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Software Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms

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A list of the best CAD software, programs, and applications both modern and historical. Information includes operating systems, the status of the program and primary features.

This list includes the best well-known computer-aided design software, from both the ubiquitous AutoCAD or a modern free 3D modeling program like SketchUp to the earliest CAD program, Sketchpad. There are even no longer supported but still beloved CAD programs like LEGO Digital Designer.

Across the history of computer-aided design software, from proprietary to freeware, which program is the best?

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Autocad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
AutoCAD Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Status: updates ongoing
Featuers: 2D and 3D architecture, drafting

AutoCAD is a commercial software application for 2D and 3D computer-aided design and drafting — available since 1982 as a desktop application and since 2010 as a mobile web- and cloud-based app ...more

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Autodesk Inventor is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Inventor by Autodesk Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 3D drafting

Autodesk Inventor, developed by U.S.-based software company Autodesk, is a computer-aided design application for creating 3D digital prototypes used in the design, visualization and simulation ...more

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SolidWorks is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
SolidWorks Proprietary software, Term

Operating system: Microsoft Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D/3D hybrid

SOLIDWORKS is solid modeling CAD software that runs on Microsoft Windows and has been produced by Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corp., a subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes, S. A. since ...more

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DraftSight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
DraftSight Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D design and drafting

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SketchUp is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
SketchUp Freeware, Proprietary software

SketchUp Make is free

Operating system: Windows, macOS X
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 3D modeling

SketchUp is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, civil and mechanical engineering, film, and video game design — and ...more

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LibreCAD is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
LibreCAD GPLv2

Free

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Unix-like
Status: last stable release was in 2016
Features: 2D drafting

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Vectorworks is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
VectorWorks Architect Proprietary software

Operating system: macOS, Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D/3D drafting, BIM

Vectorworks is a computer-aided design and Building Information Modeling software program developed by Nemetschek Vectorworks that is used for drafting, technical drawing and 3D modeling. ...more

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TurboCAD is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
TurboCAD Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows, macOS
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D design and drafting

TurboCAD is a CAD software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting which runs on Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

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IntelliCAD is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
IntelliCAD Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D AEC

IntelliCAD is a CAD-software programming toolkit and API published by the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium. IntelliCAD aims to emulate the basic interface and functions of AutoCAD. Unlike ...more

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ArchiCAD is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
ArchiCAD Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows, Mac OS X
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D drafting, building information visualization and modeling functions

ArchiCAD is an architectural BIM CAD software for Macintosh and Windows developed by the Hungarian company GRAPHISOFT. ArchiCAD offers computer aided solutions for handling all common aspects of ...more

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MicroStation is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
MicroStation Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D AEC

MicroStation is a CAD software product for two and three dimensional design and drafting, developed and sold by Bentley Systems. The latest versions of the software are released solely for ...more

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FreeCAD is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
FreeCAD LGPLv2+

Free

Operating system: Gnu/Linux, macOS, Unix, Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 3D modeling, drafting, BIM, FEM

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AutoTURN is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
AutoTURN Proprietary software

Operating system: Microsoft Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D analysis and simulation of vehicle turn simulation

AutoTURN is a third-party 2-dimensional CAD software released for the AutoCAD or MicroStation platforms, developed and sold by Transoft Solutions Inc. AutoTURN software can only be used on ...more

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QCad is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
QCad GNU General Public License

Free for non-commercial use

Operating system: Linux, macOS, Unix-like, Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D drafting

QCAD is a free computer-aided design software application for 2D design and drafting. It is available for Linux, Apple OS X, Unix and Microsoft Windows. The QCAD GUI is based on the Qt ...more

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gCAD3D is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
gCAD3D Freeware

Operating system: Linux/Windows
Status: last stable release was in 2013
Features: 3D draftin

gCAD3D is a 3D CAD CAM application that features an integrated 3D OpenGL viewer, a program interpreter for geometry and NC-commands in 3D, an integrated NC-processor, and a programming interface ...more

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AutoCAD Architecture is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
AutoCAD Architecture Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D drafting, specialized for architectural work

AutoCAD Architecture is a version of Autodesk's flagship product, AutoCAD, with tools and functions specially suited to architectural work. Architectural objects have a relationship to one ...more

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BRL-CAD is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
BRL-CAD BSD Licenses, GNU Lesser General Public License

Free

Operating system: Cross-platform
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 3D, CSG modeling, design and simulation for military vehicles

BRL-CAD is a constructive solid geometry solid modeling computer-aided design system. It includes an interactive geometry editor, ray tracing support for graphics rendering and geometric ...more

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cadwork is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
cadwork Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows, HP-UX
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D CAE, rendering

cadwork is a computer aided design software, created in 1980 by the CSEM, and followed in 1982 by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, before it came a Swiss ...more

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HighDesign is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
HighDesign Proprietary software

Operating system: Mac OS X
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D drafting, organization

