Free DWG Viewer from Information Graphics lets you view AutoCAD DWG, DXF, and DWF files as well as CSF (IGC Content Sealed Format) files in Windows without AutoCAD or compatible CAD packages. It can run as a desktop application in Windows or as an ActiveX control in Internet Explorer. It offers a variety of viewing options, including accurate snap-to-geometry functionality. Free DWG Viewer is a freeware version of the developer's Brava program. The free version lacks several features, such as the ability to make markups. It also lacks a Print feature, but it does save files as JPEGs, which you can print normally in your usual app.
Free DWG Viewer's user interface is engineer-approved in its simplicity and efficiency, and it opens with an ActiveX-based startup guide that included links to an online Getting Started feature as well as the program's Help file, which also serves for Brava and other related tools. The program's options are specific to CAD viewers and include Smooth Edges and Show Line Weights. CAD Display Options included fields to set DWG XRef path(s) and DWG shx and font path(s), each with Warn, Ignore, and Abort settings.
We didn't have any DWG files or other compatible formats in our test system, but it didn't take long to find a variety of them, including plans and diagrams, using nothing more sophisticated than a Google search. The program displays images clearly and crisply, especially with the Smooth Edges option selected, which slightly slows rendering. Free DWG Viewer's View menu let us Pan and Zoom, Fit All or Width, Rotate and Mirror, and Magnify images. A slider and other controls on the program's bottom-edge toolbar made zooming in and out of details easy. If you need to view AutoCAD files without AutoCAD, Free DWG Viewer is your best option. If your needs exceed its capabilities, Brava is available. It's not free, but it's a lot cheaper than AutoCAD.