DXF File Extension

DXF file icon
Drawing Exchange Format
  • Developer
    Autodesk
  • Popularity
    3.4 (18 votes)

What is DXF file?

File with DXF extension contains project data for AutoCAD vector image; it is similar to DWG format, but is stores data in more data exchange-friendly form at. Initially DXF files stored data in ASCII text, but now it also support binary format. DXF text files have a well-defined structure, and can be opened with any txt editor:

  • HEADER – file header that contains informatons about the image, organized in name-value pairs,
  • CLASSES – section that contains definitions for classes used in BLOCKS, ENTITIES, and OBJECTS sections,
  • TABLES – contains definitions for data in tables:
    • APPID – application identifier,
    • BLOCK_RECORD,
    • DIMSTYLE,
    • LAYER,
    • LTYPE – line type,
    • STYLE – text,
    • UCS – user coordinates,
    • VIEW,
    • VPORT – viewport configuration,
  • BLOCKS
  • ENTITIES
  • OBJECTS
  • THUMBNAILIMAGE – low-resolution preview image,
  • END OF FILE

Coordinates in DXF are dimensionless. All data stored in DXF files can be tagged, which means each element will be marked with an integer that codes each data group. The format does not support many features usd by modern desing tools, and thus is seldom used. DXF files can store both 2D and 3D elements.

DXF (Drawing Interchange Format) was developed by Autodesk in 1982 for AutoCAD 1.0 software. DXF specitfication is now available on developer’s website, but for a long time it was not released to the public. AutoCAD version 10 and later support both ASCII and binary DXF files. DXF files which contain models created with Spatial plugin may be encrypted and as such may not be opened with other programs than AutoCAD.

Programs which support DXF file extension

The list that follows enumerates programs compatible with DXF files, divided into 6 categories based on operating system on which they are available. DXF files can be encountered on all system platforms, including mobile, yet there is no guarantee each will properly support such files.

How to open file with DXF extension?

There can be multiple causes why you have problems with opening DXF files on given system. Fortunately, most common problems with DXF files can be solved without in-depth IT knowledge, and most importantly, in a matter of minutes. The list below will guide you through the process of addressing the encountered problem.

Step 1. Get the AutoCAD

The main and most frequent cause precluding users form opening DXF files is that no program that can handle DXF files is installed on user’s system. This issue can be addressed by downloading and installing AutoCAD or different compatible program, such as TurboCAD, CorelCAD, DWGSee. Above you will find a complete listing of programs that support DXF files, classified according to system platforms for which they are available. 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

You still cannot access DXF files although AutoCAD is installed on your system? Make sure that the software is up to date. It may also happen that software creators by updating their applications add compatibility with other, newer file formats. If you have an older version of AutoCAD installed, it may not support DXF format. The most recent version of AutoCAD is backward compatible and can handle file formats supported by older versions of the software.

Step 3. Associate Drawing Exchange Format files with AutoCAD

After installing AutoCAD (the most recent version) make sure that it is set as the default application to open DXF 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

  • Choose the Open with entry from the file menu accessed by right-mouse clicking on the DXF file
  • Select Choose another app → More apps
  • 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 DXF 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 DXF file open the file menu and choose Information
  • Find the Open with option – click the title if its hidden
  • From the list choose the appropriate program and confirm by clicking Change for all....
  • If you followed the previous steps a message should appear: This change will be applied to all files with DXF extension. Next, click the Continue button to finalize the process.

Step 4. Check the DXF for errors

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 DXF file. Being unable to access the file can be related to various issues.

1. Check the DXF file for viruses or malware

If the DXF is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. Scan the DXF file as well as your computer for malware or viruses. If the scanner detected that the DXF file is unsafe, proceed as instructed by the antivirus program to neutralize the threat.

2. Check whether the file is corrupted or damaged

If the DXF file was sent to you by someone else, ask this person to resend the file to you. During the copy process of the file errors may occurred rendering the file incomplete or corrupted. This could be the source of encountered problems with the file. It could happen the the download process of file with DXF extension was interrupted and the file data is defective. Download the file again from the same source.

3. Ensure that you have appropriate access rights

Some files require elevated access rights to open them. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the Drawing Exchange Format file again.

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 DXF extension. In this case close the other applications.

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

Latest versions of programs and drivers may help you solve problems with Drawing Exchange Format files and ensure security of your device and operating system. It may be the case that the DXF files work properly with updated software that addresses some system bugs.

Conversion of a DXF file

File Conversions from DXF extension to a different format
File conversions from other format to DXF file
Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the DXF 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 DXF file.

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