Anybody who uses CAD will no doubt know the DWG file format. The file was developed to serve as the native file format for AutoCAD. DWG file formats are regularly used by CAD users spanning different industries. Here is everything you need to know about the DWG file format.


The term DWG actually stands for drawing. This was created by Autodesk in 1982 and they estimate that by 1998, there would be around two billion DWG file formats on record. Without a doubt, it was quite popular in 98 and it still is today. As a matter of fact, you can even download a free DWG viewer online if you have a DWG file that you want to export.

Small Sizes

A sample of a work in DWG file formatAnyone that has used CAD knows for a fact that there are only two file formats that dominate the industry and they are DWG and DXF. Both files are created by Autodesk and of the two formats, it is the former that has the edge in terms of file size. DWGs are typically binary files. This means that they are encoded in 1s and 0s, whereas DXF files uses letters and numbers for expression. In essence, DWGs tend to be more compact and feature a smaller file size than the DXF format, even if the image on screen is identical. The optimized file size allows the DWG file format to be the ideal file for sharing and collaboration.

AutoCAD Compatibility

AutoCAD without a doubt, is the most-widely used CAD program in the market today. It is familiar to both professionals and hobbyists alike. The native file format for AutoCAD is DWG, which basically means that anyone that uses AutoCAD can use, and share DWG files regularly. You can view and edit DWG files using a free DWG viewer like the one provided by IGI on their website.

Perfect for 2D and 3D

Since the DWG format offers a huge range of capabilities it is no surprise it can be applied in both 2D and 3D geometry. As such, 2D and 3D files can work together. For instance., a designer may develop a 2D version of a car design, which can be modified to a 3D version by another product designer using Autodesk’s 3D software program. This format also shows amazing potential wit its AutoCAD drawing information features. Comparing it to DXF, it has the capability to store 3D geometry, color lines and line weights. These features make the format stand out.

Project Collaboration

DWG file format can be saved as .JPG or .PNG

For engineers, architects, graphic designers to be able to work alongside each other and with their clients, it is vital that a common ground must be established when it comes to file formats. Since DWG file format is native to AutoCAD, the files are used widely across the design industry, and are in use in virtually any top-of-the-line CAD platform. This ensures that professionals at any point in the design or supply chain process can open and work files in their preferred program,. They can even use the  free IGI Pt viewer that can be downloaded online so they can view the files even if they are away from their AutoCAD desk.

Here is a great video to help if you are a more visual learner.