Export to CAD creates empty files that do not display in AutoCAD or ArcGIS Desktop

Last Published: April 25, 2020


After running Export to CAD, the output AutoCAD DWG or DXF files do not display in AutoCAD, and no features draw when the files are added to ArcMap.


Running the ArcToolbox tool 'Add CAD Fields' adds the fields 'LyrOn' and 'Color' to the feature class attribute table. If the values in these fields are not recalculated, the data does not display in either AutoCAD or ArcGIS Desktop.

Solution or Workaround

  • When the 'LyrOn' field is added with the 'Add CAD Fields' tool, the new field is blank by default. This default value is interpreted as a 0 (zero) when running Export to CAD. This turns the Layers off in the output AutoCAD file.

    To avoid the problem, after running 'Add CAD Fields', calculate the value in the 'LyrOn' field = 1.

    To view the data in the exported AutoCAD file in ArcMap, go to Layer Properties > Drawing Layers tab, and check the Enable All button. The Layers can also be turned on in AutoCAD through the Layer Manager, making the data visible in that application.
  • When the 'Color' field is added with the 'Add CAD Fields' tool, the field is also blank. In Export to CAD, the 'Color' field is assigned a default value of zero (0). This renders the features as black in AutoCAD. Since the AutoCAD draw window is black by default, the converted features do not show up in that application.

    To avoid this problem, after running Add CAD Fields, calculate CAD color values into the Color field. Some standard AutoCAD color numbers are as follows:
    1 = Red
    2 = Yellow
    3 = Green
    4 = Cyan
    5 = Blue
    6 = Magenta
    7 = White

Article ID:000010033

  • ArcMap 9 x

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