Embed a Picture (Not as a Reference)

There are times when an image needs to be included in a drawing. For example, a client logo that needs to be part of the title block. It would be better to convert the logo into a block object by tracing over the image in AutoCAD and applying hatching as needed. But there are some logos that are not so simple and therefore using an embedded image is preferred.

If you have dragged and dropped the image into the drawing or used the OLE method, you realize that file is being referenced and therefore the separate picture file needs to be included when you send the file to the client.

Today’s tip shows how to bring the picture into a drawing so that it is not a reference and is therefore one less file to have manage…

Click here for original post: http://wp.me/p1aURt-uO

Here’s how:

  • Navigate to the picture file
  • Right click on the file and select “edit”
  • You could also open the picture in from the Windows Paint program

Embed Image 1

  • Select either the whole picture by using Ctrl + A or select a portion of the picture by dragging a window over the area you would like to insert into your drawing.
  • Copy the selected picture either using Ctrl + C or by clicking the Copy button

Embed Image 2

  • To paste the image in AutoCAD, use the command PASTESPEC or click the “Paste Special” button found on the Home tab > Clipboard panel > Paste drop down list > “Paste Special”

Embed Image 3

  • Accept the default option of “Paintbrush Picture” in the Paste Special dialog box
  • Click OK

Embed Image 4

  • Place the picture in the drawing and specify the scale

(In this example, the image is placed in paperspace)

  • Verify that the image is not an XREF by entering XR <enter> or XREF <enter> in the command line

Embed Image 5



About AutoCAD Tips

This blog serves as a knowledge base for myself (and anyone else) so that I can reference tips & tricks that I have learned and also refer others to it as well. I hope that this blog helps you learn at least one tip to make your drafting/design experience better.
This entry was posted in Manage, Paper Space, TIPS, XREFs. Bookmark the permalink.

95 Responses to Embed a Picture (Not as a Reference)

  1. Peter Erkamp says:

    Thanks. Handy. One thing about your post though: The link to the original post, references this same post. Was that your intention?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      That is because there are a couple of sites that take my posts and post it on their own blog without a link to where it came from. The blog is full of advertising so when people look for AutoCAD content and they go the the blog that posts other people’s content and then cashes in on advertising, I at least want a link in the post so that people who visit the fraud blog can get a link to the original.

  2. stucush says:

    Very useful post – thank you.
    The option of ‘paintbrush picture’ is not available to me,
    What is the difference between using this option and
    Picture (metafile)
    Device independent Bitmap?

  3. Willie says:

    will says
    it work as you say
    But ween i rotate it then it say Hoz do not rotate

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Good point. I did forget to mention that the default rotation of a picture will be the only rotation available once it is in the drawing.
      So if you need a logo to display in your drawing sideways, you will need to rotate the picture outside of AutoCAD and save the picture at that rotation and then use the steps shown in the tip to bring it into the drawing.

      Thanks for catching that Willie,

  4. David Pugh says:

    Little thing to mention but this only works when creating a new block, you cannot insert an image into existing block as it becomes invisible outside the editor.

    • DJ says:

      Explode your existing block. Add image and then reblock it. If you want the block with the image to have the same name, after you explode the original block, purge your drawing of its definition.

  5. Bart Vyvey says:

    I think it’s also worth mentioning this does have an effect on the filesize of your DWG. So you might want to check the original pixelcount of the embedded picture…

  6. Sam says:

    do you know how to get rid of the line around the image?
    I have tried IMAGEFRAME and setting it to zero (like I do for referenced images) but does not seem to work.

  7. Steve says:

    This does not work for me. It does paste in as a very nice picture following your instructions. However, when I close the dwg file and open it back up it shows a white area where the picture was but no graphics.

    • Mohamad says:

      Try resizing the picture less than 1MB if it’s large.

      • Vasileios Z says:

        That works fine. When i resize it under 1MB it appears fine (not white paper anymore).But is there an option to change any variables in order to embed bigger files?

      • AutoCAD Tips says:

        Not that I’m aware of. The size of the picture in the image editor considering its pixels will determine the size that it is displayed in the drawing. My suggestion would be to somehow make it bigger in the picture editor.

    • Zahid says:

      Did you ever find out why the picture would turn white? Same thing is happening to me and I have no clue why it could be doing that.

      • AutoCAD Tips says:

        Try selecting the image (OLE) and then right click and select “Properties” to open the Properties Palette
        Then try adjusting the “Plot Qaulity” settings shown below:

  8. 2learncad says:

    Very Good one! Good job.

  9. ChristineP says:

    Thank you so much!!!

  10. bryanARF says:

    kudos! great job!

  11. Roy McCarthy says:

    Everything works fine until the end. I can’t rotate the image and it shows up as an xref that can’t be found.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      That’s correct – 1st) the whole point is that it isn’t treated as an XREF (reference) 2) The image will have to be rotated using a different program like paint or GIMP and then saved. But note that how it looks in the paint program will be how it looks in the drawing.

  12. narasimha says:

    This does not work for me. It does paste in as a very nice picture following your instructions. However, when I close the dwg file and open it back up it shows a white area where the picture was but no graphics.

