Freeware that lets you edit, view and convert AutoCAD files
Windows XP / Windows 2003 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 8
Free DWG Viewer is a small, powerful piece of software that was developed to allow people to view CAD files without requiring the associated CAD development software.
There are a number of situations that might require someone who never actually develops anything in a CAD system to view or critique a design that someone else developed in the CAD software. Perhaps you work at an architecture firm in a logistical or managerial position, and one of the architects needs you to approve a design. Perhaps you're overseeing a group of developers who are trying to design a new consumer product, and they want you to give them feedback on their work. In both of these cases, you don't actually need to make any changes to the CAD software in question, you simply need to view the file in a way that gives you an idea of the design.
The problem with situations like these in the past was that there was no way to view those files without owning a license for the full CAD software that was used to produce the original file. For companies with limited budgets, which basically describes every company in existence, it makes no sense to waste money on expensive editing software for those who don't actual need to edit the files. That's where Free DWG Viewer comes into play.
Free DWG Viewer is the ideal solution for those who have Windows systems that lack full CAD software like the popular AutoCAD but still want to view AutoCAD files, like DWG, DWX, or DWF files. It can also read files that are in CSF, or Content Sealed Format. The software doesn't require any of the associated AutoCAD software to view these formats since it can do it all natively. It lacks sophistication in the user interface, but that can be a good thing since it prevents any unnecessary distraction. The interface actually looks a bit like something you'd expect from a piece of software from the late 90s or early 2000s. It basically performs a live conversion on those files so Windows can read the data held inside them.
If you don't already have some sort of CAD software, or AutoCAD itself, then Free DWG Viewer is the best way to view files created in those systems, especially if you have a Windows PC. It lacks any advanced editing tools, which is part of the reason why the software installation file is so small and why it uses so few system resources. With this software, you can supply the original producer of a CAD file with notes and other thoughts about their design. Unfortunately, if you have any issues with the software while installing or using it, there is no tech support to help you work through the problem.
IGC's Brava Free DWG viewer allows users to open and view Auto-cad and other architectural design files.
Capable of opening .DWG, .DXF, .DWF, and .CSF files, it can be an ideal piece of software to own for anyone wanting to periodically review plans and layouts.
Features of the Free DWG Viewer
The Free DWG Viewer allows the user to open files and zoom in to the finest detail on any file written in a supported format.
It also includes a feature that allows viewers to set the layers that they want to view. This is helpful if you are viewing a multi-layered house design and want to remove the labels from the drawing in order to see the geometry of the design. It can also help when focusing on reviewing objects or items included in a specific layer.
Another feature offered by the free version is the ability to attach a measurement point to any object that is part of the drawing. This is so that users can carefully measure items that are not clearly marked.
Does the product time-out?
According to the manufacturer, the free product will time out after a set amount of use. After this, you have a couple of options:
Under what circumstances would I continue to use the free version?
It depends upon your role and the frequency with which you view documents. If you are planning to build a home and need to open architectural drawings for short periods to review them, then the free version should be full-featured enough to review the work as it progresses. If you work with architectural drawings on a regular basis then the full-featured desktop version is recommended. Not only does the full version never expire, it allows you to add comments so that other team members viewing the same drawing can collaborate with you from any distance away.