How to Open DWG File on Computer/Phone in 2024

Up until 2024, DWG files remain one of the most widely used formats in the fields of engineering and design. However, despite its prevalence, opening DWG files is not always as straightforward as one might imagine, encountering challenges such as software version incompatibility, file size issues, and file corruption. For those who frequently utilize CAD tools in their design work, the frustration of being unable to open DWG files has likely been a familiar experience throughout their careers. The inability to seamlessly access and edit files can significantly impede workflow efficiency.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional engineer seeking ways to open DWG files faster, or a novice designer just beginning to explore CAD tools and wanting to learn how to open DWG files on both computers and smartphones, worry not. In this article, we’ll share the latest tips and tools to enhance your experience in opening DWG files, ensuring a smoother workflow for your design endeavors.

How to Open DWG File


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What Is a DWG File and How Do I Open It?

DWG (Drawing) is one of the most common CAD file formats native to AutoCAD, one of the most widely used CAD software applications. Although initially designed for AutoCAD, the widespread adoption and openness of DWG have led many other CAD software applications to support this format. This has established DWG as a universal file format in the design and engineering fields, fostering interoperability among different CAD software. DWG files primarily store two and three-dimensional design data, encompassing geometric data, project information, and metadata.

DWG File icon

In addition to DWG, several other CAD file formats are prevalent in the design and engineering industries:

  • DXF: used for the exchange of CAD drawings between different CAD applications.
  • DWT: serves as a template for creating new DWG drawings.
  • SAT: used for storing 3D geometric models.
  • STL: used for 3D printing and computer-aided design.


To open DWG files, there are typically two methods:

  1. CAD Viewers: These tools, as the name implies, are suitable for directly viewing DWG files but do not allow for editing.
  2. CAD Software: If you wish to open and edit DWG files, CAD software is the preferred method. Applications like AutoCAD, ZWCAD, Autodesk Fusion 360, or other compatible software offer the necessary tools for viewing, editing, and working with DWG files.


How to Open a DWG File on Windows/Linux

For Windows and Linux users, there are numerous tools available to open DWG files, ranging from online utilities to desktop software. If you’re aiming for a smoother experience in opening DWG files, ZWCAD is highly recommended. Its standout feature lies in its exceptional performance and efficient operations. In our tests, it opened a 23MB DWG file in just 2 seconds, faster than any CAD tool.

ZWCAD takes full advantage of multi-core CPU and graphics processing capabilities, outperforming competitors in terms of speed and stability when handling drawings. It utilizes an independent kernel, ensuring swift performance without delays or lags, even when performing common operations such as zooming in and out. Furthermore, ZWCAD offers editing and annotation tools. Its advantage in file-saving speed is also notable due to the introduction of incremental save technology. When editing a DWG file, the software only saves the changed parts rather than the entire drawing, significantly reducing time and expediting the design workflow.

As one of the most comprehensive CAD software for beginners, ZWCAD goes beyond mere file opening and editing; it boasts a rich set of 2D drawing tools suitable for various industries, including floor plans, architectural designs, and engineering drawings. Additionally, it features 3D modeling and rendering capabilities. Despite its extensive professional features, ZWCAD maintains an intuitive interface, making it accessible for both beginners and experienced users without a steep learning curve.

Let’s take a look at how to open a DWG file using ZWCAD on Windows:

Step 1. Open the ZWCAD software on your computer. Click on the blue ZWCAD icon in the top-left corner and select “Open”.

Click Blue Icon to Open File

Step 2. A file browsing window will pop up. Here, you need to locate and choose the DWG file you want to open.

Step 3. Click “Open” in the bottom right corner of the window, and after a brief moment, your DWG file will successfully open in ZWCAD.

Select DWG File to Open


How to Open DWG File on Mac

Due to the fact that the majority of CAD software caters to Windows users, there is currently a limited selection of tools that are compatible with Mac. For Mac users seeking to view and review DWG files, DWGSee is a viable option. It is a featured product of, specifically designed for viewing DWG files, capable of opening all AutoCAD DWG file versions, including the latest 2024 version.

The software also includes additional features like annotation tools, layer management, and viewing properties. The standard version of DWGSee allows users to view, measure, and print DWG files, while the Pro version enables further modification.


Here are the steps of how to open a CAD file on your Mac:

Step 1. Install and open DWGSee on your Mac.

Step 2. Click on the “File” option in the top-left corner of the software and select “Open.”

Step 3. Choose the DWG file you wish to open.

