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Best format to import an OnShape drawing into Microsoft Word?

john_smith077john_smith077 Member Posts: 173 ✭✭
edited June 20 in Drawings

What is the best format for importing an OnShape drawing into Microsoft Word?
My drawing have both dimensions and Shaded View switched on.
I need to automatically trim off as much 'white space' as possible.

e.g. Should I use:
- a general purpose vector graphics format (like .PDF  or .SVG )
- a CAD drawing format (like .DXF or .DWG)
- Or just create a high resolution pixel/bitmap (like .JPG  or .GIF) 

I need both general management & marketing staff and also production managers to be able to see the drawings in high resolution.


It doesn't seem to be possible to import .PDF files into a Word document, but is there any reason not to use .SVG? It seems to work well, but I have never used it before... What would be industry standard practice?


  • dirk_van_der_vaartdirk_van_der_vaart Member Posts: 243 ✭✭✭
    Create a drawing without borders etc and then export that drawing as PNG, and insert the PNG in your word document.

  • S1monS1mon Member Posts: 709 PRO
    Why not have the "general management & marketing staff and also production managers" have light accounts and just directly open the drawings in Onshape? If you use MS Word, how will you make sure that they have the right revisions of drawings? It's also adding a bunch of extra work to put the drawings into Word.
  • john_smith077john_smith077 Member Posts: 173 ✭✭
    Create a drawing without borders etc and then export that drawing as PNG, and insert the PNG in your word document.

    Create a drawing without borders etc and then export that drawing as PNG, and insert the PNG in your word document.

    I'm new & not entirely sure how to create a drawing without borders. 
    In my experience you have to say what the paper size is (e.g. A4 or A2 or whatever) when you create the OnShape Drawing, no?

    I think PNG is a bitmap (or should I say "raster graphic"?) where the data is held in a 2D matrix of square pixels, because then you have to start to think about resolution and file size.

    Why not let them have OnShape accounts?
    Not for now, because I things need to be kept as absolutely simple as possible, but yes, potentially a nice idea at some future point.


  • dirk_van_der_vaartdirk_van_der_vaart Member Posts: 243 ✭✭✭
    This is from the help file the ? at right top corner.

  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 3,635 PRO
    edited June 20
    You don't need to have a drawing template, all operating systems there's days come with a screen shot tool. Just take a snapshot of the drawing.

  • nick_papageorge073nick_papageorge073 Member Posts: 178 PRO
    edited June 20
    Agree with John, I use screenshots when making ppts. However if you expect someone to be able to zoom in and still be clear, really the only choice is to keep it as a pdf and send the pdf files. That will never work in a ppt or word document.

    All that said, in my experience, mgmt and marketing types don't care at all about 2D drawings, and would rather see 3D models. I take screenshots of the 3D model for ppt presentations. I've also had really good luck sending hyperlinks to the cad. I make a version called something like "shared with mgmt" and send the hyperlink of that version only. Even managers who have never worked in CAD before have been able to figure it out, and spin it around, and zoom in/out to see what it looks like. Its been a positive experience. Recommend you "train" your coworkers the same way;)

    Edit: Also you don't need extra accounts to do this. Just make the document shareable (with link, not public), and anyone with the link can open it in their browser. I've been doing this company wide, and also with external vendors. Has been super helpful.
  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 3,635 PRO
    you can also use the web browser's snip tool.

    I use edge, I don't know if the others have something like this or not but it allows you to select and scroll in one move for items larger than your screen...

  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers, User Group Leader Posts: 1,779 PRO
    This is a basic computer question with a million different answers, here's mine.

    -I'd use a jpg as it's smaller than png. 
    -John that's the coolest screen capture I've seen, but, it's still a jpg or png depending on how you've set your capture buffer.
    -I'd never add a cloud link to a word document. I would make that assignment in a google doc. I'm not a hybrid cloud fanboy.
    -Keep image resolution reasonable, remember that a doc with "hello world" and a 1 gig image is still a 1 gig document.

    Even with a public document, you have to have an onshape account. The reason isn't to make money but to log who did what and when. I'm certain that light accounts will have to have known users. It's scary to have a server and just open it up and let all traffic through.

    Me, I'd just cut'n paste the image, my capture program (osx) is set to jpg.

    Remember the cut'n paste buffer has to be compatible as a system, for those who have setup a buffer in the vi editor it's not that easy. Windows is a fairly complete system for this operation. Google docs is more fickle but it's doing more and gives you a better cloud presence in the end.

    If I wanted updating images, I'd setup a proxy server and have onshape fire off webhooks to update assets. I think this might be the best way to create updating cloud assets without any authentication. In this case, if your proxy server gets hijacked, then it doesn't bring everyone down with it.

  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 3,635 PRO
    But the point of putting into a word doc means, it will always be low res. 8-1/2x11 paper... So teach them to click a link to the actual drawing.. Or do a screenshot for word docs. Typically the word doc is for a manual. If not then they need to re-evaluate thoes peoples employment 
  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 3,635 PRO
    I would never put a drawing into a word doc for design review.... That's just stupidity 
  • S1monS1mon Member Posts: 709 PRO
    "-I'd use a jpg as it's smaller than png. "

    JPG will be smaller than a PNG with certain types of source material (e.g. photographic images of natural things), but PNG is likely smaller for a drawing than JPG, and it is lossless. (there are newer special flavors of JPG that are lossless, but they are not as universal.)

    All that said, I would try hard to move towards something which is vector based (PDF at least) and ideally is connected to the CAD system. I also live in the real world and know that some consumers of CAD info can't deal with things that aren't in formats that they are very comfortable with. 
  • john_smith077john_smith077 Member Posts: 173 ✭✭
    I'm intrigued that no one else here seems to be using .SVG (Scalar Vector Graphics) format.

    TBH, I've never used that format before but it has the advantage of not only:
    A) Precisely controlling what the third party will see
    B) Keeping all the dimensions readable, which is particularly important on complex diagrams where the writing is necessarily small. 

    This can be important for initial meetings with 3rd parties - particularly where internet connectivity is not a given.

    PDFs have the problem of being having a pre-defined paper-size. From what I can see this make it impossible to insert into a msWord document & resize accordingly. 

    Link sharing etc would be appropriate once a relationship has been formalized.


  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers, User Group Leader Posts: 1,779 PRO
    I use svg in a html canvas tags for charting. They're actually really good and create great looking charts, you can delete half the elements in the chart and you can update a chart so you don't have to recreate the whole chart when updating. There's a lot of cool things using svg.

    @john_smith077 why isn't there an export? 

    Wait, there are DXF to SVG exports. I'll play around with them and see how they look. 

  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers, User Group Leader Posts: 1,779 PRO
    edited June 23

    PNG also has an alpha layer. This is a nice thing if you're layering your graphics. I know PNG is a newer standard but after testing, it was more expensive. I store a lot of photos of post product builds documenting problems, the good things and other things of interests. Then, I use a lot of images to bring existing stuff back into CAD that aren't in CAD. I guess I use a lot of images.

    My testing came about because I'm using mongoDB (Rusty Shed) and a collective is limited to 6 meg. For some reason I wanted to load the most images I could in 6 meg but had no idea what that number would be. I have a web page that's close to 6 meg I used for the test and it's still alive today.

    Pacific Sunsets

    Ok it's only 5.2 meg but it's a lot of stuff. It's amazing because it loads on a phone quickly also.

    I agree with you that you need to test your data and make sure it works for you. I would stay away from BMP images at all costs.
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