The Import option located in the File menu provides options for reading data in, from other applications.

Formats include those that read facetted data as well as precise curve, surface, and solid data.


The following import file formats are supported:


Imports a SharkCAD file into the application. Import will merge the file with the existing file. Use Open to read the file into a new window.

3MF Import

The 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) is a 3D printing format that allows design applications to send full fidelity 3D models to other applications, platforms, services, and printers.

Highlights of the ViaCAD implementation are listed below:

—Supports UNIT description flag

—Color Attributes

—Textures (PNG, JPG) & UV Coordinates

—Support for full color 3D Printing

3D Studio

The 3D Studio file import reads .3ds files. 3DS is a facetted file format developed in support of the

Studio Max application. The following import options are supported:

Group faces

Creates a group entity that includes facets.

Smooth normals

Smooths the normals of facets that have shared vertices and edges.


ACIS® SAT is a precise format for curves, surfaces, and solids. SAT is the format used by a variety of applications that support the ACIS® kernel developed by Spatial Technology. Typically SAT is the preferred choice for importing data into the application. Since ACIS® is the primary kernel, there is no translation required and data integrity is very high. There are no import options for this file format.

Tip: There are several applications that generate SAT data that need to be checked for integrity. This is because these systems don't actually use ACIS® and are manually recreating SAT data. In many cases these systems don't adhere to the precision tolerances associated with ACIS®. One such example is SAT files from Rhino. To avoid downstream problems with SAT files not generated from

ACIS® we recommend you use the Verify:Check Object tool on this data. If there are problems found (usually tolerance related), use the Heal or Repair option to correct.


ACIS® SAB is binary representation of the ACIS SAT file.

Import PDF and Adobe Illustrator®

Importing PDF and Adobe Illustrator files is now possible using the File : Import tools.

Highlights of the Importing PDF and Adobe IllustratorTool:

—Support for lines, arcs, circles, splines, and polygons

—Support for text

—Dimensions supported as exploded text, polygons, and lines


Support for reading any native .PDF file.

Adobe Illustrator:

Provides support for reading native .AI files that are based on PDF which is version 9 and greater. Earlier versions are based on the EPS format.


Import PDF and Adobe Illustrator


Group curve segs

Creates a group entity enclosing segments from the same poly curve segment.

Polygon from fill

Creates a polygon entity from Illustrator fill type objects.

Join Curve Segments

Joins multiple curves into one continuous curve. Used only when adjoining curves are tangent and position continuous.

Adobe Photoshop (Mac Only)

This option imports a Photoshop file based on the .psd file extension.

AutoDesk Inventor parts and assemblies

Inventor assemblies are placed in unique layers defined by the original part name.


The BMP file format reads bit mapped image files. This type of file is useful for sketching data on top of scanned images. There are no import options for this file format.

CATIA® V4 (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

The CATIA® V4 will import files from Dassault Systems CATIA® application. This functionality is available on both Mac and PC platforms. This will import version 4 CATIA® files. There are no import options for this file format.

CATIA® V5 (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

CATIA V5, R6-R19, parts and models are now supported, for PC only. Extensions

include: .CATPart, .CATProduct, .cgr. The CATIA V5 translator preserves layers and part colors.


SharkCAD supports importing DWG or DXF data files through 2020. The DWG and DXF file format was created by AutoDesk as a means to share modeling and annotation data with their AutoCAD® application. DXF files contain the same information as a DWG file, the only difference is that DXF is ASCII, whereas DWG is binary. The following import options are supported:

DWG and DXF Layers

Provides three checkboxes for handling of imported layer names.


Creates equivalent layers when checked. If not checked all geometry is placed into the current work layer.

Create Empty

Creates layer names even if they are empty of geometry.

Display All

Displays all layers after importing the file.

DWG and DXF File Units

Presents a pull down menu for specifying the file units. This is needed by DWG and DXF files, which do not support a unit setting in the format definition.

