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Top 5 Reasons to Choose AutoCAD®

Don’t waste time using knockoffs. No AutoCAD alternative comes close.

3D guitar rendering


Using AutoCAD will save you valuable design time

AutoCAD’s industry specific toolsets allow users to save time with built in workflows, hundreds of thousands of standard parts, and features to help you work more efficiently. Across seven different studies, the average productivity gain was about 63% for tasks completed using a specialized toolset included in AutoCAD.* With AutoCAD you can also work with the most cutting-edge, time-saving innovations, such as Drawing History, Xref Compare, Quick Measure, and more.

two people working on CAD drawing on computer in an office


Automate more processes than any alternative CAD software

AutoCAD’s robust library of APIs and LISP functionality allow you to automate tedious, time-consuming tasks. You can develop your own apps or choose from thousands already available in the Autodesk App Store to benefit your team. No alternative CAD software has as many options to improve your team’s workflows. With AutoCAD’s specialized toolsets, you can automate common actions, automatically populate project information with their parts, and use a rules-driven workflow to accurately enforce industry standards, allowing you to focus on your designs rather than organizing or assigning properties to parts.

modern building design


AutoCAD provides best-in-class data fidelity and compatibility for DWGs

The .dwg file format was created for AutoCAD by Autodesk and provides the best, most efficient and accurate way to view and edit DWGs versus any CAD alternative. Avoid the hassle of dealing with file conversions and formats not being recognized when working with clients and vendors. You can trust AutoCAD to provide market-leading data fidelity and compatibility for DWGs across all platforms and other Autodesk programs.

Image courtesy of Anton Grassl Photography

woman looking at CAD drawing on tablet


Make CAD updates on the go with AutoCAD web and mobile apps

Reduce delays in communication and avoid unnecessary trips to the office with AutoCAD’s integrated experience of apps (desktop, web, mobile) that work seamlessly across platforms. Alternative CAD software programs only allow you to share or annotate drawings with their collaboration features. Only AutoCAD allows you a full range of capabilities such as editing, viewing, and creating new CAD drawings in a web browser on any computer or on any mobile device.

students in classroom learning AutoCAD software


Save time training your future hires with AutoCAD

AutoCAD is what students learn and know, so you can save time training your future hires. Alternative CAD programs use different terminology and require users to spend more time to learn new workflows. Choosing AutoCAD will enable your new employees to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Our best-selling CAD software

With an AutoCAD subscription, you not only lower your upfront costs of owning the software, you also get an incredible value for robust, reliable, proven software that is continuously improving. Subscriptions are flexible and cost-effective with monthly and annual options.

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


$1,690 / year

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


$420 / year

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View, create, edit, and share DWG™ files on the go from your mobile device. Free version also available, included with AutoCAD products.

Platform: Mobile app
Starting at

$55 / year

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Which AutoCAD subscription is right for you?

Buy AutoCAD LT if:

  • your focus is editing drawings.
  • your focus is to collaborate or review drawings with drafting teams.

Buy AutoCAD if:

  • you want to save time or improve productivity even if you work with 2D only.
  • you want to standardize plot styles and practices to meet with company standards.
  • you need to edit scanned drawings and convert raster images to DWG™ objects.
  • you present to your client with 3D visualization.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Find answers to frequently asked questions about CAD software.

  • What is the difference between CAD and AutoCAD?

    Computer-aided design (CAD) is technology for design and technical documentation, which replaces manual drafting with an automated process. AutoCAD is the original CAD software used by millions around the world. It can be used to create precise 2D and 3D drawings and models, as well as electrical diagrams, construction drawings, and more.

  • Does AutoCAD support both 2D and 3D design?

    With AutoCAD you can draft, annotate, and design 2D geometry and 3D models with solids, surfaces, and mesh objects.

  • What CAD software do most engineers use?

    AutoCAD is a popular CAD software used by engineers because it is the most reliable and includes industry specific toolsets helpful for designing motor components, engines, and complete devices. AutoCAD includes over 750,000 intelligent objects and parts with industry libraries for mechanical design, electrical design, MEP design, and more.

  • What CAD software do most architects use?

    AutoCAD is a popular CAD software for architects because it is the most widely taught software in architecture school, and allows architects to automate more processes than any other software on the market. The Architecture toolset in AutoCAD provides a huge library of thousands of predefined building objects and features for architectural drawing, documentation, and schedules, and for automating drafting tasks.

  • Does AutoCAD run on a Mac?

    AutoCAD is available on both Mac and Windows if you are on an AutoCAD subscription. AutoCAD for Mac has the most popular features of the Windows version but offers a look and feel that is familiar to Mac users and a feature set most appropriate for the OS X environment.

    Tour the AutoCAD for MAC UI

  • Is there a free alternative to AutoCAD?

    There are CAD clones who offer limited features and functionality; however, no AutoCAD alternative comes close. AutoCAD offers free trials and student software that enable customers to see why it is the best choice.

  • How much does an AutoCAD subscription cost?

    The price of an annual AutoCAD subscription is $1,690 and the price of a monthly AutoCAD subscription is $1,690. The price of a 3-year AutoCAD subscription is $1,690 (Best Value).

* Productivity data based on a series of studies commissioned by Autodesk to an outside consultant. The seven toolset studies compared basic AutoCAD to the specialized toolsets within AutoCAD when performing tasks commonly done by experienced AutoCAD users. Overall productivity gain calculation is based on adding the completion times of specific tasks in the toolset and in basic AutoCAD and then calculating the percent difference between the two totals across seven studies. As with all performance tests, results may vary based on machine, operating system, filters, and even source material. While every effort has been made to make the tests as fair and objective as possible, your results may differ. Product information and specifications are subject to change without notice. Autodesk provides this information “as is”, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied.
Monthly and daily cost is calculated using Autodesk SRP in the United States based on annual subscription purchase. Annual subscriptions are available directly from Autodesk or through Autodesk authorized resellers, and may not be available through all resellers or in all countries. Autodesk Authorized Resellers are independent resellers and free to set their own prices. Reseller prices may vary. See additional legal disclosures. Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, AutoCAD and DWG are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.