AutoCAD DXF (Drawing Interchange Format, or Drawing Exchange Format) is a CAD data file format developed by Autodesk for enabling data interoperability between AutoCAD and other programs.
DXF was originally introduced in December 1982 as part of AutoCAD 1.0, and was intended to provide an exact representation of the data in the AutoCAD native file format, DWG (Drawing), for which Autodesk for many years did not publish specifications. Because of this, correct imports of DXF files have been difficult. Autodesk now publishes the DXF specifications, http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=8446698 on its website for versions of DXF dating from AutoCAD Release 13 to AutoCAD 2009. Versions of AutoCAD from Release 10 (October 1988) and up support both ASCII and binary forms of DXF. Earlier versions support only ASCII.
As AutoCAD has become more powerful, supporting more complex object types, DXF has become less useful. Certain object types, including ACIS solids and regions, are not documented. Other object types, including AutoCAD 2006's dynamic blocks, and all of the objects specific to the vertical-market versions of AutoCAD, are partially documented, but not well enough to allow other developers to support them. For these reasons many CAD applications use the DWG format which can be licensed from AutoDesk or non-natively from the Open Design Alliance.