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What is a DGN file?
A DGN file is a 2D or 3D technical drawing, created by Bentley Systems MicroStation or another CAD program. It likely contains a drawing of a construction project, such as a proposed street, bridge, or building. DGN files can be saved in one of two formats: the original Intergraph Standard File Format (ISFF) or the updated Bentley Systems V8 DGN format.
MicroStation is a CAD program that architects and engineers use to draft technical drawings of buildings, construction projects, mechanical parts, and other items. It was initially published by Intergraph, before being acquired by Bentley Systems.
Most versions of MicroStation allow users to open, create, and save DNG files. (Version 1 of MicroStation could only open DGN files, created by other Intergraph CAD programs.) However, different versions of MicroStation save DGN files in slightly different formats. Versions 7 and below of MicroStation save DGN files in the original ISFF format that Intergraph created in the 1980s. Versions 8 and above save DGN files in the V8 DGN format, created by Bentley Systems in 2000. Thus, old versions of MicroStation may not be able to open newer DGN files.
How to open a DGN file
If you just want to view the drawing a DGN file contains, you can open it with Bentley Systems Bentley View, a free CAD viewer for Windows. However, you must create an account with Bentley Systems to use Bentley View, and Bentley View can open only V8 DGN files.
How to convert a DGN file
Those who have access to Bentley Systems MicroStation, AutoDesk AutoCAD, or CorelCAD can use those programs to convert DGN files to other CAD technical drawing formats. For example, MicroStation can convert DGN files to the following formats:
If you do not have access to any of the above CAD programs, you can use AutoDWG DGN to DWG Converter, a free Windows app, to convert DGN files to the DWG and DXF formats.