As a base for their design work, landscape designers commonly need to work with drawings from architects and surveyors. Each software application used by an architect or survey firm will have its own proprietary file format. You may be offered base drawings with different file extensions. The most common are AutoCAD files which have the extension dwg, Another application commonly used by survey firms called MicroStation files has the extension dgn, but it can  export dwg files. This paper describes recommended methods to get base data into gCADPlus when the incoming file format is dwg.


Almost all software applications used by architects and others can save a version of their base plan in a format called  DXF (Drawing Exchange Format). The DXF was designed to be software independent and work as a file exchange format. gCADPlus allows the insertion of DXF files into the drawing editor via File>Import DXF so that mechanism offers a way to get your base data and saving significant time on a job.

What's the best way to get a DXF file?

Although you can ask your architect or survey firm to supply a DXF version of their plan, we recommend using a free software application to convert a dwg file into a DXF file. If you do it yourself, the dwg file sent by the architect/survey firm stays untouched and you will have control over the form of the DXF file. Importing into gCADPlus will be much smoother for a number of reasons:

  • You have control over the type of DXF file - there are two different forms of DXF and your consultant may give you the wrong one.
  • Later versions of AutoCAD and MicroStation store all sorts of extra information in the dwg file. Carrying this extra information (referred to as bloat) will slow your copy of gCADPlus down. Stripping a dwg file down to the important base components only, makes for quick convenient drafting in the gCADPlus environment. 


Using Teigha File Converter

This free Windows application is used to convert a dwg file to a DXF file and comes highly recommended. Download this software tool from this link ( and install it.


Once installed, the application can be run any time you receive a base plan from a consultant in dwg form and is used to make a DXF version that gCADPlus can read.

The figure above shows that the output file type has been set at r14 ASCII DXF. We recommend you change it to 2007 ASCII DXF.

To do that, start a new gCADPlus drawing, and use File > Import DXF.

The figure below shows an example in gCADPlus's baby brother, GardenCAD.

Load DXF

MovieHere is a small movie showing how to set the File Converter up (a once only task) and use it to convert files from dwg to DXF.

DXF in and DXF out