How to apply Layer Mapping when exporting DWG/DXF from SOLIDWORKS

Article by Wayne Chen, CSWP updated September 30, 2010


DWG/DXF files are still widely used by designers and engineers. Layers are very useful in 2D drawings to distinguish different types of entities. In SOLIDWORKS drawings, there is a layer tool in the Line Format toolbar where you can manually set up different layers, but the process is rather time consuming.

When exporting a drawing as a DWG/DXF from SOLIDWORKS you can setup layer mapping so your DWG/DXF files will have the correct layers and corresponding colours.

Here is a breakdown of the layer mapping process:

  1. Select File > Save As and choose DWG/DXF, then click on the “Options” button in the save as dialog.
  2. In the Export options dialog pick “Enable” to activate the Layer Mapping tool (if you already have the layer mapping map file, you can browse for it). Pick OK to finish.
  3. Then pick Save and then the layer mapping tool dialog will pop up.
DWG Export Options

DWG Export Options

  1. If you are starting from scratch, the mapping content is blank. Shown in the figure below is how I mapped out my layers.
    • In the Define layers section you input the layer names you want to show up in DWG/DXF files.  Assign colors and line styles for them as well.
    • In the Map entities column you specify the “define layers” items to SOLIDWORKS layers.  For the colors and line styles, I specified “BYLAYER”.
    • In the Entity column, “geometry”, “dimensions”, “centerline” are the different entities in SOLIDWORKS.
    • In the third column, you can map to different colors.
  2. Pick Save Map file if you want to use the settings again, then pick OK to finish
  3. Then save the DWG/DXF file.


  1. In the DWG file, all entities will be assigned to the correct layers as shown in the DraftSight window below:
DWG file open in DraftSight

DWG file open in DraftSight

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Wayne Chen, CSWP