Best General-Purpose CAD Software

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used in various industries to create 2D technical drawings, mock-ups of conceptual designs, and 3D models of physical objects. These digital representations of physical objects are used in the creation of actual objects in the tangible world.

The products in the General-Purpose category include CAD programs that offer a wide range of tools and functionality to their users. While products may vary in their strengths and the breadth of their capabilities, they are not designed exclusively to meet the needs of an individual industry or field. Furthermore, products in this category have the potential to integrate with more specialized tools such as those in the Civil Engineering and BIM software.

To qualify for inclusion in the General-Purpose Computer-Aided Design (CAD) category, a product must:

  • Have 2D technical drawing capabilities
  • Have 3D modeling capabilities
  • Possess the ability to be used across several industries
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    Subscribe to Autodesk® AutoCAD® including specialized toolsets and get access to industry-specific functionality, greater mobility with the new web and mobile apps, and the latest feature updates. Speed up your work with specialized features & libraries for mechanical design, architecture, 3D mapping, and more while working in a familiar AutoCAD interface. Only AutoCAD, with the new web and mobile apps, gives you the freedom and flexibility to work on anything, anywhere, at any time. Design and draft using the latest features and functionality included in subscriber-only updates.

    SketchUp is one of the most popular 3D modeling and design tools in the world. Here at Trimble, our mission is to help make our users better, smarter, and more successful through the use of state of the art software and hardware. Trimble is an exciting, entrepreneurial company, with a history of exceptional growth coupled with a disciplined and strategic focus on being the best. While GPS is at our core, we have grown beyond this technology to embrace other sophisticated positioning technologies and, in doing so; we are changing the way the world works. Our solutions are used in over 140 countries and we have incredibly diverse lines of business. Our employees represent this diversity and can be found in over 30 countries, working closely with their colleagues around the world. SketchUp, part of Trimble’s Construction sector, is 3D modeling software that's easy to learn and incredibly fun to use. Today, hundreds of thousands of architects, engineers, contractors, woodworkers, artists, and other creatives use SketchUp Pro, LayOut, Extension Warehouse and the 3D Warehouse to design everything from transit centers to tree-houses and everything in between.

    Create precise 2D drawings faster with the easy-to-use drafting tools in Autodesk® AutoCAD LT® software. Share your work with confidence using TrustedDWG™ technology, the original and most accurate way to store and exchange design data. Simplified 2D drafting and documentation tools help you produce detailed technical drawings that you can easily edit and repurpose. Collaborate with colleagues using connected desktop, cloud, and mobile Autodesk® AutoCAD® solutions. AutoCAD LT software – engineered for the future.

    2D and 3D drafting application for visualizing, communicating, and planning future construction projects.

    MicroStation’s advanced parametric 3D modeling capabilities enable infrastructure professionals of any discipline to collaborate on and deliver projects of any scale and complexity. Your team can aggregate their work on MicroStation, including designs and models created with Bentley’s discipline specific modeling applications. As a result, you can create comprehensive, multi-discipline BIM models, documentation, and other deliverables. MicroStation and all Bentley BIM applications are built on the same comprehensive modeling platform. You therefore can easily progress your MicroStation work into discipline specific workflows with Bentley’s design and analytical modeling applications. With this flexibility, each member of your project team has exactly the right application for the work they need to do.

    ArcGIS for AutoCAD is a free, plug-in application for AutoCAD that allows you to access and create GIS data by connecting to services from ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS Online.

    LabVIEW is systems engineering software for applications that require test, measurement, and control with rapid access to hardware and data insights.

    A professional-grade 2D design and drafting solution that lets you create, edit, view and markup any kind of 2D drawing.

