Save Drawings to Previous Drawing File Formats

You can save a drawing in a format compatible with previous versions of the product.

You can save a drawing created with the current release of the program in a format compatible with previous versions. This process creates a drawing with information specific to the current release stripped out or converted to another object type.

If you use the current release to open a drawing created with a previous release, and you do not add any information specific to the current release, you can then save the drawing in the format of the previous release without loss of data.

NoteTo use files with AutoCAD Release 12 or AutoCAD LT Release 2, save the drawing using the AutoCAD R12/LT2 DXF option.

If you need to keep a drawing created in a previous release in its original format, either mark the file as read-only, or open it in the current release and use the File Type options in the Save As dialog box to save it in its original format.

Because saving a drawing in an earlier release format may cause some data loss, be sure to assign a different name to avoid overwriting the current drawing. If you overwrite the current drawing, you can restore the overwritten version from the backup file (filename.bak) that is created during the saving process.

Maintain Associativity in Dimensions

Associative dimensions created in AutoCAD 2002 or later generally maintain their associativity when saved to a previous release and then reopened in the current release. However, if you modify dimensioned objects using a previous release to the extent that new objects are formed, the dimension associations change when the drawing is loaded into the current release. For example, if a line that was dimensioned is trimmed so that an interior portion of the line is removed, two line objects result and the associated dimension applies to only one of the line objects.

Dimension associativity is not maintained when a drawing is saved as an AutoCAD R12/LT 2 DXF file and then reopened in the current release.

Save Drawings with Large Objects

Drawings saved to a legacy drawing file format (AutoCAD 2007 or earlier) do not support objects greater than 256MB. For more information about saving drawings that contain large objects to a previous release, see Maintain Compatibility with Large Object Limits.

Limitations of Saving to Earlier Versions

Saving a drawing in Release 2000/LT 2000 format is subject to the following limitations:

  • File size can increase.
  • Encryption and digital signatures are not preserved.

Saving a drawing in Release 14/LT 98/LT 97 format is subject to the following limitations:

  • Hyperlinks are converted to Release 14/LT 98/LT 97 attached URLs.
  • Database links and freestanding labels are converted to Release 14/LT 98/LT 97 links and displayable attributes.
  • Database attached labels are converted to multiline text and leader objects, and their link information is not available. Attached labels are restored if you open the drawing in AutoCAD 2000 or later.
  • Dynamic block geometry can be redefined independent of the block’s dynamic elements, and the geometry in the block reference is not updated when the drawing is opened in AutoCAD LT 2012 or later.
  • Dimensions created using the DIMARC and DIMJOGGED commands may not retain their original color in Release 14/LT 98/LT 97.

Saving a drawing in Release 12/LT 2 DXF format is subject to the following limitations:

  • Lightweight polylines and hatch patterns are converted to Release 12 polylines and hatch patterns.
  • All solids, bodies, regions, ellipses, leaders, multilines, rays, tolerances, and xlines are converted to lines, arcs, and circles as appropriate.
  • Groups, complex linetypes, OLE objects, and preview images are not displayed.
  • Many objects are lost if you save a drawing as Release 12 and open it in Release 2000/LT 2000 or later.
  • Multiple layouts and layout names are lost. Only the Model tab and the current layout tab are saved.
  • Spaces in the names of layers and other objects are converted to underscores, and their maximum length is 32 characters.
  • DWF or DWFx underlay files attached to drawings cannot be saved to Release 12/LT 2 DXF format.
To save an drawing to a previous release format
  1. Click File menu  Save As.At the Command prompt, enter saveas.
  2. In the Save Drawing As dialog box, in the File Name box, enter a new drawing name.
  3. Under Files of type, select the AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT file format you want.
  4. Click OK.

Optimizes 2D polylines and associative hatches created in AutoCAD LT 95 or earlier.


Customizes the program settings.


Saves the drawing under the current file name or a specified name.


Saves a copy of the current drawing under a new file name.

System Variables

Specifies whether optimized 2D polylines are used.