How to Open DXF Files

Files that use the drawing exchange format, or have the DXF file extension, are a type of vector image document generated by computer-aided design (CAD) software, such as those from Autodesk (AutoCAD and Fusion, for example). Even though these files are created by CAD programs, they’re designed to be universal or can be opened using other graphic design programs for easier compatibility. To know how to open DXF files, scroll down to step 1.


Download a CAD or a graphic design application.

You can opt for either since DXF files are a universal type of vector format. Listed below are examples of applications you can use to open DXL files and where you can get them.

  • Adobe Illustrator:
  • Take note that these are only some of the major programs; there are lots more available online that you may opt to use.

Install the application on your computer.

Once you’ve downloaded the installer, double-click on it to run its installation wizard. The installation process varies depending on the program of your choice. Hence, the installation steps may also vary.

  • In general, these applications are very easy to install and are provided with simple instructions.

Launch the application after installing it.

Click on the program’s desktop icon to launch it, and finish any additional setup steps required before you can completely use the application.

  • Some software may require you to create an account first (as with Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD) before you can fully utilize it.

Go back to the location of the DXF file on your computer.

When you install a graphic or CAD software, it automatically detects any supported file on your computer, changing the file’s icon into something similar to that of the program.

  • The DXF file you have on your computer should now sport a different icon than it had before.

Double-click on the DXF file to open it.

The file will be opened on the software you’ve just installed, letting you view or edit it. Once the DXF file has been opened, you can save it in a different format that can be used on other applications on your computer.


  • Popularly used CAD and graphic design applications often come with a price. However, there are trial versions that you can use either with limited features or within a specific time span only.
  • The DXF file format was created by Autodesk, so the best way to open files using such a file format is by using Autodesk programs like AutoCAD or Autodesk Design Review.

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