Perhaps you have arrived here because you have heard about the DWG format, or perhaps you have entered because you want to investigate and do not know what it is about. This type of file is very popular with some designers, engineers and architects, as it contains computerized drawings of plans, sketches, etc. To be able to open it, you will need a DWG viewer.
And you don't need to spend a lot of money to pay for a license professional software such as AutoCAD, or that you use pirated software for it. There are many totally free programs, and even open source ones, that allow view these types of files with extension .dwg.
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What is a DWG file?
DWG comes from DraWinG, a computer file format for computerized drawing used primarily in AutoDesk AutoCAD software, although there are other programs that support this format as well.
Files in this format use a extension .dwg, and were created by the AutoDesk software company, Open Design Alliance, and others. 1982 was the year that this well-known software was first released. Of course, it is a proprietary format, binary type, and that supports both 2D and 3D designs and metadata.
Over the years, they have been released versions with improvements, from DWG R1.0 for AutoCAD 1.0, to the most current DWG 2018 used in the latest versions of AutoCAD. This means that the different versions are not always compatible with each other.
On the other hand, it must be remembered that, given the dominant market share that AutoCAD has in industry and design, other programs have been allowed to support this DWG format thanks to an interchange / import-export file known as DXF (Drawing Exchange File).
DWG has become a de facto standard, and since neither RealDWG nor DWGdirect are FOSS, the FSF (Free Software Foundation) has promoted the creation of libraries such as FreeDWG similar to OpenDWG.
If you are wondering what software you can use to be able to visualize DWG file layouts, then the best free and open source software that you can use as DWG viewer at your fingertips is
It is a free browser-based software that acts as a DWG viewer. In addition, it is open source and includes enterprise-grade CAD functions, so it can be used professionally. Everything in the cloud, with instant access to the workspace wherever they are. With Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android operating systems, etc.
FreeCAD is one of the best alternatives to Autodesk AutoCAD, and it can also be used as a DWG viewer. One of the best professional options that can be fantastic for engineers and designers who need to work in 2D or 3D.
Available for macOS, Linux and Windows, LibreCAD is more than a DWG viewer, as it is a complete CAD software as a free and open source alternative to AutoCAD. A fairly complete program that allows you to view designs, create them from scratch, modify, etc. Everything in 2D.
Blender is one of the most incredible free and open source programs out there, designed for professional and cross-platform use. It is used for 3D modeling, lighting, rendering, animation, graphics creation, digital composition, video editing, digital painting, etc. Although it is not a CAD program, it allows you to import files of this type, so it can serve as a DWG viewer if it is converted to DXF.
This DWG viewer is also free and based on the web browser. It also supports other CAD formats like DXF and DWF. You do not need records, you simply access the web and upload the file you want to view (up to 50 MB). The ShareCAD system will inspect the format and allows you a comfortable visualization with the ability to view by layers, zoom, modify display settings, etc.