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Architects, drafters, and engineers use different types of file extensions to store their work.

Architects and engineers specialize in building blueprints and 2D and 3D vector graphics. So they need to store their work in a type of file that is compatible with computer-aided design programs. The file extension is called a DWG file. We will discuss in detail DWG files and the steps to open them.

What are DWG files?

DWG files are related to computer-aided design (CAD) programs. These were primarily termed as an abbreviation for the word drawing. This type of file consists of two and three-dimensional vector graphics. In other words, an Auto CAD drawing program uses a DWG file extension. Mainly drafters, architects, and engineers use this file type so that they can develop designs and sketches.

Several other file types are associated with the .DWG file extension. These include .bak, .dws, .dwt, .sv$. Drawing transfers between programs are simple thanks to this format’s compatibility with many 3D drawing and CAD systems. However, certain DWG viewers cannot open all types due to the multiple format versions.

What is the use of DWG files?

Drawing specialized blueprints and designs for a number of industries is the main usage for DWG files. A wide range of specialists relies on DWG files to make plans a reality, from engineers studying the most recent design specifications for a new project to architects and town planners designing public areas.

You can open a DWG file using specialized CAD software. Once you open a DWG file, there will probably be multiple intricate layers of technical specifications, drawings, and diagrams.

This “open yet proprietary” structure is used in various industries, such as digital engineering, as the foundation for new initiatives. The possible degree of detail is crucial for assisting engineers and architects in visualizing their projects. Numerous apps, including Illustrator in the Adobe Creative Cloud, can read the files.

How to open DWG files?

If you don’t want to make changes in a DWG file, there are endless options to open and view. A DWG viewer is an ideal software to open the files. The right DWG viewer is seamless, and usually, you will not have any trouble viewing them.

Here are some of the tools you can choose to open DWG files.


Autodesk has a DWG file viewer for Windows called DWG TrueView. It is absolutely free of cost. Not only this, but they also have a free online DWG file viewer called Autodesk Web that is compatible with any operating system. Apart from that, the full Autodesk programs like AutoCAD, Design Review, and Fusion 360 also recognize the DWG file format.

Key features:

  • Edit
  • Mark up
  • Share

AutoCAD web is the online version of AutoCAD that is ideal for viewing DWG files. You do not need to install it since it is based on the web. The interface is simpler, and all the familiar AutoCAD drafting tools are available in this version. Besides viewing, you can also access, create and update DWG files. It also has a quick collaboration feature. You can assemble your team to review and edit CAD drawings.

This tool works well with Microsoft One Drive, Google Drive, Autodesk Drive, and more. Since it’s browser-based, there is no hassle of installation. This tool opens on Chrome OS, Mobile Apps, and operating systems like Windows and Mac.

This version is recommended for ease of access to view and update DWG files.

Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Visio helps you create visuals that are easy to comprehend. You can select from plenty of pre-designed templates, starter diagrams, and stencils which are available on the Visio desktop and web app. With Visio, you can create commendable flowcharts with the feature. With Microsoft Visio, you can use the vast library of shapes, stencils, and templates to create powerful flowcharts.

Key features:

  • Collaborate in real-time
  • It is more accessible than ever before
  • Offers privacy and security of enterprise-grade

You can also create org charts so that you can visualize team, hierarchy, or reporting structures. You can then share those with the employees, teams, and stakeholders. With precise, scalable templates and tools, you may create a socially isolating workstation, retail store layout, new home, and more while seeing its functionality, aesthetic appeal, and flow.

Utilize a variety of problem-solving and solution-visualization templates, such as fishbone diagrams and SWOT analyses, to make brainstorming easy and practical. With a choice of network templates, shapes, and connector tools, you can streamline your system design process and show how devices and networks all operate together.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is an ideal tool for designing and viewing vector graphics. It is used by graphics designers and architects alike to create 2D and 3D vector graphics. This software is also used for viewing, creating, and updating DWG files.

You can invite others via the cloud for project viewing, even if they are not members of Creative Cloud. The software has an in-app learning panel. This helps you find an ample amount of content to be inspired from as well as tutorials to help you enhance your skills.

Key features:

  • Project sharing
  • In-app learn panel
  • Automatic font activation
  • Improved 3D effects

Forget about the ‘missing font’ alert. Illustrator finds the missing fonts automatically and activates all the available fonts from Adobe fonts. Now you can give your vector drawings a 3D look with the all-new features.

Corel Draw

Corel Draw is a graphics suite that is perfect mainly for billboards, comprehensive branding, mock-up design presentations, and large-scale print designs. CorelDraw is an ideal tool if you work with several pages. It can also be used to open files in the DWG format.

Key features:

  • Professional 3D and 2D drafting software
  • Industry-standard support for.DWG,.STL,.PDF, and.CDR files
  • Collaboration and project sharing that save time
  • Customization and optional automation

You can produce unique illustrations, signage, logos, blueprints, and more with this software. It also enables you to collaborate with your clients and colleagues and receive real-time feedback.

If you have drafted a 3D model and would like to create a prototype, try these 3D printers for beginners.

DWG Fast View

DWG Fast View lets you open CAD drawings in major browsers. You do not need to install anything. This is a cross-platform tool. You can access your project from your browser, mobile, and computer simultaneously.

Key features:

  • View CAD drawings online
  • Cross-platform application
  • Professional, intelligent premium account

With the premium version of this tool, you can get 5G cloud storage and an advanced group privilege option. You can manage and sync your drawings on web browsers, mobile, and PC.


ShareCAD is an online service that you can use to view CAD files and 3D models. This is a free tool and is web-based. This supports a huge number of CAD formats. You can view and also upload over 25 mostly used 2D and 3D formats, including DWG.

Key features:

  • Supports a large number of CAD formats
  • Free of cost
  • Available across devices
  • Easily installable on the website

This tool is web-based and hence does not require any installation. Moreover, it’s free. You can conveniently access this web-based tool from any device, regardless of location. This is available across all platforms, including Windows, MAC, Linux, Android, etc. Not only this, you can embed this CAD viewer on your website with a single line of code.

Summing up!

Opening the DWG file extension can seem challenging to you since it’s not readable in all the software. You might feel confused about how to open DWG files. However, the aforementioned tools can help you open this file extension with ease, and you can get a seamless workflow.

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  • Saptak Chaudhuri
    Saptak is a senior tech writer at Geekflare. He writes on digital marketing, Business Development, Smart Gadgets, Gaming, Computer Hardware and Career topics. He holds an engineering degree. In his spare time, he loves to cook, travel, and…

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