Commercial computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting software application
|Initial release||December 1982; 37 years ago (1982-12)|
2021 / March 25, 2020; 5 months ago (2020-03-25)
|Operating system||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
|Available in||14 languages|
AutoCAD is a commercialcomputer-aided design (CAD) and drafting software application. Developed and marketed by Autodesk, AutoCAD was first released in December 1982 as a desktop app running on microcomputers with internal graphics controllers. Before AutoCAD was introduced, most commercial CAD programs ran on mainframe computers or minicomputers, with each CAD operator (user) working at a separate graphics terminal. Since 2010, AutoCAD was released as a mobile- and web app as well, marketed as AutoCAD 360.
AutoCAD is used in industry, by architects, project managers, engineers, graphic designers, city planners and other professionals. It was supported by 750 training centers worldwide in 1994.
AutoCAD was derived from a program that began in 1977, and then released in 1979 called Interact CAD, also referred to in early Autodesk documents as MicroCAD, which was written prior to Autodesk's (then Marinchip Software Partners) formation by Autodesk cofounder Michael Riddle.
The first version by Autodesk was demonstrated at the 1982 Comdex and released that December. AutoCAD supported CP/M-80 computers. As Autodesk's flagship product, by March 1986 AutoCAD had become the most ubiquitous CAD program worldwide. The 2020 release marked the 34th major release of AutoCAD for Windows. The 2019 release marked the ninth consecutive year of AutoCAD for Mac. The native file format of AutoCAD is .dwg. This and, to a lesser extent, its interchange file format DXF, have become de facto, if proprietary, standards for CAD data interoperability, particularly for 2D drawing exchange. AutoCAD has included support for .dwf, a format developed and promoted by Autodesk, for publishing CAD data.
Compatibility with other software
ESRI ArcMap 10 permits export as AutoCAD drawing files. Civil 3D permits export as AutoCAD objects and as LandXML. Third-party file converters exist for specific formats such as Bentley MX GENIO Extension, PISTE Extension (France), ISYBAU (Germany), OKSTRA and Microdrainage (UK); also, conversion of .pdf files is feasible, however, the accuracy of the results may be unpredictable or distorted. For example, jagged edges may appear. Several vendors provide online conversions for free such as Cometdocs.
Auto CAD and AutoCAD LT are available for English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Polish and Hungarian (also through additional language packs). The extent of localization varies from full translation of the product to documentation only. The AutoCAD command set is localized as a part of the software localization.
AutoCAD supports a number of APIs for customization and automation. These include AutoLISP, Visual LISP, VBA, .NET and ObjectARX. ObjectARX is a C++ class library, which was also the base for:
- products extending AutoCAD functionality to specific fields
- creating products such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D
- third-party AutoCAD-based application
There are a large number of AutoCAD plugins (add-on applications) available on the application store Autodesk Exchange Apps. AutoCAD's DXF, drawing exchange format, allows importing and exporting drawing information.
Autodesk has also developed a few vertical programs for discipline-specific enhancements such as:
- AutoCAD Advance Steel
- AutoCAD Architecture
- AutoCAD Electrical
- AutoCAD ecscad
- AutoCAD Map 3D
- AutoCAD Mech
- AutoCAD MEP
- AutoCAD Structural Detailing
- AutoCAD Utility Design
- AutoCAD P&ID
- AutoCAD Plant 3D
- Autodesk Civil 3D
Since AutoCAD 2019 several verticals are included with AutoCAD subscription as Industry-Specific Toolset.
For example, AutoCAD Architecture (formerly Architectural Desktop) permits architectural designers to draw 3D objects, such as walls, doors, and windows, with more intelligent data associated with them rather than simple objects, such as lines and circles. The data can be programmed to represent specific architectural products sold in the construction industry, or extracted into a data file for pricing, materials estimation, and other values related to the objects represented.
Additional tools generate standard 2D drawings, such as elevations and sections, from a 3D architectural model. Similarly, Civil Design, Civil Design 3D, and Civil Design Professional support data-specific objects facilitating easy standard civil engineering calculations and representations.
