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What is CAD software?

CAD, or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation. CAD software replaces manual drafting with an automated process.

If you work in the architecture, MEP, or structural engineering fields, you’ve probably used 2D or 3D CAD programs. These programs can help you explore design ideas, visualize concepts through 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.

CAD software features

CAD programs have different features depending on whether your design process involves 2D vector-based graphics or 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 programs

Our customers use Autodesk CAD software to design cars, ships, bicycles, prosthetics, and much more. Our CAD programs are available for Windows; many are also available in Mac-compatible formats. CAD software is also included in Autodesk product suites for building design, product design, factory design, and more.

AutoCAD LT annual pay
as you go

  • Professional design software
  • Annual Desktop Subscription
  • Best value at an affordable price
AutoCAD for PC or Mac
Design every detail with AutoCAD software, one of the world’s leading 2D and 3D design platforms.
Download free trial
AutoCAD LT for PC or Mac
Edit, repurpose, and share drawings with AutoCAD LT software for 2D drafting and detailing.
Download free trial
AutoCAD 360
The free AutoCAD 360 app lets you redline drawings on-site, store files in the cloud, collaborate in real time, and share DWG™ files.
Design, construct, and maintain higher-quality, more energy-efficient buildings with Revit software, built specifically for BIM.
Download free trial
Fusion 360
Fusion 360 combines industrial and mechanical design with collaboration in an easy-to-use, affordable 3D CAD tool.
Try it now
Design, visualize, and simulate your products before they are built with Inventor software.
Download free trial
AutoCAD Civil 3D
AutoCAD Civil 3D software is a civil engineering design and documentation solution that supports Building Information Modeling workflows.
Download free trial
Use InfraWorks software to generate 3D models to create infrastructure designs and proposals in the context of the built environment.
Download free trial

AutoCAD for industries

To accommodate the needs of the building, civil engineering, manufacturing, and plant design industries, Autodesk CAD software includes:

Learn more about CAD software by industry