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10 AutoCAD Alternatives Every CAD Drafter

Should Know About

 April 15, 2015
 4m to read
 The IDI Team
 14

Interior Design

AutoCAD from AutoDesk is considered a favourite when it comes to professional CAD

software. Many drafters become so comfortable using it that they happily choose never to
explore the alternatives. However, when it comes to CAD, every designer, architect,
engineer, and hobbyist should at least be aware of what else is available.
Listed below are 10 of our favourite alternatives to AutoCAD, which we believe to be well
worth investigating further.

1. SketchUp

SketchUp, formerly know as Google SketchUp, is one of the easiest CAD tools to use. With
the proud boast of being “the easiest way to draw in 3D”, SketchUp is a popular among CAD
users from a range of different professions.
There are also different versions available depending on what you want to use it for.
SketchUp Make is generously free and perfect for personal projects. SketchUp Pro requires a
subscription and is more suited to people who use 3D modelling professionally. It’s probably
best to play around with the free version first to determine if it’s a good fit for you.

2. ProgeCAD

ProgeCAD is a great programme if you want to invest in some serious CAD software, but
don’t want to pay the asking price of AutoCAD. With over 10,000 symbols and an easy to
use interface, ProgeCAD is a good programme for intermediate to pro users.

3. TurboCAD Pro Platinum

TurboCAD Pro Platinum is not for the beginner. It’s a real monster of a programme, with in-
depth features, textures, and detailing options – even more than AutoCAD.
If you need to create intricate, highly detailed images, and you are already an experienced
user of CAD software, then perhaps this is the option for you. Make sure you really want it
though, as it comes at a cost.

4. DesignCAD 3D Max v24

DesignCAD 3D is from the same team behind TurboCAD. However, it is far more basic. It’s
still versatile enough to meet most users needs and is a great choice if you want to learn basic
2D and 3D modelling without breaking the bank.

5. DraftSight

DraftSight is simple, functional, and a great introduction to CAD and 2D Modelling. Better
yet, it’s free! There are two paid options that go a little more in-depth that are good value for
businesses, but if you’re an architecture or design student, the free version works as a great
starting point for your adventures in CAD.

6. VectorWorks
Vectorworks is extremely popular and is probably AutoCAD’s biggest competitor. It’s most
popular among Mac users and is certainly the complete package. Getting your hands on a
copy is reasonably expensive, however.

NanoCAD is a free and easy to use professional grade CAD tool. It’s great for creating,
editing and sharing CAD creations and even though it’s free, it matches up in many ways to
some paid software. A nice alternative to AutoCAD for beginners and intermediates on a
budget of zero.


ZWCAD+ is a sleek and sophisticated drafting software for professionals. It also has the
benefit of displaying seamlessly across desktop and mobile devices. A great programme for
drafting professionals who are often out of the office.

9. BricsCAD v12
BricsCAD is simple to use and features many in-depth features common to better known
CAD programmes. If usability is your number one priority, then BricsCAD should be high on
your list of CAD programmes to check out.

10. FreeCAD

FreeCAD is exactly what it sounds like: Free, open source CAD software to build your own
3D drawings. FreeCAD uses parametric modelling, allowing you to easily alter your designs
as you go. It’s not nearly as in-depth and feature-packed as some other CAD software on the
list, but it’s still powerful enough to create some great 3D models.
Is your favourite CAD programme included in our list? Let us know more in the comments
section below…

 Architecture
 Interior Design
 Tips & How To

14 thoughts on “10 AutoCAD Alternatives Every CAD Drafter Should Know


1. Anthony Flynn says:

14th June 2015 at 10:30 pm

A compelling topic indeed… and we invite you to explore more fully in our
“AutoCAD Alternatives” group… please join us at:


2. Autocad Training says:

10th August 2015 at 2:52 pm

Thanks man for sharing autocad alternatives and I am facing so much difficulties in
autocad so now i will try using this alternatives and will complete my work.


1. Tom McCallum says:

10th August 2015 at 4:06 pm

No problem! Let us know which one you choose and how you get on.


3. Mike says:

29th November 2015 at 7:30 pm

Thanks for the List,

I have been using TurboCAD Pro Platinum, and while the program is ok the licencing
of it is a joke, it needs to revalidate your licence every two weeks and if you don’t
have internet at the time too bad, you cannot use it until you do. not great when you in
front of a customer on their site trying to show them a drawing..
Right now i cannot use it at all due to some issue with their licencing server, dam
frustrating when you pay so much for it and then you cannot use it when you need it.
so im spending my time that i should be working on my drawing looking for new
CAD software !


4. MM Krishna says:

5th February 2016 at 6:36 pm

ActCAD is a 2D drafting & 3D modelling CAD software meant for Engineers,

Architects and other technical consultants. ActCAD is native DWG & DXF CAD
software to create and edit drawings. ActCAD is based on the technologies from
IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC), DS Spatial and Wintopo. It uses the most
recently released version of IntelliCAD to offer the best performance and features to
its users. In addition, ActCAD includes many other tools like Block Libraries (in the
domains of Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Architectural, Structural, P &IDs etc.),
batch file converter, units converter and many other productivity enhancement tools.
ActCAD also has a capability to open the .dgn file formats and saving them to
dwg/dxf file formats. All dwg/dxf versions from R2.5 to 2016 are supported.


5. Shibanee says:

11th February 2016 at 12:06 pm

So which 1 is better 4 beginners??


6. phannie Makhams says:

3rd March 2016 at 9:39 am

a good softwore


7. Jonathan Lichtman says:

22nd July 2016 at 12:53 am

Why have you not listed Archicad from Graphisoft?


1. The IDI Team says:

25th July 2016 at 4:11 pm

Hi Jonathan, thanks for the comment. Archicad is another software that

could’ve easily been included here, perhaps if we update the list we’ll include
a section for it. Got any other suggestions for AutoCAD alternatives you feel
were worth inclusion? What did you think of the 10 options we’ve listed?

8. Chandra Sekhar says:

24th July 2016 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for the article. This is a comprehensive list with clear information.
This article mentions about 3D CAD doftware. Can you please make another list for
3D printing. With output file formats that can be used for 3D Printing.


1. The IDI Team says:

25th July 2016 at 4:08 pm

Glad you enjoyed the article Chandra, thanks for reading and taking the time
to comment! Good suggestion with the 3D printing article too, it’s a technique
that’s only becoming more and more prominent so definitely something our
readers could find helpful and interesting! Got any other suggestions?


1. Alistair Maclean says:

22nd November 2016 at 4:18 pm

Have you come across ArtiCAD? They seem to specialise in kitchens

and bathrooms and can import from Sketchup. Any opinion?
Thanks for the article btw.


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