Chapter 6 - CATIA Data Migration

On This Page

Overview Overview
Preparing for CATIA Data Migration Preparing for CATIA Data Migration
Methodologies Methodologies
Project Files Project Files
Cleaning and Checking Models Cleaning and Checking Models
CAD Geometries CAD Geometries
Libraries / Standard Parts Libraries / Standard Parts
Summary Summary


When your organization upgrades from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5, a large quantity of data will need to be moved to the new system. This chapter describes how to perform that migration smoothly.

CATIA V4 was compatible only with the UNIX operating system, whereas CATIA V5 runs on both UNIX and Microsoft Windows. Because this guide is aimed at those users migrating to Windows, emphasis is placed on the UNIX to Windows process. The differences between the two operating systems introduce issues that must be addressed to ensure the integrity of the data. For example, file names are case sensitive in UNIX, but this is not the case in Windows. This difference can result in file name conflicts if care is not taken.

The details described in this chapter pertain to CATIA V5 R10.

This chapter is divided into two sections. The first section, Preparing for Data Migration, can be used for guidance on planning the migration, and it explains the concepts and decisions involved. After you understand the process, you can find step-by-step procedures illustrating the tools used in the Methodologies section.

Preparing for CATIA Data Migration

CATIA V4 is limited to the UNIX environment. CATIA V5 runs on UNIX, but also on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. Migrating data to a Windows-based CATIA V5 system can add extra complexity to the process of migrating between versions on UNIX. However, you can surmount these issues with good planning.

All organizations have several categories of design and various processes. Some are less demanding in terms of depth of functionality, while others require high levels of specialized design methodologies, teamwork, and use of established corporate standards. If your system is small and simple, data migration will reflect that simplicity. In larger complex systems, you will encounter more of the issues outlined here.

During a migration of data to a new system, everything must often be done at once. No designer can start using the system until the entire migration is complete. This can be very disruptive, especially if the migration does not run smoothly, and productivity can suffer as a result. With CATIA V5, by contrast, there is tremendous flexibility in the process. For example, there is no need to migrate the CATIA V4 data to CATIA V5 unless it has to be modified. In this case, CATIA V4 data stored on the servers can be directly used.

You can mix and match CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 on the same system, sharing the same network and data servers and intermingling client workstations that run CATIA V4, CATIA V5, or a combination of both. Adding CATIA V5 to a CATIA V4 environment is easy to do from an infrastructure point of view, and it creates great flexibility for the future.

Because CATIA V5 can be used alongside CATIA V4 , the migration can be done in phases. Select the specific areas of business that will benefit most from CATIA V5 applications, and migrate them first. Having tested and evaluated the success of this migration, you can proceed to migrate other parts of the business by using the lessons learned from the first phase.

CATIA V5 configurations P2 and P3 also include the V4 Integration (V4I) product, which enables interoperation of CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 data. It allows CATIA V4 data to be used inside a CATIA V5 assembly for design in context or Data Mock Up (DMU), as well as providing simple browsing of a CATIA V4 model. Additionally, V4I provides the ability to migrate data from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 and the means to convert CATIA V5 3D data back to native CATIA V4 models.

The following section describes the issues to be addressed when migrating data:


Any CATIA V4 data that needs to be migrated to CATIA V5 should be version 4.1.8 or later. If the CATIA V4 data is of a version earlier than 4.1.8, the model has to be saved as a 4.1.8 version or later before migration.

File Naming Conventions

It is extremely important to be aware of the consequences of migration on file names. The migrated data has to adhere to the naming conventions in Windows, which differ from those in UNIX. The characters that can be used for naming documents in Windows are:

  • Characters A to Z (upper and lower case)

  • Numbers 0 to 9

  • Certain special characters

The following special characters are not supported on Windows:

  • > (Greater than)

  • < (Less than)

  • * (Asterisk)

  • (Colon)

  • " (Quotation mark)

  • ? (Question mark)

  • \ (Backslash)

  • | (Vertical bar)

  • / (Slash)

Character Equivalence Conversion Table

This conversion table is used to generate CATIA V5 compliant names from CATIA V4 names. The table file is a .txt document. A default table ships with CATIA V5 that applies conversion to the special characters as shown in the following table:

Table 6.1 UNIX to Windows Character Conversion

Character to be Replaced

New Character String






















The user can choose a different table by specifying its Windows or UNIX path in the options for CATIA. See the Character Equivalence Conversion Table in the Methodologies section in this chapter for an outline of this process.

Renaming Files using a Batch File

All CATIA V4 data files that need to be migrated can be renamed to be compatible with Windows using a batch file. A command line tool, CATV4ToV5NTCompatibility, is provided in CATIA V5 to do the job. The tool will rename CATIA V4 documents (for example *.session, *.model, *.exp, *.dlv3 and so on), and their dependencies, according to the character mapping in the conversion table. A selected CATIA V4 document will be written in the output directory even if not renamed.

For the syntax to use with this tool, see the Methodologies section in this chapter.

This tool can only be used on UNIX.

Project Files (PRJ Files)

PRJ files include PRJ Models, PRJ tables, and fonts. These are discussed in the following sections.

PRJ Models

From the version 4.1.7 of CATIA and later, it is possible to work with self-sufficient models containing all the information required for the purpose of display and general use within the model itself. Any model can be provided internally with the information that was previously present in a Project file that is external to the model.

This operation is referred to as internalization. Not all the information located in a Project file is internalized in the model: only the reference tables are. Internally present Project file information is referred to as a PRJ Model.

PRJ Models can help the migration of data. Because more information is included in a smaller number of files, the administrative effort involved is reduced.

PRJ Tables

The following warning message is displayed when the following two conditions occur: a CATIA V4 model that references an external project file is opened in CATIA V5; and the project file path is not provided by clicking the Tools menu, then Options, then Compatibility, and then V4/V5 Infrastructure.

Figure 6.1:

Figure 6.1:

This message occurs because project files referenced by CATIA V4 models must be copied to a Windows directory in order to open these CATIA V4 models in CATIA V5. But the Project File directory cannot be copied natively on Windows because the table file names generally contain characters that Windows forbids. Thus, the Project File Tables must first be renamed.

See the Methodologies section in this chapter for instructions on how to achieve this.


CATIA V4 fonts can be migrated and set up in the CATIA V5 environment. However, only fonts that are described in the FONT (UNICODE Key) format can be migrated. Fonts in the FONTDATA (EBCDIC Key) format have to be first migrated to FONT files and FONT CODE files using the CATFONT utility in version 4.1.8 of CATIA or later.

A description of the migration of FONT and FONT CODE files into the V5 environment can be found in the Methodologies section of this chapter.

Cleaning and Checking Models

Version Compatibility

If the model to be copied is an exact solid, it must be processed using the Force Update option in the Smart Solid mode. This operation must be done on version 4.1.8 of CATIA or later.

Cleaning the Model

It is advisable to make a diagnostic, and eventually a healing, of CATIA V4 Model data before copying it to CATIA V5. For this, it is recommended to run the CATIA V4 CATCLN utility on the model to be copied. This operation must be done on version 4.1.8 of CATIA or later.

Checking using the Interactive Checker

The Interactive Checker provides two kinds of checks before migrating CATIA V4 data to CATIA V5:

  • Geometry Check

  • Specification Check

Geometry Check is a check carried out by transferring the solid's geometry only through following the Copy > Paste Special > CATIA_Result method. Geometry is the three-dimensional representation of the elements contained in the data.

Specification Check is a check carried out by transferring the solid with Geometry and the History tree by using the Copy > Paste Special > CATIA_SPEC method. Note that a specification check is meaningful only when applied to exact and mockup solids. The specifications are made up of the entire history of the actions performed to obtain the data. They are shown in the form of a tree and are roughly equivalent to the Coordinate Solid Geometry (CSG) tree used in CATIA V4.

Run the specification check on all the CATIA V4 models to be copied to CATIA V5. The check provides:

  • Identification of the primitives (basic shapes) that are converted to data, indicating loss of canonical information.

  • Identification of the operations that are not supported in CATIA V5 and must be deleted before proceeding with the copy operation.

  • Identification of the non-supported primitives.

Make sure that the update option selected on the General tab of the Options dialog box (displayed from the Tools menu by clicking Options) is not set to Automatic.

When updating, make sure that the inactivate option is selected in the Update Diagnosis dialog box to deactivate any troublesome operations or primitives in CATIA V4. Do not delete them, because you can recreate them in CATIA V5 in a more satisfactory way (without copying them) after the rest of the model has been successfully copied. In a future version of CATIA V5, this requirement may no longer apply.

For some CATIA V4 models, the Geometry Check may be valid, but sometimes CATIA V4 Geometry cannot be supported in CATIA V5: design is tolerated in CATIA V4 but not in CATIA V5. Therefore, it is necessary to solve this problem during the migration. It is possible to transform the invalid geometry in the Shape Design workbench (a CATIA utility). And in the Freestyle workbench (also a CATIA utility), the control points can be displayed in order to analyze the surfaces and modify them.

CAD Geometries

To ensure CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 interoperability, CATIA V5 provides the CATIA Site Navigator, which can read CATIA V4 models on both Windows and UNIX.

Any geometric element (whether the model involved has an internalized Project file or is linked to an external Project file) can be read and copied to a CATIA V5 document.

Basic read-only operations can then be performed, including:

  • Displaying and selecting geometric elements and workspaces in the geometry area and the specification tree (except for the Hidden Line Removal mode).

  • Displaying graphic properties (color, show/hide, layers, filters, pick/no pick).

  • Zooming, rotating, and panning.

  • Printing (except for the Hidden Line Removal mode).

  • Applying, creating, deleting, and modifying layer filters.

  • Verifying the geometry (and, in the case of exact solids, the specifications) of one or more CATIA V4 elements prior to copying and pasting it into a CATIA V5 workbench.

In CATIA V5, CATIA V4 models or library objects cannot be edited, but they can be pasted into a model or library object in a CATIA V5 document and then be edited. Once this has been done, it is no longer a CATIA V4 model, but a CATIA V5 document.

The following table summarizes the translation of CATIA V4 documents to CATIA V5 documents:

Table 6.2 Translation of CATIA V4 Documents to CATIA V5




.model 3D

.CATPart Body


.model 3D

.CATPart Open Body


.model 3D or 2D

.CATPart Open Body


.model 3D


Part Positioning

.model Ditto


Positioning Constraint




.model Set

.CATProduct Application






Native Data Description

For interoperability purposes, you may need to translate V5 Features into V4 Elements. The following table summarizes the translation.

Table 6.3 Translation of V5 Features into V4 Elements

V5 Features

V4 Elements

1 Surface

1 Face (*FAC)

1 Face

1 Face (*FAC)

Several Faces (contained in a Surface)

Skin (*SKI)

Sketches, Wireframe

Curves (*CRV),
Lines (*LN)

Several Curves and Lines

Composite Curves (*CCV)

Part Body

Volumes (*VOL)
(SolidE entity)

Open Body

Curves, Lines, Points, ...

For a step-by-step example procedure describing how to use CATIA V5 CATPart documents in CATIA V4, see the CAD Geometries subheading in the Methodologies section in this chapter.


