Opening DWF files

Have a problem opening a .DWF file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what DWF files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .DWF file type?

The filename extension .dwf represents the Design Web Format (DWF) and stands for the DWF Document (.dwf) file type. DWF was introduced by Autodesk, the developer of AutoCAD, as an open interchange format for CAD designs. The purpose of the DWF format is to allow viewing, reviewing, and printing of CAD documents published as a single file, without the need for an entire CAD system like AutoCAD to be installed on the viewer's machine.

The .dwf file is a ZIP-compressed container for vector-based CAD drawings. It is a regular ZIP archive, although with a modified header: the "(DWF V06.00)" signature added to the regular ZIP magic number. Inside the .dwf archive, there are the .w2d file (the actual vector drawing), several .xml files, and a .png preview.

DWF files are not meant for editing. They can be opened with the free Autodesk Design Review tool, available for Microsoft Windows. Additionally, Autodesk provides their free DWF Writer tool for generating DWF documents from any application. Since a .dwf file retains all information of its original CAD document (.dwg), it can be converted back to the DWG format using third-party converters.

Software to open or convert DWF files

You can open DWF files with the following programs:
Autodesk Express Viewer
Autodesk Express Viewer by Autodesk, Inc.
Autodesk DWF Viewer
Autodesk DWF Viewer by Autodesk, Inc.
ABViewer by CADSoftTools ®.

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