You're designing a sound system or a conference room layout or some ductwork—something that you know Visio can do—and you want to include an existing CAD (computer-aided design) drawing from the architect or engineer. Why start from scratch? Visio does a very decent job of importing CAD drawings as background images that you can annotate with Visio shapes. You can even convert CAD objects to Visio shapes when you want to edit more extensively. In addition, you can convert Visio drawings to CAD-readable format. Visio includes filters and converters for both Autodesk AutoCAD DWG and DFX formats, IntelliCAD DWG format, and Bentley MicroStation DGN format.
CAD refers to a variety of specialized drawing programs capable of producing highly detailed, accurate drawings, such as for machined parts or construction. Obviously, Visio's strengths differ from those of a CAD program. Whether you know much about CAD programs or not, this chapter provides the information you need to help you get the best results when you're working with CAD files in Visio drawings.