  13. Praveeen says:

    Please somebody help me remove the frame around the ole object. Its driving me crazy. Much Appreciated!!

  14. Steve says:

    Once a pic is placed in the drawing with a reference to say “C” drive, is there any way to break thereerence prior to sending to someone else, leaving the pic on the drawing. I have clients sending me drawings whch come without attached JPEG’s. I could instruct them on how to place pics but want a simple solution if one exists.

  15. Sean Ottawa says:

    This has been working great (thanks!) up until this morning. When I ‘paste special’ the image now, it won’t appear after I re-open the drawing it was inserted in. I’ve tried on multiple drawings, have closed and restarted my computer a number of times, it’s just now working. Any ideas what may have happened? It worked this morning, and now it won’t work at all… a tad frustrating for a veteran ACAD user.

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Greg Smith says:

    Embedding an IMage as an OLE object is great for static efforts. However, while double click allows you to OPEN the embedded image in Paint, subsequently saving (or Update Embedded object) does not work due to seeming limitations (not wuite to the bottom of this yet). Dialogue is “Paint, Could not update client., OK”
    Workaround is to edit in Paint, and re_embedd image as new OLE object, removing th eold one (if you want a copy of the previous work, save a version of the AutoCAD file before editing).

  17. Steve says:

    Coming in at the end of this string this may have already been suggested
    If you want to keep it simple use “Snipping Tool”. If image requires scaling find a reference of know length on original and scale in AutoCAD using a temporary dimension..

  18. Rory says:

    The above explanation of inserting a jpeg file works fantastic. Others in my office is not aware of this possibility. Now I have another problem. Trying to do the same thing embedding a PDF file. Is that possible??

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Unfortunately no, you could save the PDF as an image (.jpeg) and then insert the converted PDF (now .jpeg) as shown in the post.

      • Rory says:

        Thanks Greg, I kind of figured that out and already went the path you just suggested. However, that process did increase my file size extensively. Oh well, the Contractor gets their “As-Built” Cad drawings with all xrefs and graphics binded into each drawing file rather than referenced. Job done!! Thanks.

    • Betty says:

      I got it (embedding a pdf) to work but it was a little more involved. When I did a Ctrl + A (to select All), it only selected the text. When I used the arrow/selection tool and windowed the whole area, I was able to do it that way. Once I had a window selected, I right‐clicked and chose “take a snapshot”. I was then able to do a “paste special” in AutoCAD and bring in the image. Even with an area windowed, doing a Ctrl+C only got me text.

  19. Wisnu says:

    Dear Greg, I’m a new comer from Indonesia, and would like to joint with this blog.
    Currently I’ve got a problem with plotting OLE. How to unhide the OLE under “Shade plot Legacy hidden”. As I need to hide the drawing, and unhide the OLE (plot in model space, under ACAD 14)
    However, thank you in advance for your help.
    Best regards,

  20. Wisnu says:

    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    Best regards,

  21. Daniel says:

    hello, I’m embedding the image as described and when i copy the image again with the DWG or try to scale i keep getting a empty white box.

    Please help

    • Vasileios Ziogas says:

      the only way to avoid this, is to reduce the size of the embedded file before you insert it. Autodesk claims its a hardware limitation issue!

  22. dana says:

    Hello thank you so much for the tip, just 1 question is there a way we can clip the picture while in autocad , the same way we used to clip it if attached as xref.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Unfortunately no – any adjustments to the picture Like “clipping” or even rotating to a pic that it is embedded in the dwg need to be done in the editor prior to pasting it into AutoCAD. It’s kind of a clunky method (I know) but after a few tries you’ll get it how you want it to be.

  23. John Sunny says:

    Thanks for your support and I used most your video clips and it works fine.

    Furthermore may say thank you



  24. Conrad says:

    Hi, I have a drawing that is about 160kb. When done editing, its about 260kb. I’ve inserted a jpeg as explained. The size is about 660kb. After inserting the jpeg, the drawing size increases to about 5.7mb. That is a considerable increase. I’m using autocad 2015. Any idea as to why this is happening and how I can reduce the drawing size? Any advice will be appreciated. Regards

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I suggest that you try using the OVERKILL command, as well as PURGE and AUDIT. Then save the drawing and see what the size is.

      What size is the picture that you are embedding by itself outside of AutoCAD?

      • Conrad says:

        Thank you for the tips. Purge I’ve tried before on the drawing and it made no difference. The Overkill and Audit didn’t help much either. There was some errors, but nothing significant. The drawing size is still about 5.7MB with the embedded picture.
        Outside of AutoCad the size of the picture is 659KB. The image properties in paint is as follows:
        Size on disk: 658.1KB
        Resolution: 96 DPI
        Units: Pixels
        Colors: Color
        Width: 1330 and Height: 688
        I’ve copied and pasted the whole drawing into a new drawing, ran purge, overkill and audit and it took the original drawing from 160KB to 150KB, but when embedding the picture, took it back up to 5.7MB.

