- File type: Drawing Design
- Description: AutoCAD Drawing Database File
- Extension: .DWG
Category: Three Dimensional Image Files
File format: Proprietary
What is a DWG file
The DWG file extension identifies drawing files created in AutoCAD from Autodesk. "DWG" is actually a short form for "DRAWING".
The files with the .dwg store 3D and 2D computer aided design drawing data including metadata. They also contain geometric information like vector image data which are written out in binary codes.
In addition, DWG is the main local format used by many CAD apps and packages such as Interlaced, PowerCAD, AutoCAD and its variants. As a matter of fact, DWG files format was developed by AutoDesk the founders of AutoCAD back in the '80s together with the first Autocad version.
The files with the .dwg don't have native support in many software applications.
The DWG file format first made its appearance to the world with the launch of the AutoCAD drafting software as a native file format for the design application.
DWG is the preferred file format of professionals in the design environment, such as; interior designers, engineers, and architects. This is because it is a perfect file format for design-oriented projects.
It must be added that the DWG files format consists of all the data that users input when making a CAD drawing. Such data include photos, maps, designs, and geometric data.
When it comes to compatibility with other design-based software, then the DWG file extension is highly recommended.
How to Open DWG Files with and without Autocad
If you intend to just view and maybe print a DWG file, having to purchase an expensive AutoCAD license may seem a bit too much.
DWG files can be opened directly on AutoDesk products like AutoCAD 360 and A360 Viewer. However, they may also be opened without the need for AutoCAD. You can actually open .dwg files using other software applications, such as; CorelDRAW and Microsoft Visio.
The best option you have is to download a DWG viewer.
Here is how you can open DWG files without AutoCAD using randomly chosen software applications, such as; Microsoft Visio and CorelDRAW.
You can view a DWG file without Autocad. You have to download a free viewer like A360 or use an online viewer.
#1: Opening a DWG file on Microsoft Visio
If you are not using an AutoDesk AutoCAD app and you want to open DWG files, you can make use of Microsoft Visio if this is the app you have.
Here's how you can open a DWG file using your Microsoft Visio software.
- First launch the Microsoft Visio app then click the "File" option once the app is launched.
- Secondly, click the "Open" option to have the file opened.
- Thirdly, on the "Files of type" option choose AutoCAD Drawing which is either a .dwg or .dxf file format.
- Finally, go to the target .dwg files and then click on the "Open" option to display and open the .dwg file.
#2: Opening a DWG file using CorelDRAW
Follow these five steps if you want to open a .dwg file using CorelDRAW.
- First launch CorelDRAW on your PC device.
- Secondly, go to the "File" option from the drop-down menu on the app.
- Thirdly, click "Open".
- Next, search for the .dwg file you intend opening.
- Once you have found the .dwg files, open it on CorelDRAW, edit, and then save it.
#3: Opening a DWG file using A360 Viewer
The A360 Viewer is a FREE DWG files display tool from the stables of AutoDesk. This .dwg file viewing tool is available online here.
With the A360 Viewer you can view .dwg files directly from your web browser. There will be no need to install any browser plug-ins or software application to your PC, laptop or mobile device.
To use the A360 Viewer to view DWG files you will need to first click the "Upload Your Design" option.
Next, on the landing page of the A360 Viewer, drag then drop the .dwg file. Once this is done, the A360 Viewer internet tool opens the .dwg file automatically and then displays the file in the viewer.
Another way of viewing a .dwg file using the A360 Viewer is to either upload the .dwg files directly from Google Drive or Dropbox or by clicking the "Upload Files" option after the A360 Viewer had been launched online.
#4: Opening DWG files with AutoCAD 360
To open DWG files with the FREE AutoCAD 360 app, you first have to visit the download page of AutoCAD 360 right here.
The AutoCAD 360 app will enable you open as well as view .dwg files using your Windows, Android, or iOS devices.
- First, you will have to download the app on your PC or mobile device. You can download the app by selecting the options provided on the site.
- If you are using an iOS device, then you will need to download the free app from iTunes or App Store.
- However, if you are using an Android device, for example, a smartphone or tablet. You will then need to visit Google Play Store to download the software application for FREE.
