AutoCAD LT – Palette migration from newer to older version

This article is about the migration tool palette from a newer to an older version of AutoCAD LT. Despite a vast majority of cases, where the tool palette, as well as other settings, are moved from an older to a newer version of AutoCAD sometimes, although very rarely the situation in another direction might occur. In this event, the “Migrate from a previous release” option simply won’t work.
Therefore another way must be applied in this case. Unfortunately, it’s a slightly longer process, but doable easily.
Imagine, that you have the newest version of AutoCAD LT 2023 and you want to migrate the palettes to AutoCAD LT 2020. There are the following steps, which can be divided between these 2 versions.
In the newer AutoCAD Version, we need to export the tool palette by using the following way: Main Toolbar -> Manage -> Tool Palettes -> Customize Window -> Right-click -> Export (Pic. 1).

AutoCAD LT Export palettes

Pic. 1 Export palettes from AutoCAD LT.

Once the list of your palettes is populated in the Customize panel, just right-click on any of them and choose the Export option. It will be saved as the .xtp file (AutoCAD Palette file) along with the folder including all the images assigned for the particular shape allocated inside. This is admittedly all we can do with our newer version of AutoCAD LT.
When the older version of your AutoCAD is fired up, we can replicate the way described above, but instead of Export, we will use Import this time. For a better recap let me write all these steps down again:
Main Toolbar -> Manage -> Tool Palettes -> Customize Window -> Right-cick -> Import.
Unlike previously, now you can right-click anywhere within the Palettes box (Pic. 2).

AutoCAD LT import palettes

Pic. 2 Import new palette to AutoCAD LT.

After this, you should be able to see your imported palette in this list. Moreover, this palette should be also displayed in the Tool Palettes box. In fact, transferring the tool palette between the different AutoCAD LT versions will result in blank signatures (Pic. 3).

AutoCAD LT blank tool palettes

Pic. 3 Blank signatures in the tool palette imported from another version of AutoCAD LT as the .xcp file.

Apart from this, the tool palette seems to work as normal producing adequate shapes for the symbols included (Pic. 4).

AutoCAD LT tool palette

Pic. 4 Imported tool palette in use. It looks like just signatures of items are missing.

There are 2 ways of bringing original icons back. If you right-click on any of the items you have an option “Specify image” where you can do it both for light and dark themes (Pic. 5). Remember, that they must be the same for both. In reality, this is one image applied for these 2 AutoCAD LT themes.

AutoCAD LT Tool palettes specifying images

Pic. 5 Specifying images for particular items in the tool palette imported from other (newer) versions of AutoCAD LT.

The images are in the folder exported along with the .xtp file. We are simply redirecting the image link to our new directory, which is the base of graphic files stored in the folder.
Another way is the right-click on the given item and choose to Remove the specified image (Pic. 6). When clicked, AutoCAD brings back an original image of the item. The last method, which you can try is reloading (reimporting) the palette. Finally, you should have all the items working with all symbols restored (Pic. 6)

AutoCAD LT Palette retrieved

Pic. 6 Fully retrieved tool palette imported from the newer version of AutoCAD LT.

If you are planning to use the imported palettes more than once, bear in mind, that the AutoCAD LT won’t retain them! It means, that they all are gone after reopening your drawing, which requires putting them over and over again. In order to avoid this issue, we have to change the source tool palettes directory. For this reason, you should click on the AutoCAD LT icon at the top left -> Options -> Files -> Tool Palettes File Locations -> double-click and redefine the directory (Pic. 7).

AutoCAD LT Source palette directory

Pic. 7 Changing the source palette directory in AutoCAD LT.

Afterward, your tool palette docking window will be blank with just one default “New palette”. In fact, you can set up your custom palette list by importing them one by one as you did previously. You will do it just once and forever since the source directory has been changed. Moreover, you should have seen all the thumbnails displayed correctly.

AutoCAD LT Palettes

Pic. 8 Palettes imported from a newer version of AutoCAD successfully.

That’s still not everything. If you want to use them correctly, you need to make sure, that the source folder defined in the properties corresponds with the directory, where your .dwg palette files are stored (Pic. 9).

AutoCAD LT Palette source file

Pic. 9 The .dwg source file for the AutoCAD LT palettes.

Ensure that the .dwg file concerned is in the right directory (Pic. 10). Otherwise, you will have just item thumbnails, but you won’t be able to use them.

AutoCAD LT Palette source file

Pic. 10 The source directory for AutoCAD LT imported palettes.

As you can see the process of importing back the tool palette from a newer to an older version of AutoCAD LT is still possible and not complicated that much. The migration will be still more intricate in this way, although situations such as this don’t happen very often.

Mariusz Krukar


  1. Migration-of-AutoCAD-P-ID-tool-palettes-between-different-versions.html
  2. How-to-export-and-import-AutoCAD-tool-palettes.html
  5. Tool-palettes-not-migrated-in-AutoCAD.html


  1. How to transfer a Tool Palette between two computers?



  1. AutoCAD_version_history



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