Raster Design Quick Start

A very cool AutoCAD add-on called “Raster Design” lets you easily incorporate raster images like .jpegs and .tif files in you drawing. The cool part about this software is that it lets you edits the images even though they are pixelated images. You can even convert these pixels into AutoCAD entities for editing using you normal AutoCAD commands and then when you need to present the edits in a PDF, you can change the AutoCAD entities back into the pixelated form so that they match the rest of the image.

Shown below is the Raster Design 2014 ribbon tab:

Raster Design 2014 Ribbon Tab

Raster Design 2014 Ribbon Tab

Let’s get started:

  • INSERT AN IMAGE – Using the “Insert…” tool located on the far left of the ribbon, you can navigate to the image that is to be brought into the drawing. The command line version for this tool is IINSERT <enter>

Note: The terminology is a little confusing because usually images are brought into AutoCAD with the ATTACH command and blocks are usually the only things that are “inserted”…



  • Browse to the image.

Notice the options at the bottom of the screen. The 2 shown below are asking how you want to be prompted for various settings while inserting the image. If you want to take the default settings, click “Quick Insert”



Once the image is in your drawing, you may need to re-position and scale the image to fit your needs. You can scale it by using the SCALE command or by dragging one of its corners to shrink or expand the image. To move the image, use the MOVE command.

IMAGE TO BITONAL – Many of the tools in Raster Design only work if the image is “bitonal” (black & white). Shades of grey or color images simply wont work well in Raster Design. To make the image “bitonal” click on the “Process Image” drop-down > then click “Change Color Depth” > then B <enter> in the command line to choose the “Bitonal” option.



INVERT COLORS – Now that the image is in your drawing in black & white, you can change the colors so that you are working in a more familiar color scheme. You can easily invert the colors so that the lines are white and the background is your normal AutoCAD background.

Click on the “Cleanup” drop-down > then click “Invert”



(shown below: image colors inverted)



DESPECKLE – The little speckles that are present in the drawing from the image can be easily cleaned up and make your editing look that much cleaner (and easier to edit).

Click the “Cleanup” drop-down and then “Despeckle”



You are then asked to specify an area of the image that you wish to clean up. For this example I used I <enter> to clean the entire image.

Note: I did notice that on a few drawings, it erased some periods and commas in text that was in the image. So be aware that those may come across as “speckles” and may be cleaned.



You are then asked to specify the size of the speckle so that it will look for similar sized speckles and clean them up. You can do this by either picking within a speckle or by making a window selection. when you are done, the similar sized speckles that are found are highlighted in red and you are prompted to accept the selection set of what it is about to clean up.

MANUAL TOUCH UP – You may need to manually touch up the drawing. For this, the “Touchup” tool allows you to manually erase or draw sections of the image similar to Microsoft Paint allows you to draw with a few pixels at a time.


  • Toggle the color of the “Touchup” tool to either black or white by clicking  “Toggle drawing color”
  • The shape of the brush can be defined by the tools on the left side of the tool bar.
  • The angle of the brush is also defined on the 3rd tool from the left
  • The size of the brush can be changed by clicking the button shown below. This will let you define the size by either dragging a window or by entering a number.



To exit the Touchup tool, use the buttons on the toolbar to CANCEL or OK to accept the edits.

Exit Touchup tool


CONVERT PIXELATED LINES TO VECTOR LINES – This allows you to make edits with your familiar AutoCAD commands. In the example below I only show how to use the tool that recognizes lines. There are other tools that recognize arcs, circles, polylines and rectangles.

On the “Vectorize & Recognize Text” panel, click the “Primitives” drop-down and then select “Line”

Vecortize Lines


  • Place the cursor within a line in the image. If the line is recognized, a dashed line will appear that has a little yellow arrow (glyph). To accept this, hit <enter> and the pixelated line will be turned into an AutoCAD line and the pixelated line will be erased.



When using this to recognize lines that should meet at their corners, it may not work as precisely as you’d like, but you can clean them up by using FILLET with a ZERO radius.

You may also need to use the Touchup tool to clean up left over pixels…

Raster Line Cleanup 2


Once the edits have been made, you will need to plot the drawing but the AutoCAD lines will look so different from the rest of the image. To change the AutoCAD lines back into “Raster” simply select the AutoCAD objects and then right click > select “Merge Vector To Raster Image”

Vector to Ratser 1


The AutoCAD objects will now match the Raster objects in the image

Vector to Raster 2


MANAGING THE IMAGE FILE (EMBED) – When you bring an image into a drawing, AutoCAD treats the image as a reference. that means that there will be 2 files needed in order for someone else to see the same thing that you see. Luckily, you can easily embed the image so that it is in the .dwg file so you only need to send someone the one file.

