How can I export the attribute information for the shapefile/feature class to Autocad Annotation/Text?

I'm able to export the shapefile to autocad but unable to get the attributes in annotation.

Also Let me know if there any any way we can append attributes in autocad without using blocks.

  • how are you able to get shapefile and no annotation? Just need to know what software (version, map, architect, etc?) you have and how you are attempting.
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 21:06
  • 1
    Brad, I m using ArcMap 10.1 release for converting my shapefile to autocad Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 23:12
  • are you using the conversion toolbox? is you cad data georeferenced by autocad or esri?
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 3:02
  • I must have read 6 times and even worked through a solution before I realized you are wanting attributes in autocad.
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 4:00
  • Yes Brad the data has coordinates in both autocad and GIS, yep I want to get the attributes in autocad. I can now get a single attribute for the feature class but I was wondering if we can establish the relationship between a table and autocad file. That would be great and I really thank you for your help. Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 20:22

3 Answers 3


There are only a few options to get attributes from ANY gis system into autocad.

  1. use FME (safe software) and export to autocad map / with object data.
    This would require the dwg be used in autocad map3d. and procedures below would apply
    from the open new blank drawing on.

  2. Use autocad map 3d to import the shapefile (or other gis format) and select options on import to create object data. (This is my prefered method).

  3. see below instructions for #3 (below the autocad instructions)

  4. EDIT: I think if you are asking if you can have an external table the short answer is yes.
    I had almost forgotten this aspect. (similar to the object data)
    If you want to "link" table values to objects in the autocad drawing there is a process for that also.
    I will post some links.
    If you have any questions I can come back and add similar step-by-step for this.
    Cad and GIS blog
    Autodesk documentataion
    db connect (for block attributes)

If you set up the link template before you import the shape file (to autcad map 3d) that is then an option in your import dialog.
You can then populate an empty table with the shapefile attributes and they are automatically linked to the (point) objects they represent.
Following the rest of the instructions you should be able to get the links transfered over to the text objects

If you can get that far and want to go further you might look into dynamic annotation from db. This link provides a sample dwg and slight discussion. The rest can be found in autodesk help documentation.

Instructions for #2
on the map classic Workspace use the
Map Drafting pulldown>
Autocad shot

Select esri shapefile import data
select the data ... (elipses) and choose to create object data
Change the oobject data table name if you like.

object data
Ok that, and you can change the name of the incoming data on the drawing layer column.
Ok the import.
Zoom to extents (double click wheel)
turn the polygons to show outline only.
polygon toolbar POLYDISPLAY > edge only
change display
regenerate the drawing to show the change (REA)
Save and close the drawing (text import).

Now in a new blank drawing attach the previous drawing (text import).
and add it to the bottom of the select drawings to attach window. ok that window and double click the current query
current query
query dialog
in the query dialog select alter properties
then the text button on the right
text button
The expression button
expression button
Then select the field you want to create text for.
text field
Set the size, style, angle, layer you would like it created on and ok back to the first query dialog
text size dialog
query dialog
select the location query type and accept all as the location
select query type as draw
draw query
select execute query.

Detach the drawing and save.

The ESRI solution which now works but takes a lot of work to get the data on different layers and etc.
In other words to make a nice CAD drawing.

3. Convert Labels to annotation

use the "To CAD" Tool in the toolbox in arcmap 10.1
The add cad fields will prepare it for seperation on layers with color.
The layer and text properties are probably all you would need.

add cad fields

Once the CAD fields are in the attribute table you would need to calculate values to put into each field.
I don't use this method so I didn't spend a lot of time on explaining this.
But, the more time you spend on this the better your CAD drawing will work and look.
e.g layers = street names, building address, parcel owner.
you can read the help on the seed file and overrides for that.

Then Export to CAD

enter image description here

  • 2
    A great walk-through guide - Thanks for spending the time on answering this way.
    – Mapperz
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 14:36
  • 2
    Wow Brad -- great answer!! I'd +10 this answer if I could (+1 nonetheless)!!
    – Dano
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 20:44

If you have ArcGIS available (I'm using 9.3.1), the easiest way will be to:

  1. Convert\export your shapefile into any file geodatabase and add it to your Arcgis Project;
  2. Label it using the attributes you need to show in CAD;
  3. Right-click the Layer Name in the content table and use the Convert labels to annotations option. Make sure you save the annotations in the geodatabase;
  4. After this, you can use "Convert Tools > To CAD > Export to CAD" in the ArcToolbox. As Input features choose both your layers and the layers annotations, and export.

Your CAD file will have both the Features from the shapefile and its labes\annotations


You can label shapefile and then convert label to annotation layer

Annotation layer can convert to AutoCAD by export to cad menu

Youtube clip for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3qnjKiNWAc

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