Create a new file from a DXF file

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The DXF import function allows you to transfer an entire front panel from a DXF file to an FPD file. You can also use the DXF import to import just the outer contour or just the inner counters (drill holes and cut-outs) of a front panel.

DXF file requirements

It must be a 2D file.

Since the largest closed contour of the DXF file is the one generally identified as the outer contour, the drawing must not include any drawing frames or something similar. It is also not possible to select the desired front panel from several front panels in a DXF file during import.

Normally, the DXF file should contain the entire front panel. It should not contain any other objects.

If the file contains labels that are to be imported, the text must be formatted as paths.

Call the function

From the menu bar, select File > Import and load the desired DXF file from your directory. The DXF import assistant will open automatically. There are two steps to importing a front panel: In the first dialogue box, you determine how the content of the DXF file is to be interpreted and define various other options. In the second dialogue box, you can select which of the identified elements in the FPD file are to be imported.

DXF-Import Assistant - Options

DXF import assistant – options dialogue box

In most cases, the DXF import assistant recognises units of measurement in the DXF file (mm or inches) and imports them. If the units cannot be recognised, you will be prompted to enter them in manually.

Enter the scale found in the drawing in the DXF file here. The front panel is scaled accordingly so that it is produced in the correct size.

Note: The options selected here do not decide which parts of the DXF file are ultimately imported. Instead, you indicate to the import assistant what is contained in the DXF file. This influences the milling elements in the next step.

Entire front panel

The drawing in the DXF file displays the entire front panel. Normally, this is an outer contour plus its ‘inner workings’ in the form of drill holes, cut-outs and, if necessary, further milling elements, some of which are nested within each other, as well as labels. However, if the file contains several elements that are not framed by the same outer contour, the largest contour found in the drawing is identified as the outer contour of the front panel. Only this recognised front panel will be imported. Elements found outside this contour are ignored.

Panel contour only

The largest contour of the DXF file is imported as a front panel outline. With the exception of open contours that can be imported as non-produced elements (optional), any further contours contained in the file are not imported.

Inner contours only

Select this option if the DXF file only contains the drill holes, cavities, cut-outs and so on in the front panel but not the outer contour of the panel.

Note: A new file is only generated using this option if no front panel file is open. If a front panel file is open, the inner contours are imported into that file.

Close gaps

If the DXF file contains lines that should be closed but are not due to inaccuracies (gaps or self-intersections), you can choose to tolerate these inaccuracies and close the affected contours. You can define the error tolerance at which this should occur in the Tolerance value field.

Import as non-produced elements

Milling elements cannot be generated from open contours. However, they can be imported as non-produced elements, that is, as non-produced HPGL engraving elements.

Tip: You can undo the ‘Do not produce’ option in the FPD file at a later stage to engrave or print these elements. That way, you can import labels as long as long as they use a single-line font and are formatted as paths


Open contours will not be imported.

Activating this option will cause contours that match standard elements in Front Panel Designer to be recognised. These standard elements are created during import. This has the advantage that you can continue to edit these elements in the corresponding property dialogue boxes in Front Panel Designer.

The following elements are recognised:



Drill hole



Rectangular cut-out

Circle in circle


Circle-in-circle cavity

Rectangle in rectangle


Rectangle in rectangle cavity

All other closed contours are categorised as free contour elements and inserted as free contours in the FPD file.

DXF-Import Assistent - Element Recognition

DXF import assistant – element recognition dialogue box

At this stage, you will be shown a preview as well as the results of the defined properties. You can select which elements should be imported into the FPD file.


The recognised elements are displayed together with the original contours from the DXF file (red dashed line), so that you can detect any deviations.

Element tree:

The elements in the element tree are sorted by category. Elements of similar type and size are grouped together. You can highlight an element in the preview display with a colour by clicking the corresponding row. To exclude an element from the import, click on the checkbox of the respective element.

Note: You can also deselect the front panel itself in the element tree (with either the Entire front panel or Only outer contour options). In this case, a new file is only generated if no front panel file is open. If a front panel file is open, the selected elements are imported into this front panel as inner contours.

Further editing following import

Import of a complete front panel: After you have completed the import by clicking Finish, the Front panel properties dialogue box opens. All further changes to the front panel’s settings – in particular material thickness – are made here (see Basic Shape, dimensions etc.). You can continue to edit the imported elements after the FPD file has been created.

The imported elements can be processed immediately following the import.

You can continue to edit the recognised elements from the DXF import assistant by opening the properties dialogue box (double-click on the desired element). Cut-outs can be converted to cavities and vice versa (right-click on the element > Context menu > Convert element).

Note: Cavities are generated without depth initially. After the import, please enter the desired depth in the cavity’s properties dialogue box (double-click on the cavity).

Reference point

The imported file’s reference point is the front panel’s bottom-left corner or, if the front panel is not right-angled, the bottom-left corner of the unrotated rectangle enclosing it.

If there is no outer contour in the DXF file, the origin of the DXF file is defined as the reference point of the imported file.