The following data can be copied from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5:

  • Surfaces (both polynomial and BSpline)

  • Faces

  • Volumes

  • Skins and exact solids

  • Mockup solids

  • Polyhedral surfaces and solids

  • Circles

  • Ellipses

  • Points

  • Lines

  • Planes

  • Clouds of points

  • Edges

  • Parabolas

  • Hyperbolas

  • Curves (both polynomial and BSpline)

  • Continuing calibration verifications (CCVs)

  • Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBs) (curves and surfaces)

When converting solid models from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5, users have a choice of bringing only the geometry—without feature definitions—or attempting to bring dimension-driven design features as well as geometry. A few CATIA V4 CSG primitives, such as the pyramid, have no equivalent in CATIA V5. These primitives can only be converted as pure geometry.

CATIA V4 precise (b-rep) solid models may cause errors when converted to CATIA V5. These errors are caused by differences in tolerances between the faces and edges of the respective systems. Most of these errors occur in solids that were sewn together from surface models. CATIA V5 checks for errors in CATIA V4 models as soon as they are opened and identifies features that must be fixed for successful conversion into a CATIA V5 part or assembly. However, CATIA V5 is capable of selectively loosening the tolerance to accept models that would otherwise not work.

CATIA V4 employs Bezier curves and surfaces, and the surfaces are composed of primary elements called patches. CATIA V5 employs Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) and the primary elements of its surfaces are called cells.

When a CATIA V4 surface composed of patches that have continuous curvature (a condition called C2) is copied and then pasted in CATIA V5, and then CATIA V5 will combine these patches into a single cell. The patch boundaries of CATIA V4 can be retained by choosing the keep V4 segmentation option. This technique will make more cells than are necessary in the CATIA V5 model, but will retain the original CATIA V4 patch structure, which may be helpful in revising the model. CATIA V5 also provides tools for closing gaps between CATIA V4 surfaces that are unacceptably large.

If a *SKI element is copied from the CATIA V4 browser into a CATPart, the result is just one surface in CATIA V5, which then can be used to build solids. In contrast to the source CATIA V4 *SKI, the corresponding CATIA V5 surface is self-consistent. Therefore, there is no need to migrate the *SURs and *FACs in CATIA V5they are all converted as surfaces, but they have no topological links with the surface coming from the *SKI. It is always possible to apply the disassemble function to this surface to obtain surfaces corresponding to the original *FACs.

For the above reason, migrating skins reduces the amount of data transferred and results in reduced healing and cleaning activities in CATIA V5. Healing can be applied to multi-cell surfaces, such as those obtained from the copying and pasting of a *SKI, and it heals all internal boundaries with a single operation.

Only CATIA V4 elements, which are in shading mode in the CATIA V4 browser, can be converted into CATIA V5 CATParts. To transfer the *SKI element, either save the CATIA V4 Elements in shading mode or set the Display elements with the Display Mode Sensitive attribute off option on the V4/V5 Infrastructure tab in Compatibility settings under General Options.

Points to be noted:

  • The migration of CATIA V4 model data to a CATIA V5 document generates a report (.rpt) file named after the model migrated:

  • On Windows NT, this file is located in C:\Winnt\Profiles\username\Local Settings\Application Data\DassaultSystemes\CATReport

  • On Windows 2000 and XP, this file is located in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\DassaultSystemes\CATReport

  • To get a unique surface in CATIA V5 when copying and pasting sets of surfaces, it is more efficient to perform the join operation in CATIA V4 before copying.

  • CATIA V4 models containing a Skin Offset cannot be converted into CATIA V5 because there is no image of a Skin Offset in CATIA V5. You can copy and paste the CATIA V4 model into CATIA V5 by using the Paste As Result command, but the Skin Offset will have the same defective quality in CATIA V5 that it has in CATIA V4.

  • This methodology does not deliver accurate results when migrating complicated CAD geometry.

  • The As-Spec conversion produces models that are not what a designer starting in CATIA V5 would optimally choose. To properly capture the design intent of a CATIA V4 model, it may be wise to rebuild it.

  • CATIA V5 CATPart documents can be saved as CATIA V4 models and can be manipulated like any other existing CATIA V4 model file.

  • Only the CATIA V5 elements in Show mode can be translated into CATIA V4 format.

  • CATIA V5 part bodies and volumes will be translated into CATIA V4 Solids without history.

  • A CATIA V5 Surface is translated into a Face or a Skin in CATIA V4.

  • CATIA V5 Wireframes are transformed into CATIA V4 Curves, Planes, Lines, and so on.

  • CATIA V5 Axis Systems are transferred into CATIA V4 Axis Systems.

  • The Save As Model Operation also keeps graphical properties: colors and layers are transferred on Wireframe and Surfacic elements.


The following data can be copied from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5:

  • Circles

  • Dittos, symbols (exploded in CATIA V5 geometry)

  • Ellipses

  • Points

  • Lines

  • Parabolas

  • Hyperbolas

  • Curves

  • AUXVIEW2 views

  • Texts and dimensions

Converting drawings with the CATIA_Result option may be adequate for drawings of parts in production that are likely to change little. If a drawing is being converted for use in a new product design, however, lack of associativity could make it difficult to update the drawing as the geometry evolves.

When copying CATIA V4 drawing data to CATIA V5, bear the following in mind:

  • Whatever the standard of a CATIA V4 view prior to being copied into CATIA V5, the view takes CATIA V5 standards after it is pasted into CATIA V5.

  • The smallest unit that can be copied is the view. All the elements that go to make up this view are included in the copy.

  • In the CATIA V5 option Working Views (Edit->Working Views), the copy described above creates a CATIA V5 view with the same name as in CATIA V4. In the CATIA V5 option Background (Edit->Background), the CATIA V4 elements are copied into the background view of the CATIA V4 view.

