Create SOLIDWORKS Reference Sketches from 2D DXF/DWG Files

Article by Ben Crisostomo, CSWE updated December 30, 2019

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Being able to work with different file types is crucial to working with other clients using other programs. There are a large number of companies who use DWG & DXF files for creating CNC files of documentation. These files can be great for SOLIDWORKS users to use a reference when trying to design parts in SOLIDWORKS.  With this in mind, we can now create reference sketches from 2D DXF/DWG files in SOLIDWORKS 2020. Let’s take a closer look to see how it works.

Importing DXF/DWG File

When opening a DXF or DWG file, the Import Dialog Box opens providing the user with options deciding on the format of the file. Inder the 2D sketch option, there is a setting that allows the sketch to be imported as a reference as seen below.

Import as reference Option

Reference sketches are locked an cannot be edited. The pencil superimposed with a black no sign indicates that the sketch is for reference as seen below.

Reference Sketch as indicated by the Pencil Icon

A sketch can be toggled back into a regular sketch by right-clicking the sketch and selecting “Make Edit Sketch” from the drop down menu. It should be noted that creating a reference sketch is not limited to DXF/DWG files. Right-clicking a sketch made in SOLIDWORKS and selecting “Make Reference Sketch” will change the sketch type.

Toggle Between Reference & Edit Sketch

Using the reference sketch geometry to define the position, offset & convert entities will work, but mirroring items must use a drawing in the construction line. I found that creating the dimensions for a barrel bridge of a watch was easy using a reference drawing as seen in the images below.

Referenced Positions in Sketch

Reference Sketch application

I found the Reference Sketch useful for designing parts that are interconnected. Having the ability to create Reference Sketches from 2D DXF/DWG files in SOLIDWORKS 2020 is a welcome addition to SOLIDWORKS and I am excited to see how this feature will be applied in the future!

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Ben Crisostomo

Ben is a SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Application Expert based in the Javelin Oakville head office