AutoCAD, a computer-aided design program from AutoDesk, allows you to create precisely-scaled technical drawings on your computer. For small businesses in fields like architecture and engineering, these portable digital files allow for easy sending to clients and collaborators, prompting many to import their old paper designs into the program for conversion into digital formats. Although a number of paid applications exist to simplify the process of converting a scanned paper design — if you need the AutoCAD file to exactly represent you paper version — your best bet is still importing the file and tracing over it. While tedious, this process guarantees accurate and complete conversion. Scan your image and save the file as a BMP, JPG, PNG or TIF file. Resave your file into one of these AutoCAD-compatible formats if it is already on your computer. Import the scanned image into AutoCAD. Type ‘Imageattach’ into the command line or select ‘Import’ from the File Menu. Locate the scanned file on you computer and select it. Check the ‘Specify on Screen’ box to adjust image scale and location in the interface. Click on ‘Ok’ and then move the image around with your mouse until it is located in the center of your screen. Apply a new layer for tracing. Click on the Layers icon in the object properties toolbar or select Layers from the Home menu. Click on ‘New’ in the window and provide a name for your layer. Select a color that contrasts with the colors in your scanned drawing, make sure the new layer is turned on and click on ‘Ok’ to add the layer. Trace over your scanned image. Use AutoCAD drawing elements like the line, arc, continuous curve or rectangle by clicking on the icons in your drawing menu. Trace over each element in your scanned drawing with these tools, pressing ‘Enter’ after each line or clicking on the line and pressing ‘Delete’ to remove errors. Continue until you have gone over every element in the scanned drawing in your new layer. You can also trim intersecting lines by selecting the trim tool and clicking on intersections. Establish the scale of your drawing. Select the ‘Measure’ icon from your Tools menu or use the ‘Measure’ command in the command line. Click on the starting point of a line for which you have scale information from your scanned drawings and move the measurement tool to the end of the line. Click on the end point so that the length of the line you just traced appears on the screen. Calculate the scale factor by dividing the actual length of the line by the measurement you just got. If, for example, you measured the line’s length to be two inches and you know the actual object the line represents is 1,000 inches long, the scale factor is 500 (1,000 divided by two). Highlight your AutoCAD drawing with your mouse and select ‘Scale’ from the Modify options under the Home menu. Type in the scale factor you just calculated and press ‘Enter’ to apply the scale from your scanned drawing to the traced AutoCAD lines. Select ‘Save As’ from the File menu, type in a name for your drawing and press ‘Enter’ to save your AutoCAD digitalization of the scanned file. Edward Mercer began writing professionally in 2009, contributing to several online publications on topics including travel, technology, finance and food. He received his Bachelor of Arts in literature from Yale University in 2006. Source.