What Is DGN File in AutoCAD?

What Is DGN File in AutoCAD?

In the world of computer-aided design (CAD), AutoCAD is a widely used software that allows architects, engineers, and designers to create precise and detailed drawings. One file format that AutoCAD supports is the DGN file format.

Understanding the DGN File Format

The DGN file format, short for “design,” was developed by Bentley Systems as the native file format for their CAD software called MicroStation. It is commonly used in industries such as architecture, engineering, and construction for creating technical drawings and models.

Key Features of DGN Files:

  • DGN files can store both 2D and 3D data, allowing for the creation of complex designs.
  • They support various types of entities like lines, arcs, circles, text, dimensions, and more.
  • DGN files also support layers to organize and manage different elements within a drawing.

Working with DGN Files in AutoCAD

Importing DGN Files:

If you want to work with DGN files in AutoCAD, there are a few methods you can use. The most common method is to import the DGN file directly into your AutoCAD drawing. To do this:

  1. Open AutoCAD and go to the “Insert” tab on the ribbon menu.
  2. Select “Import” from the “Import” panel.
  3. Navigate to the location where your DGN file is stored and select it.
  4. Click on “Open” to import the DGN file into your AutoCAD drawing.

Exporting DGN Files:

If you need to share your AutoCAD drawings with someone who uses MicroStation or another software that supports the DGN file format, you can export your drawing as a DGN file. To do this:

  1. Open your AutoCAD drawing.
  2. Go to the “Application” menu (the red A icon) in the top-left corner of the AutoCAD window.
  3. Select “Save As” from the dropdown menu.
  4. In the “Save As” dialog box, choose a location and enter a name for your DGN file.
  5. Select “DGN (*.dgn)” from the “Save as type” dropdown menu.
  6. Click on “Save” to export your drawing as a DGN file.


DGN files are an essential part of CAD workflows, allowing professionals in various industries to collaborate and exchange design data seamlessly. Whether you need to import DGN files into AutoCAD or export your drawings as DGN files, understanding this file format is crucial for working effectively in CAD environments.

In summary:

  • The DGN file format is used for CAD drawings and models.
  • DGN files support both 2D and 3D data, along with various types of entities and layers.
  • You can import DGN files into AutoCAD using the “Insert” tab on the ribbon menu.
  • You can export your AutoCAD drawings as DGN files through the “Save As” option in the Application menu.

By mastering the use of DGN files in AutoCAD, you can enhance your design capabilities and collaborate seamlessly with professionals using other CAD software.