Featured image of 10 Best Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewers of 2018
View DWG, DWF, and DXF files

10 Best Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewers of 2018

Picture of Max von Übel
by Max von Übel
Oct 17, 2018

10 Best Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewers of 2018

Looking for a free DWG viewer? Check out our 2018 guide to the best free AutoCAD viewers. Plus an explanation of the file formats: DWG, DXF, and DWF.

AutoCAD files are everywhere – from engineering to design there are many applications for electronic technical drawings.

Too bad that AutoCAD can cost up to $1,470 per year. However, in case you simply want to look at AutoCAD files, there is a number of free programs for browsers, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Some of them are even from Autodesk itself!

In case there is no way around using AutoCAD, consider getting a free trial version as described in our guide: 2018 AutoCAD Free Download – Is There a Free Full Version?

Before beginning our list of free AutoCAD viewers, let’s take a look for what purpose the three file formats are meant.

Free AutoCAD Viewers – File Formats Explained

DWG

DWG stands for DraWinG, it is the proprietary file format of AutoCAD that contains all the geometrical and metadata. Due to AutoCAD’s importance in the engineering community, the format is also supported by virtually any third party CAD program. However, Autodesk has repeatedly tried to assert its control over this file format: It has refused to publish the format’s specifications and sued developers who reverse engineered the DWG format order to offer third-party conversion tools.

DWF

Autodesk also developed the Design Web Format to facilitate distribution and communication of AutoCAD data in large engineering and design projects that seek to restrict access to intellectual property. Therefore, publishers can selectively export components of the file can limit that the recipient will be able to see. In this sense, these files are not “full” AutoCAD drawings.

DXF

Finally, the Drawing Exchange Format was designed to enable the interoperability of AutoCAD files with third-party software. However, as this format does not cover the entire feature set of AutoCAD, it is less useful than the DWG format. Plus, because of AutoCAD’s overarching role, DWG is supported by almost all other CAD programs.

Our table below can tell which of these free AutoCAD viewers have a feature set that makes them suitable for professional applications since they even let you measure components and leave comments.

10 Best Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewers of 2018

Product Features OS
LibreCAD Viewing, Editing, Measuring, Conversion, Commenting Windows, Mac, Linux
FreeCAD Viewing, Editing, Measuring, Conversion, Commenting Windows, Mac, Linux
DWG TrueView Viewing, Measuring, Conversion Windows
Design Review Viewing, Measuring, Commenting Windows
A360 Viewing, Measuring, Commenting Android, iOS
Autodesk Viewer Viewing, Measuring, Commenting, Screenshots, Collaboration Browser
OnShape Editing, Viewing, Measuring, Commenting, Screenshots, Collaboration Windows, macOS, Linux, and Browser
IrfanView Viewing Windows
Bentley View Viewing, Measuring, Commenting Windows
DraftSight Editing, Viewing, Measuring, Commenting Windows, macOS and Linux
1

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer LibreCAD

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: LibreCAD
  • Features Viewing, Editing, Measuring, Conversion, Commenting
  • OS Windows, Mac, Linux

LibreCAD is so much more than a free AutoCAD viewer. It is designed as an open source CAD software. This means you can not only view existing DWG files, but you can model and modify your own designs. Since LibreCAD displays only 2D views, it has a slim file size of only 30 MB. But not to worry, it can display isometric views. Though the free CAD program satisfies common drawing needs, the functionality will not overwhelm you, unlike other free CAD software. On the other hand, LibreCAD is the perfect choice for beginners, since its user interface is uncluttered.

2

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer FreeCAD

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: FreeCAD
  • Features Viewing, Editing, Measuring, Conversion, Commenting
  • OS Windows, Mac, Linux

FreeCAD is not a mere AutoCAD viewer, but a fully fledged parametric solid free CAD software. It can be used by experienced designers and engineers to draw real-life objects of any size. Its parametric modeling capability allows you to easily modify your 3D design by going back into your model history and changing its dimensions. With a rich feature set such as this, be prepared that FreeCAD can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, if you make an effort to dig deeper into the free CAD software, you will be rewarded with an amazing free tool.

3

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer DWG TrueView

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: DWG TrueView
  • Features Viewing, Measuring, Conversion
  • OS Windows

DWG TrueView is the official free AutoCAD viewer by Autodesk. It is also a file converter that is designed to ensure the interoperability between different DWG versions and different releases of AutoCAD. Just like the software, so did the file format evolve over the three decades since their release. Although third party CAD programs like FreeCAD and LibreCAD can read and write DWG files, Autodesk claims that it alone can guaranty full functionality over the entire line of AutoCAD versions.

