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Software

Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms

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Updated September 10, 2018 365 votes 157 voters 64.5k views

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
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

2
SolidWorks is listed (or ranked) 2 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

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

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

4
TurboCAD is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
SketchUp is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
DraftSight is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
NX is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
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
AutoCAD Architecture 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 drafting, specialized for architectural work

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

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

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

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

12
ProE is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Proprietary software

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

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

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

14
cadwork is listed (or ranked) 14 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

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

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

16
Vectorworks is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
Constructor is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
LibreCAD is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
ArchiCAD is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
Lego Digital Designer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Freeware

Free to use

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

21
HighDesign is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
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

23
QCad is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
VariCAD is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Computer Aided Design Programs, Applications, Systems and Platforms
Proprietary software

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

25
AutoTURN is listed (or ranked) 25 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