AutoCAD [ ɑ ː toʊkæd ] is part of the CAD product line from Autodesk. The current ( German ) version of AutoCAD 2014 was introduced in April 2013.

The Autodesk products, with more than 3 million licenses sold worldwide the most used CAD software.

  • 4.5.1 Autodesk Topobase
  • 4.5.2 Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server
  • DWG 6.1
  • 6.2 DXF
  • 6.3 DXB
  • 6.4 DWF
  • 6.5 DGN
  • 6.6 SHP


AutoCAD was developed as a graphical drawing editor from the company AutoDesk. Mainly AutoCAD was used as a simple CAD program with programming interfaces for creating technical drawings. Today, the product range includes a comprehensive 3D function for modeling of objects and custom extensions especially for engineers, mechanical engineers, architects, interior designers and design professionals as well as geospatial and building technicians.

AutoCAD is basically a vector-oriented drawing program that is built on simple objects such as lines, polylines, circles, arcs and texts, which in turn form the basis for more complex 3D objects.

The developed AutoCAD file formats. Dwg and. Dxf form an industry standard for the exchange of CAD data. According to Autodesk about three billion files have been created since the invention of the DWG format, of which one billion was actively worked on in 2006.

Operating Systems

AutoCAD run under MS -DOS and has been ported to Unix and Apple Macintosh. Since Release 14 in the 90s, only Microsoft Windows is a supported operating system. Since October 15, 2010 AutoCAD is available for Mac OS X (version 10.5.8 ).

With AutoCAD WS also simplified, free versions are available as webapp and native mobile app for smartphones and tablet PCs available ( Android and iOS ).


The current version is AutoCAD 2014, published in March 2013. The current German version was launched in April 2013.

AutoCAD first appearance


AutoCAD is available in different versions with different features.


AutoCAD is a software for editing technical drawings as vector graphics in 2D and 3D. The software is programmed in C and has several programming interfaces, such as AutoLISP. AutoCAD is often used with additional software that is used with predefined symbols, macros and calculation functions for fast creation of engineering drawings. In the course of further development of these functions have been integrated directly into the AutoCAD-based products.


AutoCAD LT AutoCAD is a simplified version, with the most 2D drawings are created and owns the less programming interfaces. Again, there are additional software that is used by the predefined symbols, macros, and software with calculation functions for fast creation of engineering drawings. Due to the lower functionality of AutoCAD LT is cheaper than the 3D version AutoCAD.

AutoCAD Mechanical

AutoCAD Mechanical is an extension of AutoCAD for mechanical engineering sector (CAD / CAM), which was created from the former German software house GENIUS CAD software GmbH in Amberg, through the acquisition by Autodesk. It is a very powerful 2D application with extended command set, standard parts, calculations and BOM functions.

The sooner displaced extension Mechanical Desktop for 3D mechanical design is no longer being developed. Instead, there is the much more powerful and advanced 3D parametric program for the construction in mechanics and engineering, Autodesk Inventor, of which meanwhile version 2014 ( Inventor 2014) is current. AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical and Autodesk Inventor are marketed with other products as a package with the name " Product Design Suite ". An extension is " Product Design Suite Ultimate " with the " Inventor " that extends the functionality of the FEM calculation, dynamic simulation, pipeline and cable harness design. The management of design data can be done using Autodesk Vault.

AutoCAD Architecture

AutoCAD Architecture is an advanced AutoCAD version for the construction and architectural market ( CAAD ), the (walls, windows, stairs, roofs, etc. ) has a predefined 3D library for components that are required to construct buildings. AutoCAD Architecture replaced the developed until the introduction of Autodesk Architectural Desktop ( ADT). As with other software solutions based on AutoCAD ( Civil3D, Inventor, ...) is a so-called vertical product. The drawing is selectively produced in 2D or 3D and floor plans, elevations and sections, which are necessary for the construction will be created automatically. Since AutoCAD Architecture is object- oriented and dominated the IFC format, it can be counted among the BIM CAD systems.


