What is the file extension dxf?

Written by rebecca chandos
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What is the file extension dxf?
AutoCAD Drawing (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeremy Levine)

DXF (Drawing Interchange Format or Drawing Exchange Format) is a file format associated with Autodesk's flagship software program, AutoCAD ("CAD" is an abbreviation for computer-aided design). The program allows data interoperability between AutoCAD and other engineering software packages.

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Autodesk introduced the DXF format in December 1982 as a means of providing interoperability with other engineering software packages. DXF support has been included in every subsequent version of AutoCAD.


DXF files containing AutoCAD renderings can be exported from AutoCAD and shared among teams of engineers. The files can be imported into other engineering software programs to be updated or amended.

Supported Software

The following software packages support the DXF file format:

  • A9Cad
  • Adobe FrameMaker
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • AGI32
  • AI4CAD 3D
  • Alibre Design
  • Altium
  • ArchiCAD
  • ArcMap
  • ArtiosCAD
  • AutoCAD
  • AutoDWG
  • Ayam
  • Blender - DXFr12 2D+3D
  • Cadwork
  • CoCreate Drafting (formerly Me10)
  • CoCreate Annotation
  • Corel Draw
  • DataCAD
  • Dia
  • Drawbase
  • DWGeditor
  • DWGSee
  • Easy-PC
  • Epanet
  • Eye-Sys
  • EnRoute[1]
  • FASTechnologies NC-CAM
  • Geosoft Oasis montaj
  • Google SketchUp
  • GraphCalc - Export only
  • Inkscape - export only as of version 0.46
  • IntelliCAD
  • Harness Expert
  • Hevacomp
  • Kabeja
  • Leica Geo Office
  • Lenel OnGuard
  • LD Assistant
  • Lightcalc
  • Manifold System
  • Maple 12
  • Mathematica
  • MetaCAM
  • Microlux
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microstation
  • miniPLAN
  • Modo (software)
  • OmniWin Cadnest
  • OpenOffice.org
  • Paint Shop Pro
  • Photopia (software)
  • Pictures by PC
  • Pro/Engineer
  • pdf2cad
  • eFrontier's Poser 6 and up
  • QCad
  • RackTools
  • Rhinoceros 3D
  • Solid Edge
  • Solidworks
  • Unigraphics
  • Valve Hammer
  • VariCAD
  • VectorWorks
  • ViaCAD
  • Visual
  • Working Model 2D
  • YCAD Java DXF Library


DXF allows CAD renderings to be shared between multiple engineers or teams of engineers, even if they are running different CAD software. This makes collaboration between teams easier.

Expert Insight

Software developers have experienced difficulties with supporting the DXF format because some AutoCAD object types are either undocumented or only partially documented in DXF. Newer applications are therefore switching to the DWG format, which is more thoroughly documented and can be licensed from Autodesk, rendering DXF less useful and less likely to be fully supported in the future.

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