CAD software defined
CAD, also known as computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is the use of computer technology in the process of design and design documentation. CAD software is a type of computer program that replaces tedious manual drafting with an automated process. If you work in the architecture, mechanical, or engineering fields you have probably worked with a 2D or 3D CAD software program. This software can help you explore design ideas, visualize concepts through animations and photorealistic renderings, and simulate how a design will perform in the real world. AutoCAD software was the first CAD program, and it is still the most widely used CAD application.
Learn more about CAD software by industry
CAD software program features
CAD software has different features depending on which design process you use. There are specific features for 2D vector-based graphics, and others for 3D modeling of solid surfaces. Most 3D CAD programs let you apply multiple light sources, rotate objects in three dimensions, and render designs from any angle.
Autodesk’s CAD software applications
A wide range of applications use CAD programs. For instance, CAD software from Autodesk has been used to design automobiles, ships, bicycles, and prosthetics as well as to create photo simulations, visual effects, and computer animation in leading films. To accommodate the needs of the building, civil engineering, manufacturing, and plant design industries, Autodesk offers a variety of CAD software, including the following:
Autodesk’s CAD software is available for PC and Mac-compatible formats, and is available as part of several product suites that support the needs of building design, product design, factory design, and more.
Educational CAD resources
Featured CAD software
AutoCAD for PC or Mac
Design and shape the world around you with AutoCAD software, one of the world’s leading 2D and 3D CAD tools. Develop site plans, refine concepts, sketch technical drawings, and share your ideas easily. Speed documentation and explore ideas more intuitively with 3D modeling, perspective views, lighting, rendering, and point cloud tools.
AutoCAD features | Compare | Compare PC vs. Mac| Free trial | Training videos
AutoCAD LT for PC or Mac
AutoCAD LT software for 2D drafting and detailing helps you edit, repurpose, and share drawings. With full DWG native file format compatibility, live maps, social collaboration tools, and an intelligent command line, your job just got easier. Our new user-friendly interface for PC and Mac makes it easy to get started.
AutoCAD LT features | Compare | Free trial | How to Buy
AutoCAD 360 is a web and mobile app that enables you to mark up drawings on-site, securely store in the cloud, collaborate in real time, and share DWG drawings in high resolution.
AutoCAD 360 features | Compare mobile plans | AutoCAD 360 web
Revit software is created specifically for Building Information Modeling (BIM), helping building professionals design, construct, and maintain higher-quality, more energy-efficient buildings.
Revit features | Free trial
Fusion 360 is the next-generation of 3D CAD programs. Design differently using a single tool that combines industrial and mechanical design with collaboration in one easy-to-use and affordable package. Access your designs almost anytime, anywhere from your Mac, PC, or mobile device.
Fusion 360 features | Free trial
Inventor software takes you beyond 3D to digital prototyping by enabling you to design, visualize, and simulate your products.
Inventor features | Compare | Free trial