Have you ever wondered what the difference between IDW & DWG file formats in Inventor are? Do you have a preference for IDW over DWG? I’m a big fan of the DWG format, and I highlight 3 reasons that I think DWG is better in this post, but I also show the drawbacks.
IDW is the original Inventor drawing format, while DWG is better known as the AutoCAD file format, in addition to this, DWG has been Inventor’s default drawing template format since the 2010 release.
So what is the difference? Simply put the DWG file has more functionality, here’s 3 reasons why DWG is better that IDW;
Inventor DWG files can be opened in AutoCAD, which means that you can share your 2D data with practically anyone. In AutoCAD dimensions and annotations can be added to your Inventor drawing. The underlying 3D model is locked an cannot be edited in AutoCAD.
In Inventor DWG files, you are also able to use AutoCAD blocks in your drawings (see image below)
In addition to AutoCAD blocks, you can save ONE view in your Inventor drawing to the file’s model space, this can be inserted into AutoCAD as a block, or XREF, and it is associated to the 3D model. This is really useful for laying out Inventor data in AutoCAD.
What are the drawbacks of DWG?
The file size of a DWG is slightly bigger than that of an IDW, this is due to the extra AutoCAD functionality that is available.
Below are the properties of a blank IDW and an Blank DWG file side by side. The DWG file is 10KB bigger.
The biggest resistance to Inventor DWG files, comes from users who tell me that “When I double-click an Inventor DWG file, AutoCAD fires up“. This is simply a setup issue that can be resolved very quickly.
When Inventor is installed a utility called the “DWG Launcher” is installed, this tool understands where a DWG file was created, and fires up the relevant software.
The GIF below shows one method of associating DWG files with the “DWG Launcher”. The top file is and Inventor DWG file, the one below is an AutoCAD DWG.
Once you have associated the DWG file format with DWG Launcher, you will be able to access iProperties of Inventor DWG files from the right-click properties menu.