    Vectorworks, Inc. is a global design and BIM software developer serving over 650,000 professionals in the architecture, landscape and entertainment industries. Since 1985, we’ve been committed to helping designers capture inspiration, nurture innovation, communicate effectively and bring their visions to life. With our cross-platform software, designers can build data-rich, visual models without sacrificing the design process, while collaborating efficiently throughout the project life-cycle. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, Vectorworks is a part of the Nemetschek Group. Learn how we empower designers to create experiences that transform the world

    TurboCAD Pro Platinum is a professional 2D/3D CAD application that offers a great collection of 2D/3D design tools to design, modify, present, and document in an integrated fashion. An optional AutoCAD®-like 2D drafting interface with command line and dynamic input cursor helps professionals already familiar with AutoCAD easily get up to speed. Advanced technology —a powerful drafting palette, D-Cubed constraints, and ACIS® engine—enhance productivity. Advanced architectural and mechanical design tools add even greater flexibility and control, while superior LightWorks® rendering controls produce powerful presentations. Plus TurboCAD Pro Platinum is programmable and supports over 40 file formats including .DWG, .DXF, .SKP, 3D .PDF, and .STL for 3D printing. • Time Saving Features – 64-Bit Compatible Version, GPU-accelerated Drawing Engine, Multi-threading Support, Progressive, Ray-traced Rendering, New Redsdk 3.3 Rendering Engine, AutoCAD 2D work-alike mode, and more! • Precision Drafting & Detailing – A large selection of 2D and 3D tools, snaps modification, and drawing aids, powerful drafting palette, history tree with editor, advanced layer controls, PDF underlay, a full range of dimension types and styles, tables, text, viewports and more! • Powerful Architectural Tools – House wizard, self-healing walls & self aligning blocks, AutoCAD® Architecture (ACA) compatible architectural objects (parametric), section, elevation, and terrain tools, styles & style manager! • Robust Mechanical Tools – New ACIS® R24 engine, 3D solid and surface design and modification tools, geometric and dimensional constraints, assembly tools, a powerful parametric parts manager, and more! • Rendering & Visualization – Choose from wireframe, hidden line, or high quality photorealistic rendering with material editor as well as artistic render styles. Both a Lightworks and Redsdk engines are available with a universal manager.  • Outstanding File Compatibility – Open, import, or embed up to 35 file formats and export up to 28, including newly updated AutoCAD® 2013 .DWG, Adobe 3D .PDF, and many others making it an excellent companion product.

    nanoCAD Plus is a professional grade CAD tool. It has a familiar interface, powerful drafting and design tools, native DWG compatibility, and an open API. It is available through a low-cost annual subscription, including updates and priority online support.

    BricsCAD® offers all the familiar .dwg 2D CAD features,yet it adds time saving tools and 3D Direct Modeling.Use BricsCAD to get your work done without pain – and, when you are ready, take advantage of the next generation of BIM and Direct Modeling tools - in the same product, using that common user interface. Saving your work into industry-standard .dwg makes collaboration easy, and ensures that your designs are future-proof.

    LibreCAD is a free Open Source CAD application for Windows, Apple and Linux.

    Bluebeam Revu makes your drawings, plans and documents work smarter

    Corel DESIGNER combines technical illustration tools including the ability to manipulate 3D CAD drawings with tools to help you produce technical drawings.

    ActCAD is a 2D Drafting and 3D Modeling CAD software meant for Engineers, Architects and other technical consultants. ActCAD is a native DWG & DXF CAD software to create and edit drawings. ActCAD is based on the technologies from IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC), ODA Teigha Libraries, ACIS 3D Kernel, Wintopo, ps2edit etc. ActCAD uses the most recently released version of IntelliCAD to offer the best performance and features to its users. ActCAD as many add-on commands and features supplementing core IntelliCAD making ActCAD more productive than its competition. 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 can open the .dgn file formats and saving them to dwg/dxf file formats. All dwg/dxf versions from R2.5 to 2018 are supported. ActCAD is a light weight yet very powerful Professional Computer Aided Design (CAD) software utilizing the benefits of multi-threading and multi-core processing capabilities of recent computer systems. The technology is being enhanced by well experienced Developers working from all over the World, around the clock. The core developers of ActCAD have over 40 years of experience in industry especially on CAD software. There are many other tools available in the markets which do not have an optimum balance between capability and price. Some of the capable tools are very expensive and on the other hand, some of the low cost tools are not capable of handling critical project requirements. ActCAD perfectly bridges this price performance gap offering great value to our customers.

