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|Internet media type|
|Initial release||December 1982|
|Type of format||CAD data exchange|
DXF was introduced in December 1982 as part of AutoCAD 1.0, and was intended to provide an exact representation of the data in the AutoCAD native file format, DWG (Drawing). For many years, Autodesk did not publish specifications, making correct imports of DXF files difficult. Autodesk now publishes the DXF specifications online.
As AutoCAD has become more powerful, supporting more complex object types, DXF has become less useful. Certain object types, including ACIS solids and regions, are not documented. Other object types, including AutoCAD 2006's dynamic blocks, and all of the objects specific to the vertical market versions of AutoCAD, are partially documented, but not well enough to allow other developers to support them. For these reasons many CAD applications use the DWG format which can be licensed from Autodesk or non-natively from the Open Design Alliance.
DXF files do not specify the units of measurement used for its coordinates and dimensions.
- General information about the drawing. Each parameter has a variable name and an associated value.
- Holds the information for application-defined classes whose instances appear in the
OBJECTSsections of the database. Generally does not provide sufficient information to allow interoperability with other programs.
- This section contains definitions of named items.
- Application ID (
- Block Record (
- Dimension Style (
- Layer (
- Linetype (
- Text style (
- User Coordinate System (
- View (
- Viewport configuration (
- This section contains Block Definition entities describing the entities comprising each Block in the drawing.
- This section contains the drawing entities, including any Block References.
- Contains the data that apply to nongraphical objects, used by AutoLISP, and ObjectARX applications.
- Contains the preview image for the DXF file.
END OF FILE
The data format of a DXF is called a "tagged data" format, which "means that each data element in the file is preceded by an integer number that is called a group code. A group code's value indicates what type of data element follows. This value also indicates the meaning of a data element for a given object (or record) type. Virtually all user-specified information in a drawing file can be represented in DXF format."
- AutoCAD DXF Reference (from Release 14, 1998) (PDF version from 2012)
- AutoCAD DXF File Format Summary.
- Annotated example DXF file Archived January 6, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
- AutoDesk Online DXF File Viewer.