Softdesk Civil was developed as an AutoCAD add-on by a company in New Hampshire called Softdesk (originally DCA). Softdesk was acquired by Autodesk, and Civil became Land Development Desktop (LDD), later renamed Land Desktop. Civil 3D was later developed and Land Desktop was retired.
AutoCAD LT is the lower-cost version of AutoCAD, with reduced capabilities, first released in November 1993. Autodesk developed AutoCAD LT to have an entry-level CAD package to compete in the lower price level. Priced at $495, it became the first AutoCAD product priced below $1000. It was sold directly by Autodesk and in computer stores unlike the full version of AutoCAD, which must be purchased from official Autodesk dealers. AutoCAD LT 2015 introduced Desktop Subscription from $360 per year; as of 2018, three subscription plans were available, from $50 a month to a 3-year, $1170 license.
While there are hundreds of small differences between the full AutoCAD package and AutoCAD LT, there are a few recognized major differences in the software's features:
- 3D Capabilities: AutoCAD LT lacks the ability to create, visualize and render 3D models as well as 3D printing.
- Network Licensing: AutoCAD LT cannot be used on multiple machines over a network.
- Customization: AutoCAD LT does not support customization with LISP, ARX, .NET and VBA.
- Management and automation capabilities with Sheet Set Manager and Action Recorder.
- CAD standards management tools.
AutoCAD 360 (formerly AutoCAD WS) is an account-based mobile and web application enabling registered users to view, edit, and share AutoCAD files via mobile device and web using a limited AutoCAD feature set — and using cloud-stored drawing files. The program, which is an evolution and combination of previous products, uses a freemium business model with a free plan and two paid levels — marketed as Pro ($4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly) and Pro Plus ($99.99 yearly) — including various amounts of storage, tools, and online access to drawings. 360 includes new features such as a "Smart Pen" mode and linking to third-party cloud-based storage such as Dropbox. Having evolved from Flash-based software, AutoCAD 360 uses HTML5 browser technology available in newer browsers including Firefox and Google Chrome.
AutoCAD WS began with a version for the iPhone and subsequently expanded to include versions for the iPod Touch, iPad, Android phones, and Android tablets. Autodesk released the iOS version in September 2010, following with the Android version on April 20, 2011. The program is available via download at no cost from the App Store (iOS), Google Play (Android) and Amazon Appstore (Android).
In its initial iOS version, AutoCAD WS supported drawing of lines, circles, and other shapes; creation of text and comment boxes; and management of color, layer, and measurements — in both landscape and portrait modes. Version 1.3, released August 17, 2011, added support for unit typing, layer visibility, area measurement and file management. The Android variant includes the iOS feature set along with such unique features as the ability to insert text or captions by voice command as well as manually. Both Android and iOS versions allow the user to save files on-line — or off-line in the absence of an Internet connection.
In 2011, Autodesk announced plans to migrate the majority of its software to "the cloud", starting with the AutoCAD WS mobile application.
According to a 2013 interview with Ilai Rotbaein, an AutoCAD WS Product Manager for Autodesk, the name AutoCAD WS had no definitive meaning, and was interpreted variously as Autodesk Web Service, White Sheet or Work Space. In 2013, AutoCAD WS was renamed to AutoCAD 360.
AutoCAD is licensed, for free, to students, educators, and educational institutions, with a 12-month renewable license available. Licenses acquired before march 25th 2020 were a 36-month license, with its last renovation on march 24th 2020. The student version of AutoCAD is functionally identical to the full commercial version, with one exception: DWG files created or edited by a student version have an internal bit-flag set (the "educational flag"). When such a DWG file is printed by any version of AutoCAD (commercial or student) older than AutoCAD 2014 SP1 or AutoCAD 2019 and newer, the output includes a plot stamp/banner on all four sides. Objects created in the Student Version cannot be used for commercial use. Student Version objects "infect" a commercial version DWG file if they are imported in versions older than AutoCAD 2015 or newer than AutoCAD 2018.
An architectural detail drafted in AutoCAD (Windows)
AutoCAD is a software package created for Windows and usually, any new AutoCAD version supports the current Windows version and some older ones. AutoCAD 2016 to 2020 support Windows 7 up to Windows 10.