The migration of CATIA V4 drawing data to a CATIA V5 document generates a report (.rpt) file named after the model migrated:

  • On Windows NT, the file is located in C:\Winnt\Profiles\username\Local Settings\Application Data\DassaultSystemes\CATReport

  • On Windows 2000 and XP, the file is located in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\DassaultSystemes\CATReport

This report contains the following information regarding the migration results:

  • The location and name of the input and output files.

  • The kind of migration performed (for example, CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 CATDrawing).

  • The mode of the migration performed (CATIA_SPEC or CATIA_RESULT).

  • The status of migration for each CATIA V4 element:

  • Correctly/OK: migration successful

  • KO: migration failed

  • NOT: migration could not be performed for lack of a CATIA V5 equivalent


CATIA V4 assemblies can be either in a session file (that is an overlay of different model files) or a single file. CATIA V5 assemblies do not contain any solids. Instead, they have a reference link to the different external models.

If the CATIA V4 assembly is a session file, then the CATIA V5 assembly can have the same geometries and retain the assembly constraints.

CATIA V5 assemblies can have both CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 parts together. CATIA V4 parts that are to be employed without modification need not be converted. They can be imported into CATIA V5 assemblies in their native CATIA V4 format. CATIA V4 parts can be used in CATIA V5 assemblies as reference geometry to create new parts.

CATIA V5 lets engineers design parts in the context of an assembly. Parts reside in individual files and are incorporated into the assembly by reference. Relationships between parts and assemblies are depicted on a graphical tree. Designers can load only the desired portions of large assemblies. This technique should help designers of complex assemblies keep interactive performance within acceptable limits. The assembly design workbench allows product models to be created from mixtures of solid and surface models from both CATIA V4 and CATIA V5.

For a step-by-step description of the procedure for translating CATIA V4 assembly files to CATIA V5, see the Methodologies section in this chapter.

During the migration process, when both CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 are in use, you may wish to translate V5 CATProduct documents into V4 Sessions. Note that the first component in the CATProduct will be the Active Model in the Session and the other components will be downloaded in the passive mode.

There are a few prerequisites for this kind of operation:

  • The CATProduct must have .models and/or .CATParts.

  • The number of characters in the path of the session or of the CATProduct's components must not exceed 44 characters.

  • The number of characters in the name of the session must not exceed 80 characters.

  • The number of characters in the name of the CATProduct's components must not exceed 64 characters.

An example of this conversion can be found in the Methodologies section of this chapter.


Certain restrictions apply when copying models from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5:

The primitives converted to data are:

  • Pyramids.

  • Sweep spines; sweeps with a non-close profile.

  • Import primitives (linked to a solid in another model).

The non-supported operations are:

  • Certain draft types; for example, keep edges with more than two neutrals.

  • Certain fillet types; for example, rolling edges.

The non-supported primitives are:

  • Macroprimitive multibodies.

  • Non-isometric transformations.

The elements copied as geometry only, that is, not as history, are:

  • All elements (including SKD) with the exception of exact and mockup solids.

Batch Migration

CATIA V4 Data conversion to CATIA V5 Data through the copying and pasting method is useful, but it contains a few restrictions. Therefore, the CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 Batch Migration technique allows migration of several CATIA V4 documents at one time and in a global way.

The batch migration tool provides an interactive interface that can run in the background while you work on different Workbenches.

Before launching the batch tool, make sure that the CATIA environment is correctly set up. On Windows, the batch's environment is installed during CATIA's installation itself.

The Methodologies section in this chapter contains an example of batch migration from CATIA V4 to V5 and the syntax for batch migration from V5 to V4.

Rules about Batch Migration

The batch migration of a model takes into account CATIA V4 data structures. Compared to the copy/paste process, the batch process generates more pertinent CATIA V5 data. It is recommended that batch migration be used for optimum results, particularly for migration of Dittos (CATIA V4 elements that are recognized by the program as the elements belonging to the receiving workspace) from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5.

According to its content, a model is migrated into several documents: a CATPart and/or a CATProduct and/or a CATDrawing. To separate the treatment of Space data and Draw data, click on the Options button and from the Tools menu, select Options, then select the V4 / V5 Infrastructure panel, and then select Convert Space and Draw or Convert Space Only or Convert Draw Only.

Batch Migration of CATIA V4 Draw Data

When a model contains Draw data, the data are migrated as a unique document a CATDrawing.

The following entities undergo changes during the CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 conversion:


  • CATIA V4 Detail > CATIA V5 Detail Sheet

  • CATIA V4 Views > CATIA V5 Views

In the Batch mode, all Draw and Detail workspaces are migrated in CATIA V5. On the contrary, if Copy/Paste a Draft or a View is done interactively, only referenced Details are migrated.

If the Open in Light Mode: 2D Data are not taken into account option, accessible from the Tools menu by clicking Options and then V4/V5Infrastructure, is not turned off, the batch will not be able to migrate CATIA V4 Drawing data. Therefore, to convert CATIA V4 drawing elements to CATIA V5, it is necessary to uncheck this setting.

Batch Migration of CATIA V4 Space Data

In CATIA V5, the "V4 Part" definition is the Geometric Set: the subsets will be migrated into a CATIA V5 CATPart document.

  1. Every Geometric Set contained in a model generates a CATPart (only Dittos are managed separately).

  2. Every Workspace containing several Dittos or Set instances is converted as a CATProduct. Under this CATProduct, there are as many components as Dittos (Part or Product instances) and Sets (Part instances only).

