Knowledge Base

File Extension CGM

The file extension CGM is associated with the Computer Graphic Metafile format, which is a format that allows graphic data to be exchanged regardless of the type of platform, operating system, or device which is being used. CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile) is a graphics format which follows the ISO/IEC 8632 interchange standard and is an independent file that describes two dimensional graphics in a textual format.

The CGM file extension is categorized as an image file type which contains two dimensional vector and raster graphics in addition to text which is stored in a source file. Instead of using a specific graphical format, CGM files contain the data which provides instructions for building the graphics across multiple platforms and operating systems.

CGM files are not used for web page design or other applications in the online environment. Instead, a Computer Graphic Metafile follows a standard which is suitable for Computer Aided Design used in technical applications and a variety of industries such as engineering designs and aviation purposes.

How to Open CGM Files

Since the file extension CGM can be opened and viewed using multiple programs and applications, double click on the file to see if it will automatically open in a default program you have installed on your PC. CGM files offer an independent format, so you may already have a program which will open them.

If you are using the Windows operating system, you can open the file extension CGM using PaintShop Pro X5, WordPerfect Office X6, or CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6. All three applications are available for download in a 30-day free trial version on the Corel website. You can also opt to use ACD Systems Canvas 14, which is a technical graphics software application available as a paid download on the ACDSystems website.

For Mac OS X, you can open CGM files using Adobe Illustrator CS6, which is a software application that provides tools for creating professional illustrations and publications. Adobe Illustrator is part of the Adobe CS6 Creative Suite of applications and is available on the Adobe website. You can also opt to use IMSI TurboCAD Deluxe version 6 which is a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program available for download on the TurboCAD website. Both Adobe Illustrator CS6 and TurboCAD are also compatible with the Windows operating system.

ESRI ArcGIS for Desktop will also open the file extension CGM on a Windows or Mac based PC. ArcGIS is a software application which is used for spatial analysis, geographic data management, mapping and visualization, geocoding, advanced imagery, and other tools for manipulating geographical data. If you are using Windows, ArcGIS for Desktop with Microsoft .NET Framework installed will open the file extension CGM. If you have a Mac PC with the Windows operating system installed, you can use ArcGIS for Desktop with VMWare, Parallels, or Bootcamp. ArcGIS for Desktop is not supported on the Mac operating system.

CGM can also be converted to the DWG format for use with a broader range of Computer Aided Design (CAD) applications. There are file conversion programs available as a free download on websites such as CNET and Softpedia which will convert CGM files for you.

You can also use an online file conversion resource such as Zamzar which will perform free file conversion for you. Simply log onto the Zamzar website, browse for the CGM file, choose the new format, enter your email address, and click on Convert. Within minutes you will receive the newly converted file in your email inbox.