4

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer Design Review

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: Design Review
  • Features Viewing, Measuring, Commenting
  • OS Windows

Basically, Design Review is an add-on to DWG TrueView that extends its feature set: Apart from viewing the files, you can also measure lengths, angles and areas. More importantly, this free AutoCAD viewer allows users to add comments, information, and ideas for design changes to AutoCAD files. This makes Design Review an indispensable asset whenever it is necessary to exchange DWG files with collaborators.

5

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer A360

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: A360
  • Features Viewing, Measuring, Commenting
  • OS Android, iOS

Autodesk has also released a free app for viewing DWF and DWG files on Android and iOS devices. Moreover, another 50 CAD file formats can be viewed. This includes drawings from CAD software like Inventor, Revit, SolidWorks, Navisworks, CATIA, Fusion 360, and many more. Compared with most of the desktop apps, A360 is quite powerful: You can make annotations, navigate to layers and components, measure distances, surfaces, and angles, but you cannot edit the files. As can be expected, this free AutoCAD viewer can be connected to major cloud services.

6

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer Autodesk Viewer

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: Autodesk Viewer
  • Features Viewing, Measuring, Commenting, Screenshots, Collaboration
  • OS Browser

If you want to view AutoCAD files without going through the hassle of downloading and installing a new program, you should take a look at this online AutoCAD viewer. Moreover, you can inspect designs, create screenshots for use in presentations, and even measure components with this viewer. Autodesk Viewer is also a useful tool in collaborative projects, since AutoCAD files can be shared via URLs. The recipients can then view the files instantly without registering with Autodesk first.

  • Features Editing, Viewing, Measuring, Commenting, Screenshots, Collaboration
  • OS Windows, macOS, Linux, and Browser

With OnShape you get far much more than a free AutoCAD viewer. Free for open-source projects, Onshape is, in fact, equipped with a feature-set fitting for enterprise-grade CAD software. It is aimed at professional level users, who want version control, and collaboration tools to work in large teams. Onshape is delivered over the cloud as a service. This free AutoCAD viewer works on pretty much every system you can imagine – even on iOS, and Android phones.

One of the most interesting features of this free AutoCAD viewer is its collaborative mode. Unlike installed CAD and PDM, Onshape gives everyone on the team instant access to the same CAD workspace and same CAD data in one central place in the cloud. Another nifty feature is the ability to manage a master design without the need to save copies or keep track of numerous different file versions.

8

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer IrfanView

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: IrfanView
  • Features Viewing
  • OS Windows

Basically, IrfanView is your swiss-army knife viewer. It supports more than 130 file formats, so chances are that it can open most files you throw at it. To some extent, you can even edit files. With IrfanView, you can rotate, apply watermarks, tweak filters, add brightness, modify the color depth, flip, and much more.

Although it is better known for viewing images, IrfanView is also capable of displaying CAD files. To enable this feature you simply need to install a free plugin – and voilà, your free AutoCAD viewer! To be sure, it is not as powerful as AutoCAD or Photoshop. But the advantage of using this free AutoCAD viewer is that it is light-weight and takes up only very little of your disk. Overall, IrfanView is a great tool for viewing a huge number of files formats.

9

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer Bentley View

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: Bentley View
  • Features Viewing, Measuring, Commenting
  • OS Windows

Mircostation developer Bentley offers its powerful take on AutoCAD viewer tools as “Bentley View”. The program features comprehensive different view modes that fit your puposes. For example, the X-ray view allows to see through objects and study the components inside them.

However, Bentley View is one of the more powerful AutoCAD viewers on this list. It does not only allow you DWG and 50 other CAD file formats, but you can also open entire BIM (Building Information Modelling) projects. Each object within these projects can be selected individually, allowing you inspect measurements and material properties alike. In addition, this free AutoCAD viewer boasts powerful search options to find the elements that match your specifications. All the values can be exported as spread sheets. If you need a powerful and versatile free AutoCAD viewer, Bentley View should be on top your list.

10

Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer DraftSight

Image of Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewer: DraftSight
  • Features Editing, Viewing, Measuring, Commenting
  • OS Windows, macOS and Linux

DraftSight is a free AutoCAD viewer from Dassault Systèmes, the publisher of popular software such as CATIA, and Solidworks. Thanks to its clear user interface, anyone can learn the program quickly. DraftSight is not only a AutoCAD viewer but it also has all the necessary tools to create 2D CAD drawings. To enable accurate revisions, the elements of designs are stored in layers.

Dassault Systèmes offers support for users of the free AutoCAD viewer. Among many other features, the commercial version of DraftSight can compare designs, and display the differences, append PDFs to the project file, and add standard hardware symbols to your design.

License: The text of "10 Best Free AutoCAD (DWG) Viewers of 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Subscribe to updates from All3DP

You are subscribed to updates from All3DP

You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…Subscribe

You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…

Recommended for you

Topics