  25. Conrad says:

    Not sure if this will make a difference,but when I import the picture as a reference, the size remains as is eg, 659KB in AutoCad. Also, an earlier typo, its actually AutoCad 2013 and not 2015.
    If all else fails, I will send the picture with the drawing. Just not sure as why its giving me problems now and in the past it worked fine?

  26. Adam says:

    Great post! Worked perfectly

  27. Céline says:

    how to scale the picture i cant scale it

  28. Tamara Cepero says:

    Thank you so much, It works perfectly
    One thing when I have the picture on the cad I could scale maybe is the Cad version I am using 2014

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I am glad that you found it helpful. But to answer your question: You have to adjust the scale & rotation of the image outside of AutoCAD first and then embed the image. It might take a few tries to get it right but once you do get it right, it is worth it.


  29. Elizabeth Barendregt says:

    This does not work for me. I follow all the steps, but when I Paste Special, the box comes up to say “unknown source” and I get only Unicode Text, Text or OEM Text for the options. Would this be because I’m actually trying to insert a photo jpeg?

  30. arfeeq says:

    But it is not possible to rotate or align ?

  31. Alberto Lopes says:

    Thank you for the good tip.
    My company’s logo has a bright blue but when I paste it into AutoCAD this blue becomes darker.
    Is there a away of resolving this without playing around with paint.

  32. naqshpa says:

    Works for me but the image quality is suffering compared to the raster image referenc. Anything i can do

  33. KING vs Garamja says:

    Sir thank you for you help but when i attached the image as you tech all are fine but after save the file and close and reopen the same file the ole object are not showing i think it removed my drawing so please help me.

  34. shafi says:

    thank you so much

  35. Albert-jan Huigen says:

    When I use paintbrush to copy a logo into a dwg and I convered it to a pdf (with Acrobat Adobe X pro) the colour changes. Can you help me with this problem?


    Albert-jan Huigen

  36. Gelsey says:

    I am already in love with you Mike! I have been struggling with this particular issue for long . You saved my existence :-)

  37. engakadir says:

    but when i paste pain brush image it shown only white box

  38. Col Baker says:

    May I put my 5cents worth – when the image is inserted as you describe, scaling is not a problem if you block it then reinsert the block at the scale you want. Also the boundary can be removed by creating a new layer called “image” say, and make it’s colour white, then change the image to that layer. The border disappears but not the image. You can play with ‘send to back’ and ‘bring to front’ commands also, in overlap situations. I operate in a white background by the way. A good blog.

  39. Theresa says:

    Hi, Thanks for the above sharing.
    I did follow the edit images from paint.
    But when I insert the title block, rotate my title block the logo is not rotated.
    Any solution? Hope to get help from you.


    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Sorry Theresa,
      When the image is embedded in the drawing, it isn’t editable like that. I think that all that you are able to do is move it. try rotating the picture in Microsoft Paint and the copy & paste.

  40. Bob says:

    Awesome post! quick easy and to the point!

  41. darpan shah says:

    How can I paste image in a rotated cad file? I am not been able to paste it directly. Is there any way not to use link image.

  42. arun says:

    Can u help me to create a new hatch?

  43. Cesar says:

    Hi everybody!! Is there a Lisp based in your tip? thanks!

  44. ZYD says:

    I followed this process above but the image does not print and is not saved when I save the file? Anyone have any experience here?

  45. Vlado Sedlak says:

    Helped me a lot! thanks

  46. vladosedlak says:

    Thank you very much sir!

  47. shahid says:


  48. Hiren Shah says:

    Very Very Helpful…Excellent

  49. Byron Ortiz says:

    thank you very very very very very very very much…

  50. sujan says:

    How about multiple files?

  51. Shams says:

    hey lovely guys,
    i am trying to resize a picture in Autocad, but its width and length move at the same time I want to expand the height and the length should not be changed, if any one can help me.

  52. SG says:

    Any way to do this on Autocad for Mac?

  53. Steve says:

    Hi, Pasting in is fine. Save the drawing then open it up and the image is gone. Any ideas?

  54. Michael Bellamy says:

    Using AutoCad 2017 this is impossible. PasteSpec only allows types of text.
    Images pasted from the clipboard do NOT travel with the DWG file, neither
    does including a copy along with the DWG work either.
    Honestly AutoCad has not kept up with real world technology whatsoever.
    There are much better graphics tools “out there” for this field of work.

  55. Mohammad Mansur says:

    Hi, I am now using AutoCAD 2017. I followed all the steps but when I’m about to use the PASTESPEC command, somehow the Paintbrush Picture option on the window is not available. I used all other options but still, the image file is not attached/ bound as an independent file.

  56. joeysteed says:

    How can we get the OLE pics to be less pixelated and blurry. The raster images are much crisper and readable. Perhaps if we use a graphic app better than MS PAINT?

  57. E. Craig Dukes says:

    I have an oval image that I want to embed. However, I do not want the white background around it’s borders. Has anyone figured out how to do this? I’ve tried making it a raster PNG with a transparent border, but that does not work.

  58. Zoltan says:

    thats the actual answer, but its a bit too much explanation. You could have just said, file selection and copy inserts xref, whereas you open a picture in an editor and copy from there it inserts permanently.

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