Overview of Importing Floor Plans and Graphics into Elite Software


A number of Elite Software programs include an optional Drawing Board feature that provides CAD (computer aided drafting). Drawing Board can draw all types of images, but it is most often used for drawing floor plans and ductwork.

Many times an electronic floor plan drawing already exists for a project, and some people wonder whether Elite Software programs can calculate directly from the existing drawing. The answer is no, because the existing drawings are really just a collection of lines and circles. A line for a wall is no different than a line for a duct. There is also no intelligence in those drawings such as glass u-factors, roof and wall insulation values, number of people, etc., that would allow any type of HVAC calculation to be performed.

So are existing floor plan drawings worthless? Not at all. Existing drawings can make creating a new, intelligent floor plan drawing much quicker. While Drawing Board can create intelligent floor plans from scratch, it is faster to draw intelligent plans on top of existing dumb plans. The original plans are just basically used as a template to quickly size and shape the rooms for the new, intelligent floor plan created with Drawing Board.

Once the new, intelligent drawing is created, sufficient information then exists to calculate peak heating and cooling loads and even create a duct system for the floor plan. So while not essential for creating intelligent floor plans with Drawing Board, existing floor plan drawing files can speed up the process, and are worth learning how to handle.

Drawing File Types

The Drawing Board option available in a number of Elite Software programs provides numerous ways to import drawings and graphic images. Many common types of graphic files can be directly imported into a Drawing Board drawing using the "File | Import | Into Drawing" menu selection. These file types include DXF, WMF, EMF, BMP, and JPG. The import of these file types is therefore straightforward, but it does help to view the selection on how to prepare a new "sheet" in Drawing Board for the imported graphic.

Two other popular file types, DWG and PDF, cannot be directly imported into Drawing Board, but there is a simple procedure to capture their graphic content for use in Drawing Board.

DWG Files

DWG files are the primary drawing file type used by AutoCAD and many competitors of AutoCAD. However, many architects and designers are becoming very reluctant to release DWG files of their designs. This is mainly because of fear that the design might be stolen as DWG files are easily modified.

If you are working with someone who can and is willing to provide a DWG file for your use then also ask them to provide you with an equivalent DXF file. A DXF file can always be easily generated from a DWG file, and Drawing Board has a direct import feature for DXF files. See the section on importing DXF files from the Table of Contents (click the "Back to Table of Contents" button at the top of this page).

If you have been provided a DWG file and need to convert it to a DXF file yourself and you don't happen to own a CAD program capable of reading DWG files, then consider downloading a free CAD program such as Cadvance here http://www.cadvance.com/downloads2.htm that can read and create a DXF file from a DWG file.

PDF Files

PDF files have long been the most popular format for passing on text documents. But nowadays, PDF files are also very popular for passing along floor plan drawings. This popularity is because the PDF file cannot be modified and helps to protect the original design documents.

Fortunately, graphic images (mostly floor plans) for use in Elite Software can be obtained from PDF files. This process, in a nutshell, involves doing a screen capture of the PDF graphic to the Windows clipboard, and then pasting from the clipboard into the Drawing Board screen of an Elite Software program. Once pasted, the floor plan image must be stretched vertically and horizontally to bring it into scale. See a detailed demonstration of importing PDF files from the Table of Contents (click the "Back to Table of Contents" button at the top of this page).

Screen Capture of Floor Plan Images

Sometimes a floor plan image is not supplied in any obvious type of file, but is still visible on your computer. The floor plan might have been sent as an embedded image in an email or maybe it can be seen on a web page. Usually, every image is associated with an underlying file. You can right click on an image to see if the computer allows saving the image in a file type that Drawing Board can convert. If so, that is always the best route to take. But if a floor plan image is visible, but simply not able to be saved directly to a file, you can use the Windows Alt+Prt Scrn feature to capture the image to the clipboard and then paste it directly into Drawing Board. This process can be seen in a section available in the Table of Contents (click the "Back to Table of Contents" button at the top of this page).

Digital Photo of a Plan

Sometimes no electronic floor plan image exists for the project you want to draw in Drawing Board. This is particularly true for projects created before the existence of CAD. In cases like that, you are happy if you even have physical prints of the floor plans.

If you have physical prints of a floor plan and you own a digital camera, you can take photos of these prints and those photos in the form of JPG files can be imported and pieced together nicely inside of Drawing Board. This process works amazingly well and can be seen in a section available in the Table of Contents (click the "Back to Table of Contents" button at the top of this page).


An existing floor plan image can greatly speed up the creation of a new, intelligent floor plan in Drawing Board. There are a number of ways to create background floor plan images for use in Drawing Board, and it is ideal to be proficient in all the techniques mentioned above.

However, the most important method to understand and be proficient in concerns the use of PDF files. By far and away, PDF files are the most popular format for passing along floor plans. Carefully review the demo of converting PDF files available in the Table of Contents, and then try converting one yourself. Once you get the hang of it, your productivity using Elite Software programs with the Drawing Board feature will soar.