CAD interoperability

Seamlessly exchange CAD data from virtually any source while maintaining your data integrity.

Realize robust interoperability

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Standardize CAD applications across your organization

Eliminate redundant costs caused by multiple CAD platforms and varying standards for different engineering departments.

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Reduce wasted engineering time and free up resources

Avoid time-consuming and frustrating steps needed to repair CAD file translation errors on an ongoing basis.

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Eliminate downstream problems caused by translation errors

Confidently work with imported CAD data without risk of missed interferences, corrupted data, or other downstream issues.

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Protect your intellectual property with model simplification

Use automated tools to simplify files and remove proprietary information prior to sharing with suppliers and clients.

Brochure titled “Top 10 Use Cases for CAD Interoperability”

The need for CAD interoperability

The product development process involves collaboration between multiple teams and shared CAD data from various software applications. From changing your CAD software to collaborating with other teams and suppliers, discover the top use cases for robust interoperability.

CAD interoperability with Autodesk

Read virtually any CAD file without translation and convert designs from one CAD file format to another.


Connected models

Choose between translating data to allow for editing or maintaining associative references to the original file so models automatically update whenever source files change.

Model simplification

Use automated tools to remove unnecessary details from your models, protecting intellectual property and reducing file sizes for easier exchange with your customers and suppliers.

3D CAD interoperability

Associatively reference models created in SOLIDWORKS, Creo, CATIA, NX, Solid Edge, STEP, Fusion 360, Revit, and Alias without translation.

Selective import

Select only which portions of the referenced data you want to include in your design upon import. You can even edit your selection later if you change your mind.

Previous version support

Open files saved in the next release of Inventor for single-year backwards compatibility.

Revit interoperability

Import and export building information models natively from Revit to reference as you model BIM objects or custom-fabricated designs.

Property mapping

Define how properties from each file type map to Inventor file properties to minimize manual re-entry of metadata.

AutoCAD DWG interoperability

Associatively reference native DWG files into your 3D models to use as the basis for part modeling or assembly skeletal modeling.

See related products

Professional-grade product design and engineering tools for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization, and documentation.

Get Inventor + AutoCAD + Autodesk Fusion + more—Professional-grade tools for product development and manufacturing planning.

See how people are using CAD interoperability

Image courtesy of Kalitta Motorsports


Reducing machining time from 30 hours to 10

Kalitta Motorsports uses the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection to save design and manufacturing time and optimize their overall operations.

"We started in 2015 machining our clutch assemblies and now we are doing clutch assemblies, cylinder heads, and so many more parts. It is a huge cost savings and so much more efficient." – Chad Head, General Manager at Kalitta Motorsports


The CAD Interop Survival Guide

Learn how to overcome everyday challenges and work better internally, externally, and with your supply chain.


Get Spec’d In

Read how building product manufacturers can create BIM content from their CAD models with the appropriate level of detail.


Image courtesy of ITI

Feature-based translation

Learn how Autodesk partner ITI can help you automate the migration of intelligent, fully featured CAD data from CATIA V5, NX, Creo/Wildfire, Solid Edge, and SOLIDWORKS.

Let’s talk strategy

As a global leader in the integration of architecture, engineering, construction, product design, and manufacturing processes, Autodesk can help you develop the capabilities needed to achieve your goals.


Reach out today to schedule your business consultation.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is 3D CAD conversion?

3D CAD conversion is the process of translating a non-native 3D model, metadata (property information), and sometimes feature history into the destination 3D CAD software. With Autodesk Inventor, no conversion is needed: You can simply open non-native CAD files without translation.

What is a CAD file translator?

A CAD file translator is a tool that allows 3D models to be imported and exported between different software programs.

How do engineers perform CAD/CAM data exchange?

Once a 3D CAD file is created, it becomes the center for all downstream applications. Previously, engineers would need to translate 3D CAD files depending on which application the file would be opened in. Now, 3D model files can be opened without translation for use in all downstream applications, like CAM or simulation.