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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?

list ordered by

1
19 7
Autocad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

2
11 4
Autodesk Inventor is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

3
4 1
LibreCAD is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
GPLv2

Free

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

4
3 0
IntelliCAD is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

5
9 7
SolidWorks is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

6
6 4
SketchUp is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

7
5 3
DraftSight is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Proprietary software

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

8
4 2
FreeCAD is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
LGPLv2+

Free

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

9
3 1
MicroStation is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

10
3 1
Vectorworks is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

11
3 1
ArchiCAD is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

12
2 0
TurboCAD is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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.

13
1 0
VariCAD is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

14
1 0
gCAD3D is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

15
1 0
AllyCAD is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

16
1 0
QCad is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

17
1 0
AutoTURN is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

18
1 0
NX is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

19
2 2
AutoCAD Architecture is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

20
1 1
cadwork is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

21
1 1
BRL-CAD is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

22
1 1
KiCad is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

23
1 1
HighDesign is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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

24
1 1
Sketchpad is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms

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

25
0 0
Constructor is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
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