DWG File Extension

DWG file icon
AutoCAD Drawing Database Format
  • Developer
    Autodesk
  • Popularity
    3.3 (45 votes)

What is DWG file?

Files with the .DWG extension contain 2D or 3D images and their metadata, stored in a proprietary format using a binary method. The extension’s name originates from the English word for a DraWinG. It is a native format for several CAD applications. Its first implementation was created in the end of 80s, for the Interact CAD software, and later it was acquired and licensed by Autodesk in 1982, as the foundation of the AutoCAD. Until 2018, there were over 20 versions of the file format used by the AutoCAD series software.

Other DWG files are stored also with extensions:

  • .BAK – a backup copy of a DWG file,
  • .DWS – an image standard file,
  • .DWT – a file with a template,
  • .SV$ - a temporary autosave file.

Additional information about DWG files

Numerous open implementation libraries are being created, but none of them has reached a 100% compatibility with the proprietary format. This format, besides the native programs utilising it, is also supported within many other programs for computer assisted designing, and also it can be displayed within DWG viewers available online. The Autodesk company, creator of the CAD software, for many years has fought a losing battle with SolidWorks, demanding to register the DWG shortcut as a trademark.

Programs which support DWG file extension

Below you will find an index of software programs that can be used to open DWG files divided into 5 categories according to system platform supported. Files with DWG suffix can be copied to any mobile device or system platform, but it may not be possible to open them properly on target system.

How to open file with DWG extension?

There can be multiple causes why you have problems with opening DWG files on given system. What is important, all common issues related to files with DWG 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. Download and install AutoCAD

The most common reason for such problems is the lack of proper applications that supports DWG files installed on the system. This issue can be addressed by downloading and installing AutoCAD or different compatible program, such as Autodesk Design Review, DWGSee, DWG TrueView. 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. Check the version of AutoCAD and update if needed

If the problems with opening DWG files still occur even after installing AutoCAD, it is possible that you have an outdated version of the software. Check the developer’s website whether a newer version of AutoCAD is available. It may also happen that software creators by updating their applications add compatibility with other, newer file formats. This can be one of the causes why DWG 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. Set the default application to open DWG files to AutoCAD

If you have the latest version of AutoCAD installed and the problem persists, select it as the default program to be used to manage DWG on your device. The method is quite simple and varies little across operating systems.

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Clicking the DWG with right mouse button will bring a menu from which you should select the Open with option
  • Next, select the Choose another app option and then using More apps open the list of available applications
  • The last step is to select Look for another app on this PC option supply the directory path to the folder where AutoCAD is installed. Now all that is left is to confirm your choice by selecting Always use this app to open DWG files and clicking OK.

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • By clicking right mouse button on the selected DWG 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 AutoCAD and click Change for all...
  • If you followed the previous steps a message should appear: This change will be applied to all files with DWG extension. Next, click the Continue button to finalize the process.

Step 4. Verify that the DWG is not faulty

You closely followed the steps listed in points 1-3, but the problem is still present? You should check whether the file is a proper DWG file. It is probable that the file is corrupted and thus cannot be accessed.

1. Check the DWG file for viruses or malware

If the file is infected, the malware that resides in the DWG file hinders attempts to open it. Scan the DWG file as well as your computer for malware or viruses. If the DWG file is indeed infected follow the instructions below.

2. Ensure the file with DWG extension is complete and error-free

If the DWG 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 DWG 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 out of your current account and log in to an account with sufficient access privileges. Then open the AutoCAD Drawing Database Format file.

4. Make sure that the system has sufficient resources to run AutoCAD

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

5. Verify that your operating system and drivers are up to date

Up-to-date system and drivers not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with AutoCAD Drawing Database Format file. It is possible that one of the available system or driver updates may solve the problems with DWG files affecting older versions of given software.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the DWG 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 DWG file.

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