AutoCAD is a CAD (Computer Aided Design) software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting, developed and sold by Autodesk, Inc. Initially released in late 1982, AutoCAD was one of the first CAD programs to run on personal computers, and notably the IBM PC. Most CAD software at the time ran on graphics terminals connected to mainframe computers or mini-computers.
earlier releases, AutoCAD used primitive entities - such as lines, polylines, circles, arcs, and text - as the foundation for more complex objects. Since the mid-1990s, AutoCAD has supported custom objects through its C++ API. Modern AutoCAD includes a full set of basic solid modeling and 3D tools, but lacks some of the more advanced capabilities of solid modeling applications. With the release of AutoCAD 2007 came improved 3D modeling functionality. Which meant better navigation when working in 3D. Moreover it became more easy to edit 3D models. The mental ray engine was included in rendering, it was now possible to do quality renderings.
AutoCAD supports a number of application programming interfaces (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, to create products such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, or third-party AutoCAD-based applications.
AutoCAD's native file format, DWG, and to a lesser extent, its interchange file format, DXF, have become de facto standards for CAD data interoperability. AutoCAD in recent years has included support for DWF, a format developed and promoted by Autodesk for publishing CAD data. In 2006, Autodesk estimated the number of active DWG files to be in excess of one billion. In the past, Autodesk has estimated the total number of DWG files in existence to be more than three billion.
A utoCAD currently runs exclusively on Microsoft desktop operating systems. Versions for Unix and Macintosh were released in the 1980s and 1990s, but these were later dropped. AutoCAD can run on an emulator or compatibility layer like VMware Workstation or Wine, albeit subject to various performance issues that can often arise when working with 3D objects or large drawings.
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT are available for German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified (No LT), Chinese Traditional, Russian, Czech, Polish, Hungarian (No LT), Brazilian Portuguese (No LT), Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Vietnamese. The extent of localization varies from full translation of the product to documentation only.
AutoCAD LT is a "scaled down" version of AutoCAD. It costs less (approx. $1200.00 USD versus around $4,000 USD for the full AutoCAD). It is also available for purchase at computer stores, unlike AutoCAD which has to be purchased from an official Autodesk dealer. It was developed so Autodesk could have an entry-level CAD package available to compete in that price class. Today AutoCAD LT is marketed as a CAD package for those who only need 2D functionality. Compared to the full edition of AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT lacks several features. Most notably, it has no 3D modeling capabilities (though it has a full suite of 3D viewing functions for looking at 3D models created in other CAD packages) and does not include any programming interfaces, such as support for most 3rd party programs and does not support LISP programs. A full listing of differences is on the Autodesk website. AutoCAD LT originated by taking the codebase of AutoCAD and commenting out substantial portions, which allowed AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT to be developed simultaneously.
AutoCAD Education Versions
AutoCAD is provided to matriculating students at colleges, universities and vocational institutions for free.
- A “Qualified Educational Institution” means an educational institution which has been accredited by an authorized governmental agency within its applicable local, state, provincial, federal, or national government and has the primary purpose of teaching its enrolled students. IT administrators or Educators may access the Education Community on behalf of a Qualified Educational Institution to access and deploy Software and Web Services for the Qualified Educational Institution.
- An IT administrator is an individual person who is an employee or independent contractor working for a Qualified Educational Institution and responsible for licensing and installing software for the Qualified Educational Institution.
- An “Educator” is an individual person who is an employee or independent contractor working for a Qualified Educational Institution.
- A “Student” means an individual person enrolled as a student at a Qualified Educational Institution.
- An Autodesk-sponsored design competition mentor is an individual who provides guidance, advice, coaching, or instruction to competitors engaged in competing in an Autodesk-sponsored design competition, and upon request by Autodesk is able to provide proof of such status. A competitor is a student or other individual who is registered and accepted or otherwise approved by a design competition organizer as a competition participant and who, upon request by Autodesk, is able to provide proof of such status. A list of Autodesk-sponsored competitions can be found on the Education Community (or successor site thereto): http://www.autodesk.com/education/competitions-and-events/all-competitions
Additional Terms Applicable to Software Obtained Through the Education Community. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the license agreement accompanying any Software downloaded by you from this Site through the Education Community, such Software may be used by competitors and Autodesk sponsored design competition mentors to design, develop, create and submit competition entries in Autodesk-sponsored design competitions. Except as modified by the preceding sentence, the applicable license agreement shall remain in full force and effect according to its terms.
Autodesk has also developed a few vertical programs, for discipline-specific enhancements. AutoCAD Architecture (formerly Architectural Desktop), for example, 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 allow designers to generate standard 2D drawings, such as elevations and sections, from a 3D architectural model. Similarly, Civil Design, Civil Design 3D, and Civil Design Professional allow data-specific objects to be used, allowing standard civil engineering calculations to be made and represented easily. AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD P&ID and AutoCAD Structural Detailing are other examples of industry-specific CAD applications built on the AutoCAD platform.