Running the Add CAD Fields tool on a shapefile and calculating a value in the Layer field creates empty output


Running the Add CAD Fields tool, located in ArcToolBox > Conversion Tools > To CAD on a shapefile and then calculating a value in the Layer field, turns off all layers in the output AutoCAD DWG or DXF file.

The output file appears empty, and the data cannot be viewed in ArcGIS Desktop or in AutoCAD.

This occurs with all versions of output CAD files.


The Add CAD Fields tool adds a field named LyrOn to the attribute table.

When this field is added to a shapefile, the default value is calculated = 0.

If the Layer field is calculated to a layer name for use in the output CAD file, the layers are turned off and are not visible in either ArcGIS Desktop or in AutoCAD.

Solution or Workaround

Two alternative workarounds are presented below:

  • In ArcMap, while editing the attribute table of the shapefile to insert layer names in the CAD field Layer

    -- calculate the same value from the field Layer to the field LyrName.
    -- calculate values in the CAD field LyrOn = 1.

    Layers present in the output AutoCAD file will be visible in both ArcGIS Desktop and in AutoCAD.
  • Turn on the layers in the exported CAD file.

    -- In ArcMap, right-click on the name of the CAD data layer > Properties > Drawing Layers tab > Enable All. Click Apply. Click OK.

    -- In AutoDesk products, open the Layer Properties Manager dialog box, and turn on the Layers in the CAD file.

Article ID:000009652

  • ArcMap 9 x

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