Monday, April 7, 2008

Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0 toolbar in AutoCAD 2009 and CUI bugs

If you want the Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0 toolbar in AutoCAD 2008 or AutoCAD 2009 here is how you can do it. It requires that you have Adobe Acrobat 8.0.

With some work I achieved this result and unfortunately it was not because CUI was so stable and easy to use. But it is also AutoCAD Ribbon version 1 so hopefully this works better after some hotfixes, service packs or at least in AutoCAD 2010.


As a starter use the APPLOAD command. Click on Startup Suit Contents and add "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 8.0\PDFMaker\AutoCAD\2007\PDFMAcad.arx".

It should then look like this on the command line:
Command: appload
PDFMAcad.arx was added to the Startup Suite.

This created some menu files and images in this folder on my PC:

In AutoCAD 2009 it will look this this with the Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0 toolbar loaded.

Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0

Now I want to move the toolbar to the Ribbon.

Run the CUI command. Select pdfmacad.cui.

Right-click on the toolbar Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0.


Right-click on Ribbons Tabs and add a new tab named "PDF".


Drag and drop the ribbon panel that was created into the PDF tab.


Click on Apply.

Select All Customization Files and click on the current workspace and you find that you see the right pane change.


Select pdfmacad.cui again. Here you should be able to click on Customize Workspace on the right pane but I got an error. Instead expand Ribbons Tab on the left side so you see "PDF". Drag and drop that one to the right side on the Ribbons Tab there.



Looking in CUI two panels are listed. One is unnamed that obviously just creates an empty panel and cannot be deleted. Another bug.


The workaround was to click on it and set the Show property to No.


Now I want to make the icons side by side and add some text below.


I try to drag the command on Row 2 to Row 1 but nothing happens. Another bug as I can drag the command from Row 1 down to Row 2.

After deleting Row 1 and showing the text it look like this.


But I don't want a separate Tab. I would like to move it to the Output tab.

I tried different methods like transferring the panels between the cui files but even though it looked right in CUI the result was just an empty panel on the Ribbon tab. Buggy again.

I even tried another approach.but was not able to get it to work because of several bugs in CUI.

Right click on the toolbar and select Customize.


In Customize User Interface (CUI) expand "Customizations in All CUI Files" and the right part of CUI by clicking on the black arrow at the bottom.

Click on the command "Convert to Adobe PDF" so you see the Button Image.


Click on Edit and in the next dialog box click on Save As and place the image where you can find it later. Do the same with the command "Convert to Adobe PDF and Send for Review". Notice that if you in the button image editor click on Save As the first time you end up in you Documents folder. If you cancel it and click again you end up in the Icons folder. Bug again.

One location could be something like this if you have Windows Vista:
C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2009\R17.2\enu\Support\Icons

Click OK to make sure things are saved and that the next step will work. If not you will get the menu file corrupted in the following steps due to some bug.

Start CUI again by right clicking on the toolbar like before and expand the panes.

Now right click on "Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0" as seen below and select "Copy To Ribbon Panels".

CUI Copy To Ribbon Panels

Now the Ribbon Panel "Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0" is available.

Acrobat PDFMaker 8.0

Right click on it and select Copy.

Navigate now to the Ribbon Tabs and locate Output -2D and select it. Right click and select Paste.

Output - 2D

Bummer. It didn't work either. To achieve the best result you should create the Ribbon Panel manually.


  1. I could not find the PDFMAcad.arx file on my installation.

    This file is not on Acrobat Standard 8 DVD

    How can you get this file?


  2. It is embedded in the installer files and only extracted if the installer finds AutoCAD installed.
    But you can use most zip programs and even Windows built in zip functionality to extract the file from

  3. Hi,

    Really interested by yourpost, I try to do the same on my machine, but was unable to load the .arx file....

    I am on XP64Pro, maybe it is the "key"... Any idea.

    It is strange there is still no fix form Adobe or Autodesk...



  4. I have Acrobat Pro Extended 9.0 & I'm running AutoCAD 2008 64-bit; I get the error PDFMACad.arx is incompatible with this version of AutoCAD. Has any one with a similar configuration found a workaround? I've tried OCR in the PDF editor but it won't work with the AutoCAD printed graphic file. Having a searcable PDF of my drawings would be great for my customers.

  5. For some reason Adobe have not made this be compatible with 64-bit. No workaround other than using another way to create PDF files. There are several 3:rd party applications available, some for free and some that you need to puchase. AutoCAD 2010 has it now and it works very good.

  6. It's working exaclty like I want.. thanks a lot. Question about this tools, Can I choice each drawing through my models sketch. I have more than one drawing in model without layout

  7. "Can I choice each drawing through my models sketch."
    I don't know. I don't have it installed so I can take a look.

  8. It doesn't plot block attributes. I've got layouts with empty fields. Is it bug?


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