Creating Blocks From Many PDF Pages

Hello, hoping to get some feedback on this workflow I am attempting. I have the need to create many blocks from many pdf pages. We have previously have done something similar in Cad, but would like to keep it in TBC. This is for the layout of tilt-up panels on building slab.

Some Info:

  • We are provided the layout framework were to place the panels.
  • We are provided a pdf book of all the panel types to be used in the building.
  • We create blocks for each panel type that allows us to verify the layout framework and allows the staking of interior knock-outs such as windows and doors.
  • We place the blocks in the framework to double check all measurements are correct.
  • Yes we could just open another window and go back and fourth with dimensions for each panel, but I find working with the images or linework in the background helps eliminate bad entries. And if the linework vectorizes within reason, you would only need to select outlines needed and create the block from there. This would be the preferred outcome.

Attempted Workflow 1- Place the pdf sheet in the plan view by scale to known distance.

  • Is there a way once you have one pdf sheet scaled you can continue match scale for subsequent sheets? From there we could just trace over the image using the exact dimensions and then turn that into block.

Attempted Workflow 2 - Import all sheets into a sheet set, select all sheets and group scale from there. At that point we could either verify that the vectorized linework was correct or trace with exact dimensions and then select and create block.

  • The issue I have here is that when imported into sheet set and linework is vectorized I lose all text from the pdf. What could be the cause of text not being converted? I am sure its something to do with the fonts used in the PDF, but I am not sure how to work around that.


I have asked myself the same question about text in PDF files - why do we get some PDFs with Text, some with Polylines and some with both text and polylines?

The only thing i can come up with that I have not yet verified either way is the possibility that if the Text is a True Type in AutoCAD then maybe it gets written to the PDF as stroked linework and if it is a stroked fint then it gets output as text or vice versa - maybe adobe pdf onlybsupports Trye Types and the stroke fonts get output as polylines (the latter seems to have merit since adobe were the originators of True Type fonts and maybe they dont really support stroke fonts which is likely why they end up as lines.

If that is the case then if all text styles in Autocad were set up as True Types then maybe we would alwyas get the text and no polylines

That however doesnt explain why sometimes tou get text and linework but I am sure that there is something in this that may help.

In terms of the workflow - provided your lines dont contain arcs (in the original cad file) then the PDF in Sheet View will be scaled versions of the CAD linework and should be scalable - if you scale the sheets up to full scale you can output the sheet data one sheet at a time to DWG and then import it into the plan view as linework.

I have not tried making a block in sheet view and then using it innplan view - that may be possible but you may get scale issues since sheet view is in sheet units (inches) and plan view is in feet but you can likely solve that once you know how the scales are being applied.

Not sure if these ramblings help at all - if they are worth discussing give me a call


If I draw a Square and make it into a Block in v5.90 in Sheet view e.g. a square 1" x 1" or a square 12" x 12" in Sheet View, then when I draw it in the plan view it creates a square 1’ or 12’ square respectively ie a 1 unit block when used in Sheet View is 1" and is 1’ in plan view.

So if your Sheet View drawings extracted from PDF Pages can be scaled so that 1 sheet unit = 1 ground unit (1" = 1’) then you can make a Block out of it and then draw it in the Plan View at True Scale. It does not seem that the Plan View Scale e.g. 50 scale has any impact on this whatsoever. I know in earlier versions of TBC a 1 unit block was scaled differently between Plan and Sheet view but this was addressed in the latest v5.90 release.

This may help you but you still have a scale issue.

Note in Sheet View - if you have many sheets to scale - you can use the Multi Sheet View that we use in Cross Sections workflow to select a lot of data on different sheets and scale it all around 0,0 by the desired amount once you know the conversion you are trying to make.


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Yes this was the workflow I was following from your video in reference to cross sections. I was able to scale many sheets at a time and then view individual sheets to create the blocks. The missing piece to this was the factor of the plan view scale becoming part of the equation, as you explain. Once I get 5.9 up and running I will try again and see if the scaling block created in sheet view will be consistent when I insert that block into plan view. Thank You!

Would love to see a post / video on this work process when you get it worked out - I am sure that there would be many others that could benefit from your research here if you are prepared to share

I love learning new processes - we can see how to improve / optimize those when we fully understand what you are trying to achieve


Definitely will share if I get a good flow sorted out. Thank you

Haha, I tried so many times when importing a pdf to get the text to show when pdf was vectorized with v5.81. With 5.9 first import into sheet set it works great now, funny thing is that now that I go back to 5.81 and import the pdf the text shows there too now. ha how does that happen. I did it several times with the same results in 5.81. Now that I have both versions on my computer the import of text now works in both versions when importing into a sheet set or just placing the vectorized pdf data in the plan. Anyway looks like maybe some of their cad improvements helped out here.