The DWG file format stands as a bastion of computer-aided design (CAD) data. It evolved from a collaboration between Autodesk and Mike Riddle, the original author of the precursor software Interact CAD, also referred to as "MicroCAD," in the late 1970s. When Autodesk introduced AutoCAD in 1982, the DWG format became its native file structure, storing design data and metadata.
Understanding the DWG File Format
DWG files encapsulate 2D and 3D drawings with high precision and a rich array of design details. It's engineered to store geometric data, maps, photos, and designs, making it a versatile format for myriad applications in engineering, architecture, and construction.
While Autodesk's AutoCAD is the flagship software for DWG files, other CAD programs support the format. These include Autodesk's own suite of software like AutoCAD LT, as well as non-Autodesk applications such as DraftSight and IntelliCAD. Moreover, design professionals can also view DWG files using Autodesk's free viewer tool, DWG TrueView.
Alternatives to the DWG Filetype
The quest for an open standard to rival the proprietary DWG format led to the development of the DXF format by Autodesk to ensure interoperability with other software. Additionally, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certified the IGES and STEP file formats, which are often used in industry when a standardized CAD file format is needed.