I'm preparing a seed file in order to export to CAD and maintain all the attributes at all fileds. after creating the block definition
I've export to CAD (Right click) using the seed file I made (after adding RefName field {string 255} and insert the block name) but the attributes didn't inserted to their Autocad fields.

Here are my 3 Questions -

1.How to connect the GIS fields to Autocad blocks attributes ? is the RefName field is enough ?
2. Is there an automatically way to create seed file with blocks from a feature class ?
Is it possible to import CAD block from exiting feature class instead of manually type all the fields ?
3. What the difference between Autocad Civil to Autocad Map in terms of working with GIS layers ?

  • Please explain method you are using for export. Right click, toolbox, interoperability ext?
    – Brad Nesom
    Apr 27, 2014 at 16:04
  • I've edit the question and add more data Apr 27, 2014 at 18:18

3 Answers 3


All of the attributes of all the fields of every feature layer are automatically included when you use EXPORT TO CAD. To see the attributes and feature classes in AutoCAD just use use the free ArcGIS for AutoCAD plug-in from Esri. If you want to have the block attributes included for display purposes you can also include the name of a block in the REFNAME field of the output POINT feature layer. Using a seed file that contains that block name and that has ATTRIBUTES with TAGNAMES that match the field names you can populate the blocks with the field values where those names match. You also need to make sure that you include the field ENTTYPE and populate the values with INSERT to override the creation of simple points with INSERT entities. So you need REFNAME with the and ENTTYPE with "INSERT" and then field names that match TAGNAMES, AND you need a seed file with those blocks defined.

Know that you don't need any of that if you just want to use the attributed feature classes that are already there in the AutoCAD drawing by default! To see what you've been missing download and use the free ArcGIS for AutoCAD application from ESRI. POINT, POLYLINE, ANNOTATION and POLYGON feature classes are all fully attributed by default and without a seed file or messing around with the output fields. The best form of interoperability for exchanging files between AutoCAD and ArcGIS is just EXPORT TO CAD and the free ArcGIS for AutoCAD plug-in. You can see this everytime you EXPORT TO CAD, since if you look at the .DWG file you create with ArcMAP or ArcCatalog you see the .DWG file with all of those feature classes inside the drawing when you open up the blue folder. ArcGIS for AutoCAD sees those same feature classes.

ArcGIS for AutoCAD is free and also allows you to create ArcGIS feature classes in the drawing and access Map Services, Image Services, and edit Geodatabases through ArcGIS Server feature services.


To use the export to cad method... •Field names in the input feature class attribute table that match the block attribute tag names defined with the AutoCAD block definition
Those names would need to match exactly.

  1. I do not use the export cad function. I use autocad (civil) map to import the gis data. It gives a LOT more flexibility. There are good tutorials and help on how to do this.
  2. No.
  3. You should consider whether you definitely need a block in the dwg or if object data would work. (you haven't given any business needs here.)
  4. There is no difference between Civil 3d and Map 3d. Map is built into civil. Civil doesn't necessarily work with gis data but since it has map in it that is where you get the gis functionality.

Blocks depiction will only work with point data.


For your first question : « 1.How to connect the GIS fields to Autocad blocks attributes ? is the RefName field is enough ? »

ArcGIS Documentation is not that explicit on generating seed file. For information seed file as expected in Export to cad is used to map features with pre-existing AutoCad Block. This features aims at replacing the notion of symbology (for Point only) of ArcGIS which cannot be back-ported to AutoCad, along with attribute values.

For this feature to work, you indeed need RefName (TEXT) attribute with values set in features as the name/tag of the targeted block. But you also need another field named CadType (TEXT) with values always set as INSERT. For me solution Don Kuene solution with ENTTYPE didn’t produce any result in AutoCad 2014 + ArcGIS Pro 2.9, it may have change since…

In order to see your attributes ported to AutoCad you need to add one AutoCad Attribute to your Block for each ArcGIS attribute you want to tranfer. Name must be the same as in ArcGIS, it maybe invisible.

The following links may help:

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