best way to convert shp file to dxf

Like the title says I am searching for the simplest way to convert shp files (from arcGIS) to dxf (for autocad etc).  I can manage it with some complicated freeware but it is taking more time that I'd like, so am hoping some of you folk with lots of experience with this sort of thing can share your wisdom a wee bit

Jan 17, 13 10:52 am

i am self learning arcgis right now but so far i figured out how to convert shp files to dwg. if you have files open in ArcMap then you can go to ArcToolbox option on the toolbar. for me its 3rd option from right. the logo looks like a brown toolbox on a window screen. Once u click it u will see >conversion Tools>To Cad > Export to Cad.

Or you can just right click on the layer >data>export to cad.

if you want to make a selection and export selected area to cad then use selection tool> select and right click on layer>selection>create layer from selected features >follow steps above to convert to cad

Feb 10, 13 7:51 pm  · 

Got it worked out as export to dxf. Not happy with the output though. Lines have too many control points and curves are crazy high density series of straight lines instead of splines. I am using data to make cut files for a large-ish topo model so it is a bit frustrating. I have a room full of gis experts but they never export because they are scientists and raw data is more common than images and such. Still I am sure this must come up a lot. If you find any other clues do pass on any tips.
Feb 11, 13 1:14 am  · 

I figured i should start posting from my profile too,

So after that comment i also found out about MAPublisher plugin for Adobe Illustrator. I believe there is a 14 day free trial. Basically it allows you to open shp file and then use illustrator to export as Cad. I am sure that plugin can do a lot more but that's all i could figure out in hour. 

I found your post while searching on internet for my questions. I am in similar boat as you, i have shp Contour files for NYC, i got them from nycdob website. They are layered in z space so in elevation you can see them on top of each other. I am unable to export it out from ArcGis, i am getting an error, i tried MAPublisher but it makes the file flat. The z-axis layering is lost.

Feb 11, 13 7:37 pm  · 

fixed my problem. In case you run into that problem too, i exported a smaller portion of the contours and it worked, i guess its too much to handle for Arcgis to export large areas of contours. If needed i can always export out in sections

Feb 11, 13 11:14 pm  · 

Just saw this, it is indeed possible to export large GIS data files to .dwg's, you just need to reduce the layer extent first. 

Wash U's GIS forum has very helpful tutorials for this, and you can check it out here:

Good luck,


Feb 12, 13 1:04 pm  · 

A bit late, but I'm doin a beta test of ShapeToDxf, a Windows program you can get free from here:



Here's a couple of screenshots:



Oct 3, 14 11:58 am  · 

Now with inbuilt 3D viewer and 64 bit support:

Final release free to all who give feedback on this beta.

Oct 21, 14 3:18 pm  · 

Thanks for your shp2dxf program. This is just what I am waiting for so long...

I will try the program and soon let you know if it suits for me.


Thanks, Vojko

Aug 19, 16 5:15 am  · 
Tim C.


It is a shp file to dxf / dwg file converter. You can use it for free for 3 weeks,
as it offers free download and fully functional trial.
It also supports all 3D shapefiles.

Tim C.

Nov 15, 16 8:14 pm  · 

If you have access to rhino, use grasshopper and meerkat.--



 dusty thread

Nov 15, 16 9:30 pm  · 

I never got round to saying that the beta testing of ShapeToDxf finished ages ago:

It can now be bought for US$49.99. See for more info a demo and screenshots...

Nov 16, 16 10:12 am  · 

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