• 2 December 2021
  • 7 replies

Is it possible to “convert” a DXF file of a shape to a User Defined Aperture? 

7 replies

Userlevel 5
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Hi Jean,


I don’t have experience with DXF files, but the format seems open and I imagine it would be possible. One thing to note is that a User-Defined Aperture is a surface whereas, from what I understand, DXF files can describe 3D volumes. Therefore, you might need a rule to project the DXF volumes to a surface.

Take care,



I think it would be nice to use dxf files - correctly formatted, i.e. only with planar drawings in x,y plane - to be used as an alternative of UDA files for custom apertures, with the Extruded object and in other similar contexts. This option would open to fast implementation of Zemax object from dxf drawings and would give a small demonstration of a “modern” approach of the program. Please, developers, consider this feature.


Userlevel 5
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Hi @Iari.Marino - I can certainly pass this along to the product team. To help contextualize this, would you mind answering a few questions?

  1. How often do you use DXF files in general?
  2. How often would you utilize something like this, if we were to implement it?
  3. What types of systems do you generate that would benefit from this vs one of the standard aperture options? 

If the product team has a full understanding of why this type of thing is requested, that will help them to decide on if and how to implement it. Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide!

  1. Very often, It is the worldwide standard of 2D drawing format. Often, clients have only dxf drawings, instead of 3D models, of their systems..
  2. Very often, again. For example: If I need to draw an extruded lens or light guide, I can draw very complex layouts in external CAD programs, and do this very fast. This would be very difficult with UDA format… Alternatively, I can open a 3D step file in an external CAD software, make a section of it, and then import the section in Zemax to extrude it or also simply to visualize it in the background of the current design... Again, this is not possible with UDA format. Last but not least, DXF can be parametrized in external CAD programs, or managed in python language, allowing very complex shapes to be changed very fast. DXF shapes could be used to build extruded solids or solids of revolution. The possibilities are endless. I wonder why the DXF format isn’t considered in Zemax already.
  3. The main fields are extruded lens design, lightguide design and in general non-imaging fields.

Thank you

@Allie @Iari.Marino 


I agree!! I spend most of my time with Zemax modeling light guides with very specifically sized and shaped diffractive areas. It would be much easier, and much less time consuming, to define the aperture for an extrusion with a .dxf rather than “translate” the dxf to a .UDA.

Userlevel 5
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Hi @mjean22 and @Iari.Marino - Thank you very much for the insight! This is extremely useful information. I will add it to the feature request. I’ll reply on this post if I see any updates on the submission.

Userlevel 2

I’ll add my voice to the request for more generally-importable aperture shapes.

I put in a similar request, but fancier (in that I was thinking of the ability to parameterize the aperture and do optimization based on the parameter settings) in this previous thread in the Community:


For example, see this comment on a possible workaround by Sandrine Auriol of Zemas Support in that thread:

“In sequential mode, the only option for user-defined aperture is the UDA format.

Currently we don't have any other way to define a UDA like by using a CAD or a standard 2D drawing. One way to work can be to model the part of the system in non sequential mode where you could easily make a boolean with a CAD part, or even use a CAD part directly. The drawback is that some features like OPD may not work correctly in mixed-mode.”


-- Greg