How To: Create multiple CAD files from one or more feature classes


This article describes how to use the specially named CAD Field 'DOCPath' to direct individual features to different CAD files. Taking advantage of this feature, it is possible to direct individual ArcGIS features to different CAD drawing files in a single pass. This functionality of the Export to CAD tool supports the vertical or horizontal CAD file tiling strategies. For example, there may be file names that are included as Xref'd drawings to be re-create or append to with ArcGIS data.


When the Export to CAD tool comes across any feature with the 'DocPath' field name, it uses any valid value as the path to an output CAD file.

  • Modify the input feature class(es) feature or feature layer attribute table to include a field called, aliased or renamed to 'DocPath'. The 'DocPath' field can also be included in a related table linked with a table join. The 'DocPath' field is a string field of sufficient length to contain the path to the desired CAD file. The 'DocPath' field is one of the specially named CAD fields that affects the funtionality of the Export to CAD tool.
  • Populate the renamed, aliased, joined or include field named 'DocPath' with the string value of the desired output CAD file. This triggers Export to CAD to create the feature in the CAD file referenced by the valid path name.
  • Depending on the GP overwrite environment variable and the setting of the ALWAYS APPEND parameter, the features either overwrite any existing referenced CAD files or they are appended to the existing CAD files.
  • Any output CAD file referenced in the 'DocPath' field of an exported feature is created if it does not exist. New files are created using the supplied seed file when the tool is invoked.
  • If the IGNORE PATHS IN TABLE parameter is set, the 'DocPath' field values are ignored and all output is directed to the CAD file specified in the OUTPUT CAD FILE parameter of the Export to CAD tool.
  • If the IGNORE PATHS IN TABLE parameter is not set, and there is a mixture of valid path values in the 'DocPath' of some features and not others, those features without an included 'DocPath' field or valid path values will be included in the CAD file specified in the OUTPUT CAD FILE parameter of the Export to CAD tool.
  • The seed file is only used for the creation of new CAD files. If appending to existing CAD files, the referenced CAD file is, in effect, used as the 'seed' file.