3D Viewer & Supported File Formats

File formats supported

All types of files can be hosted and managed on GrabCAD

Additionally, the following formats can be previewed in the viewer:  

CAD FILE FORMATS Software File Extension Versions Supported by Viewer Advanced Features*?
Autodesk Inventor IAM, IPT Up to 2019 Yes
AutoCAD DWG, DXF Limited support No
Dassault Systemes CATIA V4 MODEL, SESSION, DLV, EXP Up to 4.2.5 Yes


CATIA V6 3DXML 2011 - 2013x No

SolidWorks SLDASM, SLDPRT Up to 2019 Yes

Pro/ENGINEER / Creo ASM, NEU, PRT, XAS, XPR     Pro/Engineer 19.0 to Creo 5.0 Yes
Siemens I-deas MF1, ARC, UNV, PKG Up to 13.x (NX 5), NX I-deas 6 Yes

JT JT Up to v10.2 Yes

NX PRT V11.0 to NX 12.0 Yes

Parasolid X_B, X_T, XMT, XMT_TXT
Up to v31 Yes

Solid Edge ASM, PAR, PWD, PSM V19 - 20, ST - ST10, 2019 Yes
Neutral IGES IGES, IGS 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 Yes

STEP STP, STEP, STP.Z AP 203 E1/E2, AP 214, AP 242 Yes

VRML WRL, VRML V1.0 and V2.0 No
Other ACIS SAT, SAB Up to 2019 Yes

Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) IFC, IFCZIP IFC2x Editions 2, 3 and 4 No

Rhino 3DM 4, 5, 6 Yes

Stereo Lithography STL All versions No
Sketchup SKP Up to 2015 No

Universal 3D U3D All Versions

VDA-FS VDA Version 1.0 and 2.0 Yes
Wavefront OBJ All versions No
Documents TXT, PDF (2D)
Other MOV

*Advanced features include geometry-specific measurement options (face-to-face, length of edge, etc) and more file formats available under "Download As..."

Conversion to neutral format ("Download as...")

Nearly all CAD files can be converted to .STL using the "Download as..." feature under the  File Options menu. If advanced features are available (see above) the following formats are available:

  • STEP (.stp)
  • IGES (.igs)
  • STL (.stl)
  • ACIS (.sat)
  • JT (.jt)
  • VRML (.wrl)

After selecting which file format you would like to download your file as, we will start the conversion and email you when the file is ready. This may take several minutes depending on file size and complexity. 

Controls in the 3D viewer

Mouse and keyboard controls

While in the viewer you can use various mouse and keyboard actions to manipulate the model. The various functions are outlined below.

Rotate left-click and drag
Pan right-click and drag
Roll left-click and drag in the corner of the viewer
Zoom scroll wheel or two-finger scroll on a touchpad 
Zoom to fit double-left-click or "F" key
Select feature * left-click on a feature to show its properties
Select solid * shift+left-click on a feature to select the solid body and show its properties
Select multiple features * ctrl+left-click on multiple features to show their contained properties
Hide Body right-click on a component and select "Hide"
Isolate Body right-click on a component and select "Isolate"
Show All Bodies right-click on a component and select "Show all"
* New feature!
Available only on select file types

You can review these by clicking the question mark at the top right of the viewer which will bring up a help menu.

Views and manual controls

At the top right of the viewer there are red controls which allow you to change how you view your model.

The manual controls are

  • Rotate: arrow buttons
  • Zoom: - and + buttons
  • Return to default view: center dot button
  • Default views: "Views" button

Selection properties

You can select a feature (face, edge, or vertex) and properties will appear around the selection. This is only supported for file types where precise geometry (called BREP) is available. This excludes tessellation-only file types such as STL, as well as Inventor files, whose BREP data cannot be read by the GrabCAD viewer. These selection properties will also not be available for assemblies with missing components. Check the lower left corner of the viewer window for "## dependent files not found."

You can also select a whole body using shift-click to get other properties such as volume. 

You can measure separation between two features by using ctrl-click

The assembly tree

The assembly view options allows you to see all the components and sub-components of an assembly in the viewer. When clicking "assembly view" button at the top of the viewer a window will appear in the top left corner of the viewer. In here you can check or uncheck the box next to a component's name in order to hide or reveal that component.

