What is DXF File Format

dxf file format

DXF stands for Drawing eXchange Format and it is a file format used by AutoCAD (Computer Assisted Drafting).

The DXF file format was originally developed in 1982 by Autodesk for its AutoCAD 1.0 software, with the aim of enabling interoperability between AutoCAD and other applications. AutoCAD supports from version 10 DXF files in binary and text formats. Earlier versions support only ASCII DXF files. An ASCII DXF file is a complete representation of an AutoCAD drawing. In text form, it can be easily processed by other applications.

A DXF file consists of pairs of codes and associated values. The codes indicate the type of values that follow. They are generally known as group codes. Using codes, a DXF file is divided into sections. Sections are composed of records, which are formed by a code and a data item.

Each section starts with the group code 0 with value SECTION. The next is group code 2 with the name of the section. A section ends with a group code 0 with value ENDSEC. Group codes define a specific value of an entity. The maximum number of characters a value can have is 256.

The file structure is composed of a header section, a classes section, a tables section, a blocks section, an entities section, and an objects section. The header section contains general information about the drawing. It is composed of an AutoCAD database version and system variables with their respective values. 

The classes section has information about application defined classes. They follow a hierarchical structure.

The tables section contains tables with symbol definitions. Examples of tables are the View table, and the Style table that defines text styles and more.

The blocks section contains information on blocks and drawing entities.

The entities section contains the actual drawings.

The objects section contains non-graphical objects.

And finally, the thumbnailimage section contains a preview of the image.

A binary DXF file is a binary representation of the ASCII file.

How to Open DXF Files

DXF files are proprietary and handled by AutoCAD software. However, the ASCII versions can be viewed by any text editor.

How to Recover Deleted DXF Files

An interesting thing to discover is that when you deleted a file, you actually only removed a reference to the content. The data remains intact until the storage space is assigned to a new file by the operating system.

This fact enables Disk Drill to recover DXF files by scanning the digital device and rebuilding them by using powerful algorithms.

Disk Drill has available versions for Windows and Macs.

Disk Drill
Data recovery for free
Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery

Steps for Recovering DXF Files Successfully

Once you have downloaded the software, it is easy to recover DXF files. Just proceed through the following steps:

  1. Install Disk Drill by clicking on the installer’s icon. The program will present you several easy to follow instructions, and do the hard part of the job.

  2. Open Disk Drill by clicking on the app’s icon. Disk Drill will automatically detect all digital devices connected, and list them. Select the one that contains your .DXF file(s).

    One advantage of Disk Drill is the wide range of devices that it supports, including internal and external hard drives, USB based drives, memory cards and more.

    In addition, Disk Drill lets you work on image files, by attaching them to the program. An Image file is a bit-by-bit copy of a digital device. Thus, they contain all previous deletions still not overwritten by the operating system. They are very useful as they let you analyze a drive, without actually working on it. Their use is a standard practice in Digital Forensics, as they allow for proof preservation.

  3. Narrow the DXF recovery process by selecting the .DXF file extension from the “Preferences” menu. In this manner, your DXF file recovery will be faster and more efficient.

  4. Start the scan. You can cancel or pause the process at any time. You can also save the session and continue later on, without any loss of the work already done. This feature is particularly useful when working with devices of large sizes, as in these cases, the scans can take longer hours.

  5. Once the scan is done, Disk Drill presents the results in the manner of a list. You can narrow it down by using the available filters by size or date.

  6. Select the .DXF file(s) that you need, and retrieve it (them) to a folder of your choice.

That is all! It is easy to recover DXF files with Disk Drill.

recover deleted dxf

Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole is a freelance content creator. He also has a more than 10-year experience in program development for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android. Arthur Cole is a writer with deep expertise in programming, who can easily...

Read full bio
Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.