Open DWG File in DWGSee


How to Open DWG File Online

As mentioned earlier, there are numerous best DWG viewers available, including desktop software and online platforms. If you’re interested in learning how to freely open a DWG file using online tools, don’t miss this section.

As a web-based tool, Autodesk Viewer operates across various operating systems. It supports the viewing of various design files, including but not limited to DWG, DWF, RVT, and other file formats generated by Autodesk software. This allows users to intuitively inspect and review design, architectural, and engineering files without the need to install specialized design software. In addition to supporting 2D files, Autodesk Viewer also features the capability to view and interact with 3D models. Users can annotate files, add comments, and collaborate seamlessly within the platform.

However, it’s worth noting that Autodesk Viewer may experience performance issues, particularly when handling large or complex 3D models. Users have reported instances of sluggish performance and lag when rendering sizable models, presenting challenges in working with and navigating such files.


Now, let’s explore how to open DWG files in Autodesk Viewer:

Step 1. Open your web browser and go to the Autodesk Viewer website. Then, sign in to an account.

Create a New Account

Step 2. After navigating to the main interface, click on “Upload new file.” You can choose to click “Select File” to upload a single file or hit “Upload Folder” to upload an entire folder.

Upload DWG File

Step 3. A file browser window will appear. Locate and select the DWG file you want to view. Once you’ve selected the DWG file, click on the “Open”. After a brief loading period, the DWG file will be displayed in Autodesk Viewer.


How to View DWG Files on Android/iOS

When you find yourself on a bus, train, or any journey where using a computer is inconvenient, yet you urgently need to review CAD drawings, mobile device viewers become indispensable. CAD Reader emerges as an excellent choice – simple, lightweight, and equipped with essential features. With CAD Reader on your mobile phones and tablets, you can effortlessly view, measure, annotate, and share your DWG/DXF drawings.

Fundamental features such as layer management, length and area measurement, coordinate and scale setting, comments, search and find, and printing are available for free. Recognizing the importance of mobility, CAD Reader allows offline access to previously viewed DWG files. This feature is especially useful in environments with limited or no internet connectivity.

Steps to View DWG Files on Android/iOS using CAD Reader:

Step 1. Visit the Google Play Store for Android or the App Store for iOS on your device. Search for “CAD Reader” and download the app.

Step 2. Open CAD Reader and look for an option to import files. Browse and choose the DWG file you want to view from your device’s storage.

Step 3. Click on the “Open” option to initiate the import process.

Open DWG File on Phone


FAQs About Opening DWG Files

How Do I Open a DWG File in PDF?

Standard PDF viewers do not support opening DWG files. The viable solution is to convert DWG to PDF. ZWCAD simplifies this process by offering a built-in PDF plotter, eliminating the need for third-party programs. You can access the “plot” icon on the main page of ZWCAD, and select “DWG to PDF” from the Name list. Then, adjust parameters as needed, preview the conversion, and initiate the process with a click of “Plot.”


How to Open .dwg File Without AutoCAD?

As outlined in the article, there are two primary approaches to opening .dwg files. The first method involves utilizing CAD viewers, while the second method entails using alternative CAD software. All methods highlighted in this article do not rely on AutoCAD for opening DWG files, offering users flexibility and choice in selecting the most suitable approach for their needs.


How Do I Convert DWG to JPG?

Converting DWG files to JPG format can be accomplished efficiently using online tools like CloudConvert. It is an online file conversion platform known for its versatility and user-friendly interface. CloudConvert supports a wide range of file formats, making it a go-to choice for users looking to convert various file types effortlessly. Whether it’s images, documents, audio, or video files, CloudConvert provides a seamless conversion experience.

To get started, just open your web browser and navigate to the CloudConvert website. Sign up for a CloudConvert account if you’re not already registered. Then select the “DWG to JPG” conversion option on the right side of the window. Click on the “Select File” button and upload the DWG file you want to convert. Then, adjust the optional settings such as width and height as you need, and click on the “Start Conversion” button to begin the process.



This article comprehensively guides you on how to open DWG files across four platforms, Windows, Mac, online, and Mobile devices, each with its tailored set of tools. Depending on your specific needs, you have the flexibility to choose different tools.

Notably, ZWCAD emerges as the most efficient solution among these tools. With continuous updates and enhancements, ZWCAD incorporates advanced technologies, ensuring swift opening speeds even for substantial drawings, such as 3GB files, without any lag, taking the lead in efficiency. If you seek an ideal option that minimizes wait times during file operations like opening and saving, ZWCAD is undoubtedly your top choice. What’s even better is its free viewing feature – a compelling reason to give it a try!