AutoCAD’s native .DWG format and .DXF file format (US Site) are used in CAD design, but there are differences between the two vector image file types. The principal difference is that DWG (which stands for DraWinG) files previously only worked with Autodesk’s AutoCAD, while .DXF (meaning drawing exchange/interchange format) was developed to allow other CAD programmes to open and use information from the drawing file. There are now several free programmes that can open DWG files.
Some CAD programmes can’t import .DWG files, but they can import .DXF. If you’re a CAD user who doesn’t use AutoCAD, the ability to open and use the .DXF file in other CAD programmes is an advantage over the DWG.
Possible limitations of DXF in comparison to DWG are:
- DWG files retain all drawing layers, colours, lines weights and x-references, while DXF files retain lines, dimension and text only.
- While DXF is ACSII text, DWG is a binary file. This means that DXF is typically much larger in size than DWG.
There are many benefits to using DWG files, including:
- CAD industry standard
- Smaller file sizes
- DWG files are scalable, retaining their quality at any scale
- Ability to convert images from JPG, PNG or TIFF to DWG—or convert from PDF to DWG
- Project collaboration is easier for engineers, architects and graphic designers