February 28, 2012

Exporting and Opening Inventor DWG Files in Solid Edge

Autodesk Inventor offers two methods for saving Inventor IDW files to the AutoCAD DWG format.  Which method works best for opening the .dwg file in Solid Edge?

The two methods that Inventor provides for saving Inventor .idw files (drawings) to DWG format are Export and Save As. 

When you export an Autodesk Inventor file into AutoCAD DWG, the Autodesk Inventor data is translated into AutoCAD objects in a new DWG file. Translated AutoCAD data is not associative back to the Autodesk Inventor model, but the AutoCAD data is fully editable in AutoCAD.

Save As:
You can save as an Autodesk Inventor drawings (.IDW) natively in DWG format without translation. Autodesk Inventor drawing data remains associative to its part or assembly file. When opening the file in AutoCAD the Autodesk Inventor drawing data looks just like it does in Autodesk Inventor. You can view, plot, measure and minimally edit the Autodesk Inventor drawing data in AutoCAD.

So which method do we use to save Inventor DWG files that are usable in Solid Edge?

If you choose the Export method  Solid Edge can successfully open the .dwg files in Solid Edge Draft.  If you choose the Save As method Solid Edge *cannot* successfully open the .dwg files. 

How to tell if an Inventor generated DWG file was created using the Export or Save As method?

Unfortunately there are no obvious or outward signs as to how the file was generated, unless you investigate further.
  1. Save As files will translate into Solid Edge, but will produce only empty Drawing views.
  2. Save As files opened in AutoCAD, will have the appearance of a drawing that was created from a 3D model (Multiple aligned views, and perhaps a shaded view).
  3. The data in a Saved As file is mostly in the form of block. The block names will all start with the letter “I” as in ( i10, i11, i12 etc…)
Do you know of any other way to quickly tell by which method an Inventor DWG file was generated?  If so, please share in the comments section below.

Hopefully this tip will help you with your Inventor DWG files imported into Solid Edge. 


  1. Replies
    1. Paul,

      Thanks for the tip. Now if only I had access to an Inventor DWG to experiment further with Solid Edge :-(