OCAD 11. File | Import : Journal #4

OCAD 11 multiple file import

OCAD 11 provides multi file import for Shape, DXF, GPX, NMEA and XYZ formats.

Import multi Shape files - screen snip

Importing multi Shape files

I tried it with Shape files (Professional version of OCAD 11) and it worked well. If, like me, you often use Shape files to create base maps then you will find this a time saver.

Selection of files is by Windows conventions of SHIFT to select a range of adjacent files and CTRL to select disparate files. However! The files you import must share the same field names for selection of unique key and layer information.

The screen snip shows the result of selecting an area hydro file and a line hydro file. The layers column contains the relevant entity names and OCAD symbols can be applied to the right of each entity for automatic translation.

I could not evaluate the co-ordinate system transformation function as issues arose that I have reported to OCAD.

Import PDF and save layer reference file

PDF convert layers screen snip

PDF convert layers

Dead simple, efficient and worked well.

However! The VicMap PDF I tested, generated a CRT (layer-symbol cross reference) file comprising a long list of layers named by number rather than descriptiion thus was unworkable – not the fault of OCAD. If your supplied PDF does have more relevant layer names, then the facility to select an appropriate symbol for each layer appears to work just fine.

It gets even better if you regularly import PDFs that have the same layer structure. The first PDF you process creates a CRT file that can be saved and reused to process later PDFs. So name those CRT files meaningfully.



Import OCAD file with colours to top of Colour Table

What a great option. Recently I have been importing a new symbol set with associated colours, into older files. Often the colours for those symbols are not in the correct place in the symbol table to enable the symbol to show. So now, when I test out those symbols by opting to place colours at top of the colour table, I can be sure they will show up on the screen as they are no longer subservient to existing colours.

In case you are not aware, the order of colours in the colour table defines the order in which they are printed. The top colour in the table is printed last (in offset printing and simulated so in digital printing) thus rests on top of any colour below it. Unless you have ‘overprint‘ ticked for a colour, OCAD does not generate lower sequenced colours using the same space.

If you intend using the new symbols but marry them to existing colours, then once you have checked out the symbol shapes and sizes on your map, the redundant colours are easily found for deletion at the top of the table.

Import Freehand files

I won’t be testing Freehand as I am not familiar with it. However you can read the process in one of OCAD’s FAQs .

Next up

View functionality.

Your comment is welcome

  1. “Colours to the top” reminds me of an issue which frustrates me: tidying up symbol tables. Symbol sets are probably based on an OCAD-provided set which is not constant, and mine evolve further over time in small ways. Then you combine bits of maps from different eras (eg borrowing a legend) and hey presto multiple symbol definitions. It didn’t help that the IOF re-numbered some symbols in 2000. I’ve never found a simple way of rationalising a messy symbol table, it takes a huge amount of care and time. Got any suggestions? (Many people of course just ignore the problem…)

    • Snap! I was pondering today how to rationalise a symbol table that comprises the original orienteering set and a comprehensive custom set. I’ll enquire.