Knowledge Base

File Extension DWF

The file extension DWF is associated with the Autodesk Design Web Format which is a secure file format created by Autodesk. Autodesk is a maker of a variety of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software applications which are used to create two and three dimensional models, drawings, and designs for various industries.

A DWF file is a secure file which is saved in a highly compressed format for the purpose of easier and faster transmission. This helps to reduce the wait time which is typically required for Computer Aided Design drawings that contain a high volume of data and detail. DWF stands for Design Web Format, which is a proprietary format created by Autodesk.

When Computer Aided Design files use the DWF format, the files are a CAD file type that contains the typical elements used for Computer Aided Design, such as two and three dimensional drawing and models, lines, objects, calculations, measurements, descriptions, and other components. The only difference is the Design Web Format (DWF) allows publishers of the CAD files to place limitations on the designs being transmitted to the recipients. The DWF format provides the publisher with control over what data the recipient can view. The format also provides a way for publishers to easily publish multiple drawings using only one DWF file.

How to Open DWF Files

Unlike encrypted files, DWF files can be opened by the intended recipient without a password since the publisher already configured the limitations on what data can be viewed prior to sending the file. That said the extension can be opened using a variety of different software applications.

If you are using Windows, you can open DWF files with Autodesk Inventor. It is three dimensional (3D) mechanical design software which integrates data from AutoCAD in addition to streamlining projects that require opening CAD data from a third party. Autodesk Inventor is available as a 30-day free trial on the Autodesk website.

You can also open DWF files using AutoCAD, which is a Computer Aided Design software application that is used to create two and three dimensional models and drawings for a variety of different industries. AutoCAD is available as a free trial on the Autodesk website and can be used with the Windows operating system or Mac OS X. For Mac OS X, you should use the AutoCAD for Mac version to open DWF files on a Mac PC.

IMSI TurboCAD Deluxe will also open DWF files on a Windows or Mac PC. TurboCAD Deluxe is a software application which provides a set of professional tools for creating building plans, mechanical designs, technical drawings, and other drawings used for a variety of different purposes. If you are using Windows, you should install TurboCAD Deluxe 19 and for Mac OS X you should use TurboCAD Deluxe v6. Both applications are available as a free trial on the IMSI Design website at

It is also important to mention the DXF file can sometimes be displayed with a DWFX extension. In this instance, the file contents are still the same as those contained in a DWF file except the file has been formatted with an XML Paper Specification which is known as XPS. XPS format is created by Microsoft and can be viewed using the Microsoft XPS Viewer, which is a software application available on the Microsoft website. Microsoft XPS Viewer is compatible with the Windows operating system.