or u-.  if the value supplied is zero, these values
will be integers, otherwise floating-point.  the storage and implicit scal-
ing conventions for these values in both modes are described above.
lines and 3dlines share the same cells to remember the last to-point, so
you shouldn't mix extension groups for the two entities without an initial
group before the extension.  there is no "extension" group for 3dfaces, as
there's no obvious edge to extend from.
the "new color" group specifies the color for subsequent entities in the
dxb file.  the "w-colornum" word argument is in the range from 0 to 256.  0
means color by block, 1-255 are the standard autocad colors, and 256 means
color by layer.  a color outside the range from 0 to 256 sets the color
back to the current entity color (you can do this deliberately, and it can
be quite handy).  the initial entity color of material added by dxbin is
the current entity color.
all points specified in the dxb file are interpreted in terms of the cur-
rent ucs at the time the dxbin command is executed.
c.3.3  writing dxb files
there is no direct autocad command to write a dxb file, but the special
"adi" plotter driver can write such a file.  if you want to create a dxb
file from an autocad drawing, configure the "adi" plotter and select its
dxb file output option.








                                                                         27
autocad reference manual
c.4  initial graphics exchange standard (iges) files
using the commands described in this section, you can instruct autocad to
read and write iges format interchange files.
note:  the format of iges files and the mapping performed to translate
between autocad drawing information and iges are described in the separate
autocad / iges interface specifications document (one of the items supplied
when you return your autocad license registration card).
c.4.1  igesout command
you can generate an initial graphics exchange standard (iges) interchange
file from an existing autocad drawing by means of the drawing editor's
igesout command.  the command format is:
    command:  igesout   file name:  (name or return)
the default name for the output file is the same as that of the current
drawing, but with a file type of ".igs".  if you specify an explicit file
name without including a file type, ".igs" is assumed. if a file with the
same name already exists, it is deleted.
c.4.2  igesin command
an iges interchange file can be converted into an autocad drawing by means
of the igesin command.  first enter the drawing editor using the "create
new drawing" task from the main menu.  then issue the igesin command.
    command:  igesin   file name:  (name)
enter the name of the iges file to be loaded.
if a serious error is encountered, the input process is halted and an error
message is displayed reporting where the error was found.  the partial
drawing is not discarded.














28
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
c.5  slide file format
autocad slide files are screen images written by the mslide command and
read by the vslide command.  this section describes the format of slide
files, for the benefit of developers who wish to incorporate support for
autocad slides into their programs.
this information is for experienced programmers, and is subject to change
without notice.
the general format of a slide file is:
   1.  header (31 bytes)
   2.  one or more data records (variable length)
all coordinates and sizes written to the slide file reflect the graphics
area of the display device from which the slide was created, with point
(0,0) located at the lower left corner of the graphics area.  for autocad
release 9 and later, the slide file header consists of the following
fields:
      field       bytes                     description
 id string          17   "autocad slide" cr lf ^z nul
 type indicator     1    currently set to 86 (decimal).
 level indicator    1    currently set to 2.
 high x dot         2    width of the graphics area - 1, in pixels.
 high y dot         2    height of the graphics area - 1, in pixels.
 aspect ratio       4    aspect ratio (horizontal size / vertical size in
                         inches) of the graphics area, scaled by
                         10,000,000.  this value is always written with
                         the least significant byte first.
 hardware fill      2    either 0 or 2 (value is unimportant).
 test number        2    a number (1234 hex) used to determine whether
                         all 2-byte values in this slide file were writ-
                         ten with the high byte first (as by intel
                         8086-family cpus) or the low byte first (as by
                         motorola 68000-family cpus).
data records follow the header.  each data record begins with a 2-byte
field whose high-order byte is the record type.  the remainder of the
record may be composed of 1-byte or 2-byte fields, as described in the fol-
lowing table.  to determine whether the 2-byte fields are written with the
high byte first or the low byte first, examine the test number field of the
header, described above.

