There is a lot of fields in Layer Properties that are hidden by default when I open dwg file in ArcMap 10.3.1.

Is there some properties that define which fields are visible in Attribute Table and which are not?

Little explanation: I`m asking if there is a way to change the default settings on what CAD fields are made visible when loading CAD into ArcMap.

  • Did you check it's Field properties so ensure they are check or not check ? – PROBERT Mar 20 '16 at 15:30
  • That is my problem, I always need to see Handle field value and its always hidden by default, its just frustrating always going to the properties an check Handle field, I want to see it by default. – Anna G Mar 21 '16 at 5:52
  • Yes, it is not easy and I don't use DWG very much but if you work with them a lot then yes it is a problem and there is something you can figure it out. Maybe write a script or model builder to do that ? Perhaps google it ?Maybe check it out ESRI GeoNet forum and this way you can find out more information ? Check it out their website geonet.esri.com/welcome – PROBERT Mar 21 '16 at 15:03
  • PROBERT, Thank you, I think that I just will view them in some free dwg viewer. – Anna G Mar 22 '16 at 9:02

If you are unable to find what you need by right clicking on the layer and accessing properties and turning fields off/on under the 'Fields' tab, then you'll have to do a few extra steps by creating a join:

Blog on ArcGIS and CAD Interoperability

That rotation angle information is accessible to me in the CAD file, but not on the named feature class MANHOLES I have set up in ArcGIS for AutoCAD. Because feature class definitions in ArcGIS for AutoCAD files are really filtered queries or “database views” of the CAD file, all of the graphic property information is included on the default unfiltered feature class views of ANNOTATION, POINT, POLYGON, POLYLINE and MULTIPATCH. I can join the two together to get all the attributes I need.

If I turn on the visibility of the HANDLE property of my MANHOLE feature class and the HANDLE field of the POINT feature class I can use ArcMap to JOIN the two layers together. I join the two layers based on the entity HANDLE field. I change the field visibility in ArcMap by using the FIELD tab of the properties panel that I invoke from right-clicking the layer in the table of contents. In this way my MANHOLE feature classes from ArcGIS for AutoCAD can display any of the CAD graphic properties supported by ArcMap including my rotation angle value.

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  • I`m asking if there is a way to change the default settings on what CAD fields are made visible when loading CAD into ArcMap.But what you wrote is usefull for me too. Thank you. – Anna G Mar 21 '16 at 5:46

It sounds like you are asking if there is a way to change the default settings on what CAD fields are made visible when loading CAD into ArcMap.

According to the help, there doesn't appear to be any way to change the default settings.

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I'm not aware of any way to expose the properties you want in ArcGIS. However, if you have FME, it provides access to all the properties of the geometry from an AutoCAD file.

Have a look at the documentation for the DWG/DXF reader in FME. If you go to the feature representation link on the right side of the page, you'll get a list of all the types of features that can be in an autocad file.

You can get pretty detailed about what attributes you may want to expose. Down to the insertion points and justification of text elements. When you see how many possible attributes there are, you can see why ArcGIS hasn't included them as default attributes.

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  • Thanks, I don`t have FME, but next step is to view dgw files with some free viewer, because most of the times I just need to check Handle field value. – Anna G Mar 21 '16 at 5:50
  • Sounds good. Good luck with that. – PROBERT Mar 24 '16 at 14:43

@Anna G

This is kind of a bit old dated in 2006 wrote by an ESRI instructor and I read it because I have done a lot of CAD DWG files that was done by an inmate who was contracted with our employer . The files do not have spatial reference or overlaid the real world settings. So, I thought this might be interesting for you or whoever are not familiar with it. This is a good one.


Enjoy and have fun !

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  • Thank you, but I need only to check spicific Handles in original DGW file. – Anna G Mar 24 '16 at 5:34

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