Copy and paste with 3D programs


Hook up with 3D


When you want to create a 3D model, it's such a pain to have to export to DWG, then import into your modeling program. Oops, you left out a line, so you've got to go back and repeat the whole thing. What a bummer. Why can't software companies just come up with a way to copy and paste this stuff between programs? Hang onto your mouse. Here comes another WildTools revolution.

OpenClip allows you to copy and paste precision vector objects from one program to another—any combination of 2D or 3D CAD, illustration or drawing program.

It lets you draw in the program of your choice, paste the drawing into the 3D modeling program of your choice and then copy drawing objects back into your 2D program as fully editable vector objects.

And all that is required is that each program supports OpenClip, either in the program or with a plug-in. One OpenClip plug-in is all that is required for each program.


PRD Software’s In2Space, the 3D modeling partner for PowerCADD, is an architectural modeler with tools specifically designed with buildings in mind. It features Copy from PowerCADD, Paste in In2Space.

The ability to copy and paste precision vector graphics between PowerCADD and a 3D modeling program began as a collaboration with PRD Software and is provided with their PowerClip plug-in. In2Space is in development, and PRD expects to release the initial version shortly. The program is designed to be a sister program with PowerCADD. The In2Space interface, where possible, is similar to PowerCADD. It is this close match that makes In2Space a true 3D extension of PowerCADD.

Find information on In2Space at

It works like this:

Copy in PowerCADD.

Paste in In2Space.

View in 3D, then start extruding.


The Macintosh version of Bonzai3D 2.0 from AutoDesSys is the first program to be released with an OpenClip plug-in. It handles Paste from OpenClip in the current plane. See for yourself. Download the Bonzai3D demo to try it out.

Bonzai3D is a powerful 3D solid modeling program that offers a full set of 3D modeling capabilities. There are many parallels between Bonzai3D and WildTools—both are equally feature-rich. You can draw anything with PowerCADD and WildTools. Paste. Model anything with Bonzai3D.

It works like this:

Copy in PowerCADD

Paste in Bonzai3D

Extrude to a wireframe

Or extrude to a shaded model

Here’s a garden shed created using copy and paste between PowerCADD and Bonzai3D.

Great news about the copy from PowerCADD to Bonzai! I'm sure this is going to come in real handy to many people. I know this will be a big timesaver for me. I really appreciate it. I think this collaboration with AutoDesSys is a great thing. Thanks for this copy function from PowerCADD to Bonzai.

Steve Shubin


The Macintosh version of FormZ 6.7 from AutoDesSys handles Paste from OpenClip in the current plane. The capability is basically the same as in Bonzai3D except for pen size and color, which are handled in Bonzai3D but not FormZ.


How It Works

OpenClip works ‘behind the scenes’ and requires no action on the part of the user.  Whenever you choose Cut or Copy, OpenClip will place the drawing objects on the clipboard in the OpenClip format.  Other programs that have their own OpenClip plug-ins can then Paste into their program.

OpenClip also works on Paste but requires that other programs put objects on the pasteboard (same as 'clipboard') along with several others that PowerCADD puts there. In addition, it also writes a file out to the path

/Library/Application Support/OpenClip/OpenClip

which we will call the OpenClip path. This allows you to see that something has happened, and to look at the file with the OpenClip Viewer app if you're really interested in knowing more about this.

A normal Cut or Copy places 2D objects on the pasteboard. 

You can press the Option key while selecting Cut or Copy and OpenClip will do a place 3D objects on the pasteboard.  This means that objects with a Z height created by TopoTools or Paolo Rossi’s Topography Tools will be copied as 3D objects and can be pasted as 3D objects in a 3D program.

In addition, in TopoTools, the dialogs for Analyze Topo/Find Contours and Analyze Topo/Analyze Slope have options to copy 3D surfaces and topo contours as 3D objects which can be pasted into a 3D program.

For example, in TopoTools and Analyze Topo/Analyze Slope, you can go from this...

To this in Bonzai3D:


And you can also copy 3D surfaces from Analyze Topo/Find Contours in TopoTools:

We are actively promoting the OpenClip concept with other software companies. Full developer documentation is provided at If your favorite 3D modeling program does not support OpenClip, then contact them and make your voice heard. And sometimes it's necessary to set up a howl on the Internet to get something done. Get others to chime in and become a troublemaker on this issue. Software companies just cannot ignore this type of thing, particularly when you consider how easy it is to implement OpenClip. Go forth, and create trouble for OpenClip!

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