.IGES File Extension
What is an IGES file?
An IGES file is a data file used to exchange 2D or 3D design information between CAD programs, such as Autodesk AutoCAD and ACD Systems Canvas. It typically contains surface information for a model but may also store wireframe, solid model, and circuit diagram information. IGES files are saved in ASCII text format and are based on the Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) standard.
The IGES standard originates from the United States Air Force (USAF) Integrated Computer-Aided Manufacturing (ICAM) project in the 1970s. The standard was initially utilized for the manufacturing of aerospace-related parts. However, it spread to other industries, such as automotive and machinery, after the first official version of IGES was released in 1980. Data files stored in the IGES standard may be saved as IGES but are more commonly saved as .IGS files.
Although the IGES standard is still used today, it has significantly decreased in usage since the late-1990s. This is due to the release of more efficient formats, like STEP and Parasolid, and lack of development (the last official IGES version was released in 1996).
How do I open an IGES file?
You can open IGES files with various CAD programs in Windows, such as Autodesk Fusion 360 (Windows), ideaMK IGSViewer (Windows), and CADSoftTools ABViewer (Windows). You can also open IGES files in macOS with Nemetschek VectorWorks and CADEX CAD Exchanger, or upload the files to ShareCAD.org or CADEX CAD Exchanger Cloud and view them in a web browser.
While IGES files are typically opened with CAD software, they can also be opened with a text editor since they are saved in text format. However, the contents will appear as text instead of a visual representation of a part. You can use Microsoft Wordpad, which is bundled with Windows, or Apple TextEdit, which is bundled with macOS, to view the plain text in IGES files.
How do I convert an IGES file?
Many of the CAD programs that can open IGES files can also convert them to other formats. For example, CAD Exchanger can open IGES files and save them as another format, such as .STP, .STEP, .JT, .SAT., .STL, or .BREP.