Reference and Education

What Is The Difference Between AutoCAD And Solidworks?

Popular CAD software includes AutoCAD and SolidWorks. Which is best?


CAD software revolutionized technical design and drawing, allowing engineers, architects, and technicians to develop new designs and models quickly and precisely.

AutoCAD became PC-compatible in 1982.

Since then, SolidWorks has become a vital engineering and design CAD program.

SolidWorks is a parametric design program, whereas AutoCAD is geometric. Engineers and other technical workers typically choose AutoCAD and SolidWorks based on their demands.

Professionals who’ve used both say they have varied uses. Their variances might affect a user’s choice based on needs, affordability, experience, and more.

The article compares AutoCAD with SolidWorks.

  1. Design Applications

AutoCAD and SolidWorks can sketch and model in 2D and 3D, but each specializes. AutoCAD is a 2D drafting program, while SolidWorks is 3D.

AutoCAD’s 2D designs create building drawings, floor plans, layouts, and inspection plans quickly and easily. It uses annotative and editing tools. SolidWorks’ 3D modelling helps design and visualize machine components, animations, and intricate assemblies by editing patterns, assemblies, and surfaces.

Each program compensates with drawing and modelling abilities for its 2D or 3D design shortcomings. AutoCAD allows conventional 3D modelling, whereas SolidWorks allows 2D drafting. AutoCAD 3D and SolidWorks 2D aren’t advanced enough to utilize alone.

  1. Industrial Simulation

AutoCAD is popular among architects, civil engineers, and mechanical and electrical building engineers. Engineers, aerospace and automotive companies, manufacturing facilities, and technicians utilize SolidWorks to produce machinable parts and accessories.

SolidWorks beats AutoCAD in virtual prototyping. This lets experts test novel designs to failure and analyse machine part performance. This helps them discover failing portions to redesign.

SolidWorks’ simulation capabilities depend on the user’s membership tier. Standard has linear and time-based movements. Professional adds design optimization, heat transfer testing, and multi-physics simulations. Dynamic loading and nonlinear and dynamic response are premium simulation characteristics.

SolidWorks life cycle assessments include liquid and elemental force simulations. Photo-realistic visualization lets designers see how a model will look in different lighting before manufacturing. AutoCAD lacks these simulation tools, which speed up modelling and drawing.

  1. Compatibility, Multilanguage

AutoCAD is accessible on Macs and Windows PCs, but SolidWorks isn’t. SolidWorks isn’t available for Macs, which causes problems for Mac-only firms.

AutoCAD’s inbound API supports LISP, VBA, and. NET. SolidWorks supports Microsoft’s Storage File and improves export possibilities. Designers who import often should use AutoCAD, whereas exporters should use SolidWorks.

Software universality needs multilingualism. SolidWorks is only available in English, while AutoCAD supports English, German, Italian, Chinese, French, and Russian. AutoCAD provides cross-platform communication with non-English-speaking teams.

  1. Free version/pricing

Both software alternatives have different costs. SolidWorks provides student, standard, professional, and premium subscriptions. Standard memberships cost $3995 and $1295 for annual maintenance, and professional subscriptions cost $5490 and $1495. Its premium license costs $7995 and yearly maintenance $1995.

SolidWorks subscriptions have distinct features. Standard is the cheapest plan. Cost estimates, sophisticated simulation, and part libraries are added to the professional subscription. Premium features include environmental effect analysis, structural part and assembly analysis, and pipe routing.

Comparatively, AutoCAD is free for students and instructors. AutoCAD LT costs $420 annually for those who don’t need 3D modelling. It’s not tiered like SolidWorks. Its $1600 regular membership includes support and updates. AutoCAD is cheaper.

  1. Support Community

SolidWorks’s user community is more active and organized. SolidWorks users have an online community where they help one other. SolidWorks’ official user group website provides tutorials, shows user designs, and offers subscription sampling.

AutoCAD provides software lessons to address user inquiries and help with problems. It lacks a user group. Users can’t exchange ideas and solutions in a designated group.

SolidWorks has an official portal where user concerns are grouped by kind, including update difficulties, best practices, and instructions. AutoCAD’s contact methods, including phone calls, help requests, and live chat, are imprecise and lack a response time.

  1. Prerequisites

AutoCAD requires less CPU than SolidWorks. SolidWorks requires more technology to render photo-realistic models. CAD program has the following system requirements.

Solid Works takes 3.3GHz against 2.5GHz for AutoCAD. AutoCAD 2021 recommends 3.0GHz, which is lower than SolidWorks.

  • RAM: SolidWorks demands 16GB vs. AutoCAD’s 8GB. AutoCAD 2021 requires 16GB RAM.
  • Graphics Card: 1GB GPU with 29GB/s bandwidth is required, while 4GB GPU with 106GB/s bandwidth is recommended for 2021 software. SolidWorks recommends NVIDIA Quadro RTX and AMD Radeon graphics cards.
  1. Learnability and UI

2D AutoCAD is easy to comprehend. It’s like a typical technical sketch. Various experts dislike AutoCAD’s many capabilities and modules. AutoCAD shortcuts and instructions help the user.

The Z axis makes 3D modelling more difficult to master. Its 3D design interface has additional tools and modules, not in AutoCAD. Visual interface reduces learning difficulties since new users can see and undo errors.

Due to growing complexity, it’s best to shift from 2D AutoCAD drafting to 3D SolidWorks modelling.

  1. App-viewing

SolidWorks’ eDrawings Viewer software lets users see drawings and models without editing. It allows the creation of an interactive model with simulations and 3D photos. Mark-up in the app lets users access dimensions and collaborates. The viewer program opens DWG, DXF, AutoCAD, and native SolidWorks files.

AutoCAD viewing programs include Autodesk Viewer, DWG True View, and Design Review. AutoCAD’s wide geometric space makes these alternatives less effective than SolidWorks’ eDrawings.


AutoCAD and Solid Works vary, but none is superior. They demonstrate the software’s different uses. AutoCAD’s 2D drafting tool may help beginners prepare for SolidWorks’ 3D designs. LiveWebTutors AutoCAD Homework Help has additional help on both software.

Mechanical and aeronautical professionals should utilize SolidWorks for prototyping. AutoCAD works on Windows and MACs, while SolidWorks is Windows-only. AutoCAD is multilingual. However, SolidWorks is exclusively English.

SolidWorks costs more than AutoCAD and has superior customer support. SolidWorks requires greater computational resources than AutoCAD for 3D rendering. SolidWorks’ Edrawings open AutoCAD files and improve draught and model viewing.

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