How to Import Pictures Clearly in AutoCAD

By Christian Hollendonner

Updated February 10, 2017

AutoCAD has made drafting simple and as easy as the click of a mouse.
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AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting program produced by Autodesk. Often, it is necessary to import external references, such as an underlay drawing or picture, into the AutoCAD program in order to draw something specific to a design. The image must be of good quality when imported so that it meshes seamlessly with the rest of the drawing. This is a key concept of the program that can be learned in just a few simple steps. Also, it is imperative to learn this concept in order to produce accurate scaled drawings in AutoCAD.

Open your AutoCAD program by clicking the corresponding desktop link or opening the program from your program files.

Type "Image" into the command bar at the bottom of the screen. You do not have to click or select the command bar because simply starting to type automatically enters your command. Press "Enter" on your keyboard to enter the command once you have typed "Image." You will notice that a small window entitled "External References" will appear after entering the command.

Use the right mouse button to click on the large white portion of the "External References" window. A tab will appear with options that include "Attach DWG," "Attach Image," "Attach DWF" and "Attach DGN." For further reference, this is also the way to attach these other types of files but for now select the option "Attach Image." You will notice that a standard search window will appear, similar to a window used to attach pictures to e-mails.

Browse your computer for the image you want to attach. Select the file of that image in the search window by clicking it once then select "Open". AutoCAD can import any image type including .png, .tif, .jpeg or even .pdf. You will notice that after you click "Open," another window will appear entitled "Image."

Notice that there are three categories in this window: "Insertion Point," "Scale" and "Rotation." In this window you can customize these categories by entering values into the boxes below each category to specify the placement of the image. Also notice that AutoCAD has automatically selected the check box under each category that says "Specify On-Screen." Leave these boxes checked as it is much easier to specify rotation and placement of the image on-screen.

Select "OK" in the "Image" window and you will now have control over the placement of your image. Click to place your image in the desired location. Notice that you can scale the image simply by scrolling your mouse up and down once the image is placed, which is much easier than entering a value without seeing the image relative to the rest of your drawing. If you still want to enter a specific scale value, simply start typing the scale after you have clicked once to place the image.

Rotate the image, if desired, by clicking on the image and typing "Rotate" then hitting "Enter" on your keyboard. Remember that typing at any point automatically enters a command into the command bar. After entering the command, simply specify a base point upon which the image will be rotated by clicking once then rotate the image to the desired angle. Again, you can do this visually on-screen or enter a specific value by typing it in after you select your base point by typing the degree value and hitting "Enter."


Make sure the image you are importing to AutoCAD is high resolution and good quality, before importing, to ensure a better final result.