About Exporting MicroStation DGN Files

You can export DWG files to the V7 DGN and V8 DGN drawing file formats.

The export process translates basic DWG file data into the corresponding DGN file data, and specialized data as a best fit. There are several translation options to determine how data is translated during the export process. For example:

The export process uses a standard mapping translation by default, which maps DWG-format layers, linetypes, lineweights, and colors to DGN-format levels, linestyles, lineweights, and colors. If necessary, you can change the mappings to match your company CAD standards. You can edit the mappings with the DGNMAPPING command.

Understand the Limitations

AutoCAD objects and properties that have a direct correlation to DGN objects and properties are exported without any issues. For example, AutoCAD layers are translated directly to MicroStation levels. However, AutoCAD objects and properties that have no direct correlation to DGN objects and properties will not translate with full fidelity. The following are known limitations that result.

See the DGNEXPORT Conversion Table for specific details about the scope of exporting DWG objects and other data to DGN files.

Note: Do not export drawings that include V8 DGN underlays to a V7 DGN format file. V8 DGN references cannot display in a V7 DGN file. The V8 DGN file format is not a valid design file for the resulting V7 DGN file.


To optimize the data transfer to the MicroStation DGN file format, consider the following recommendations:

Conversion Units

When exporting, match the DWG file's drawing units either to the master units or to the sub units of the DGN seed file. A DGN seed file is similar to a drawing template (DWT) file in AutoCAD. It contains default settings and attributes such as working units, for the DGN file.

For example, assume that you are exporting a DWG file that was created in inches. The DGN seed file you selected has its master units set to feet and sub units set to inches. While exporting, in the Export Settings dialog box, select sub units in the Specify Seed File section. This matches the inches used in the DWG file with the inches specified in the DGN seed file.

Note: Some programs that work with DGN files do not support extended characters for file names. As such, do not use accented or Asian characters in file names when using DGNEXPORT.