Viewing AutoCAD DWG Files

DWG files are the standard format that AutoCAD uses to save drawings. They contain all the drawing information, including information not needed to simply browse the image.

There are several ways to view DWG files on the web. Some of the DWG viewers listed here are free, while some of the DWG viewers you can purchase offer free trials. Most of these products do not support viewing DWG files in your web browser. You may need to save the DWG file on your local machine and open it in a stand-alone program. We haven't tested all of these products nor do we provide support.

Autodesk used to provide a free version of Volo View called Volo View Express that would show DWG files. Autodesk no longer distributes Volo View or Volo View Express and it's likely it the last versions they distributed do not work with DWG files created by the latest versions of AutoCAD.

Free DWG Viewers

  • Brava! Free DWG Viewer from Informative Graphics. This viewer integrates with your web browser and is a relatively small download. The Brava! Free DWG Viewer expires periodically at which time you will have to download an updated version. You may find, as we do, that the requirement to upgrade happens at inconvenient times. On the other hand, the viewer is free and works well.

     

  • DWG TrueView is a free DWG (and DXF) viewer from Autodesk, the developer of DWG format. DWG TrueView is a large download and has more features than you are likely to need for simply viewing DWG files. As a subset of AutoCAD itself, DWG TrueView is likely to give the best possible rendering and plotting of DWG files. True View replaces the older Autodesk DWF Composer product. When you click on a DWG file in your browser it opens the file in the DWG TrueView application and not your web browser. You can also start DWG True View and open DWG files saved on your local machine. Click "Cancel" if you are prompted for the location of a template file. The default drawing backgroud color is white. You may want to change the backgroud color to black to view our DWG drawings.

     

  • eDrawings Viewer from SolidWorks. This free viewer does the job and is a relatively small download. (You only need to download and install the Viewer, not the optional publishers.) You can also zoom in and print the current view in addition to printing the whole drawing. The eDrawings Viewer works as a standalone application and does not integrate with your web browser. The eDrawings Viewer does not automatically register itself as the default viewer for DWG files. This can be done by opening a Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) window and choosing Tools, Folder Options..., picking the File Types tab and changing the program associates with the DWG file extension. (The installation location defaults to the C:\Program Files\Common Files\eDrawings2008\EModelViewer.exe location. You may need to browse to this location to set the DWG file assocation.) The viewer also requires you to register with SolidWorks as a user. You may find it easier to choose another viewer, although once installed, it's fine.

     

  • Bentley View from Bentley is a free DWG and DGN viewer. Registration is required, it's a relative large download (60 megs), and has more features than you are likely to need for simply viewing simple DWG files.

     

DWG Viewers You Can Purchase

     

  • Myriad from Informative Graphics.

     

  • AutoVue from Cimmetry Systems.

     

  • DWGsee from AutoDWG Software.

     

  • SoftSource Vdraft has a web browser plug-in called AutoCAD/DXF Plug-in. While there is a free version, it appears as though they only support DWG files up through those made with AutoCAD 2000 and not current versions of AutoCAD. See their price and ordering information.

     

  • BlueCielo View from BlueCielo ECM Solutions can browse DWG and many other formats.

     

  • Kamel Software's Fastlook Plus can browse DWG and many other formats.

     

  • If you have AutoCAD itself installed, then you can use AutoCAD as an application external to your web browser to open and view the DWG file.
    • When you click on a .DWG with Internet Explorer, it should give you the option of saving the file to disk, or opening it. Assuming you have AutoCAD installed, choose "Open", unless you have a need to save the DWG file to your disk. Choosing "Open" should start AutoCAD and display the map.
    • When you click on a .DWG with other web browsers, you may only have the option to save it to disk. Also, if the filename extension of the file to save is not listed as DWG, then change it to DWG. Once saved to disk with the DWG extension, you can start AutoCAD and open it from your hard disk like any other AutoCAD drawing.

See Viewing AutoCAD drawings for more information on viewing and publishing AutoCAD data.

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