    Easy to Learn & Use 2D/3D CAD - DesignCAD 3D Max combines easy to learn and use 2D drafting with powerful and precise 3D modeling Easily design anything from complex drawings requiring precision metrics, to simple everyday projects and hobbies including furniture, decks, floor plans, architectural drawings to toys and 3D models. • Precision 2D Drafting Tools • 3D Solid Modeling Tools • Mechanical Design Tools • Architectural Design Tools • Realistic Rendering and GPU-Accelerated Drawing • Intuitive User Interface • Extensive Online Help

    OrCAD Capture is one of the most widely used schematic design solutions for the creation and documentation of electrical circuits

    The free open source 2D CAD for Windows, Mac and Linux.

    ZWSOFT is a CAD/CAM solutions provider, with over 320,000 clients across 80 countries.

    THE ARES TRINITY OF CAD SOFTWARE: Modern DWG Editing for Desktop, Mobile and Cloud Create and modify DWG drawings anywhere, on any device, and enjoy unrivaled flexibility Much more than a cost-effective alternative for CAD in DWG, our Trinity concept combines the strengths of desktop computers, mobile devices and cloud computing into a unique ecosystem. With ARES Commander, you keep the ability to work offline on your main computers as usual. With ARES Kudo and ARES Touch you further add the agility of Cloud and Mobile CAD.

    MicroSurvey CAD is a Complete Desktop Survey and Design Program Created for Surveyors, Contractors and Engineers.

    Agni Link is a advanced CAD-ERP data integration systems currently available. It is an add-in to AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Solid Edge and many others that offers a reliable and cost-effective way to integrate CAD/PDM/PLM applications with ERP systems.

    ANSYS Discovery SpaceClaim is a multipurpose 3D modeling application providing efficient solutions to common modeling tasks. Built on the direct modeling technology, Discovery SpaceClaim removes geometry problems associated with various 3D CAD operations, such as design or concept modeling, repair of translated CAD files, general model defeaturing, and complete model editing.

    CADopia is a software solution that allows you to create, edit, and view professional drawings providing features to help you manage multiple drawings at once.

    CADWorx Plant Design Suite is an integrated, complete AutoCAD and BricsCAD-based software series for plant design that provides intelligent drawing and database connectivity, advanced levels of automation, and easy-to-use drafting tools.

    CorelCAD is CAD for drawing the detailed elements required in the technical design.

    DesignSpark Mechanical is a 3D CAD solution used by engineers to create prototypes and technical drawings.

    GstarCAD is a CAD software featuring with efficiency, cost saving and dwg-compatible

    HiCAD provides architectural CAD software with tools for effective engineering process optimization.

    Live Home 3D is an intuitive home design software, created to enable users to build the house of their dreams on their Mac or Windows. The program automatically creates 3D visualisation once you’ve drawn a floor plan. Floor plans can be built using wall, room and other 2D tools, or traced from an imported image using 2D tools. Internal object library includes kitchen sets, sofas, tables, chairs, windows, stairs, and many other items. Integration with Trimble 3D Warehouse is what distinguishes the app from others, allowing users to download any missing 3D model from the online storage. Live Home 3D produces detailed 2D floor plans and 3d visualization which can be shared with clients, colleagues, friends and family. A project can be exported as a JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and BMP, 360° Panorama images, and even shoot 3D video walkthroughs.

    PloView is viewer for viewing drawing of HPGL, PDF, DXF, DWG, GERBER, IGES, TIFF, JPEG file. Color and width change, black and white/color change, background color change, pen ON/OFF. Merge ON/OFF. Rotation, mirror, grid displaying. Thumbnail displaying. Measurement function. Connected line search.

    progeCAD IntelliCAD, the most "AutoCAD Like" software on the market today, is built from the ground up to satisfy those who wish to work with the DWG format and has a familiar interface you are used to designing with

    PunchCAD is a line of commercial and business computer-aided design (CAD) software.

