Export construction drawings to PDF and DWG with small file size

 Product(s):Bentley Substation
 Version(s):through 08.11.12.xx
 Area:Platform Support
 Subarea:MicroStation Support


Construction drawings typically have references of large, complex 3D design files, and attempts to export construction drawings to other formats such as PDF and DWG can result in file sizes that are larger than expected for the desired 2D output.

This document describes methods to get the desired output with as small a file size as possible for easier distribution to vendors and clients.

Steps to Accomplish

Option 1 Hidden Line File

Pros: Results in the smallest exported files and can be applied to existing construction drawings.
Cons: Long processing time

  1. Open the construction drawing.

  2. Select File > Export > Visible Edges with following settings.  This step can take many minutes to complete.
          Accuracy: High
          Method: Exact
          Export To: 2D File
          Calculate Intersections
          Process Text and Dimensions

  3. Select File > Open and the resulting .HLN file

  4. (Optional) Select Utilities > Data Cleanup and use it to delete Duplicates.

  5. (Optional) Select File > Compress > Options, enable all options, click Compress.

  6. If a DWG file is desired, select File > Export > DGN,DWG,DXF and export to .DWG.

  7. If a PDF file is desired, select File > Print and print to a large enough sheet size to show the desired level of detail when zoomed in, using the pdf.pltcfg driver to create a PDF file.  It is not necessary to enable the "Rasterized" option.

Option 2 - Rasterized PDF

Pros: Simple technique, very small file size
Cons: Resulting PDF contains a raster image, not vector, does not apply to DWG

  1. Use File > Plot Page(s) in [[Project Manager]] to send the page to Print Organizer.

  2. Right-click the DGN file in Print Organizer and select Properties.

  3. On the Main tab of the Properties dialog:

         Choose the desired paper size. Then click the Maximize button (looks like a crosshair) to fit.

         Enable Rasterized option.  This was critical for the small file size.

         Click OK

  4. In Print Organizer select File > Printer Setup and select the pdf.pltcfg file for the driver File Name, click OK.

  5. In Print Organizer select File > Print, specify the desired path and filename in the Destination field, click OK.

Option 3 - Attach reference in sheet model - DWG

This method results in exported DWG files that are significantly smaller than the source model, but may still be too big for distribution.  This method would be used when creating new construction drawings.

  1. Using [[Project Manager]], create the Construction Mode page with "Place title block in sheet mode" enabled on the New Page dialog.

  2. Go into the sheet model (expand View Attributes on the view toolbar, select the "TitleBlock" model) and attach the reference to the model.

  3. Select File > Export > DGN,DWG,DXF and set "Save as type" to DWG. 

  4. Click the Options button.  With all the options on the Reference tab of the Save as DWG/DXF Options dialog set to "Merge".  Set the "Merge Visible Edges of 3D Attachments" check box.  Click OK.

  5. Click Save.

 Original Author:Matt_P