I have a CAD drawing that opens in true view (the free version) and I identified the layer I wish to export. Now, I want to bring the layer into ArcGIS and merge it into my geodatabase. However, the layer does not show up in ArcMap. In fact, I only get one layer in arcmap with actual objects in the table or features drawn on the map: xref. aka the base of the drawing.

So far I have tried turning all drawing layers on and off, adding a spatial reference, and converting CAD to GDB using the gp tool in ArcMap. Here is a screenshot of the layer in TrueView: enter image description here

Here is a screenshot of what is in ArcMap: I have looked in detail at the mess of the xref and those lines are not drawn.

My question: How can I get this layer into ArcMap with only the free CAD resources available to me? How can I even diagnose the problem? I am unsure where to begin..

  • Via the add data button in arc have you tried adding in the dwg point, polyline layers to see if the features show?
    – artwork21
    Jul 13, 2016 at 22:51
  • yes, see screenshot. Nothing shows in point or polyline except the xref.
    – Stella
    Jul 13, 2016 at 22:52
  • Have you tried exploding the features in cad, and then bring in that dwg in arc?
    – artwork21
    Jul 13, 2016 at 23:05
  • Exploding the features still does not give me the data I seek, since the polylines are missing. The data I want to import or convert is not a part of the xref layers.
    – Stella
    Jul 13, 2016 at 23:43
  • Without CAD you can do little sometimes. Chances are some layers are hidden
    – FelixIP
    Jul 14, 2016 at 4:28

1 Answer 1


Check with which version of AutoCAD the DWG file was saved. Generally ArcGIS is not compatible with latest versions of AutoCAD, e.g. 2014, 2015. Try to save the DWG file to an older versions like 2010 or 2011 and then open that file in ArcMap.

if changing version of AutoCAD is not working, It is possible that your CAD drawing ( DWG format) have a coordinate system that is different from the web map where you want to insert it, in ArcMap.

Try " Define Projection (data management)" this tool.

All you have to do is to correlate this 2 coordinate system and then to zoom to the new layer.

  • I have defined the coordinate system, with no avail, but I will be sure to try and save it as an older version. Thanks for the tip.
    – Stella
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:45
  • Tried converting to 2010, 2007, and even 2000. Nothing.
    – Stella
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:50

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