Make an AutoCAD File Smaller: 6 Tips You Need to Know

Recently I ran into an issue when trying to send some CAD files (.dwg) to a client of mine, his email would only accept up to a 10mb file.

While most of the time I would just ftp, or host it for him to download, this particular client is not very computer or internet savvy and really only knows how to use his email and other basic programs. So rather than try to walk him through how to download something or access my ftp I simply spent a few minutes trying to shrink my drawing size.

While this process isn’t always do able, my particular file was only 13mb so it didn’t need to shrink by much. But these tips will typically work to reduce your size to some extent.

These are my go to steps in reducing a .dwg’s size

  • Detach any unneeded xrefs (not really going to reduce much but it does help clean up a drawing)
  • Remove any unnecessary images (many times images are not required to be sent to a client if they are just requesting the drawing files)
  • Use the purge command (this will clean up your drawing of any unused blocks, line types, text styles, etc… Also be sure the include nested items option is checked at the bottom of the dialog box)
  • Use the overkill command (will remove duplicate line work, blocks, etc…)
  • Remove the last of your unused layers, for any layers that won’t let you delete them try the LayDel express tool command to delete these layers

If even after using these tools your autocad drawing it too big still try splitting it into multiple files and xreferencing them to a main drawing file.
This could mean seperating out things like contours, property lines, utilities, and site plans into a drawing for each one and xreffing each file. Know you can send these file separately and have your client or peer re assemble them upon receipt.

If you’ve got any of your own autocad tips or tricks that you use to reduce file size or just have a question please leave a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe!


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Brandon is a Civil Designer, Aspiring Blogger/Creator, Husband, Father to two Amazing Kids and Tech Aficionado from a small town in Canada. He has been obsessed with design and technology since he can remember and working as a Civil Designer for nearly as long. Brandon’s blog and Youtube channel, has been his outlet and excuse for keeping up with new tech and trends in the CAD design world for the last 10 years growing to more than 60,000 subscribers and over 15,000,000 views, while also being the source of many great friendships and unique opportunities. If you would like to Sponsor CAD Intentions or Work together in some way, Please visit my About Page and send me an email: