Difference Between Autocad and Solidworks : Autocad vs Solidworks

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Autocad and solidworks are cad tools used for design and development of mechanical products. But they have different applications. Autocad is preferred for 2D drawing and non-parametric design approach. Whereas Solidworks is preferred for 3D Design and parametric design approach. In this article we will discuss the difference between autocad vs solidworks.

AutoCad is non-parametric cad tool preliminary used for 2D drafting. But it also has limited 3D functionality as well. 

AutoCad was first released in 1982. It was the first cad software running on personal computers. Before AutoCad most cad programs was not popular and most of the work was done on drawing board.

Autocad Features
  • Non-Parametric
  • Import and Export of image and pdf formats.
  • Native Cad Format : DWG
  • Supports other Vector Formats such as : DXF
Autocad Applications

Autocad has applications across various industries. It also has industry specific software such as AutoCad Electrical and AutoCad Architecture. Autocad application includes:

  • Preliminary used for 2D Drafting.
  • Limited 3D functionality.
  • Map 3D is for GIS analysis and planning.
  • Mechanical Architecture design.
  • Electrical and Plumbing systems design.
Credit Solidworks

Solidworks is a parametric CAD software. It is used for design, simulation and development of mechanical products.

Solidworks is preliminary used for 3D drawing but also has limited 2D drawing functionality as well.

According to user need they can also add various plugin in solidwork.

Solidworks Features
  • 3D Parametric CAD Tool.
  • Limited 2D Functionality.
  • Part and Assembly Design in 3D.
  • Rendering Tool.
  • Surfacing.
  • In-Build Simulation.
  • Life-cycle Management.
  • CAM ( Computer Aided Manufacturing ).
  • Inspection Module.
  • Tolerance Stackup analysis.
Solidworks Applications

Solidworks has applications across a wide array of industries. It is preliminary used for 3D cad design. solidworks serves mainly automotive, aerospace, machinery, electronics and BIM industry. Solidworks applications includes:

  • Creating 3D part and Assembly Design.
  • Engineering Drawings.
  • Design Evaluation using integrated simulation tools.
  • Animation and Realistic Rendering.
  • CAM ( Computer Aided Manufacturing etc.)
Autocad Vs Solidworks : What is the Difference
Initial Release Date19951982
ApplicationPreliminary used for 3D design with limited 2D functionality.Preliminary used for 2D drawings with limited 3D functionality
  • Parametric
  • Part and assembly design
  • Rendering
  • In-Build simulation
  • CAM
  • Life Cycle Management etc.
  • Non-Parametric
  • Import and export image and pdf formats
  • Designed to work in 2D
  • Industry specific software ( AutoCad Electrical and Architecture)



To sum up, both solidworks and autocad caters different market. Autocad is used for 2D related work. Autodesk has inventor and Fusion 360 to cater 3D market. Whereas solidworks is used for 3D related work. It has draftsight to cater 2D market. 

Refer this article to know free available cad software. If you only want to view cad data you can use free cad viewers.

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