When I first started using Navisworks I found the explanation for how the three file types interact a bit awkward. I suppose it was just the language used at the time or perhaps something else, can't recall now. I did latch on to my own notion of what they mean and ultimately it's helped me to explain it to others.

There are three file extensions used .NWF, NWD, and NWC. I find it useful to describe or think of them this way.

  • NWF = Navisworks "Working File" NWD - NavisWorks "Delivered or PublisheD File" (emphasis on the D) NWC = NavisWorks "Cache or Captured" File

NWF = This file is your day to day file, your working file. You append (Xref/Link/Import) other files that contain the information you are trying to compile into a virtual Building Model.

NWD - This file is the result of "binding" all the data that you can see in the NWF file as well as any things you did to the way the model looks, like changing color or applying materials or adding lights etc. It's the file you can send to a client/owner or other team member to examine. You won't have to worry about them not having what they need to review the model. If you send them the NWF you'll have to make sure you send everything that is imported into it. Just Publish to NWD via the Output ribbon tab.

NWC - This is a special format that is used when an application's own format is not natively supported or acceptable to Navisworks, like Revit. Either the source application has an exporter, like for Revit, or Navisworks creates a .NWC file itself, after reading the source file you've chosen to Append.

Navisworks can load a lot of file formats directly.


You'll get pretty familiar with this format (.nwc) if you work with Revit...which if you are reading this blog...is pretty likely.

Note in the image that it possible to filter the type of files offered when you want to open or append a file. Choosing one or the other specific file type often trips people up later. They have .nwd selected and wonder where their .nwc or .nwf files have gone. Scratching of heads...and then, "oh right!". The bottom option is at least a bit easier on you because all three types are "acceptable".





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