I have old PDF document (image of a map), and I want to import it into Visio to edit/update it. What is the basic workflow to follow. Attached is sample PDF. Is there a way to trace the lines/shapes automatically and make them editable Visio files? I have the ability to convert PDF to any file.

Sample PDF

Image on the PDF page: PDF image

Update: Understood. The end product is that I am trying to create the Map that is originally in the format of .CRW (Corel Draw) as seen above and create the end product like this map.

enter image description here . The new map used visio to create - just trying to find out workflow how to get from the first crappy map to the version that is cleaned in visio - oh yea there are over 200 maps so trying to figure a streamlined process

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    I know curiosity gets the better of everyone but it's probably wise not to download that link Jan 26, 2015 at 7:38
  • visio? PDF? what the heck! Is there any relationship?
    – TechLife
    Jan 26, 2015 at 11:29
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    Just to note, its a legitimate pdf, of an old map - did a quick check with linux and virustotal virustotal.com/en/file/…
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jan 26, 2015 at 13:14
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    Low score, dropbox link, incorrect formatting, name of question - just seemed to check too many "DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER" boxes. Fair play. Jan 26, 2015 at 13:25
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    I'm not familiar with what formats Visio can handle. Can you convert from bitmap to vector and have Visio handle it (or use a vector image editor)? Or just use a decent bitmap image editor? Photoshop will open a PDF.
    – fixer1234
    Jan 26, 2015 at 20:26

3 Answers 3


Your drawing looks like a scanned picture actually (bitmap). It's not important if it is wrapped in PDF or whatever, the important part is that it is "just" a picture. First you'll probably need to vectorize it (so that it contains "shapes").

That is, Visio is a pure vector-graphic drawing tool. It does not have vectorization capabilities (conversion from a picture to vector graphics). You may need to use some other tool, and then convert whatever you get from that tool to Visio. You could try inkscape for example (it has "vectorization" function), or some professional tool / online service for that.

The best could be if you can get the "source" of the picture you have in PDF in some vector format (SVG for example).

In my opinion, what you are trying to do is next to impossible. it could be easier just to draw the map from scratch.


Visio can't work directly with PDF files. Either get a PDF file editor, or convert the PDF into DXF format (there are free converters available for that job), then import the DXF file into Visio.


A True PDF can be converted to an editable Visio (VSD) file - I have done it many times.

  1. Convert PDF to an SVG file (there are many free converters available online - but you can also use Adobe Illustrator to convert it)
  2. Once converted open the SVG in Visio.
  3. Save the SVG file in Visio as a VSD file. Remember to ungroup all lines and objects before editing the new VSD file

BUT - if you do not have a true PDF file it can not be converted into an editable file.

  • -1 for using a term that is rarely used without an explanation.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 6, 2016 at 20:45
  • "True PDF" probably means "Not a scanned image", which you won't be able to edit.
    – JJohnston2
    Apr 26, 2016 at 20:19
  • That's actually called "a vector-based PDF".
    – David.P
    Aug 14, 2021 at 11:12

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