What is a DXF File? How Can I Recover the DXF File?

By  //  April 2, 2023

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Have you ever deleted DXF files from your PC without taking a backup? If you’re reading this, we’re guessing you have and wondering how to retrieve them.

Well, you’re in the right place. This article will cover some methods to recover unsaved/deleted/lost/missing DXF files.

Drawing Exchange Format or Drawing Interchange Format (DXF) is a file format developed by Autodesk for their software AutoCAD 1.0. It was designed as a CAD data exchange program, allowing AutoCAD to exchange data with other software.

The DXF format is a vector file used by graphic designers, developers, and modern-day engineers who require computer-assisted 2D designs. In addition, DXF files have made sharing between any two software feasible due to its open-source format.

Like any other AutoCAD files, DXF files are also susceptible to errors, such as accidental deletion or file corruption. Let’s take a look at a few common reasons for AutoCAD or DXF files loss or deletion:

  • Not saving the file properly
  • Accidental deletion
  • AutoCAD program crashing abruptly
  • Hard drive, volume, or partition formatting
  • Hard drive failure resulting in data loss, including DXF files
  • Corruption in the drive due to virus or malware attack
  • Computer breakdown due to OS crash, power surges, overheating, etc.

How to Recover DXF Files?

Method 1: Recover Deleted DXF File from Recycle Bin

If you have deleted the DXF files, look for them in your Windows Recycle Bin and restore them from there. Files deleted within 30 days will be sent to this folder before being permanently deleted from your computer.

To restore deleted DXF files from Recycle Bin:

  • Go to Recycle Bin, search for the file, right-click on it, and select Restore.

Mac users can search the Trash folder to recover the DXF file. To restore the file from this location, do this:

  • Go to Trash, right-click on the file, select Put Back, and files will be returned to their earlier location.

Moreover, if you have deleted the DXF files using the Shift + Delete command, you need to use the DXF file recovery software to restore them.

Method 2:  Recover lost/deleted DXF files from backup

It’s a known fact that backup protects you from any or all catastrophic data loss situations. So be it your valuable files or other documents, photos, or videos on your system, having a backup of your DXF files gives relief from stress caused due to loss or accidental deletion. You may find DXF files in the backup folders created on the external hard drive, OneDrive and Time Machine. So look into the backup folders for the lost DXF files. 

Windows users might use Windows Backup and Restore or File History functions to save their system backup.

If you are a Mac owner, recover DXF files from the Time Machine, if you have enabled it earlier. You can even search for the DXF files in iCloud on your Mac.

Method 3: Recover DXF/DWF File with Stellar Photo Recovery Software

Deleted or missing DXF/DWF files are on your system, even if it has been removed from Recycle Bin/ Trash folder or formatted on the hard drive.

To recover AutoCAD files, use a DWF files recovery software — Stellar Photo Recovery. It is a reliable software to retrieve permanently deleted DWF files from your storage drive. This software is effective if your DWF file is lost because of deletion, formatting, drive corruption, virus or malware attack, emptied Recycle Bin, or other reasons.

Note – Before you begin the AutoCAD recovery process, stop using the drive from which you deleted or lost the files. Also, don’t save any new data on it, as this can overwrite the storage drive. Once overwritten, the chances of file recovery diminish.

Steps to recover AutoCAD files using Stellar Photo Recovery

  • Download and install Stellar Photo Recovery software on the computer.
  • Launch the software and select the location from where you want to recover AutoCAD files.
  • Before scanning, click Settings present at the top menu.
  • In the Advanced Settings window, select the File List icon.
  • In the Photo Format list, choose the file format you want to recover and click Close. You can manually or automatically add the file type if the required file format is not there.
  • Click Scan. Once the scan is completed, select, and Preview the recovered AutoCAD files.
  • Click Recover and select a destination to save the recovered DWF files.

How to open the recovered DXF file?

Once you have recovered DXF files, you can open these files using lots of other DXF openers and viewers. For example, you can open the DXF files in various CAD software, such as CorelCAD, AutoCAD, TurboCAD, and LibreCAD.

You can even use Adobe Illustrator, Cheetah3D, and Autodesk Viewer to open DXF files.

What is the difference between DWG and DXF Files?

DWG Files DXF Files
DWG files use binary code, i.e., 0s and 1s. DXF files use text-based coding (ASCII)
DWG files handle various drawing types, including 2D and 3D geometry. DXF files mostly handle 2D vector images.
DWG format is sole proprietary of Autodesk, i.e., only the company can design, alter, or modify it. DXF file is open-source and can be used by all CAD, GIS, and CNC software.

Quick tips to prevent DXF files loss

  • Create multiple backups of your DXF files. Moreover, regularly update all the backup drives.
  • Immediately stop using the hard drive from which DXF files are lost. Remember, overwriting data reduces the chances of DXF file recovery.


Try the manual methods first, such as checking the Recycle Bin or Trash, looking for backup history in Windows Backup and Restore, File History, Time Machine and iCloud, etc., to recover lost or deleted DXF files. But if these methods fail to recover your deleted files, use a DWF file recovery software. Stellar Photo Recovery Professional is the best option to recover lost or AutoCAD files in all data loss scenarios, such as accidental deletion, formatting, virus infection, or other reasons.