What Is IGES File in SolidWorks?

In SolidWorks, an IGES file is a popular file format used for sharing 3D models between different CAD software programs. IGES stands for Initial Graphics Exchange Specification and it was developed by the US National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) in the late 1970s. It is a neutral file format, meaning it can be read by most CAD software applications regardless of their native formats.

Why Use IGES Files?

IGES files are commonly used in the CAD industry because they allow interoperability between different software platforms. This means that if you have a 3D model created in SolidWorks, you can export it as an IGES file and share it with someone using a different CAD software such as AutoCAD or CATIA.

Benefits of using IGES files include:

  • Compatibility: IGES files are supported by most CAD software applications, making them a reliable format for exchanging 3D models.
  • Preserving Geometry: When exporting a SolidWorks model as an IGES file, the geometry information such as curves, surfaces, and solids is preserved. This ensures that the recipient can view and modify the model accurately.
  • Data Transfer: IGES files allow for efficient data transfer between different CAD systems without losing critical information about the design intent.

Exporting SolidWorks Models as IGES Files

To export a SolidWorks model as an IGES file, follow these steps:

  1. Select the part or assembly you want to export.
  2. Navigate to “File” in the top menu and choose “Save As”.
  3. Choose “IGES (*.igs, *.iges)” from the list of available file formats.
  4. Name the file and specify the location where you want to save it.
  5. Click “Save” to export the SolidWorks model as an IGES file.

Note: It is important to consider that when exporting a SolidWorks model as an IGES file, some advanced features or complex geometry may not be fully supported by other CAD software applications. Therefore, it’s recommended to review the exported IGES file in the recipient’s software to ensure compatibility and accuracy.


In conclusion, an IGES file is a widely used format for sharing 3D models between different CAD software programs. It offers compatibility, preserves geometry, and enables efficient data transfer.

By exporting a SolidWorks model as an IGES file, you can collaborate with users of other CAD systems seamlessly. Remember to check for any potential compatibility issues when working with complex models or advanced features.

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