- As soon as the installation of the app is complete, you can then launch the AutoCAD 360 app on your device.
- Next, select your target .dwg file directly and it will be automatically opened and displayed by the AutoCAD 360 app.
- In a situation where your target .dwg file is saved in other locations, such as; Egnyte, Box or even Dropbox, you will need to click the sidebar menu then under the "Actions" option, you will have to choose "Connect".
- You then have to login to your private account and once you do, you can choose your target .dwg files to open and then display it.
Programs to open DWG file
You can search and download these programs that will help you view DWG files.
- IMSI TurboCAD,
- Autodesk AutoCAD or DWG TrueView (free viewer),
- Autodesk design review (free)
- Corel Cad (free trial)
- SolidWorks eDrawings Viewer,
- ACD Systems Canvas,
- Drawing database file converter such as AutoDWG,
- Microsoft Visio,
- A360 viewer
- Autodesk AutoCAD
Here is an updated list of the best DWG viewers to download:
- Autocad (Not free).
You can check these online viewers:
How to Create a DWG file using an AutoCAD app
If you own an AutoCAD design-oriented software application like the Home Designer Pro, Home Designer Suite, or Home Designer Architectural app, you can export 2D line-based files.
To do this simply:
- go to "File"
- then "Export" where you can select either the "Export Current View" option, or the "Export All Floors" option.
The AutoCAD version you would like the 2D line-based file to be exported to can also be specified. But please note that you could face compatibility challenges depending on the software being used.
If you then want to create either a .dxf or .dwg file on your Home Designer app you will have to follow these steps.
- First of all, you will need to launch the Home Designer app.
- Next, open that .plan file you would like to export.
- Thirdly, go to the drop-down menu then click on "File", "Export" and finally on "Current View" to display either DXF or DWG.
- You can also click "File", "Export" and then "Export All Floors" in either DXF or DWG as well.
Note that if you are using the Home Designer 2019 or the previous version app, the file format you would only be able to export in is DXF.
So, if you are using this app while you are in the "Export Drawing dialog" box, select an AutoCAD app version that is compatible before you choose the "Export" option.
Whenever you intend sending a drawing file to another person using an AutoCAD app version that is older, try to know what AutoCAD version the other person is using.
Once you have found out the AutoCAD version the person has installed on their device, you need to then select that exact version (on the drop-down menu) before you export the drawing file.
How to convert a DWG file
How to Convert DWG Files to a Different File Format from your AutoCAD app?
If you are using AutoCAD apps such as;
- Advance Steel 2019,
- AutoCAD 2019,
- AutoCAD Architecture 2019,
- AutoCAD Electrical 2019,
- AutoCAD MEP 2019,
- AutoCAD Map 3D 2019,
- AutoCAD Mechanical 2019,
- AutoCAD Plant 3D 2019, and
- Civil 3D 2019, you can convert DWG files to other file formats such as PDF.
Here are the steps you will need to take while using any of the highlighted AutoCAD software applications.
- First of all, click on the Application button, then on "Save As" and afterwards on "DWG Convert".
- The "DWG Convert" dialog box will be displayed. Scroll towards the bottom end and you will see the "Add File" button, click this button.
- You are then taken to the "Select File" dialog box. While there, navigate your way to the folder where the drawing file you intend converting is stored.
- Next, click on the name of the DWG file and then click on the "Open" option." dialog box, you need to click on "Conversion Setups". As you are taken to the "Conversion Setups" dialog box, you will have to do either of the following;
- Create another conversion setup.
- Modify a conversion setup that is already existing.
- Choose a conversion setup that already exists.
- Once you are done with any of the three options you decide to apply, click on the "Close" option.
- While you are still in the dialog box labelled "DWG Convert", you need to then click on "Convert".
- Where the conversion setup clearly states either an EXE or ZIP file, you need to first navigate to the location folder and then select the folder by double-clicking it.
- You can decide to rename the file if you want. Once you have renamed the file, click the "Save" option and you are done converting DWG files.
Convert to PDF
You can convert drawing files to PDF using this online converters:
Convert to DXF
You can convert to DXF format here: