Missing image
A snapshot taken in AutoCAD 2005 while transcribing a curve.

AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting (CAD) software package for 2D and 3D design and drafting, developed and sold by Autodesk. It currently runs exclusively on Microsoft operating systems. Versions for Unix and Apple Macintosh were released, 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.

Initially for mechanical engineers, it has been extended and is widely used by architects and other design professionals. In its issued format, it assists design by allowing the user to draw using vector graphics, which in turn is the foundation for more complex features like blocks, predrawn geometry placed into a drawing as a single object.

Its file formats (DWG and its ASCII equivalent, DXF) have become the de facto standards for CAD packages.

Version 1.0 was released in December 1982. The current version is AutoCAD 2006, which was released in March 2005. A lower-cost version, AutoCAD LT (pronounced "ell tee", not "lite"), was first introduced in 1993. Compared with its more expensive sibling, LT lacks some 3D capability, AutoLISP programming language and other programming interfaces, and a few other features.

Visual Basic is available for automation and other advanced operations within AutoCAD. For advanced tasks, AutoCAD's licence-based application programming interface, 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.


Overlay programs

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 constrcution 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 history

List of sites providing AutoCad blocks

On the Web there are many sites where you can found AutoCAD blocks, linetipes, hatchs, etc.

  • cadalot (
  • ( DWG and DWF search engine
  • xoomer ( in italian

See also

External links

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