V12 continues to update compatibility with the popular AutoCAD DWG file format.


DWG Paper Space and Viewports

AutoCAD files support two drawing areas which include model space and paper space. All modeling is typically done in model space. Paper space is an area typically used to organize data for printing. The paper space sections of a DWG file may contain title blocks and annotations that are associated with the model. Paper space also contains Viewports, which define a viewing region and orientation of the geometry located in model space.

This application supports importing paper space and Viewports through layers and draw views. Paper space sections of the file are organized into layers and sublayers which preserves not only the separation of data from model data but preserves the layer organization of the original file. Viewports, the ability to look at specific regions of model data, are also preserved precisely through the use of draw views which, like Viewports, view regions and orientations of model data.

The export tools such as Adobe Illustrator, DWG, and DXF also preserve the model and paper space data by maintaining layers on export. Since Viewports are not generally supported in many graphic applications, Viewports are exploded or flattened into 2D for increased interoperability support.


This format imports an encapsulated postscript file (EPS). There are no options for this file format.


This file format imports an ASCII file defined by Lockheed and supported by the U.S. Department of Defense. It was created to support sharing of facetted data with normals and material color codings for analysis programs. There are no import options for this file format.


This file format is used by the Electric Images Animation System.


This option imports files with the .gif extension.

Grid Surface

Imports an x m array of points to create a NURBS surface. There are no import options for this file format.


IGES stands for the Initial Graphics Exchange Specification. IGES is an industry standard format used to share precise CAD data that includes annotation, curves, surfaces, and limited solid modeling data. The following import options are supported:


This drop-down provides options for Generic, AutoCAD®, and SolidWorks®. Typically you should leave this at Generic. If you’re sharing data between AutoCAD® you should consider using DXF, DWG or SAT. SharkCAD is one of the few applications that supports the precise surfaces and solids embedded in the DWG and DXF file formats. For SolidWorks® you should consider exporting SAT.

Trim Curve Options

This drop-down provides options for specifying the method used to handle trimmed surfaces. The three methods include Follow the File, Use 2D, and Use 3D. If the Follow the File method is set, the IGES translator will examine and use the flag specified by the exporting system in the IGES file. The Use 2D option will rebuild the 3D trim curves from the 2D parametric data. The Use 3D option will rebuild the 2D trim information from the 3D trim curves.

Auto Heal

The Auto Heal option will automatically detect groups of closed surfaces and create solids. If there are small gaps, this option will attempt to repair these problems.

Inventor (SharkCAD Pro Windows only)

AutoDesk Inventor parts and assemblies are supported. Inventor (.ipt) versions 6-11, and Inventor Assembly (.iam) version 11.


This option will import a JPEG format into the current drawing. There is an option available on the Inspector for imported JPG files which allows you to set a transparent background for tracing.


The Macro File Import will read and process a list of textual commands. The commands provide options to create and manipulate geometry.

Command Parameters Comments
$$ Signifies a comment string
#Line X1,Y1,Z1, X2,Y2,Z2 Start and end point
#Arc X1,Y1,Z1, Radius Center and radius
Move BodyId, X1,Y1,Z1, X2,Y2,Z2 Moves a body a vector
RotateX BodyId, X1,Y1,Z1, Angle Rotates a body about the x axis at given
RotateY BodyId, X1,Y1,Z1, Angle Rotates a body about the y axis at given
RotateZ BodyId, X1,Y1,Z1, Angle Rotates a body about the z axis at given
#Subtract BodyId 1, BodyId 2 Subtracts Body2 from Body1
#Intersect BodyId 1, BodyId 2 Intersects Body2 with Body1
#Union BodyId 1, BodyId 2 Adds Body2 with Body1
#Extrude BodyId, Height, Angle Creates an extruded body assigning it
BodyId from the recently created curves.
Extrusion distance is along z axis.
#Resolve BodyId, X1,Y1,Z1, X2,Y2,Z2, Angle Creates a revolved body assigning it
BodyId from the recently created curves.
Angle is the amount the profile is
revolved about the axis specified from the
two points.

