How AutoCAD Products Work With Inventor

Interoperability, Associativity, Synch and Exchange Explained.

With currently 13 AutoCAD Branded products available, how do they work with Inventor and to what capacity?

With all that legacy AutoCAD data out there and users still engineering design on various AutoCAD Products, working with DWG is an important issue and using Autodesk products make it easier. All those time saving features add up and time equals money, especially when the job had to completed yesterday.

Inventor works with DWG in a couple ways:

  • Import 2D DWGs into a sketch from the File>Import route
  • Import 2D DWGs into a sketch while in sketch mode
  • Copy/Paste from AutoCAD to Inventor
  • Inventor can natively create a DWG and then detail a 3D model in 2D that AutoCAD can open, negating the requirement to export to DWG

This video shows how these functions above are done:

  • Import 3D DWGs as a solid body (instead of a wireframe) – This article here and video below demonstrates this feature.


  • AutoCAD Mechanical can import an Inventor 3D model keeping associativity, meaning, if the 3D model changes in Inventor, the DWG will update the changes automatically.
  • Synchronising AutoCAD and Inventor is covered in this earlier blog

If we look at two other AutoCAD packages; AutoCAD Electrical and AutoCAD Plant 3D (or exporting Inventor models as a 3D DWG), we find there are other ways to work with Inventor.

  • AutoCAD Electrical produces electrical schematic drawings and via the XML import/export function, you can bring those schematics into Inventor to create a 3D electrical harness or export your 3D electrical harness to AutoCAD Electrical to create a schematic. This Autodesk tutorial goes through this process.
  • Plant 3D works a bit differently, Inventor uses it’s BIM exchange functions to export an Inventor model to AutoCAD (commonly used with AutoCAD Plant 3D) with BIM metadata and connection points. An article from Autodesk shows the step by step guide on doing that.

Autodesk are always improving the integration between their applications and every year, I see this integration gets tighter.