What Is a CDR File?

How to open, edit, & convert CDR files

What to Know

  • Some CDR files are CorelDRAW images.
  • Open one with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, or for free with Inkscape.
  • Convert to PDF, AI, SVG, JPG, EPS, etc. with Zamzar.

This article explains several file formats that use the CDR file extension, including how to open each kind and what your options are for converting your file to a different format.

What Is a CDR File?

A file with the .CDR file extension is most likely a vector image created by CorelDRAW to hold text, images, effects, shapes, etc., usually for the purpose of creating letters, envelopes, web pages, banners, and other documents.

Other files with this extension could be Macintosh DVD/CD Main files that hold folders and files in a single archive for the purpose of burning data to a disc, much like the ISO format you might be familiar within Windows.

The Raw Audio CD Data format uses the .CDR file extension, too. These are ripped/copied music files taken from a CD.

Yet another use for this extension is as Crash Data Retrieval Data files. These are generated from sensors installed in vehicles that are using a Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) device.

CDR Files

CDR is also short for a number of technology terms that have nothing to do with these file formats, like clock divider register and committed data rate.

How to Open a CDR File

Since there are multiple file formats that utilize this file extension, you have to first understand which format your file is in before you can know which program to use to open it.

If you know it's an image of some sort, chances are it's associated with CorelDRAW. The same is true for the other three; if you're on a Mac, consider your file a DVD/CD Main file, or a Raw Audio CD Data file if you suspect that it's music. Files taken from a Crash Data Retrieval device are in that format.

Open CorelDRAW Image CDR Files

CDR is the main file format used with CorelDRAW software. They can be saved as templates if the same document layout needs to be used again, which is where the CDT format comes from. They may also be compressed and saved as CDX files.

Some free programs that can open these images include Inkscape and CDR Viewer.

Here are some non-free options:

Open Macintosh DVD/CD Main CDR Files

These files are made with the built-in Disk Utility tool in macOS.

  • Apple's Disk Utility or DiskImageMounter tool on a Mac are your best bets.
  • Another option is HFSExplorer, which opens CDR files in Windows, Mac, and Linux. This program also supports similar file formats like DMG, ISO, IMG, SPARSEIMAGE, and SPARSEBUNDLE.

Open Raw Audio CD Data Files

These CDR files are similar to WAV and AIF files. Some programs save ripped music files to this format.

Open Crash Data Retrieval Data Files

These files are used with the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval System software.

Given all the different uses for CDR files, there's a chance yours is opening in a different program that you don't want to use the file with. If you're on Windows, here's how to change the default program that's used to open CDR files.

How to Convert a CDR File

CorelDRAW Image files in the CDR format can be converted to AI, PDF, JPG, EPS, TIFF, and other similar formats with Zamzar, a free online file converter. Just upload your file to that website and then choose one of the supported formats to save the CDR file to.

Although the formatting may not match up well, you can use a CDR file in Photoshop by converting it to PSD with Convertio. That website lets you save the CDR file to a number of other file formats as well.

Convert CDR to ISO in macOS using this command-line command, replacing the path and file names with your own:

hdiutil convert /path/originalimage.cdr -format UDTO -o /path/convertedimage.iso

The ISO file can then be converted to DMG if you ultimately want to have the file be a DMG image.

Saving a CDR file to a disc can be accomplished using the ImgBurn program mentioned above. Choose the Write image file to a disc option and then select the file as the Source.

If a Crash Data Retrieval Data file can be saved to any other formats, it's most likely done with the software from above that can open it. Look for a File > Save as or Convert/Export menu.

Still Can't Open It?

If you can't open your file with the programs mentioned here, check that you're reading the file extension correctly. You might actually be dealing with a CBR, CDA (CD Audio Track Shortcut), or CDDA file.

  • How do you create a CDR file from a JPG?

    In CorelDRAW, open the JPG, trace the image using the PowerTRACE tool, and then save it as a CDR file. You can also convert a JPG to CDR format using other programs, such as LibreOffice Draw.

  • How do you convert an AI file to CDR?

    In CorelDRAW, create a new document and go to File > Import to select the AI file. Select where you want the image, drag to position it on the canvas, and save the document as a CDR file.

Was this page helpful?