Explode assembly

The explode option allows you to virtually pull the components apart in the viewer. When clicking this option a window with a slider will appear. Moving the slider to the right will separate the parts and moving to the left will bring them back together.

Section (cutting plane)

The section option will open a window which allows you to virtually slice through your model to see the inside components. You have the option to choose the axis in which the cutting plane is displayed in the viewer. You can drag the arrow on the cutting plane to move it back and forth through the model.


The measure tool option located at the top will allow you to measure the distances of the components in the viewer. There are several differnt options on how to measure component which is outlined below.

length of edge
Select to measure the length of two selected edges
radius or diameter of edge
Select to measure the radius or diameter
distance between faces
Select to measure the distance between two selected faces
distance between points
Select to measure the distance between two selected points
angle between faces
Select to measure the angle between two different selected faces
Select the unit of measurement (mm, cm, m, in, ft, ft-in)

Problems viewing your file?

Sometimes you may find that the GrabCAD viewer does not match the default view in your CAD system. Some known limitations include:

  • Material appearances and surface decals are not displayed, except with some Sketchup (.skp) files
  • Component colors may not display properly depending on if the color was applied at the assembly or part level
  • Very large files or complex files may not be viewable, or may be slow and hard to manipulate

Notice something else that looks wrong? Let our support team know by clicking the link in the lower left corner: 

Assembly issues

Assemblies need to have their component files present in the project or in a common parts library project before or during upload in order to be viewed properly, except for SolidWorks assemblies which can be viewed without any component files. If components are missing or were uploaded after the assembly you will see one of these messages: 

Click these messages for more information. If you are the author of the file, you will see the paths of the missing files, otherwise you will just see file names. 

For help gathering all component files into one project see  How to get your assembly's files together.

If you are having trouble with viewing configurations, see  How to view assembly configurations.

If your files is failing to process for viewing, please check the list of supported file formats  below

System requirements

The GrabCAD 3D Viewer runs on a web technology called WebGL.  WebGL is supported by most internet browsers, though sometimes you have to enable it in your settings.  
You can check if you have WebGL enabled here:  get.webgl.org

Google Chrome

The viewer should work by default in Chrome.  If it does not, please ensure you have the latest version of Google Chrome. Download it  here.

For further support, visit  Google Chrome Help.

Mozilla Firefox

The viewer should work by default in Firefox.  If it does not, try the following:

  1. Type about:config in address bar.
  2. Type webgl in the search box.
  3. To enable WebGL, set webgl.force-enabled to true.

Still not working? If you’re on Windows, try this:

  1. Set layers.acceleration.force-enabled to true.
  2. Set gfx.direct2d.force-enabled to true.

For further support, visit  Firefox Help.


To view files in 3D, please enable WebGL in Safari: 

  1. Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.
  2. Open the Advanced tab, check Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  3. Open the Develop menu in the menu bar and select Enable WebGL.

For now, the 3D Viewer is not supported in Safari for Windows or Macbook Pro with Retina Display.

Internet Explorer

If you are seeing problems in the 3D viewer on Internet Explorer 11, such as 3D compare or section view, please make sure you are running Version 11.0.7 or later. You can find this out what version you are currently running by going to Settings --> About Internet Explorer

If you are unable to update to Internet Explorer 11, you can install the Google Chrome Frame plug-in for IE 6, 7, 8, and 9 to enable WebGL.

Graphics card requirements

We use the latest technology to provide the most benefit to our users. Unfortunately, our 3D Viewer does not support these older graphics cards:

All operating systems

  • NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200


  • Intel GMA 945
  • ATI FireMV 2400


  • ATI Radeon HD4200
  • ATI Radeon 2600 series
  • ATI Radeon X1900
  • ATI Radeon HD 6490M on OS X 106.
  • GeForce 7300 GT


  • AMD/ATI cards
  • Nvidia QuadroFX1500
  • Nvidia cards with Nouveau drivers
  • Nvidia cards with Nvidia drivers older than 295
  • Optimus dual-GPU configurations
  • Intel Mesa drivers earlier than 7.9

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