save-no-sales-taxAlthough ideal, procuring AutoCAD floor plans is not always possible.  Architects are protective of their intellectual property, rightfully so, and it often takes some convincing that you really only need them to lay out the pre-wire for your system, no malicious intents.  However, they are usually completely willing to send you PDF file of the plans in lieu of the AutoCAD DWG file.

Inserting a PDF into Visio is not always easy.  In fact, I find that my success rate with inserting PDF files into Visio is not so good.   Let me clarify, it is not the inserting that is the problem, it is what can happen when try to save the Visio file where things can go bad.  In the past, the biggest issue was that if you resized the PDF floor plan to fit the Visio page, when you saved the Visio file, the PDF would revert to its original size.  Although annoying, you could adjust page size or work on a smaller scale to complete your drawings.  Lately a new issue has popped up that does not allow you save the Visio file at all which rules out using the PDF at all.

Issue: When trying to save a Visio file with a PDF inserted, you receive the following error:  An error (1416) occurred during the action Save.  There is not enough memory to complete the requested action.

Or you may get the following error: Visio Internal error: #3400  Action 1004: Save  First try closing and reopening the file.  Next try restarting Visio.

error saving visio file

second error saving visio file

Cause: Unknown.  This appears to be an incompatibility between Visio and newer PDF formats.  There are many programs available that create PDF format files and some seem completely incompatible with Visio.   By the way, the suggestions in the second error message above do not improve your situation.

Work Around: I have tried opening and saving the PDF file in an older versions of Adobe Acrobat but the error persists.  The best alternative here is to scrap using the PDF and “convert” the file to either a bitmap or a jpeg.  There are many ways to do this but the one shown below is quick and does not require fancy software.

  1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Reader (I used version 9.0)
  2. From the file menu, select Edit->Copy File to Clipboardcopy file to clipboard
  3. Open Microsoft Paint.  There are multiple ways to do this, one way is: Click Start->Run and type “mspaint” in the box (without the quotes) and click [OK]
  4. In Paint select Edit->Paste
  5. Save the file in Paint as either a bitmap or jpeg.

You can then use the Insert->Picture->From File… function within Visio to insert the image.

Tip: If the architect is willing to send you a PDF of the floor plan, ask that they save the PDF to the size of your drawing pages in Visio (usually either 24 x 36 or 11 x 17).  If you have to create a bitmap or jpeg from the PDF, the size of the floor plan will be reflected in the new file.  The more you adjust the size of PDF or image file, the blurrier it becomes.

Tip: If you do happen to have an architect willing to send you AutoCAD files, ask them to perform the steps in the following document prior to sending to you as Visio will not allow an AutoCAD file saved in a format newer than “AutoCAD 2000” to be inserted.

-Seth Enos