Top Ten CAD Software

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Posted on December 26th, 2007

CAD Software
Installing my new CAD
CAD or computer aided design software is quite necessary today. You may think that CAD software is only used by professionals, but you may have used it without even knowing. Simply speaking, CAD software is any software that allows you to design objects using a computer. If the software allows you to draw objects and animations, that can be considered CAD software.

If you are looking for CAD software to use, you might try one from this top ten list of CAD software.

1. AutoCAD

Autocad Drawing

AutoCAD is probably the most popular commercial CAD software today. This software was developed by Autodesk, and the first version was made back in 1982. AutoCAD is one of the first CAD software programs to run on personal computers, because during that time, CAD software had to run on specialized computers like mainframes. Today, AutoCAD is capable of creating full plans like blueprints or even models of other objects. It is capable of either 2D or 3D designs that are very detailed. Professionals and amateurs alike often use this software.

2. SmartDraw

Smart draw
Sample Design
If you need software to draw 2D diagrams that are easy and intuitive to use, you should try using SmartDraw. SmartDraw is a very simple type of CAD software that uses the popular drag-and-drop method. It is popular for its "smart" drawing, which speeds up designing considerably. It has tons of libraries for templates and designs, but if you still cannot find what you are looking for, you can visit the website and download what you need. It incorporates the most recent concepts of 2D drawing in various fields of application. The best part is, it is reasonably priced and you can try it out for free because it has a trial period of 30 days.

3. Alibre Design Xpress

Alibre Design
Previously known as X-CAD, this software is a scaled down and free version of the popular 3D solid modeling software program Alibre Design. This free version is a very powerful one in spite of it being free. If you are looking for a free but powerful CAD software program for design, this one is for you. You may only have to endure a small portion of your screen displaying some advertisements, and you also have to be online to use the software. If you want to use the software offline, you will have to pay a small fee to remove both the advertisements and be able to work offline.

4. SketchUp

The modeling abilities of Sketchup
SketchUp is an award-winning software program for both 2D and 3D design and modeling. This software is widely used by professionals to create their design ideas of homes and other structures. It can also be used to make dynamic 3D presentations. This software is very easy to use but is also very powerful. You do not need spend hours learning how to use the software because it is almost as simple as drawing using a pencil and paper. It has an “intelligent guidance system” that will guide you or give you tips while you are working on your project.

5. AutoSketch

AutoSketch Working Table
If you need a low-cost 2D design software program, one of the best ones for the job is AutoSketch, another software program from Autodesk. It is an entry level 2D drawing package that has almost all the features you will need. This CAD software combines the ease and simplicity of use along with robust and very functional drawing tools. It is a very straightforward drawing software program, but don’t expect cutting-edge features from it because it is just an entry level program.

6. Unigraphics

NX 5 Studio
If you are looking for a professional 3D CAD software program that is very easy to use and is robust to handle your designing needs, Unigraphics is one of the best. It has an easy to navigate and customizable UI (User Interface) and has digital mock-up capabilities too. It is very flexible because it can be easily configured to work with various output and functions. No matter what you are designing, be it a home or a building plan for a prototype car, Unigraphics can come up with very impressive and professional output.

7. SolidWorks

Top down design
If you are in the manufacturing business, where you have to design and make designs of machines and their components, you will need a good CAD software program to make the task of designing and modeling faster and easier. In this field, one of the most popular CAD software programs is Solidworks. Though the user interface may take some time to get used to, it is surely worth it when you find out that it has almost everything that you could need. It is a very innovative product that is constantly updated with new features and bug fixes if there are any.

8. MicroStation

MicroStation 2004 Edition
Working on large design or modeling projects can often be hard to manage using other CAD software programs. If you are one of the people who needs robust and flexible CAD software to manage big projects, MicroStation from Bentley Systems is the software package for you. If you are in a constant search for the most effective and efficient designs, this software can help you easily create one. If you already have your design idea and you want to put it into action, using this software would not cause any difficulty.

9. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator in Mac
When you are in need of a graphics program in which you can draw and create 2D designs and graphics, Adobe Illustrator will surely please you. You can create vector and raster based drawings with this software package. Though it has a high learning curve, once you get used to it, tasks will be much easier. If you are a fan of the Adobe software family, you will be glad that it easily integrates with other Adobe products. This software runs on both Windows and Macintosh.

10. LiteCAD

LiteCAD User Interface

A novice computer user will have no problems using LiteCAD. If you are new to CAD and you want to create professional-looking designs, this software will get you up and running in no time. It is a very simple CAD software package that allows you to create designs in very high detail. LiteCAD is suitable for the CAD "newbie," the design hobbyist, or even a casual designer. The best part is that this is a “freeware” type of software, which basically means you would not have to spend a dime just to use it. With a very small file size, even if you are on dial-up Internet, you can download it in just a couple of minutes.


Designing and manufacturing today is very demanding, no matter what industry you are in. That is why CAD software is very important for making the task less complex and more efficient. When choosing CAD software, remember that it must be suitable for your needs and must be well within your budget because CAD software can cost thousands of dollars.


(These softwares will surely help you to enhance your designs but your desktop should have these Top Ten Essential Computer Programs to make it a workhorse, or you could get Open Source Software Alternatives if you’re running low in cash.)

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