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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Inserting Images and Removing the Image Frame

In this tip I will show you how to insert images into your drawings and to remove the Image Frames for plotting purposes.  First, we’ll start with identifying a few benefits of using this command.

Three ways to use image files in your AutoCAD drawings:

1. If you have a hardcopy and need to draw it in AutoCAD, there is no faster way than to scan it, insert the image and trace right over it.  I have converted thousands of drawings for my clients and this is the best method for doing so.

2. You need the image in the drawing, but don’t need to convert it to AutoCAD.  This is great for inserting renderings and logos into your drawings.

3. Aerial photo overlays.  This is a popular use of images in AutoCAD.  Save an image from Google Earth and insert it into your drawing to overlay your site layout.

4 ways to insert an Image:

1. Type the command “IMAGEATTACH”

2. Select the “Insert” pull down menu and then select “Raster Image Reference”

3. Bring up the “new” External Reference Dialogue box and select the icon near the upper left corner.  The arrow will pull down a list and you can select “Attach Image”

4. Drag the image from Windows Explorer and drop it into AutoCAD. (Make sure no commands are active).

Once you’ve selected the image, all methods except for the 4th, will bring up the image Dialogue box where you can enter the insertion point, scale and rotation.  If you drag and drop the image, it will ask you for these values at the command line.

When you insert an image, it has a frame around it so you can select it.  When you go to plot your drawing, if you do not want to see the frame, simply type the command “IMAGEFRAME” to set its visibility as follows:

Setting 0 – Image frames are NOT displayed and NOT plotted

Setting 1 – Image frames are BOTH displayed and plotted (default).

Setting 2 – Image frames are displayed but NOT plotted

I hope you found this tip helpful.  Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.


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31 Responses to “Inserting Images and Removing the Image Frame”
  1. Here’s a comment/question I received from Eric in Rhode Island.


    Once again, a fantastic tip.

    Is there a way to selectively leave the image frames on/off? Let’s say that my logo, an inserted image, is something that I want the frame to be off, but my locus map, also an inserted image, I want to leave it on.

    Eric C.

  2. Eric,

    Great question. The system variable controls the frames on all images. The way I handle this situation is to set my IMAGEFRAME = 2 and then draw a rectangle around the image that I want to have a frame.


  3. Eric Colburn says:


    That’s what I’ve been doing also -I was just hoping that there was a better way! This can also be controlled by the MAP menu, IMAGE, TOGGLE FRAMES, for those who would rather use menus.

    Maybe Autodesk could address this in future releases. It seems like a simple solution could be implemented that would eliminate all of the extra work (not that it’s that bad, but it adds up) in having to manually draw boxes around your images.

    With larger computer memory, faster processors and graphic cards, bigger hard-drives and more availability online, images are more and more playing a larger role in design and plan production.

  4. NCA says:

    If your logo is part of your title block and your title block is an AutoCAD block with or without attributes in it, try to edit your title block and put a frame on your logo and assign a lineweight and/or color if you want to. The next time you insert your title block, you can turn off the image frame anytime without affecting the frame of your logo or making a rectangular frame on your logo everytime you start a new drawing. This is just one way that I think can save a very little of your time. You’ll never know one day you might forget to put your logo frame when you are in a hurry and you have a dozen of sheets with your logo on it. 🙂 I hope this can also help. Thanks Mike and all you guys for sharing a very useful tips.

  5. Eric Colburn says:


    Thanks for your help. My case is, generally, the opposite. In that, while I do have the logo on each sheet (and it’s in my template which eliminates manual entry each time), I don’t want a frame around it.

    However, for many other images placed in my DWG I do want a frame, which apparently requires designers to hand draw a frame around them (provided frames are off for the logo).

    Unfortunately the images are very rarely the same from drawing to drawing; Like for locus maps.


  6. NCA,
    Thanks for replying and giving suggestions. I love when we help each other out. It’s the way the world is supposed to be.

  7. Ray says:

    I was just wondering if there is a way to bind the image to the drawing so that there is no link and I can then delete the picture from the file it is in.

  8. ali khalili says:

    thanks . its so useful . particularly (Imageframe) .

