Computer aided design

CAD software

Learn about the benefits of using CAD software to create your next design.

AutoCAD 3d rendering of building

What is CAD software?

CAD, or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is technology for design and technical documentation, which replaces manual drafting with an automated process. If you’re a designer, drafter, architect, or engineer, you’ve probably used 2D or 3D CAD programs such as AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT software. These widely used software programs can help you draft construction documentation, explore design ideas, visualize concepts through photorealistic renderings, and simulate how a design performs in the real world.

Our best-selling CAD software

Software for 2D and 3D CAD. Subscription includes AutoCAD, specialized toolsets, and apps.

Cost-effective 2D CAD software for drafting, drawing, and documentation

Our top CAD software for industrial and product design

Professional-grade product design and engineering tools for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization, and documentation.

Cloud-based 3D CAD/CAM/CAE software for product design

Get Inventor + AutoCAD + Fusion 360 + more—Professional-grade tools for product development and manufacturing planning

Automate and simplify the creation of complex 3D designs

Our top CAD software for architecture and construction

Plan, design, construct, and manage buildings with powerful tools for Building Information Modeling.

Civil engineering design and construction documentation

Powerful BIM and CAD tools for designers, engineers, and contractors, including Revit, AutoCAD, Civil 3D and more

Which professions use CAD software?

Autodesk 2D and 3D CAD software is used by engineering disciplines across all industries. Explore how various professionals use computer-aided design (CAD) tools to improve processes—from concept to handover.

Two architects viewing digital tablet at construction site


Design and draft with CAD tools developed specifically for architects. Take your ideas from conceptual design to construction documentation within a single software environment.


BIM rendering of building

Building engineers

BIM processes help structural engineers, detailers, and fabricators improve structural documentation, minimize errors, and streamline collaboration across teams to accelerate fabrication.

Engineer at a rail construction site

Civil engineers

BIM for enhanced civil engineering design and construction documentation. Use intelligent, connected workflows to help enhance predictability, productivity, and your bottom line.

Workers viewing a digital tablet at a construction site

Construction professionals

Digitize your construction site and connect project information from design to construction and handover.

Developer working with Autodesk Inventor Professional and AutoCAD Mechanical software

Mechanical engineers

Professional-grade design, simulation, and manufacturing solutions help mechanical engineers improve workflows, performance, and collaboration. 


Electrical engineer looking at blueprint

Electrical engineers

Design and document electrical control systems with CAD tools created for electrical engineers. Automate common design tasks and facilitate drafting productivity.

Robotic arms on an automated assembly line in an automotive plant.


Efficiently machine, inspect, and fabricate quality parts, and reduce time to market.

Rendering of a concept car

Car designers

Conceptualize, design, and render automotive designs using Class-A surfacing and professional rendering technology.

How to choose CAD software

Browse resources for choosing the CAD (computer-aided design) solution that satisfies your needs.


Autodesk software has compatible workflows between CAD products.

Learning support

Autodesk offers tutorials, training materials, and the support of an engaged online community as you learn the software.

Compare CAD software

Compare our AutoCAD products to help you choose the best software for your needs.

How is CAD software used?

Stage and performance at Rolling Loud

Mountain Productions

Staging and rigging company sets new stage during pandemic

In the face of COVID-19, a staging and rigging company finds new opportunities to keep its business open and, most importantly, help to save lives. With all previous designs in AutoCAD, they were able to modify structures within 48 hours for delivery to the medical field.

Image courtesy of Mountain Productions.

Building exterior of Marriott International’s Moxy hotel

Wise Labo

Moxy hotel blends fun and interior design with AutoCAD LT

Discover how Tokyo-based Wise Labo uses inspiration and AutoCAD LT for the design of Marriott International’s Moxy hotel in Osaka, Japan. Mitsuru (Mitch) Sakairi blended high design with a brand experience based on fun.

Image courtesy of Marriott International, Inc./Moxy Hotels.

Tyler Mantel, President, The Ventilator Project

The Ventilator Project

Global volunteers collaborate to solve ventilator shortage

When Tyler Mantel’s company was put on hold due to the COVID-19, he decided to launch The Ventilator Project to help solve the nation’s ventilator shortage. The teams used Fusion 360 and other tools for design and collaboration.

Image courtesy of The Ventilator Project.

Two men using Fusion 360

CAD in the cloud: Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is the first 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool of its kind. It connects your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac and PC.

Two people using AutoCAD on a mobile environment

Online CAD with AutoCAD Web

Create and edit designs efficiently with AutoCAD Web — from anywhere. Enhance efficiency and access CAD tools by just signing into any computer or mobile device. Create and save drawings in the cloud and access them later on a variety of platforms and devices with just a simple login.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on CAD software

Why is CAD software better than drawing by hand?

CAD software allows the user to include precise dimensions in their drawings. When designing in CAD, it is also much more efficient to make updates to a drawing and it streamlines the file sharing process.

What are the advantages of CAD software?

CAD software like AutoCAD provides many advantages including:

  • Increased accuracy for drawing precise dimensions
  • Automating common processes
  • Access to libraries of routinely used items such as doors, windows, and manufacturing parts
  • Ability to quickly adjust parts of a drawing without needing to start over
  • Managing complex designs details all within one file
  • Creating blocks for frequently drawn items
  • Increased collaboration with colleagues through the ability to share and mark the same file

Who uses CAD software?

CAD software is used by many different professions including architects, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, interior designers, civil engineers, landscape architects, industrial designers, P&ID designers, plant engineers, piping designers, MEP engineers, surveyors, urban planners, and GIS specialists.

Are there any discounts for students/educators for Autodesk's CAD software?

Yes, students and educators can get free one-year educational access to Autodesk products and services, renewable as long as they remain eligible. Learn more.

What cloud collaboration/remote features are included in Autodesk's CAD software?

Every subscription to AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT includes free access to the AutoCAD web and mobile apps. These tools allow you to work remotely and collaborate with colleagues. In addition, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT offer connected workflows through leading cloud storage providers including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. These cloud storage integrations are two ways, which allow users to not only save but also preview and open files online.

Does Autodesk offer any CAD certifications?

Yes, Autodesk offers CAD certifications for products including AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Inventor, and Revit. For a full list of products available for certification and details on certification, visit Autodesk Certification.

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