    SelfCAD is an all-in-one program and includes modeling, sculpting, and 3D printing online. One does not need to launch several programs to be able to design, rather everything is done under one program. It has answered the need for a user-friendly 3D Printing software. It’s browser-based, so all you need to access it is an Internet connection. Work can be saved in the cloud, although there’s also an offline mode so that you can continue working if you lose your Internet connection hence no more issues with portal devices. SelfCAD 3D software provides users with almost limitless drawing capabilities, high precision, identification of structural inadequacy, compelling imagery, and time-saving experience. Moreover, the uniqueness of our platform is explained by the user-friendly interface along with multiple functions which allow you to create advanced models. SelfCAD has partnered wit Myminifactory, hence you can now be able to download models and work on them easily and later print them. If you are eager to get a strong foundation in the field of modeling, you won’t find more comprehensible platform than SelfCAD. Our online 3D modeling software is designed to make the entire process, all functions and interface as simple as possible. SelfCAD offers 30 Day trial period and later a subscription fee of only $4.99/m after the trial period is over and you will be able to create and print unlimited models. However, if you are a student, teacher or non-profit making organization we have a good deal for you. SelfCAD is free for you! You can learn more about this software here: www.selfcad.com or visit the site: https://www.youtube.com/selfcad.

    ZW3D is an integrated CAD/CAM solution for complete product development process, such as fastest kernel for Solid-surface Hybrid Modeling, non-solid mold parting and smart CNC Machining tactics from 2 axis to 5 axis that brings customers benefits to reduced costs, optimized design workflow and improved efficiency.

    Arcon Evo is CAD software for building design and floor plan requirements.

    CADfix is the leading software solution for CAD model translation, repair, healing, defeaturing and simplification. It is packaged as a desktop or server solution, with extensible modular functionality dependent upon the end user's source and target systems.

    CADMATE is 2D and 3D CAD software. The software is powerful and cost effective. CADMATE is a life time license and is compatible with all other CAD softwares.

    CAD Pro is a drafting software that has easy-to-use tools for home design, floor plans, house plans, home improvement, home repair, home remodeling, house floor plans and landscaping.has easy-to-use tools for home design, floor plans, house plans, home improvement, home repair, home remodeling, house floor plans and landscaping.

    CAESES is a flexible CAD modeler for fast and comprehensive design studies with your meshing and simulation tools. Integrated capabilities for process automation and shape optimization make it an all-in-one design tool for simulation engineers.

    The professional CAD software CARD/1 provides unique features when working on projects, thus increasing your lead on the competition: you'll always be one step ahead.

    Cimatron's CAD/CAM solutions address the entire tool making process from quoting to design, applying engineering changes and NC programming. Cimatron delivers major advantages for mold, die and manufacturing shops keeping you more competitive across your entire range of operations

    CR-8000 Design Force is a 2D and 3D design solution that supports single and multi-board interconnect analysis and optimization.

    Electra E8: The Easiest to use Electrical CAD Software. Create circuits 300-500% faster, generate terminals and bills of materials in a blink!

    ELITECAD Architecture is a user-friendly CAD Software with innovative features, that turns 3D building modelling into an experience.

    Explore 3D is free software to view 3D CAD data, model information and metadata right inside Windows Explorer, without requiring license of any CAD system.

    Gmsh is a free 3D finite element mesh generator with a built-in CAD engine and post-processor. Its design goal is to provide a fast, light and user-friendly meshing tool with parametric input and advanced visualization capabilities. Gmsh is built around four modules: geometry, mesh, solver and post-processing. The specification of any input to these modules is done either interactively using the graphical user interface, in ASCII text files using Gmsh's own scripting language (.geo files), or using the C++, Python or C API.

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