On the “Insert & Write” panel, click the “EMBED” tool and in one click, the image is now embedded in your drawing.

Embed the Picture into the drawing


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 Raster Design. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Raster Design Quick Start

  1. Renato Donato Viana says:

    Excellent tutorial. Congratulations.
    I hope to continue with more information about AutoCAD Raster Design.
    Renato Donato

  2. Autocad Training Institute says:

    Nice Tutorial on Autocad Thanks For Sharing It

  3. David says:

    Will Raster Design 2014 work with Autcad Civil 3d 2010 64?

  4. Jesse says:

    Does Raster Design allow you to insert PDF’s?

  5. ramyaprakash says:

    how to convert the layout into raster image(pixels)?
    the layout in the form of 2d planning

  6. ramyaprakash says:

    can we use autocad 2015 civil and autocad raster image 2015 ?
    can you explain in details step by step? please reply as soon as possible

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I don’t know why it wouldn’t work. If you already have Civil 3D installed it should make a new desktop icon that says “Raster Design on Civil 3D 2015”

      If not, try re-installing it or simply partially loading the raster design CUI

  7. Nick says:

    Do you have any good sources of instruction for using the Image ~ Edit ~ Remove tool? Thanks.

  8. Jennie says:

    This was exactly what I needed! Thanks

  9. James says:

    You are working in two files. One is drawing.dwg and another is image.jpg. When you use raster image in AutoCAD on image.jpg, are you modifying the file image.jpg?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      You can do either.
      Once you have imported the image in Raster Design you can use the EMBED command and the image will be part of the drawing and no longer associated with the image file.
      The other way is when you are working on a file after an image has been imported and you do your periodic save (like a good drafter) you will be prompted if you would like to update the image that resides on your computer. I think you can have the option to choose NO and continue (but I could be wrong…)

  10. ken says:

    can i use raster design for autocad 10

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Do you mean AutoCAD R10 that was released in 1988? or AutoCAD 2010?
      I believe that the first release of Raster Design was Available for AutoCAD 2005
      The thing about Raster Design is that it is only compatible with the corresponding AutoCAD version (AutoCAD 2010 with Raster Design 2010).

  11. jnry says:

    Hi.. Can i ask if how to make the text or line clear after you merge vector to raster image?
    Cause after i merge my text or line seems to be pixelated or unclear.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Have you tried the OCR tool on the Raster ribbon?
      It is located on the “Vectorize & Rectorize Text” tab. The you define a box around the area that you want to have the text converted.

      If you have done this and then vectorized it afterwards, try the command IOPTIONSPAGE and under the “Image Defaults” tab, change the DPI to 600 Instead of 300


    • EJK says:

      When Converting text to raster, Experiment with Different Fonts & # of Pixels,
      depending on what end result you are looking for.
      Sometimes it is Faster to rewrite the text in a Font that suits your purpose rather than “Training” the OCR.

  12. Chokchai says:

    Is this (raster design) a plug in program for autocad ?

  13. abubaker says:


  14. Joe says:

    If i want to overlapp a cadastral image to a cadastral cad drawing using autocad raster what should i do?

  15. Prakash Desai says:

    Is there a 2016 Raster Design User Guide? Is so can you provide us link, thanks

  16. Rob S. says:

    Prakash – I had the same issue locating the Raster Design help file. If Raster Design 2016 is installed on your system, the “Getting Started” guide should already be installed. Just look for ard_gsg.chm within the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD Raster Design 2016\Getting Started Guide folder.

  17. Alfredo Acosta Gomez says:


  18. Melissa Escamilla says:

    Is it possible to use regular text and merge into the raster image?

  19. Bipin Yadav says:

    sir how covert vector to raster & raster to vectot

  20. Bipin Yadav says:

    in 2016 autocad version

  21. g seshashayana says:

    hi sir i want to re draw my scanned tracing map in raster. how can i draw the same map with OCR tools

  22. ANANDHA says:

    How to “replace object color” in all different AutoCAD drawings in a folder without opening all drawings..

  23. ken bogard says:

    is this applicable in Autocad 2016 as well

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