Autodesk stopped supporting Apple's Macintosh computers in 1994. Over the next several years, no compatible versions for the Mac were released. In 2010 Autodesk announced that it would once again support Apple's Mac OS X software in the future. Most of the features found in the 2012 Windows version can be found in the 2012 Mac version. The main difference is the user interface and layout of the program. The interface is designed so that users who are already familiar with Apple's macOS software will find it similar to other Mac applications. Autodesk has also built-in various features in order to take full advantage of Apple's Trackpad capabilities as well as the full-screen mode in Apple's OS X Lion. AutoCAD 2012 for Mac supports both the editing and saving of files in DWG formatting that will allow the file to be compatible with other platforms besides the OS X. AutoCAD 2019 for Mac requires Apple OS X v10.11 (El Capitan) or later.
AutoCAD LT 2013 was available through the Mac App Store for $899.99. The full-featured version of AutoCAD 2013 for Mac, however, wasn't available through the Mac App Store due to the price limit of $999 set by Apple. AutoCAD 2014 for Mac was available for purchase from Autodesk's Web site for $4,195 and AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac for $1,200, or from an Autodesk Authorized Reseller. The latest version available for Mac is AutoCAD 2019 as of December 2018. As of 2019, no AutoCAD release is listed for purchase on the Mac App Store.
- ^ ab"Autodesk, Inc". FundingUniverse. Lendio. 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- ^"Chapter 8 : Autodesk and AutoCAD"(PDF). Cadhistory.net. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- ^"Chapter 2 : A Brief Overview of the History of CAD"(PDF). Cadhistory.net. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- ^Riddle, Michael. "About". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- ^"The Fascinating Story of How Autodesk Came to be (Part 1)". 2012-01-07.
- ^"Michael Riddle's Thoughts » About".
- ^"Mike Riddle's Prehistoric AutoCAD".
- ^Walker, John (1 May 1982). "Information letter #5". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- ^Yare, Evan (17 Feb 2012). "AutoCAD's Ancestor". 3D CAD World. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- ^One Company's CAD Success Story, InfoWorld, 3 December 1984, retrieved 19 July 2014
- ^"Part 2 CAD/CAM/CAE", 25 Year retrospective, Computer Graphics World, 2011, retrieved 29 March 2012
- ^Björk, Bo-Christer; Laakso, Mikael (2010-07-01). "CAD standardisation in the construction industry — A process view". Automation in Construction. Building information modeling and interoperability. 19 (4): 398–406. doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2009.11.010. ISSN 0926-5805.
- ^"AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 Drawing Compatibility"(PDF). AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 User's Guide. Autodesk. April 2010. pp. 141–142. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- ^"AutoCAD 2020 Language Packs | AutoCAD | Autodesk Knowledge Network". knowledge.autodesk.com. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
- ^"AutoCAD Exchange Apps". Autodesk. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- ^"Questions and Answers"(PDF). Images.autodesk.com. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- ^ abAutodesk. "AutoCAD WS". iTunes Preview. Apple. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- ^ abcOzler, Levent. "AutoCAD for Mac and AutoCAD WS application for iPad and iPhone". Dexigner. Dexigner. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- ^ abcOzler, Levent. "AutoCAD for Mac 2012: Built for Mac OS X Lion". Dexigner. Dexigner. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- ^ abcOzler, Levent. "AutoCAD WS for Android". Dexigner. Dexigner. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- ^Thomson, Iain. "Autodesk Shifts Design Apps to the Cloud". The A Register. The A Register. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- ^"AutoCAD WS: Moving Forward". Augi Autodesk Users Group International, January 29th, 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- ^Shaan Hurley (21 May 2013). "AutoCAD WS is now AutoCAD 360". Between the Lines. Autodesk.
- ^"Term length for Educational Licenses | Search | Autodesk Knowledge Network". knowledge.autodesk.com. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
- ^"Overview of Plotting". Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- ^"System requirements for AutoCAD 2016 | AutoCAD | Autodesk Knowledge Network". Knowledge.autodesk.com. 2015-12-16. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- ^ abClark, Don (16 August 2011). "Autodesk Adopts Apple App Store for Mac Software". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
|Wikibooks has more on the topic of: AutoCAD|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to AutoCAD.|