DGN File Extension

DGN file icon
MicroStation Design Format
  • Developer
    Bentley Systems
  • Popularity
    2.6 (9 votes)

What is DGN file?

DGN (short for ”design”) is a file format used by Computer Aided Design (CAD) software used by Bentley Systems MicroStation. DGN files store 2D/3D project data. The format is typically used in architectural and contsruction-related projects, such as road, bridge, powerplant or shipyard development.

Two versions of DGN format

The older version was based on Intergraph Standard File Formats (ISFF). Said version is sometimes called V7 DGN or Intergraph DGN. The newer version, introduced by Bentley Systems in 2000, no longer conforms to the ISFF specification and was designated as V8 DGN.

Programs which support DGN file extension

The list that follows enumerates programs compatible with DGN files, divided into 2 categories based on operating system on which they are available. Files with DGN extension, just like any other file formats, can be found on any operating system. The files in question may be transferred to other devices, be it mobile or stationary, yet not all systems may be capable of properly handling such files.

Programs that support DGN file

How to open file with DGN extension?

Being unable to open files with DGN extension can be have various origins. What is important, all common issues related to files with DGN extension can be resolved by the users themselves. The process is quick and doesn’t involve an IT expert. The list below will guide you through the process of addressing the encountered problem.

Step 1. Install AutoCAD software

The most common reason for such problems is the lack of proper applications that supports DGN files installed on the system. The most obvious solution is to download and install AutoCAD or one to the listed programs: TurboCAD, DGN to DWG Converter, AutoVue. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. If you want to download AutoCAD installer in the most secured manner, we suggest you visit Autodesk, Inc. website and download from their official repositories.

Step 2. Update AutoCAD to the latest version

If you already have AutoCAD installed on your systems and DGN files are still not opened properly, check if you have the latest version of the software. Sometimes software developers introduce new formats in place of that already supports along with newer versions of their applications. This can be one of the causes why DGN files are not compatible with AutoCAD. All of the file formats that were handled just fine by the previous versions of given program should be also possible to open using AutoCAD.

Step 3. Assign AutoCAD to DGN files

After installing AutoCAD (the most recent version) make sure that it is set as the default application to open DGN files. The process of associating file formats with default application may differ in details depending on platform, but the basic procedure is very similar.

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Clicking the DGN with right mouse button will bring a menu from which you should select the Open with option
  • Click Choose another app and then select More apps option
  • Finally select Look for another app on this PC, point to the folder where AutoCAD is installed, check the Always use this app to open DGN files box and conform your selection by clicking OK button

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • By clicking right mouse button on the selected DGN file open the file menu and choose Information
  • Proceed to the Open with section. If its closed, click the title to access available options
  • Select the appropriate software and save your settings by clicking Change all
  • Finally, a This change will be applied to all files with DGN extension message should pop-up. Click Continue button in order to confirm your choice.

Step 4. Check the DGN for errors

If you followed the instructions form the previous steps yet the issue is still not solved, you should verify the DGN file in question. Problems with opening the file may arise due to various reasons.

1. Verify that the DGN in question is not infected with a computer virus

If the DGN is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. It is advised to scan the system for viruses and malware as soon as possible or use an online antivirus scanner. If the scanner detected that the DGN file is unsafe, proceed as instructed by the antivirus program to neutralize the threat.

2. Verify that the DGN file’s structure is intact

If the DGN file was sent to you by someone else, ask this person to resend the file to you. The file might have been copied erroneously and the data lost integrity, which precludes from accessing the file. When downloading the file with DGN extension from the internet an error may occurred resulting in incomplete file. Try downloading the file again.

3. Check if the user that you are logged as has administrative privileges.

Some files require elevated access rights to open them. Log in using an administrative account and see If this solves the problem.

4. Check whether your system can handle AutoCAD

If the system is under havy load, it may not be able to handle the program that you use to open files with DGN extension. In this case close the other applications.

5. Ensure that you have the latest drivers and system updates and patches installed

Regularly updated system, drivers, and programs keep your computer secure. This may also prevent problems with MicroStation Design Format files. It may be the case that the DGN files work properly with updated software that addresses some system bugs.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the DGN file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on DGN file.

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