The impacts of the CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 conversion on the entities are:

  • CATIA V4 Set > CATIA V5 Part

  • CATIA V4 Detail > CATIA V5 Part or Product

  • CATIA V4 Ditto > CATIA V5 Product component

  • CATIA V4 Model (.model) > CATIA V5 Part or Product and/or CATDrawing

  • CATIA V4 Session (.session) > CATIA V5 Product

  • CATIA V4 Assembly (.asm) > CATIA V5 Product

When an .asm is converted through the migration batch, a CATProduct is obtained. The result is the same when an .asm is read in CATIA V5.

Libraries/Standard Parts

This section describes the details of converting CATIA V4 Libraries to CATIA V5 Catalogs.

Library-Catalog Equivalences

Each Library in CATIA V4 is made up of various Families. Each Family, in turn, contains groups of Objects of types Detail, Symbol, and so on. Keywords are attributed to these families for easy retrieval of the objects in the family.

Figure 6.1: Library Structure in CATIA V4

Figure 6.1: Library Structure in CATIA V4

Objects can be of the following types:

  • Detail

  • Symbol

  • NCM tool

  • Section

  • NCL tool

A Library in CATIA V4 corresponds to a Catalog in CATIA V5. The structure is as follows:

Figure 6.2: Library Structure in CATIA V5

Figure 6.2: Library Structure in CATIA V5

The keywords relating to the library family are converted into catalog keywords following the conventions in this graphic:

Table 6.4 Keyword Conversions

V4 Keyword Type

V5 Keyword Type






Real (no unit retrieval)



The migration of a CATIA V4 Library to a CATIA V5 Catalog involves the creation of a V4 Model from the Library, the capture of keyword data from the Library, the conversion of the Model into CATIA V5, and finally building the Catalog in V5 with keywords. This process can be done manually, but with a large number of libraries this takes time and patience. Fortunately, it can be automated:

  • Creating CATIA V4 Models from Libraries. The CATIA V4 User Manual provides instructions for writing an IUA to read the library, obtain the Models contained in it, and save it as a *.model file.

  • Capturing Keyword Data from CATIA V4 Libraries. Again, this can be done with IUA code. Here the IUA code should use the CATGEO tool (a CATIA tool) to generate text files containing the keywords.

  • Convert CATIA V4 Models to CATIA V5 objects. This process can be done using batch migration, which is described in the section of this document about migrating CAD Geometries.

  • Building CATIA V5 Catalogs with Keywords. This can be achieved with a script that reads the text file you have created and copies the data into a .catalog file.

An alternate approach to library migration is to use CATScripting, which can reduce the number of steps involved.

For example scripts illustrating these procedures, see the Methodologies section of this chapter.


The following subheadings describe the methods used for data migration.

Character Equivalence Conversion Table

A default conversion table that helps ensure that file names are compatible with Windows ships with CATIA V5. It converts certain non-alphabetic characters into strings that Windows allows. If you choose to use a text file other than the default for this purpose, you can specify it in the CATIA Options dialog box. Use the Equivalence Table Path value in the Compatibility section.

Renaming Files Using Batch Command

The CATV4ToV5NTCompatibilityName tool is provided with CATIA V5 to ease the migration of files on UNIX to Windows. For more information about this tool command, refer to the CATIA Help Documentation.

Project Files

The following subsections discuss PRJ models, tables, and fonts.

PRJ Models

These files include both models and Project files. They are created by the process of internalization, which can be performed on a single file or on many files simultaneously. These procedures should be performed in the UNIX environment before the migration to Windows.

Internalizing One Model

To internalize just one model in CATIA 4, follow these steps:

  1. Set the declaration variable catsite.PRJMODEL to


in the CATSITE.dcls file.

  1. Open a model that references a Project file.

  2. Enter the /prjmodel command in the keyboard entry area. The user is prompted to confirm PRJMODEL creation. Click YES. The message PRJMODEL successfully created will appear. If, however, the selected model does not reference a Project file, the message No reference to the Project file will be displayed.

  3. To save the model, write it to the file chosen for this purpose using the FILE/WRITE function.

Internalizing a Large Number of Models

To internalize a large number of models, one of the following methods can be used:

Internalizing using CATRANS

  1. On the sending site, use the UNIX commands ftp or cp or the UNIX File Manager to copy the CATSITE.dcls (catsite.PRJMODEL = TRUE) and the corresponding table (CORPRJ) from the receiving site to the sending site.

  2. Run CATRANS on the models by running the UTILITY command and selecting CATRANS from the window.

Internalizing using CATEXP/CATIMP

  1. On the sending site, run the CATEXP utility (by running the UTILITY command and selecting CATEXP from the window) on the models to be converted and on the associated Project file(s).

  2. In the CATSITE.dcls on the receiving site, set the declaration variable

    catsite.PRJMODEL = TRUE


  1. On the receiving site, run CATIMP (by running the UTILITY command and selecting CATIMP from the window) on the resulting sequential file containing the models and Project file(s).

  2. Depending on the size of the Project file and the model involved, the index and data tables may require additional space to accommodate the PRJMODEL. It is therefore advisable to make sure that enough space for these tables is available before CATIMP is run. The memory size can be modified in the USRENV.dcls file by using the following declaration parameters:


PRJ Tables

Before opening CATIA V4 files (linked to an external project) in CATIA V5, the following changes have to be made to maintain full compatibility and avoid errors:

  1. Duplicate the Project File directory on UNIX:

    cp -r <native_V4_PRJ> <NT_compliant_PRJ>

  2. Go to the new directory:

    cd <NT_compliant_PRJ>

  3. Rename the table files appropriately.

    mv .TEXTCOTcat0606 : DESCRIPTIONS.project \


    mv .TEXTCOTcat0606 : STANDARDS.project \

    .TEXTCOT_ _ _STANDARDS.project

    mv PATTERNcat0606 : DESCRIPTION.project \


    mv PATTERNcat0606 : IDENTIFICATEURS.project \


    mv PATTERNcat0606 : MOTIFS.project \

    PATTERN_ _ _MOTIFS.project

  4. Perform the same conversion for all table names, if necessary.

  5. Once all the tables have been renamed, transfer this directory to the Windows workstation and reference it in the compatibility setting.

