I am doing some transformation and translation of a few DWGs using FME desktop and I received this error,

AutoCAD proxy entity type 'AcDbZombieEntity' not supported.

Some preliminary research revealed that 'AcDb Zombie Entity' is another term for 'proxy entity' (link) and explains that the Export to AutoCAD command should be used to rid your data of the zombie entities (link). This helps me proceed with my task but does not help me understand the AutoCAD object data model any better.

What exactly is a proxy/zombie entity? How are proxy entities introduced into a file? The creator of the DWG does not know what a proxy entity is or how they inadvertently introduced them into the file.


As I understand it, a zombie entity is basically one that is either unknown or not properly defined. I found another report of this (I work for Safe Software) and the developer told us:

"this seems to be a misunderstanding of proxy and zombie entities. Basically, zombie entities are a category of entity which is not fully defined, or not fully understood.. just like proxies are.

What this means is that a request for proxy or zombie entity support is a request to 'support all incomplete and unknown entities'. This category includes all custom defined entities which we would not have the definitions of."

So, in short, it's an entity that FME doesn't understand. I see you mention Object data. My first suggestion is to try the plain ACAD reader (not the Object Data format) just to see if that makes a difference.

Also, get in touch with our support team (http://safe.com/support) and have them check the dataset to see which entity in it is not being read.

We can then look at adding support for that entity, or extending the Object Data reader (assuming the plain ACAD format is OK with it) - and in the meantime at least you'll know what entity the problem is with.

  • 1
    As a quick follow up, our developer elaborates: "Zombies are a form of proxy entities which exist for custom objects of custom ARX applications. If the related custom application is not loaded in AutoCAD, or an appropriate object enabler is not loaded, then these are kind of like placeholders entities for those custom objects." – Mark Ireland Jan 19 '15 at 21:10
  • I need to bring in attribute data along with the geometry, which is why I chose the Object Data reader. Unless there is another way (?). I suspect that the introduction of zombie entities was unintentional, as the file in question is not radically different from other files I typically receive from this person. In any case I'll check to see if the DWG can be shared with FME support. Thanks, Mark. – Jyler Jan 20 '15 at 18:45

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