Is there a Free Tool available to View, Measure & Print DWG / DXF Files?

Article by Rod Mackay updated March 11, 2020


At the end of last year DraftSight Standard switched from being a Free Tool to an Annual Subscription product. DraftSight is only US$99 a year (which you can purchase directly from DS) but this left a gap in the market for a free DWG Viewer that allows you to view, print, and interrogate DWG or DXF files. But DS actually also provides a Free DWG / DXF Viewer in the form of the eDrawings Viewer.

With the eDrawings Viewer you can:

  • Load DWG and DXF files
  • Pan, zoom and view drawing files
  • Turn Layers on and off
  • Measure lines, arcs, points, and other entities in a DWG or DXF file
eDrawings Viewer

eDrawings Viewer

Supported AutoCAD File Types

For viewing, printing and measuring .dxf files and .dwg files the eDrawings Viewer supports the following file types:

  • DXF and DWG files up to AutoCAD® 2018.
  • AutoCAD fonts (SHX), if AutoCAD is installed. Otherwise the text is rendered in a default Simplex font.
  • Images and OLE objects in DWG files.
  • If you import a DXF/DWG file that has external references (XREFs), eDrawings tries to automatically resolve the XREF. If the XREF cannot be resolved, the Resolve XRef dialog box appears.
    • Click Skip file to import the DXF/DWG file without the XREF file, or navigate to the XREF file, select it
    • Then click Open to open it.

Turning Layers on and off

The eDrawings Layers pane lists the layers included with the document in the graphics area. The initial state of layer display reflects how documents were saved in the original document.

Resaving documents in eDrawings saves the layers in their initial state.

Hidden annotations and dimensions and empty layers are included. Layer states apply to the whole document, not by sheet or view. Markups capture the state of the layers, so if a markup is retrieved, layers are displayed as they were when the markup was created. Shaded data for components in assemblies is published with the layer data.

To hide or show layers:

  1. Click the Layers icon.
  2. Select or clear the named layers in the Layers pane.
eDrawings DWG Layers

eDrawings DWG Layers

Measuring DWG entities

The Measure tool measures exact dimensions in part, assembly, and drawing documents. Callouts display results, including the type of measurement, the value, and units.

On the Measure pane, you can:

  • Set selection filters. If you do not select a filter, all entities are available for measurement.
  • Change the units.
  • Select the entities that you want to measure e.g. from point to point or line entities as shown in the image below.
eDrawings DWG Measure

eDrawings DWG Measure

What if I need to edit DWGs?

If you need to edit rather than view, print or measure DWGs then you will need to purchase a license of DraftSight Standard. You can also obtain a 30 day trial of DraftSight Premium.

Get the FREE eDrawings Viewer

Download the FREE SOLIDWORKS eDrawings Viewer software to view, print, and review all types of eDrawings files. In addition, the eDrawings viewer is a free:

  • AutoCAD® Viewer (DWG and DXF)
  • SOLIDWORKS® Viewer parts, assemblies, and drawings.

Download eDrawings

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.