Saving Documents In Other Formats

This task shows you how to save a document in a format different from the original one.
  1. Select File > Save As.

  2. In the Save As dialog box, select the location of the document to be saved.

  3. Click the Save as type: list.

  4. Select the document type from the list displayed. The list of available formats varies according to your working context. For detailed information on all possible formats, refer to the list in Opening Existing Documents.

    The Save As dialog box also lets you rename or delete the selected file or folder via the Rename or Delete contextual command but note that:
    • after clicking Delete, a confirmation dialog box appears: click OK to delete the selected item
    • when renaming a file or a folder, if the new name you entered is already used, the item is not renamed and a warning message is displayed.
  5. Click Save to save the document in the chosen format.


More about other formats



General information

The Save as type: list displays the 3dxml type for saving .CATProduct, .CATPart, .CATProcess and .CATDrawing documents in 3D XML format.
Starting from R17 SP5, a new format (known as "V4") of 3D XML is saved but opening older versions of 3D XML is still supported. Therefore, if you open a V3 3DXML file (saved from R17 GA, for example), and save it in R18, the 3D XML file is saved in the new format.

If a non-leaf node contains a geometrical representation, then the sub-assembly is not saved into the resulting 3D XML. Only the leaf-node with the geometrical representation will be saved.

A 3D XML file containing a dynamic tessellation in Version 5 cannot be resaved to dynamic tessellation format. Static tessellation is used instead and a warning message is displayed.


When saving a CATProduct as a 3D XML document, three formats are available for the geometry:

  • Static tessellation: compressed triangular mesh with static accuracy
  • Dynamic tessellation: compressed representation containing a rough triangular mesh that can be refined when zooming in to discover details of the geometry
  • XML tessellation: lets you export geometry as 3D XML Mesh. This format is intended to provide a light visualization format for 3DForAll and some simplifications are made when saving a file (e.g. faces of bodies are grouped by color in a single face).
    Some functionalities such as DMU measure, section, etc. may not be supported. Therefore, it is not recommended to use this format when working with advanced DMU scenarios (involving the use of measure or interference functionalities, for instance).

For a description of these formats, refer to the information provided in the 3D XML tab.

Saving a CATProduct in 3D XML format generates a zip file named productname.3dxml (for instance "MyProduct.3dxml"). This zip file contains three compressed files (invisible for the end user): a root file describing the whole assembly, a file named "Manifest.3dxml" indicating the root file name and several files describing the various references instantiated in the assembly.
However, when saving an assembly made of several inserted CATProducts, a single file (with the extension .3dxml) is generated. This file contains both the product structure and the geometry.

When opening or inserting a 3D XML file into a CATProduct, it is recommended to save the file in 3D XML format only. Saving it as a .CATProduct document may create unresolved links.

CATParts can be saved directly in 3D XML format, you do not have to insert the part into a product anymore (but you can still do so if needed). However, note that depending on the objects you save, the number of generated files is not the same:

  • if you save a CATPart inserted into a CATProduct, two files are created: partname.3dxml and productname.3dxml
  • If you save a CATPart with no CATProduct, only one file is created: partname.3dxml. This file can then be open in Version 5 in the Assembly or Product Structure workbench. It can also be inserted as a component in the Product Structure workbench.
Applicative data

The following elements are not yet supported for save into 3D XML:

  • layers and visualization filters. Therefore, elements assigned to layers or onto which visualization filters have been applied cannot be seen in the 3D XML file
  • rendering styles
  • stickers
  • environments
  • turntables
  • mechanisms
  • kinematics
  • .

The applicative data you can save in 3D XML format are detailed below:

  • current viewpoint
  • Show/Hide
  • graphic properties
  • : smoothness information of edges is stored neither in 3D XML Mesh (i.e. Tessellation), nor in Exact format. Therefore, the No smooth edges rendering style applied through the Customize View Mode dialog box has no effect on 3DXML representations saved in these formats
  • if several representations are defined on an instance, only the default one is saved in 3D XML format. Regarding the activation state, the default representation is always saved, whatever the activation status
  • industry-specific extensions (to select the extensions to be exported to 3D XML format, you need to access the 3D XML tab):
    • Design review
    • Animation
    • 3D annotation
    • Work Instructions.

    Refer to the documentations of interest for more information about the above-mentioned extensions.

  • materials (basic and textured):
    • when saving a material that has not been applied as a linked object, material-related information (i.e. rendering properties, mapping type, link to the texture image file, if any, etc.) is given in the MaterialApplication container of the .3dxml file
    • when saving a material applied as a linked object, an additional container named GraphicMaterialSet is created in the .3dxml file and provides information about the link to the original material.

    Refer to the Version 5 - Real Time Rendering User's Guide for more information about materials.



You can save a .CATDrawing document in many formats and the list below only gives a few examples. For an exhaustive list, refer to "File Export and Import" in the Version 5 - Interactive Drafting User's Guide.
However, note that in Small Scale mode (i.e. when Small Scale is selected in Tools > Options > General > Parameters and Measures > Scale), it is not possible to save a .CATDrawing document in external 2D formats (.cgm, .svg, .gl2, .ps, .pdf, .jpg and .tif).

