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CAD software

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.

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.

Rendering courtesy of Prensa Jundiai, Brazil

CAD software by Autodesk

Autodesk customers use CAD software to design cars, ships, bicycles, prosthetics, and much more. Our software is available for Windows, and 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.

Featured CAD software

Free software for students & educators

We offer free Autodesk software for students and educators. Use the same 3D mechanical engineering and design software as the top professionals from around the world.

Free software for nonprofits

Are you a nonprofit or entrepreneur working to create positive impact through design? Learn more about our Technology Impact Program and see if you qualify for free mechanical design and enginneering software.

AutoCAD for industries

To accommodate the needs of the building, civil engineering, manufacturing, and plant design industries, Autodesk provides the following versions of AutoCAD tailored to each industry:

Learn about additional solutions from Autodesk