Files with the DWG file extension are drawing files that pertain to Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs. DWG is a commonly used format for creating two and three dimensional drawings which are supported by programs such as AutoCAD, IntelliCAD, and PowerCAD, to name a few Computer Aided Design programs. There is also a variety of CAD software available that supports the DWG format.
DWG files have been around for decades and since that time the format has been updated. A key point to remember is that the newer versions are compatible with older ones, but the older versions are unable to read the newer versions of DWG. Although DWG files are typically created using professional CAD programs, you do not need an expensive program to open and view them.
How to Open DWG Files
DWG has proven to be a popular CAD format despite the fact that DWG is a proprietary file format created in the early 1970s. To make DWG files easier to access, several software developers formed the OpenDWG Alliance in an effort to make the format easier to access using an open standard. This did not succeed and only resulted in a conflict between the DWG proprietors and the OpenDWG Alliance.
The good news is that there is a wide variety of programs available for opening DWG files. If you use the Windows operating system, you can open DWG files with Adobe Illustrator CS6, which was just released on the market, CADSoftTools AB Viewer, AutoDWG DWGSee, and CorelCAD. You can also convert DWG files to PDF for viewing in a universal document format using Any DWG to PDF Converter.
For Mac OS X you can open DWG files with Adobe Illustrator CS6, Corel CAD, Autodesk AutoCAD 2013, Microspot DWG Viewer, and Dassault Systemes DraftSight, which is an open source CAD program.
If you use Linux, you can open DWG files with Bricsys Bricsad, which has a 30-day free trial, or the open source CAD program, Dassault Systemes DraftSight, which is available as a free download with support from the open source DraftSight online community.
There is also a program for viewing DWG files with the Android operating system. AutoDWG DWGSee is available for Android and allows you to share DWG drawings with colleagues using your mobile device.
For cross platforms Google offers its own open source CAD program known as SketchUp which allows you to import and work with DWG files. All you have to do is download and install SketchUp from Google, click on File and choose Import from the drop-down menu. When the dialog box is displayed, click on Options and choose the DWG file format and click on OK. This will import a DWG file so you can view and work with the contents.