AutoCAD Read Only Error: What’s the Problem?

As a computer person that likes to constantly tinker and modify things I find myself running into error boxes and warnings more than the average user. When it comes to AutoCAD though there is one error message I’m sure most of you have run in to during your drafting career, the Read Only error message is as common as they come.

It can be frustrating when you run into any warning pop up while trying to get a job done especially when you are under pressure or a deadline. The ROE (read only error) is a particularly pesky one since it will stop you from saving your work over the original file, I’m sure you can understand why this could be very annoying!


What causes the Read Only Drawing File Message?

There are a few common causes for the ROE:

1. The first is simply having the same drawing open already on your computer or on another co-workers computer on the network.

AutoCAD can tell because an open drawing will place a .dwl file in the same folder as the drawing. You can check to see if this is your problem by looking in the working folder and looking for yourdrawing.dwl If it is there you just need to find the open drawing and save and close it. you should be able to save yours now after restarting, sometimes even without restarting.

2. The next possible cause is when your .dwl file wasn’t removed by autocad when you or another user closed the drawing. This happens sometimes if a drawing closes unexpectedly or is saved on a server.

To fix this one you can almost always just delete the old .dwl and your problem should be solved, in the rare occurences that it doesn’t help I will typically just save the drawing under a modified name.

3. Other times I have run in to the ROE when opening or working on a .dwg or .dxf drawing that was sent to me in an email. If you are in the habit of double clicking and opening a drawing you have been sent directly from an email you will likely be greeted by the read only message.

This is because you are unable to save this drawing to its current location (because it is still in an email) to remedy this problem simply right-click and “save as” your drawing file to your local machine or to your working server. This will allow you to now open that drawing without a read only message.

While these are just a few of the most common occurences I’ve run into lately I hope I have been able to help you with your problem. If not please feel free to leave a comment and let me know if I’ve missed anything or let me know of an issue you’ve run in to and how you fixed it:)

Be sure to check out my last post to learn how I’ve become more productive in life and to download an autocad cheat sheet

Thank you as always for reading and happy drafting!



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Brandon is a Civil Designer, Aspiring Blogger/Creator, Husband, Father to two Amazing Kids and Tech Aficionado from a small town in Canada. He has been obsessed with design and technology since he can remember and working as a Civil Designer for nearly as long. Brandon’s blog and Youtube channel, has been his outlet and excuse for keeping up with new tech and trends in the CAD design world for the last 10 years growing to more than 60,000 subscribers and over 15,000,000 views, while also being the source of many great friendships and unique opportunities. If you would like to Sponsor CAD Intentions or Work together in some way, Please visit my About Page and send me an email: