DWG is a native AutoCAD file format but it can be opened with other software’s and online tools as well. When you don’t have access to AutoCAD software and you really need to view the files you can use any of the four methods mentioned in this article to get the work done.
The easiest and most recommended method is using Autodesk Trueview, a free DWG viewer from Autodesk.
Autodesk Trueview is a free software which can be used to open DWG files and it can also perform some basic measurement task on the drawing. However, you can’t modify your drawing in any way using Trueview.
True view also allows you to convert the version of AutoCAD files to any previous release. This is especially helpful when you are using an old version of AutoCAD and you received drawings in new DWG formats.
You can use Trueview to batch convert multiple drawing file versions and then open those drawings in your AutoCAD software.
To open the drawing simply download the DWG Trueview from here and install it, then open files in it.
Once your files are open you will see a tab similar to the one shown in the image above. You can clearly see that it has Measure panel with common measurement tools and some other tools like visual styles and object snap.
To change the version of DWG files click on DWG Convert icon of Files panel and add files to the files tree as shown in the image below then select the version in which you want to convert it and click on convert button.
By default, the original drawing(s) is overridden by the converted drawing but you can place the converted drawings in a new folder or zip file.
To change drawing conversion settings click on conversion setups button on DWG convert window and select Modify from conversion setups window. From Modify Conversion setup window change the conversion package type to folder or zip and click on OK to close and exit the open windows.
You can also view drawings without installing any software right from your browser using Autodesk 360 viewer. Go to A360 site here and create your free account, then click on upload your design icon and select the drawing from local/network drive or cloud accounts like Dropbox, Google drive or Box.
You can also upload a complete folder containing multiple drawing files. Once you upload the files the viewer will take some time to prepare the upload and an email will be sent to you once the files are prepared for viewing.
You can use A360 to view 2D as well as 3D drawings and it can also be used to measure different geometrical features of the drawing. You can also generate a link for users who don’t have A360 account and share the drawing with them and they can also view it in the browser directly.
You can also view the AutoCAD files on a mobile device using A360 mobile app for Android, IOS and windows devices.
Open source CAD applications:
There are also plenty of low cost and lightweight alternatives to AutoCAD that can be used to view the drawing by installing their trial version. The best among these is a free and open source software called LibreCAD.
The software is very small and it installs in a few minutes. You can simply open the DWG files in this software and also make minor drawing modifications in it. The LibreCAD recognizes layers and blocks of the DWG files too. However, I will not recommend using LibreCAD for drawing modification tasks as it crashes a lot and it is also not able to properly handle large file size.
GrabCAD online viewer
This is similar to A360 viewer but with limited features and control over your drawing file. To use the online viewer of GrabCAD you need to register on the website. Once you have your account created you can upload as many drawings as you want and view the drawing in its 3D viewer.
How do you prefer to access DWG files when you don’t have access to AutoCAD? Let us know in the comments below.