  • HPGL2 format. Note that when saving to this format, a gridding process is applied. By default, the HPGL2 format is defined to encode decimal values with a precision up to 1/40th mm. This implies, for instance, that line extremities might be slightly shifted depending on their approximation on a 1/40th mm spaced grid
  • 3D XML format. Note that when exporting a CATDrawing to 3D XML format, only design sheets are saved and not detail sheets. The .3dxml file contains the view (with its name, position, angle and scale) and the elements (2D geometry, annotations, etc.). The elements are saved in a graphical format
  • SVG (.svg)
    Before using File > Save As, you need to access the Graphic Formats tab to define the parameters to be applied when saving your document in .svg format
  • JPEG (*.jpg)
  • PDF (*.pdf)
    By default, saving a .CATDrawing document in PDF format generates as many .pdf files as sheets. Each file name is suffixed with "_Sheet_sheetnumber.pdf", e.g. "MyDrawing_Sheet_1.pdf", "MyDrawing_Sheet_2.pdf", etc.
    If you want the Save As command to generate a single .pdf file containing all the sheets of your CATDrawing document, select the Save multisheet document in a single vectorial file check box in the Graphic Formats tab. There is no need to export the SAVE_AS_ONE_PDF variable anymore.
    You can also save a .CATDrawing document containing OpenType fonts (OTF). OpenType fonts contained in the .CATDrawing documents are embedded as a true type font definition in the generated .pdf file.
    For more information on the OpenType font format, refer to Customizing Fonts for Displaying Geometry Area Texts.
    Note for .pdf documents generated with Adobe Acrobat 7.0: when such documents are inserted in a CATDrawing, the horizontal/vertical ratio is not kept when dragging the mouse to perform a selection.
  • TIFF format
    However, this functionality requires external settings to be defined either by setting or exporting environment variables, or by editing an external configuration file.
    The environment variables you need to set or export are detailed hereafter:
PRINT_CAPTURE_RASTERFORMAT Raster format TIFF True color uncompressed
TIFFTCPB True color PackBits compressed
TIFFINDEX Indexed (256 colors) uncompressed
TIFFPB Indexed (256 colors) PackBits compressed
TIFFGREY Greyscale PackBits compressed
TIFFBWPB Bilevel (black and white) PackBits compressed
TIFFG4 Bilevel G4 Fax compression
PRINT_CAPTURE_DPI DPI value 0.0 < DPI <= 450.0        (default is 150.0)
PRINT_SETTING_PATH External path name for print/capture settings


The file e:\temp\CATPrint.ini will be used as configuration file.

PRINT_CAPTURE_MODE Save mechanism PRINT The file is saved using a print mechanism. For instance, when saving a Drafting document in TIFF format, only the sheet will be saved and not the grid and the elements outside the sheet.
TILED The file is saved using a capture mechanism. For instance, when saving a Drafting document in TIFF format, the grid and the sheet border will be saved.

To export a variable, run the following command:

set variable_name=variable_value  (e.g. set PRINT_CAPTURE_DPI=200)  (on Windows)


export variable_name=variable_value  (e.g. export PRINT_CAPTURE_DPI=200)  (on UNIX)

To set a variable, refer to Customizing Your Environment on Windows or Customizing Your Environment on UNIX, according to your operating system.

The configuration file is named CATPrint.ini and is located by default in a temporary directory. To modify the default location, use the PRINT_SETTING_PATH environment variable as explained above.

Below is a syntax example of the configuration file to save a TIFF CCITT Grp4/T6 compression file at 200.0 DPI from a .CATDrawing document:

// Print configuration file
// ------------------------
// For RASTERFORMAT (ALL TIFF: Other for internal use)
// "TIFF" * True color uncompressed TIFF file.</dd>
// "TIFFTCPB" * True color PackBits compressed TIFF file.</dd>
// "TIFFINDEX" * Indexed (256 colors) uncompressed TIFF file.</dd>
// "TIFFPB" * Indexed (256 colors) PackBits compressed TIFF file.</dd>
// "TIFFGREY" * Grey scale PackBits compressed TIFF file.</dd>
// "TIFFBWPB" * Bilevel (black and white) PackBits compressed TIFF file.</dd>
// "TIFFG4" * Bilevel G4 Fax compression

  • When saving a large .CATDrawing document with a high resolution (i.e. > 250.0 DPI), memory and CPU consumption increase very quickly. As a consequence, generating such a raster output may be impossible on low system environments unless you work with an optimized configuration (CPU + memory).
  • When saving a .CATDrawing document in a vector (cgm, .svg, .pdf, etc.) or raster format (.tif, .jpg, etc.), text in white color is displayed in a black color in the saved file because the Print white vectors in black option (a print setting) is automatically activated. If you do no want the text in white to appear in the saved document, use File > Print, access the Options dialog box and clear the Print white vectors in black option.


As far as STL format files are concerned, they cannot be saved using the Save As command when working in Wireframe mode. The reason is that STL files are generated from the visualization tesselation and tesselation triangles are not available when switching to Wireframe mode.