A snapshot taken in AutoCAD 2005 while transcribing a curve.
AutoCAD is a popular computer-aided drafting (CAD) software package for 2D and 3D design and drafting, developed and sold by Autodesk.
Version 1.0 of AutoCAD was released in December 1982. The current version is AutoCAD 2006, which was released in March 2005.
Initially a general-purpose 2D drafting program, AutoCAD has been extended into a family of products, used by land developers, architects, mechanical engineers, and other design professionals. The AutoCAD family of products, taken as a whole, is by far the most widely used CAD software in the world.
AutoCAD includes a full set of basic solid modelling and 3D tools, but lacks the advanced capabilities of dominant solid modelling applications such as CATIA, Unigraphics, Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, and Autodesk's Inventor. AutoCAD co-exists with these products, primarily as a 2D drafting tool.
Like other CAD programs, AutoCAD is a vector graphics drawing program. It uses primitive entities - such as lines, polylines, circles, arcs, and text - as the foundation for blocks (groups of entities which can be referenced and reused), and more complex objects.
AutoCAD supports a number of Application programming interface (API) for customization and automation, including AutoLISP, Visual LISP, and VBA. For advanced tasks, AutoCAD's license-based API, ARX, can be used; a C++ class library, which was also the base for products extending AutoCAD functionality to specific fields, to create products such as Autodesk Architectural Desktop, AutoCAD Electrical, 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 interchange of 2D CAD data. In 2006, Autodesk estimated the number of active DWG files to be in excess of one billion. It the past, Autodesk has estimated the total number of DWG files in existence to be more than three billion.
AutoCAD currently runs exclusively on Microsoft desktop operating systems. Versions for Unix and Apple Macintosh were released in the 1980s, but these met with limited market acceptance and were later dropped. It usually suffers from poor performance when run in an emulator or compatibility layer like Virtual PC or Wine.
A lower-cost version, AutoCAD LT (pronounced "ell tee", not "lite")the "LT" stood for "LapTop" as in Laptop computer. Laptop computers didn't have the memory that they have now, so AutoCAD LT was a scaled down version. It was first introduced in 1993. Compared with its more expensive sibling, LT lacks several features, has no useful 3D capabilities, and does not include AutoLISP or other programming interfaces.
In this context the abbreviation CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, or Computer Aided Drafting.
- 1 Overlay programs
- 2 Version history
- 3 AutoCAD blocks
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
Autodesk has also developed overlay programs, sometimes called Desktops, for discipline-specific enhancements. Architectural Desktop, for example, permits architectural designers to draw 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. 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.
- Version 1.0 (Release 1) - December 1982
- Version 1.2 (Release 2) - April 1983
- Version 1.3 (Release 3) - August 1983
- Version 1.4 (Release 4) - October 1983
- Version 2.0 (Release 5) - October 1984
- Version 2.1 (Release 6) - May 1985
- Version 2.5 (Release 7) - June 1986
- Version 2.6 (Release 8) - April 1987
- Release 9 - September 1987
- Release 10 - October 1988
- Release 11 - October 1990
- Release 12 - June 1992
- Release 13 - November 1994
- Release 14 - February 1997
- AutoCAD 2000 (R15.0) - March 1999
- AutoCAD 2000i - July 2000
- AutoCAD 2002 - June 2001
- AutoCAD 2004 - March 2003
- AutoCAD 2005 - March 2004
- AutoCAD 2006 (R16.2) - March 2005
In AutoCAD, blocks are objects that can be reused. On the Web there are many sites that provide AutoCAD blocks, linetypes, hatch patterns, etc. In version 2006, AutoCAD adds dynamic blocks, which have capabilities similar to the symbols used in Microsoft Visio.
- cadbot.net DWG and DWF search engine
- xoomer in Italian
- caddepod - shareware library
- CADxp AutoCAD portal
- TechCAD 4.0
- Official AutoCAD Blog
- Autodesk product beta and feedback programs
- Beyond the UI an AutoCAD blog
- System Variable Matrix R12 - 2006
- Command Reference Matrix R12 - 2006
- AutoCAD 2005 new commands
- Autodesk AutoCAD website
- Autodesk current products catalog, including overlay programs and stand-alone programs
- AutoCAD tutorials Release 12, 13, 14
- AutoCAD tutorials 2000i
- AutoCAD tutorials
- Shaan Hurley's AutoCAD History - 20 years of AutoCAD
- John Walker's Site - Early development of AutoCAD (John Walker is a co-founder of Autodesk).
- Ultimate CAD directory Top Ten Links
- How to Manage a CAD Outsourcing Project (Advertisement. Written by an outsourcing company in India)
- Autocad Wiki Dead Link -->  last version stored on archive.org
- AutoCAD feature matrix (pdf) Compares features of AutoCAD versions among 2000 - 2006
- Open Design Alliance, a non-profit industry consortium providing DWG/DXF compatible program libraries.
- What Happened to Generic CADD?, a company bought out by ACAD and then the product was killed! Dead link last version on archive.org
- Autodesk User Group International Autodesk User Group International
- TheSwamp (wiki) AutoCAD discussion forum for operators / programmers / administrators.