Vectorization or image tracing is a process that converts a scanned image into a drawing consisting of objects. Most companies today use Computer Aided Design (CAD) applications to create new drawings for construction, maps, etc. But many also have old drawings made by hand and that exist only on paper.

Vectorization makes it possible to scan these drawings with a flatbed or large format scanner and convert them to a file format that a CAD system or drawing application can read. This will enable you to reuse, reconstruct and modify the drawing in the CAD system, which can be more cost effective than recreating the drawing from scratch.

Practical use

Vectorization is a complicated process. The result is a lot of tiny line segments and objects will appear somewhat jagged and uneven. Hence, this drawing is rarely used as is; it has to be refined in a CAD or drawing program.

Curve Simplification

Many drawing and CAD applications have a feature that allows you to reduce the number of line segments or nodes in a curve. For relatively simple drawings, this might be a quick way of smoothing the objects to improve the appearance and quality of the drawing.


This is by far the most common usage of vectorization. The vectorized drawing is used as a background and objects are reconstructed on top of it, so that they appear exactly the same as in the original. This manual work takes more time, but the result will be a top quality drawing which is "as good as new".

PixEdit® Vectorization Highlights

  • Choose between Contour or Skeleton vectorization
  • Thinning of scanned objects to improve smoothness
  • Vectorize selected areas of a drawing or document
  • Adjustable accuracy and density of vectors
  • Export to AutoCAD DXF or HPGL format (DXF can then be converted to AutoCAD DWG)
  • Helps reuse and reconstruction of old drawings

Tutorial video

Converting scanned documents to CAD format


PixEdit® Desktop

A complete document scanning solution