The Initial Graphics Exchange Specification ( IGES) defines a neutral, vendor-independent data format that serves the digital exchange of information between computer-aided design programs (CAD). The application ranges from traditional, two-dimensional drawings to three-dimensional models for simulations or manufacturing.

The data is stored in each unit, the so-called entities. These may be arranged in an arbitrary hierarchy. The primitives of a drawing or a model ( such as lines, curves, surfaces ) are represented by different entity types. Since the IGES specification version 5 also bodies are provided. That is, a closed surface association has additionally the information " inside" and " outside".

According to the specification, the information text-based (ASCII ) and are stored as binary as in STEP. The latter format is not officially supported anymore. This means that the memory required for an IGES file can easily be several megabytes. The generally accepted file extension for IGES files. Igs.


IGES was developed by the U.S. Product Data Association, a trade association for the industry.

The current version 5.3 of the ANSI standard in 1996. The development activities of IGES / PDES Organization ( IPO) resulted in version 6, which was renamed as the published version 5x to 2006.

German automotive industry

The Association of the Automotive Industry has defined the purpose of easier implementation different subsets of IGES standards and published together with other requirements under the designation VDA -IS:

Meanwhile, in the most commonly used in the automotive industry CAD / CAM and FEM systems, the IGES interfaces have been implemented with the full functionality. Therefore VDA -IS has lost its original meaning in the data exchange.