  6. From the Tools menu, select Options, then select General, then select Compatability, and then select the V4/V5 Infrastructure tab.

  7. Enter the link to the <NT_compliant_PRJ> directory in the space for the Project File Path text box.

When the user has specified only the PRJ File Path (NT_compliant_PRJ) and not the DLNAME, but the model references only a DLNAME, the following warning message appears:

Figure 6.3: Warning message

Figure 6.3: Warning message

This warning does not appear, however, if the <User_dlname> is specified in the DLNAME textbox in the V4/V5 Infrastructure Settings.


The following procedure outlines the migration of a font in the FONT (UNICODE Key) format to CATIA V5.

If you have fonts in the FONTDATA (EBCDIC Key) format they must be changed to FONT files first, using the CATFONT utility in version 4.1.8 of CATIA or later.

  1. Copy the CATIA V4 FONT files to the CATIA V5 environment in the following folder or directory:


    where install_folder is the installation folder (Windows) or directory (UNIX)

  2. Copy the FONT CODE files to the CATIA V5 environment in:


  3. Rename these FONT CODE files using the following syntax:

    XXXX.fontcode renamed to FCUSERn.fontcode

    where XXXX.fontcode represents the V4 font code file and the n in FCUSERn.fontcode represents the increment (16 being the maximum number).

    For instance:

    ABBK.fontcode renamed to FCUSER1.fontcode

    HEL1.fontcode renamed to FCUSER2.fontcode

    HEL2.fontcode renamed to FCUSER3.fontcode

    SPEC.fontcode renamed to FCUSER4.fontcode

    TIME.fontcode renamed to FCUSER5.fontcode

    Note: The names


to FakePre-b261c1c83d9244af8e6397c770a4abdb-0eaa75db0eda41e18316de98e6060b5c are reserved for Single-Byte Character Set (SBCS) font codes, whereas FakePre-14c5003e814a4184bd6e4dfcee1733ab-fbab70ebec1e469d9ab30176f243b41e to FakePre-81954597dcc24c7097d1d417a4981b08-4218d00fb27c4c3f922b94d9bed9fb04 are reserved for Double-Byte Character Set (DBCS) font codes.

  1. Edit the V4FontInteroperability file in:


    by adding the CATIA V4 FONTLIB names to the list.

    This file maps to a CATIA V4 FONTLIB name, the FONT, and FONT CODE associated with it.

Cleaning and Checking Models

The CATIA V4 model can be cleaned and checked for accuracy. This process is explained in the following sections.

Cleaning the Model

Diagnostic tests can be run against your CATIA V4 project files using the CATCLN utility before the model is migrated. This operation must be done on version 4.1.8 of CATIA or later.

If the <The selected CATIA V4 element XXX has a bad data structure> message is encountered when checking elements of CATIA V4 models (or copying elements to CATIA V5), there are a certain number of precautions that should be taken prior to the copy operation to ensure that it is successful.

This message appears when CATGEO has detected a problem in the reading of CATIA V4 model data.

Perform the following operations to clean the model:

  1. Type /cln in the text field and press Enter.

  2. A screen exposes a Model analysis by listing the number of detected invalid elements:

    Figure 6.4: Model analysis

    Figure 6.4: Model analysis

  3. Click the four buttons: Delete (invalid elements), Modify (invalid elements), Pack (memory) and All (to see all the messages and results of the checking).

  4. Click YES to execute and the invalid elements will be turned into valid components. If YES is clicked again, the events number may turn to 0.

  5. Use FORCE UPDATE (YES) on the solids, if there are some in the model.

  6. Save the model.

  7. Then use FORCE UPDATE on the solids in the model and save it.

The elements of this model can then be migrated from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5.

During a migration from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5, if both the following messages occur:

  • <The selected CATIA V4 element XXX has a bad data structure>

  • <The CATIA V4 solid XXX has not been pasted <$DRAFT.1 ko...etc>

It is due to the bad data structure of the solid, detected in the Draft V4.$DRAFT.1.

The next step is to type /cln in the text field. The Cleaner's manipulations have modified the V4 Model Data Structure. If the model contains solids and they depend on modified data, it is important to FORCE UPDATE (YES) the solid in order to check that every element is coherent and then, finally, save the model before translating it.

CAD Geometries

In order to read and use CATIA V5 CATPart documents in CATIA V4 , the following steps must be carried out.

Note that CATIA 4.2.3 R1 or later is a prerequisite.

  1. Install a CATIA V5R10 configuration, which includes the V4 Integration product (V4I), and set up the appropriate licenses. Examples configurations include the Mechanical Design 2 configuration and the Hybrid Design configuration.

  2. Add the following lines to the USRENV.dcls file, both in the user and administrator environments:


where $*HOME* is the location of the USRENV.dcls file and where is the shell downloaded to $*HOME*/CATEnv/ using the CATIA V5 installation procedure.

Make sure that:
  • The path used to access the CATPart document is the same path as


and the file system containing the CATPart is shared between the CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 computers.


<pre IsFakePre="true" xmlns="">$HOME</pre>

for a user is the same on the CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 computers and is shared by both.

  • After the statement in Step 3 is added to the USRENV.dcls file, it is possible to use CATIA V5 data in a CATIA V4 session within a client/server environment. However, if the last two lines of the declaration above are not specified, it is assumed by the system that both CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 are installed on a local computer. Following these steps (1-4) enables you to avoid the error message "Dynamic storage cannot be allocated," which would otherwise be displayed while attempting to read CATIA V5 data.


