QCAD 3 Release - Command Line Tools

The new QCAD 3 release contains not only the QCAD 3 application but also three command line tools: dwg2pdf, dwg2svg and dwg2bmp.

These three command line tools convert your drawings automatically to PDF documents, SVG drawings or bitmap files. Of course you can also export drawings to these formats using the QCAD user interface, but the command line tools can be much more efficient if you need to convert a whole lot of drawings.

Command line tools are also often used in a server environment where the user interface is part of a web site. This can for example be used to deliver a preview file (e.g. PNG or JPEG) for a drawing on a server.

Linux and Windows users can find the command line tools in the same directory as the QCAD executable. Under Mac OS X, the command line tools are inside the QCAD.app application bundle under ./Contents/Resources.

The basic usage for all three tools is to give it an input file as command line argument. The output file will be generated with the same base name but the appropriate file extension. For example:

dwg2svg mydrawing.dwg

This creates the file mydrawing.svg.

Various command line options are available to write to a different file name / location or specify the details of the conversion. For example to create a PNG bitmap called preview.png using antialiasing, a white background and a resolution of 10 pixels per drawing unit, use the following command:

dwg2bmp -b white -a -r 10 -o preview.png mydrawing.dwg

A list of the supported arguments is available with the -h option, e.g.:

dwg2bmp -h

The same information is also available on our web site at:



QCAD 3 Release - Multipage Printing

The final version of QCAD 3 has been released last week!

In this blog article, I want to put the spotlight on one of the new features of QCAD 3 which might not get your attention right away: multipage printing.

QCAD 3 allows you to print a drawing on multiple pages at any desired scale. The printed pages can then be stitched, glued or taped together to a poster. One can also print cross hairs at the corners of each page for easier alignment. The page margins can be increased to create an overlap between the pages.

This is especially useful to print templates for sewing or cutting in real size.

The example screenshot at the right shows the print preview of a floor plan that is being printed at a scale of 1:100 on 8 sheets of paper.

To print your drawing at a given scale on multiple pages, simply follow these four steps:

  1. Load your drawing and switch to the print preview (File - Print Preview).
  2. Choose the desired scale in the options tool bar at the top or enter the desired scale factor.
  3. Click the button to automatically add as many pages as required to print the whole drawing:

    Depending on the exact format of your drawing, switching the page orientation and clicking this button again might save you some paper.
  4. Print the drawing (or export it as PDF for reviewing, sharing or later printing).

You can enable crop marks (cross hairs for easy alignment) in the drawing preferences under Edit - Drawing Preferences - Printing - Multi Pages - Print crop marks. If you print a drawing on many pages (and you don't like to solve puzzles) you might also want to print Page Tags which act as identifiers for every page (e.g. B3 is printed on the page in the second column, third row). Page tags can be enabled under Edit - Drawing Preferences - Printing - Page Tags.

You can download a PDF of the above example with crop marks and page tags enabled from here:



QCAD 3 Released

I am pleased to announce the final release of QCAD 3!

After almost 4 years of planning and development, this is a major update of QCAD.

QCAD 2 users shouldn't have any problems to adapt to QCAD 3. The user friendly and much liked user interface which separates QCAD from the rest is of course still present in QCAD 3, with only minor changes.

At the very heart of this update is the new, powerful scripting interface of QCAD 3. Although you will not see much of this as a regular user, it changes the way how new tools can be developed for QCAD and will have a big impact on the future development of QCAD. As a result of this, we will see new features, tools and even new applications being developed at a rapid speed.

Over the course of the next days, I will post various articles to this blog to put some of the most interesting new features of QCAD 3 into the spotlight:

  • Multipage printing
  • Command line tools (dwg2bmp, dwg2pdf, dwg2svg)
  • SVG export and import
  • The new property editor
  • The new part library browser
  • Working with selection modes
  • Scripting with QCAD 3

The QCAD book has also been updated to reflect the various changes and cover some of the new tools and features. The updated book is available as of today in English and German (the French translation is still work in progress).


QCAD 3 Nearing Final Release

I'm happy to announce that QCAD 3 is nearing its final release. The latest release candidate (QCAD 3 RC5) has proven to be stable on all supported platforms (Windows, Mac OS X and Linux) and we're now updating the books and e-books to reflect the new QCAD 3 looks and features.

If you are using the current stable release of QCAD (2.2), you are encouraged to try out QCAD 3 RC5. The two versions can be installed in parallel like separate software packages.

Although the final version of QCAD 3 has not been released just yet, I feel that this is a good moment for brief glimpse of what the future holds. The QCAD 3 release will be the beginning of a couple of new developments:

  • There will be new versions of CAM Expert based on QCAD 3. We already have a basic CAD to CAM converter with path optimization and simple simulation but there's certainly more to come.
  • There will also be a new release of the Open Source QCAD Community Edition, also based on QCAD 3. More about that will be revealed in a separate posting... stay tuned!
  • Several new tools based on the QCAD 3 framework can be expected. One tool we have in the pipeline generates variations of CAD blocks and symbols from existing drawings for example to create a complete set of DIN parts (think screws, nuts, flanges, etc).
  • Last but not least, QCAD 3 and the QCAD 3 Application Framework will of course continue to evolve. We have received a lot of feedback and feature requests which we will begin to process after the QCAD 3 release. Many thanks for all user input - it is highly appreciated. Feel free to add your own wishes!


New Web Site

QCAD has a new web site!

In the midst of the major QCAD 3 update (which is still ongoing), we were forced by our web space provider to update to a new server system which broke some major parts of our web site.

We took this as an opportunity to update our web site and in the process make it easier to keep it up to date. As a result, there are some changes and improvements you may notice:

  • We have a new forum which finally allows for attachments. The contents and user accounts of the old forum have been ported to the new forum.
  • The online shop was updated to a more modern and simpler system. We are no longer using Zen Cart but PrestaShop instead. All existing user accounts remain the same.
  • The rest of the web site is now based on Joomla. This will allow us to update and add contents more easily and as a result more frequently.
  • There is now a simple blog (you are looking at it). This blog will be the primary platform to write about what is currently happening with QCAD and related technologies.

I'm looking forward to use this new web platform to take QCAD to yet another level!