HighDesign is a computer-aided design (CAD) solution for Mac OS X with a modern, intuitive interface to help you transform your visions into detailed projects. Used in architecture, engineering, ...more

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KiCad is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
KiCad GNU General Public License

Free to use

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D drafting, integrated schematic capture and PCB layout

KiCad is an open source software suite for electronic design automation. It facilitates the design of schematics for electronic circuits and their conversion to PCBs design. KiCad was developed ...more

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VariCAD is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
VariCAD Proprietary software

Operating system: Linux, Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D/3D parametric

VariCAD is a computer program for 3D/2D CAD and mechanical engineering which has been developed since 1988. VariCAD runs on Windows and Linux. It features many tools for 3D modeling and 2D ...more

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SolveSpace is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
SolveSpace GNU GPL 3+

Free

Operating system: Windows, Linux, macOS
Status: last stable release in 2016
Features: 2D/3D parametric

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NX is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Siemens NX Proprietary software

Operating system: macOS, Unix-like, Windows XP or later
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D design, analysis, aiding in manufacturing

NX, formerly known as NX Unigraphics or usually just U-G, is an advanced high-end CAD/CAM/CAE software package originally developed by Unigraphics, but since 2007 by Siemens PLM Software. It is ...more

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Open CASCADE Technology is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Open CASCADE Technology LGPL 2.1

Operating system: Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, macOS X, Android, iOS
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 3D drafting, engineering, aiding in manufacturing

Open Cascade Technology, formerly called CAS.CADE, is an open source software development platform for 3D CAD, CAM, CAE, etc. that is developed and supported by Open Cascade SAS.

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DESI-III is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
DESI-III Freeware

Operating system: Windows, in native DOS mode
Status: last stable release was in 2001
Features: 2D drafting

DESI-III is a freeware 2D CAD program running under the DOS operating system. It was written during 1980 - 2001 by Hugo Mariën. It has features needed for making two-dimensional technical ...more

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ProE is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
PTC Creo Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: Windows
Features: 2D/3D hybrid

PTC Creo, formerly known as Pro/ENGINEER is a parametric, integrated 3D CAD/CAM/CAE solution created by Parametric Technology Corporation. It was the first to market with parametric, ...more

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TeleCAD-GIS is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
TeleCAD-GIS Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: last stable release was in 2017
Features: 2D drafting, GIS

TeleCAD-GIS is a scalable, Autodesk-based, CAD/GIS solution for both national and regional telecommunications infrastructure networks planning, design, documenting and maintenance. It is ...more

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Pro/DESKTOP is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Pro/DESKTOP Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: last stable update was in 2008
Features: 2D and 3D drafting, photo-realistic views

Pro/DESKTOP formerly known as DesignWave, was a Computer-aided design program from Parametric Technology Corporation, that allowed users to design and model in 3D and create 2D drawings. It can ...more

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Lego Digital Designer is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
LEGO Digital Designer Freeware

Free to use

Operating system: macOS, Windows
Status: no longer supported, last stable update was in 2017
Features: LEGO-specific 3D drafting

LEGO Digital Designer, or LDD, is a free computer program produced by the LEGO Group as a part of LEGO Design byME. It is available for Mac and Windows platforms. The program allows users to ...more

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Constructor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Constructor Proprietary software

Operating system: Windows
Status: last stable release was in 2007
Features: 2D and 3D drafting, building information visualization and modeling functions, connection to scheduling applications

Constructor is an extended version of the CAD software ArchiCAD from Graphisoft. It includes construction related tools and extends Building information modeling capabilities of ArchiCAD so that ...more

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Archimedes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Archimedes GNU General Public License

Operating system: Linux, Windows, macOS, platforms suporting Java and OpenGL
Status: last stable release in 2012
Features: 2D and 3D drafting

Archimedes – "The Open CAD" – is a computer-aided design (CAD) program being developed with direct input from architects and architecture firms. With this design philosophy, the ...more

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AllyCAD is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
AllyCAD Proprietary software

Operating system: Microsoft Windows
Status:  last stable release was in 2007
Features: 2D and 3D drafting

AllyCAD is a CAD software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting, developed and sold by Knowledge Base. It is used primarily in Southern Africa and the UK in the Civil Engineering sector. ...more

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Autodesk Revit is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Autodesk Revit Proprietary software

Operating system: 64-bit Windows
Status: updates ongoing
Features: 2D and 3D building information modeling, AEC

Autodesk Revit is building information modeling software for architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, designers and contractors. It allows users to design a building and structure and ...more

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Sketchpad is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Sketchpad

Platform: Lincoln TX-2
Status: created in 1963, no updates
Features: 2D drafting

Sketchpad was a revolutionary computer program written by Ivan Sutherland in 1963 in the course of his PhD thesis, for which he received the Turing Award in 1988, and the Kyoto Prize in 2012. It ...more