                                                                         29
autocad reference manual
     record    length      meaning                description
   type (hex)  (bytes)
    00 - 7f       8        vector      the from-x coordinate for an
                                       ordinary vector.  from-y, to-x,
                                       and to-y follow in that order, as
                                       2-byte values.  the from point is
                                       saved as the last point.
    80 - fa       -       undefined    reserved for future use.
       fb         5     offset vector  the low-order byte and the fol-
                                       lowing three bytes specify the
                                       endpoints (from-x, from-y, to-x,
                                       to-y) of a vector, in terms of
                                       offsets (-128 to +127) from the
                                       saved last point.  the adjusted
                                       from point is saved as the last
                                       point for use by subsequent vec-
                                       tors.
       fc         2      end of file   the low-order byte is 00.
       fd         6      solid fill    the low-order byte is always
                                       zero.  the following two 2-byte
                                       values specify the x and y coor-
                                       dinates of one vertex of a poly-
                                       gon to be solid-filled.  3 to 10
                                       such records occur in sequence.
                                       a solid fill record with a nega-
                                       tive y coordinate indicates the
                                       start or end of such a flood
                                       sequence.  in the start record,
                                       the x coordinate indicates the
                                       number of vertex records to
                                       follow.
       fe         3        common      this is a vector starting at the
                          endpoint     last point.  the low-order byte
                           vector      and the following byte specify
                                       to-x and to-y in terms of offsets
                                       (-128 to +127) from the saved
                                       last point.  the adjusted to
                                       point is saved as the last point
                                       for use by subsequent vectors.
       ff         2       new color    subsequent vectors are to be
                                       drawn using the color number
                                       indicated by the low-order byte.
if a slide contains any vectors at all, a new color record will be the
first data record.  the order of the vectors in a slide, and the order of
the endpoints of those vectors, may vary.
for example, the following is an annotated hex dump of a simple slide file
created on an ibm pc/at with an ibm enhanced graphics adapter.  the slide
consists of a white diagonal line from the lower left corner to the upper
right corner of the graphics area, a green vertical line near the lower
left corner, and a small red rectangle at the lower left corner.
30
                                   (c) drawing interchange and file formats
  41 75 74 6f 43 41        id string ("autocad slide" cr lf ^z nul)
  44 20 53 6c 69 64
  65 0d 0a 1a 00
  56                       type indicator (86)
  02                       level indicator (2)
  3c 02                    high x dot (572)
  24 01                    high y dot (292)
  0b 80 df 00              aspect ratio (14,647,307 / 10,000,000 = 1.46)
  02 00                    hardware fill (2)
  34 12                    test number (1234 hex)
  07 ff                    new color (7 = white)
  3c 02 24 01 00 00 00 00  vector from 572,292 to 0,0.  572,292 becomes
                           "last" point
  03 ff                    new color (3 = green)
  0f 00 32 00 0f 00 13 00  vector from 15,50 to 15,19.  15,50 becomes
                           "last" point
  01 ff                    new color (1 = red)
  12 fb e7 12 ce           offset vector from 15+18,50-25 (33,25) to
                           15+18,50-50 (33,0).  33,25 becomes "last" point
  df fe 00                 common-endpoint vector from 33,25 to
                           33-33,25+0 (0,25).  0,25 becomes "last" point
  00 fe e7                 common-endpoint vector from (0,25) to
                           0+0,25-25 (0,0).  0,0 becomes "last" point
  21 fe 00                 common-endpoint vector from (0,0) to
                           0+33,0+0 (33,0).  33,0 becomes "last" point
  00 fc                    end of file
old slide header
the slide format described above is that produced by autocad release 9 and
later, and is portable among all computers running autocad release 9 or
later.  previous versions of autocad (as well as autoshade 1.0 and
autosketch 1.02) produce slides with a somewhat different header, as shown
below.
      field       bytes                     description
 id string          17   "autocad slide" cr lf ^z nul
 type indicator     1    86 (decimal).
 level indicator    1    1 (old format).
 high x dot         2    width of the graphics area - 1, in pixels.
 high y dot         2    height of the graphics area - 1, in pixels.
 aspect ratio       8    aspect ratio (horizontal size / vertical size in
                         inches) of the graphics area, written as a
                         floating-point number.
 hardware fill      2    either 0 or 2 (value is unimportant).
 filler byte        1    unused
note that the old-format header does not contain a test number field.  the
floating-point aspect ratio value and all two-byte integers are written in
the native format of the cpu used to create the file (for 8086-family cpus,
ieee double-precision and low byte first).  old-format slide files are not
portable across machine types, but they can be read by any version of autocad
running on the same cpu type as the cpu with which the slide was created.
                                                                         31
autocad reference manual
c.6  slide library file format
this section describes the format of autocad slide libraries (release 9 and
later), for the benefit of developers who wish to incorporate support for
slide libraries into their programs.
this information is for experienced programmers, and is subject to change
without notice.
the general format of a slide library is:
  1.  header (32 bytes)
      "autocad slide library 1.0" cr lf ^z nul nul nul nul
  2.  one or more slide directory entries (36 bytes each)
  3.  one or more slides (variable length)
slide directory entries have the following format:
  1.  slide name (nul terminated) (32 bytes)
  2.  address of slide within library file (4 bytes)
the slide address is always written with the low byte first.  each slide to
which the directory points is a complete slide file as described in the
previous section.  the end of the slide directory is signified by an entry
with a null slide name (first byte is nul).  a slide library may contain a
mixture of old-format and new-format slides.

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