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Inventor Text Importing

NikNYCNikNYC Member Posts: 48 ✭✭
edited May 2019 in General
In 2016 Autodesk finally added a command in their right click menu to convert text in sketches to geometry so when you save in various file formats the text comes through as sketch lines. Fine, but there's no way to automate it if you have assemblies and subassemblies galore with hundreds of text-labeled parts. You have to dig down to the individual part files and manually convert text to geometry, which is impossible to keep track of when you have hundreds of parts from a client and then you get an update a day later and have to do it all again.


Not even the derivative sister of Inventor, Fusion 360, will import an Inventor file or assembly package while including text! Only a 3D PDF of all the possible file types comes through with text labels but a 3D PDF uses meshes so that's not real CAD geometry to work with from there.

Clearly this text information is included in the native Inventor files that as of 2018 Onshape also imports either as single Inventor part files or as a ZIP compressed directory renamed to match the main assembly file contained within. But Onshape ignores the text contained in sketches.

I cannot convince my employer to switch to Onshape if we can't open Inventor files without the text labels disappearing.

Various forum posts report failure to automate this within Inventor.

All Autodesk would need to do is add an export checkbox to convert text to geometry during export. But users have been begging since around 2011 on forums and were only given a crippled (manual) command in 2018. If you ever want to laser cut hundreds of parts with labels you can't do it without hundreds of manual conversions!

A simple Inventor part file of a cylinder with sketch text on it is here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/zkqe3qfwrj5y2ru/Cylinder Plus Text V1.ipt?dl=0

I assume if it works on a single part it will also work on huge directories of part files of an assembly.

Ideally it would import into Onshape as native Onshape text that can be edited as text, in case I need to fix typos.

Another option would be to somehow export every sketch as a 3D sketch and batch import them into the CAD file opened already in Onshape.

SolidWorks opens Inventor parts or assemblies and importing my part even shows the existing sketch plane but it has no text on it.

Even Autodesk's own A360 viewer won't show the text form the Inventor part file:


What is diabolical is that DWG format can export 3D geometry without the text included yet DWG is one of the two formats Inventor allows you to export a given sketch as in which text comes right through.

I even tried Okino PolyTrans, a third party translator but it brought the cylinder in as a mesh only and had no text.


  • NeilCookeNeilCooke Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 3,426
    Hi @nik_willmore - I'm not sure there is a lot we can do to help if Autodesk can't even do it themselves? However, please feel free to create an improvement request in the category on the right -->
  • NikNYCNikNYC Member Posts: 48 ✭✭
    edited May 2019

    The information is contained in the Inventor part file which is a binary file so if the Onshape team already has access to parsing the binary then it's indeed a question of whether whatever Autodesk library they're using exposes sketch text or not? How is Onshape as a program accessing Inventor files at all? I'm genuinely curious. 

  • NeilCookeNeilCooke Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 3,426
    None of our native file translators read features, only solids and surfaces. To get sketch text we would have to reverse engineer their binary feature code and then reverse engineer the text. Since proprietary file formats like Inventor change so often it would not be a reliable conversion and we would be constantly chasing our tails.
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