What you’ll learn.
What is an XVL file?
XVL stands for Extendable Virtual World Description Language. It’s a popular file format for sharing AutoCAD 3D designs in fields like engineering, manufacturing, and architecture. Because it’s a vector file, it displays images thanks to a complex formula of lines, points, and mathematical algorithms that make it infinitely expandable without becoming pixelated.
A single XVL file can accommodate more than a gigabyte of CAD data. It contains highly accurate geometry, as well as additional information like materials and assembly instructions. Users can even store designs from multiple CAD files and formats in a single XVL — making it an extremely versatile design format.
History of the XVL file.
Lattice Technology launched the XVL file in 1997 to overcome the unwieldy file sizes associated with CAD drawings and designs.
Today, Toyota owns a significant stake in Lattice Technology and is also a major customer. Large manufacturers like Toyota can share designs from multiple CAD programs across different automotive fields — like car and train parts, designed on CATIA and CREO — and ensure consistency.
While XVL is a proprietary file format to Lattice Technology, XVL viewers are free, so any user can open and view a file without paying licensing costs.
How to use an XVL file.
A wide range of industries use XVL. Let’s take a look at why these files are so popular.
CAD file compression.
One of the main highlights of XVL files is their ability to compress a CAD design to a far smaller file. An XVL can reduce a design to 1% of its original size while maintaining all its essential data for design, assembly, service, parts, and catalogs.
These small file sizes help designers collaborate on projects, share them with stakeholders, and send them to customers.
The XVL file format allows users to convert and update design files from any 3D CAD format and even incorporate designs from different programs into a single XVL file. This is invaluable to large manufacturing and engineering organizations that work across different design fields.
You can share CAD designs with other users and authors who need or want to add instructions, interactive documents, and catalogs to the file.
Discover more vector file types
Pros and cons of XVL files.
There are many XVL advantages and disadvantages to consider before using this file format.
Advantages of XVL files.
- With their lossless compression, XVL files retain the same amount of data as an original CAD design, at a fraction of the file size.
- Users can save files from diverse CAD programs as XVL to share, publish, and collaborate. These include native formats for CATIA, CREO, SOLIDWORKS, NX, and Autodesk Inventor.
- You can easily view XVLs on different operating systems, web browsers, and programs with an XVL viewer.
Disadvantages of XVL files.
- While your XVL file may be far smaller than the original CAD design, it will still take up more space on your computer than most raster file types.
- To view and edit XVL files, you’ll need to download specialist XVL players, converters, and studio programs.
How to open an XVL file.
Follow these simple steps to open an XVL file on Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended.
- Open Adobe Acrobat.
- Click File > Open.
- Select your XVL file from your computer.
- Select Open.
How to create and edit an XVL file.
To create an XVL file in Autodesk Inventor, follow these simple steps:
- Download the XVL Converter Autodesk Plug-in.
- Save your original CAD file to XVL format.
- Share your XVL as a zipped file and open it with your chosen program.
XVL files: frequently asked questions.