NX (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

Imports .prt file from NX version 1 to 9.

Parasolids (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

Imports .x_t and .x_b versions 10.0 thorugh 26.01.211.


This option imports files of the Portable Document Format.

PICT (Macintosh® only)

PICT is the Apple format for bit images. This option is only available on Macintosh® computers. There are no import options for this file format.


This option imports files of the Portable Network Graphics format.

ProE® (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

This option provides support for PTC Pro/E parts (.prt) and assemblies (.asm). This includes support from Wildfire 4 and earlier. Pro/E import is supported on both the Mac and PC platforms. File extensions include: .prt, .prt, .asm, .asm, .xpr, .xas.

Punch! Objects

Imports a Punch! object file into the application. Import will merge the file with the existing file. Use Open to read the file into a new window.

Rhino 3DM

This option supports importing Rhino 2.0 and 3.0 files. Rhino is a NURBS surface modeler. Files are imported using the OpenNurbs library which preserves the NURBS features of 3dm files. The Rhino 3dm import option is supported on both Mac and PC. There are three options for importing 3dm data. These options are needed to deal with the potentially less accurate Rhino data. The following import options are supported:

Use 2D Trim Curves

Use the 2D trimming data to recreate the 3D curves for trimmed surfaces.

Use 3D Trim Curves

Use the 3D trim curves to recreate the 2D curves for trimmed surfaces.

Auto Heal Solids

Converts closed volumes of surfaces into solids. In addition, the resulting bodies are checked and repaired for possible geometry or topology errors.


This option reads data from the SketchUp modeling application. It will import SketchUp files (.skp) from version 2020 or earlier. SketchUp data consists of planar data only. Data is converted into planar surface object files.

SolidWorks (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

This option imports .sldpart and .sldasm models from Solidworks.

SolidEdge (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

This option imports .par,.asm, and .models from SolidEdge version V18 through ST6.


spline import option will read an ASCII file containing x, y, z values as a spline. There are no import options for this file format.


The new SVG Import provides an alternative to using the Adobe Illustrator format for sharing vector based (scalable) graphics.

Note: For importing SVG files from Adobe Illustrator use a unit setting of mms(or inch) and a DPI setting of 72 to get the correct scale.


STEP is considered the replacement file format to IGES. STEP is a newer industry standard format with respect to IGES and is used to share precise CAD data that includes annotation, curves, surfaces, and solid modeling data. The following import option is supported:

Check Object

There is one option for importing STEP files, which is Check Object. Turning this option on will closely examine each object for tolerances that adhere to the ACIS® kernel. If any issues are detected, this will attempt to repair the problems.


This import option reads STL formatted files. STL is a triangular facet format used in the rapid prototyping industry. The following import options are supported:

STL FileUnits

Presents a pull down menu for specifying the file units.


The text import file will read text strings from an ASCII formatted file and create text entities. There are no import options for this file format.


This option imports a file with the TIFF format.

Truespace COB

This import format supports reading in of Truespace COB files. This file format supports facetted data and color attributes. There are no import options for this file format.

VDA (SharkCAD Pro Windows Only)

VDA-FS is a CAD data exchange format for the transfer of surface models from one CAD system to another. The name stands for “Verband der Automobilindustrie - Flächenschnittstelle”, which translates to the “organization of the automotive industry - surface translation format”. This file format standard was specified by the German organization VDA. VDA-FS has since been superseded by STEP, ISO 10303.

Wavefront OBJ

WaveFront OBJ is widely used when dealing with graphics technology. This file format allows you to import colors, names, texture coordinates, and normals. Importing texture coordinates is particularly useful for producing smooth renderings by preserving the original NURB.

Collada Support (DAE)

Collada (COLLAborative Design Activity) is a facet based exchange format identified with the .dae filename extension. This format does not support curves or textures.