Import IGES Files

You can import an IGES (*.igs or *.iges) file into a DWG file.

Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES ) is a neutral file format designed to transfer 2D and 3D drawing data between dissimilar CAD systems. The IGES standard defines two file formats: fixed-length ASCII, which stores information in 80-character records, and compressed ASCII. The IGESIMPORT and IMPORT commands support only the fixed-length format.

Depending on how large and complex the IGES file is, IGESIMPORT may take time to process the file. Hence, IGESIMPORT starts running in the background and displays an import icon on the status bar. Consequently, you can continue to work on the current drawing while IGESIMPORT processes the IGES file. The tooltip that is displayed when you place the cursor over the Import status bar icon indicates the current state of the import process.

Once processing is complete, a notification bubble is displayed on the import status bar icon. If you click the link in the notification bubble, the imported content is inserted in the current drawing. If you close the notification bubble before you insert the imported content, you can right-click the import status bar icon and choose “Insert” from the menu.

Understanding the Limitations

Under ideal conditions, translation preserves the appearance and functionality of entities. However, this process has limitations, and some data will not be preserved in a round trip between different CAD systems.

For example, when exporting to IGES, a 2D polyline is translated as IGES entity 106:12. When importing from IGES, entity 106:12 translates to a spline. Hence, if you use IGESIMPORT to read a file created by IGESEXPORT, the resulting drawing may not be identical to the original drawing.

Similar data loss may occur when transferring data between AutoCAD and another CAD system, using IGES. Usually, a one-time translation to or from IGES does not pose a serious problem. However, data loss can become a concern if drawings are repeatedly translated in and out of IGES.


Inspect the conversion tables of the IGES translators of both the source CAD program and AutoCAD. Get to know what entities are supported. Restructure the drawing to minimize the usage of objects that require compromises and substitutions.

See the conversion table for IGESIMPORT for specific details of the scope of the IGES translator.

To import an IGES file
  1. Click Insert tabImport panelImport. At the Command prompt, enter import.
  2. In the Import File dialog box, in the Files of type box, select (*.igs, *.iges).
  3. Find and select the IGES file you want to import, or enter the name of the IGES file at File Name.
  4. Click Open.

    If translation takes longer than 5 seconds, import is performed as a background process. A notification bubble is displayed when the command is done.

    • Click the file name in the notification bubble. The imported drawing data is inserted in the current drawing.
    Tip If you accidentally close the notification bubble, right-click the import icon on the status bar, and click Insert. The imported IGES file is inserted in the current drawing.
  5. Click OK.

Imports data from an IGES (*.igs or *.iges) file into the current drawing.


Imports files of different formats into the current drawing.