  9. Ray,
    Try opening the image in an image editor, selecting it and Pasting it into your CAD file.

  10. Glenn says:

    I have not been able to figure out how to save a Google image to insert into AutoCad.
    I use TerraServer to insert images and then in AutoCad map you can align all the images with polar coordinates, scale the image and then you can draw or trace on the images and everything is set to scale.

  11. I think there may be a 3rd party program to do this. I haven’t done it myself. I used to bring in geo-tiff into AutoCAD. I was using AutoCAD Raster Design. I’m sure it can still do what you are looking for.

  12. Dave Filippi says:

    That “imageframe” tip was great. Thanks

  13. Robert Pearce, AIA says:

    Thanks for the great tip, Mike. I was just wondering about this last week while working on some colored elevations, but didn’t have time to look up the solution. Very timely!

    Thanks for your hard work on all these tips. Very helpful stuff!

  14. nca says:

    This is for Mr. Eric Colburn and also to all that might have the same situation.

    Most of the logo in the sheet is enclosed by a logo box (located at one of the ends of your border titles, vertical or horizontal). Try to modify your logo/image frame to the size of that logo box using the “IMAGECLIP” command or, copy the outline of that logo box using the “RECTANGLE” command then put it on top of your logo/image, make sure your logo is at the center and inside of the rectangle then use the “IMAGECLIP” command. By clipping the image/logo, you will now have a new image/logo frame. Now you can put it on the logo box where your logo/image frame is lying exactly on the lines of that box. Don’t forget to use the “DRAWORDER” command to put your logo/image at the back then save your title block template. Now, everytime you use your title block template, you can just leave the imageframe set to ON or 1. The frame of your logo/image will not be visible in your title block at the same time, the image frame of other images that you put in the drawing sheet is visible. Now, your designer doesn’t need to hand draw a frame around those images. I hope this one will work on you and please let us know if you have any questions. Mike and a lot of people here have a lot of solutions. Thanks to Mike and this site, through this a lot of autocad people from various places all over the world can help each other. More Power!

  15. Thanks so much for taking the time to submit this reply. I love it when everyone gets together to help each other out.

  16. Petri says:

    Hello everyone.
    I have problems on inserting an image in autocad. Sometimes my works I transfer to other PC. If I dont put the drowing with the image file in the same folder, in the other PC the image dosent appear. In the place were should be the image, appear the link of the image in my PC! I need to know if is a whay of inserting an image in autocad without having links with the image in the windows.

  17. Images work like xref’s. The best solution is to keep the image in the same directory as the drawing. If you really want to avoid that, you may want to try doing a copy/paste to get the image in the drawings. That put it in thru OLE instead of image/attach.

  18. Carl Mills says:

    Mike this is a great tip. Many thanks I will be using the information repeatedly drawing musical instruments.


  19. Morning,

    Is there a way to have multiple images on the drawing, but only have the image display as you move the cursor over it?

    Roelof Venter
    South Africa

  20. I don’t think you can have it display as you move your cursor over it, but you can have several images in a drawing and turn them off so they do not display. Only their frame will display. On the proprties palette, there’s an option called “show image”, tell it no and the image will turn off.

  21. robert says:

    Thank you very much for your share. I wish I should know this a few weeks ago!

  22. mohammed says:

    Thankful to you for giving this useful tip to

  23. YASER says:


  24. YASER says:


  25. Doug says:

    We have found that even though IMAGEFRAME = 2, an edge of the image still shows up on the plot. 🙁

  26. Doug,
    I’ve had that problem as well. If you clip the image in AutoCAD, it will fix that many times.

  27. toyin says:

    i really appreciate your support,but i still have many problems on buiding plan,roofing plan and elevation. Thanks.

  28. Ryan Pogue says:

    When saving an eps logo for a client that wants to place it into his autocad program, line drawings, what filetype is best? .ai, hi res jpeg, otherwise?

  29. Hey Ryan,
    If the client happend to create the logo in Adobe Illustrator, they can save it in AutoCAD dwg format. That would allow you to to keep it as a vector graphic. If you bring in as a jpg, then it will be a raster file and will get pixilated when you scale it.

  30. apostol catap says:

    thanks for the every tips you share. Most of my friends and architects find it very useful when I share them your website.


  31. Paul Haire says:

    This was very simple and informative. Thank you so much.

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