The following procedure describes how an entire model is pasted from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5.

  1. Open the CATIA V4 document to be converted in a CATIA V5 session.

  2. Click the New icon or select New from the File menu to open a new CATIA V5 document.

  3. In the specification tree or geometry area where the CATIA V4 model is displayed, select the geometrical element or elements to be converted.

  4. To convert the data without the specifications (history), either:

    1. Drag and drop the element(s) onto the appropriate location in the CATIA V5 document.


    2. Copy the element(s) by selecting Copy from the Edit menu and paste in the CATIA V5 document by selecting Paste from the Edit menu.


    3. Copy the element(s) by selecting Copy from the Edit menu and paste in the CATIA V5 document by selecting Paste Special from the Edit menu, and then selecting CATIA_Result in the dialog box and clicking OK.

  5. To copy the specifications of the selected CATIA V4 elements, copy the element(s) by selecting Copy from the Edit menu. Paste them in the CATIA V5 document by selecting the Paste Special from the Edit menu, selecting CATIA_Spec in the dialog box, and then clicking OK.

  6. Click Update icon to update and view the copied data.

The following task describes how an entire model is pasted from CATIA V5 to CATIA V4:

  1. Select Options from the Tools menu. The Options dialog box appears with the General category selected in the left-hand column

  2. Click the Compatibility tab. The following dialog box appears:

  3. Open the WRITING_CODE_PAGE list in the V4 Declarations part of the dialog box. The default WRITING_CODE_PAGE value is ISO-8859-1.

    Select the appropriate code page from the drop down menu and click OK.

  4. The V4 Model Dimension can be modified in order to be consistent with the CATIA V4 destination site value.

  5. Select Save As from the File menu.

  6. In the Save As dialog box, select the location of the .model document to be saved and rename it (or not) as required.

  7. Click the Save as type: list and select model.

  8. Click Save. The model file just created can now be opened in CATIA V4.

  9. If some elements cannot be correctly transferred, the migration of CATIA V5 data into native CATIA V4 format generates a report file (.rpt). Therefore, CATIA V5 CATPart documents are translated into CATIA V4 models with an enhanced report of errors and problems. This report has the same name as the CATPart document. The following list provides the files location.

  • On Windows NT, the file is located in C:\Winnt/Profiles\username\Local Settings\Application Data\DassaultSystemes\CATReport

  • On Windows 2000 and XP, the file is located in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\DassaultSystemes\CATReport

In this way, the message lets the user know which element could not be translated in CATIA V4 .

Additional information about the error cause is provided as well. The cause of the error may include:

  • Detection of a gap greater than the maximum allowed value.

  • Detection of an element with a dimension smaller than the minimum allowed value.

  • Detection of a shell that cannot be closed into a volume or detection of faces that cannot be joined into a shell.

  • A surface that is too small.


The following procedure allows translation of CATIA V4 2D into the corresponding CATIA V5 format.

  1. Open the CATDrawing document.

  2. Click the New icon or select New from the File menu to open a new CATIA Drawing.

  3. In the specification tree or geometry area where the CATIA V4 drawing is displayed, select the view (or views) to be copied into CATIA V5.

  4. Select Copy from the Edit menu and copy the selected view(s).

  5. In the specification tree of the CATIA V5 CATDrawing document, select the appropriate sheet.

  6. Select Paste from the Edit menu and paste the selected view(s).

  7. The migration of CATIA V4 drawing data to a CATIA V5 document generates a report (.rpt) file named after the model migrated.


The following procedure allows translation of CATIA V4 assembly files (document structure) into the corresponding CATIA V5 format. Opening a CATIA V4 session generates a CATIA V5 CATProduct. This CATProduct contains the .model documents linked to the .session document. The models contained in the Session are automatically transferred into the CATProduct. Only CATIA V4 Sessions saved in "References only" can be read in CATIA V5.

In addition, CATIA V4 Session documents containing models that are stored in databases can also be opened in CATIA V5.

To open documents, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Open icon or select Open from the File menu.

  2. In the File Selection box, select the file location.

  3. In the Files of type list, select session as document type.

  4. Select the .session document of choice and click OK.

The result in CATIA V5 is the same: the CATProduct contains the .models documents. It keeps its links with the models referenced in the session and stored in the databases.

The following is the procedure to translate CATIA V5 CATProduct documents into CATIA V4 Sessions:

  1. Select the Save As from the File menu. The Save As dialog box appears. In the Format list, select session and select the location/path of the .session document to be saved, and enter a name for it. Click Save As.

    If no name is entered for the document that is saved, it is automatically saved under the original CATProduct name and the extension is .session: for example, plane SESSION.session

  2. When the CATProduct contains one or several CATParts, they are saved as .model into the same directory as the session file. Only the CATIA V5 elements in Show mode can be translated into CATIA V4 format.

  3. The .session file just created can now be opened in CATIA V4.

Batch Migration

The following procedure describes the use of batch migration to convert many CATIA V4 documents to V5 simultaneously:

  1. n Windows, the Batch can be launched by entering the command:

    CNEXT -batch -e CATV4ToV5Migration

  2. Select CATIA V4 Documents in the File Selection dialog box.

  3. Confirm that the Specification Check has been performed on the CATIA V4 documents.

  4. Press the Migrate button in order to convert CATIA V4 documents into CATIA V5 documents. The migration is progressive when one or several models are selected, and a progress bar appears, giving the user an insight into the migration time. The screen is not frozen during the migration process.

  5. The migration report is displayed in another dialog box at the end of the operation. Double-click the line of choice to get more information. In the Migration Report box, if the message is OK, then the selected files and their components can be converted into CATIA V5.

