I am a frequent recipient of microstation dgn files and don't like it because I don't have software to convert it to autocad. I do have ARCVIEW, but I can't edit the files. I have tried other open source programs to convert, but they all are lacking.

I'm wondering if anyone has used QGIS to convert from dgn to shp or dwg file types?

I'm skeptical because I noticed that QGIS supports dgn file types, but doesn't support dwg file formats.

  • Note also, that GDAL/OGR supports only pre-v8 dgn. What software do you have and what do you use it for? Doesnt Autocad support dgn?
    – Marty
    Aug 30, 2012 at 6:47
  • I use BRICSCAD - a variant of Autocad and intellicad. They ALL USE the dwg format. Apparently dgn's are hard to get freeware for. Like I mentioned, I have arcview and I can manipulate linetypes, lineweights, etc, but I can't directly edit them. If QGIS only supports pre-v8, then it's not going to be very helpful.
    – DATAfiend
    Aug 30, 2012 at 15:35
  • 1
    in ArcView you can export to shapefile then you can edit them. Depending on how complex the DGN's are can be a straightforward process.
    – Mapperz
    Aug 31, 2012 at 14:46

8 Answers 8


try FME , costs , but manages all your conversion problems

For me it has been the best spatial tool in my job, i do file type conversion, i reproject data with it, i do some spatial db stuff with it.



update (early May 2017). GDAL supports DGN v8 from version 2.2.0. More info about the driver. Not tried this yet so can't vouch for completeness.

New OGR/vector drivers:
 - DGNv8 driver: read-write support for DGN 8.0 format (using Teigha ODA libraries)

It might be a while before QGIS uses this, but could try installing it on a virtual machine or container (to avoid clashes with any existing installations) and using ogr2ogr.


QGIS uses GDAL/OGR under the hood which supports dgn/dwg (read only) and dxf (read/write). See OGR formats for a list of supported formats. Note: dwg support may be missing as it is not compiled into OGR by default. DGN support is only for DGN v7 files.


I have been wanting to do the same thing, with the same issues. I have successful imported my DGN files into QGIS using the Grass plugin. I used the v.in.ogr tool in Grass. It allows you to bring DGN files in as lines, points and polys.


QGIS well supports dxf (and will support dwg in future versino as we hear). I usually use the free 'Teigha file converter' to convert my dwg files to dxf.


They also have a command-line tool that might be integrated into a QGIS plugin or sth.


if you want to convert files from microstation to autocad, you can directly convert files in microstation to dxf format. then just open dxf file in autocad.

  • I don't have microstation - that's the point.
    – DATAfiend
    Aug 30, 2012 at 15:33

DWG DGN converter can convert dgn to dwg easily, No AutoCAD or MicroStation required.


For what it's worth GvSIG is said to be able to "work with" DGNs and DWGs. See: http://www.osgeo.org/gvsig. Not tested here, I'm afraid.

  • I tried it and did work for me with a DGN v8 file.
    – fgregg
    Dec 25, 2017 at 19:07

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