  6. The results obtained by performing a Copy/Paste operation may be different from batch migration. Batch migration reduces the number of interactions and simplifies the migration of complex CATIA V4 data structures.

  7. The migration report can be saved as a text file. In the Migration Report window, the elements list can be expanded for a particular model by double-clicking the model. If the Save As Text button is clicked, these data will be saved in the file and directory of choice.

For command line CATIA V5 to CATIA V4 Batch Migration on Windows and UNIX, the migration can be launched by entering the CATV5ToV4 command. For more information about this command, refer to the CATIA Help Documentation.

Libraries / Standard Parts

The major steps involved in converting any CATIA V4 Library to CATIA V5 Catalog are:


  • Create CATIA V4 Models from Libraries.

  • Capture Keyword Data for each object from CATIA V4 Libraries.


  • Convert CATIA V4 Models to CATIA V5 CATParts, CATDrawing, etc.

  • Build CATIA V5 Catalogs with Keywords.

Executing these steps for migration of large libraries is tedious. These four steps can be automated as described below :

Create CATIA V4 Models from Libraries

This process can be automated by writing an IUA to read the Library, extract the Models from the Library, explode it, and save it as a *.model File in V4.

The following are the steps to read the library file, explode the DITTOs, and create .Model Files:

  1. Get Input Library Name.

  2. Test the validity of the input.

  3. Read, Allocate and Open Library.

  4. Scan the family in library.

  5. Create a model.

  6. Scan the objects in family.

  7. Read object.

  8. Paste in model file.

  9. Create a standard symbol occurrence.

Capture Keyword Data for each object from CATIA V4 Libraries

The keyword data related to each object in all the families can be captured using the CATGEO tool and IUA code. A text file is generated by running the IUA code. The created text file can be modified to a CSV file of the required format, which would be the input for creating catalogs.

The code takes the following steps:

1. Get Input Library Name.

2. Test the validity of the input.

3. Read, allocate and open Library.

4. Create and pop the stack and read family data.

5. Capture Discrete keyword data.

6. Capture Numeric keyword data.

7. Capture Alphanumeric keyword data.

8. Capture Binary keyword data.

9. Capture Discrete keyword data of object.

10. Capture Numeric keyword data of object.

11. Capture Alphanumeric keyword data of object.

12. Capture Binary keyword data of object.

Convert CATIA V4 Models to CATIA V5 CATParts, CATDrawing, Etc.

CATIA V4 data can be converted to CATIA V5 using the already mentioned Batch command in the Batch Migration section.

Build CATIA V5 Catalogs with Keywords

The following VBScript reads the keywords text file captured from the CATIA V4 library, and places the keywords into a V5 .catalog file. To use this code, copy it into a text file and rename it with a .vbs extension.

Sub CATMain() 
Dim FileSys As FileSystem 
Set FileSys = CATIA.FileSystem 
Dim File_OP As String 
Text file containing the name of the Families with File Path 
Dim NamesFile As File 
Set NamesFile = FileSys.GetFile(File_OP) 
Dim Txt_Stream As TextStream 
Set Txt_Stream = NamesFile.OpenAsTextStream("ForReading") 
Dim File_Name As String 
File_Name = Txt_Stream.ReadLine 
Do Until Txt_Stream.AtEndOfStream 
Input CSV file containing the Keyword of Objects with File Path 
InputFile="../" & File_Name & ".csv" 
Path for creation of output catalog file 
   OutputFile="./" & File_Name & ".catalog" 
   Dim Catalog As Document 
   Set Catalog=CATIA.Documents.Add("CatalogDocument") 
   Catalog.CreateCatalogFromcsv InputFile, OutputFile 
   File_Name = Txt_Stream.ReadLine 
End Sub 

Migration using CATScripting

The CATIA V4 Libraries can also be migrated to CATIA V5 as catalogs using CATScripting. The script given below can be used when migrating only DETAIL objects of the Library. No link is kept between the CATIA V4 library and the new CATIA V5 catalog.

Sub CATMain() 
AS_SPEC = 0 
libraryDirectory = "http://../../FASTENERS" 
catalogName = "LIB.catalog" 
catalogDirectory = "E:\..\..\Catalog" 
projectDirectory = "http://../../Interop" 
tablePath = "E:\..\..\table.txt" 
Dim Catalog As Document 
if ( BATCH_MODE = RATTRAP ) then 
Set Catalog = CATIA.Documents.Open(catalogDirectory & "/" & catalogName) 
Set Catalog = CATIA.Documents.Add("CatalogDocument") 
end if 
Catalog.CreateCatalogFromLibrary libraryDirectory, projectDirectory, 
catalogDirectory, tablePath, CONVERSION_FORMAT, BATCH_MODE 
End Sub 


The migration of data from CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 can be involved if you intend to run V5 on Windows because the V4 data must be hosted on UNIX. The migration process must be planned carefully if the productivity of your design department is to be maintained throughout the process.

The V4 to V5 migration process does not have to be an all-at-once event, in which all processes must be complete before users can access the new system. Instead, you can phase your migration, with parts of your user base moving to the new system while others continue with V4. This prevents a major interruption to the departments work, allows you to test and gain confidence in your procedures with a small number of users, and lessens the impact of failures. However, it also means that you must plan for the movement of data both from V4 to V5 and from V5 to V4 while the migration is in process.

If you have large amounts of data to migrate, it is likely that manual techniques will be repetitive and time consuming. Bear in mind that the automated migration techniques described in this chapter will reduce administrative effort in this situation.

Disclaimer and Copyright Information

CATIA is a registered trademark of Dassault Systemes SA. The names of other actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.