AutoCAD MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing ) is an advanced AutoCAD Architecture variant for building services (HVAC / MEP ), which has a predefined 3D library of components which are needed to construct building systems ( boilers, radiators, pipes, pipe fittings, air conditioning components, electrical lines, switches and cans, etc. ) features. The drawing will be completely customized and 3D floor plans, elevations and sections, which are necessary for building are created automatically as in AutoCAD Architecture. Compatibility with AutoCAD Architecture is guaranteed.

AutoCAD Map 3D

AutoCAD Map 3D is based on AutoCAD and adds to this wide range of functions in the area of ​​cartography. Created with the program and edited one technical cards. It is possible to integrate data from many sources and also perform spatial data analysis to some extent by various interfaces. In the current version, the 3D features have been enhanced so can generate among other contour maps.

Autodesk Topobase

1998 Topobase software was published by the Swiss company C -Plan AG in Gümligen as AutoCAD extension. In 2005 it was announced that the company would be taken by Autodesk, what happened in 2006. The extension makes AutoCAD Map 3D to a geographic information system and is based on a schematized according to standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium database with Oracle Spatial extension. Since the 2012 version it is integrated into Map 3D and suitable for all industry models.

Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server

Also TB Web GIS has been developed by C-Plan next Topobase. After acquisition by Autodesk, the software was offered as Autodesk Topobase Web.

Autodesk has developed the PHP-based Web GIS Framework Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise, the open source by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation as OSGeo MapGuide Open Source is available.

The products Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise and Autodesk Topobase Web were merged to Mapserver software with Web-GIS framework called Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server.

AutoCAD Civil 3D

AutoCAD Civil 3D is based on AutoCAD and is responsible for the processing of civil engineering projects, especially roads, landscape planning, terrain modeling and water, are suitable. To facilitate the processing of projects that run over large and complex terrain, the full functionality of AutoCAD Map 3D is integrated into AutoCAD Civil 3D.

AutoCAD ecscad

AutoCAD ecscad based on AutoCAD and is suitable for the design of electrical control systems, so-called circuit diagrams.

Autodesk AutoSketch

The program also supplied by Autodesk Sketchbook is not really a CAD program, but a simple vector drawing program. Current version is Sketchbook 2011.

Programming interfaces

AutoCAD offers a variety of programming interfaces ( APIs) for customization and automation. As an internal programming interfaces are available today

As well as interfaces to other programming languages ​​:

  • Visual Basic
  • C ( ObjectARX )
  • . NET

Through the use of default drawings, blocks, symbols, line styles and special external programs, for example of the output of calculation results can be created or modified relatively easily almost all geometric and technical diagrams.

File Formats

AutoCAD uses only its own completely proprietary file formats.


Outwardly, this file format is by the file name attachment. Dwg, marked for 'normal' drawing files. The abbreviation stands for drawing (English for " drawing "). The documentation of the file structure is not free, but can be found online one, apparently obtained by re-engineering, documentation

The DWG file format has been continuously adapted to the requirements of the respective versions of AutoCAD and expanded. So the format with the introduction of version AutoCAD 2000, AutoCAD 2004, AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2010 was changed. Termed DWG 2000, DWG 2004, DWG 2007, DWG 2010, DWG 2013 format can not be read in older versions of AutoCAD. The limited compatibility of the DWG file format to older versions of AutoCAD can be circumvented by the use of the DXF file format, and the use of external converter programs partially. The first 6 bytes of a DWG file can be read with an ordinary text editor. Specify the version of the DWG file. Current files of version AutoCAD 2013 to AutoCAD 2014 starting with the header AC1027.


The DXF interface is an open source interface of the manufacturer Autodesk and is not subject to neutral Standardization Committee, the documentation for DXF but is freely available. It is a readable ASCII characters stored image of the binary DWG. AutoCAD supports DXF ( drawing interchange format, " drawing exchange format " ) for data exchange with other CAD programs in the current version and each still usually 3-4 older stands.

The DXF file format directly supported 2D and 3D coordinates, as well as lines, arcs, and simple surfaces and more complex geometry elements such as blocks, ARX objects and dimensions. It is possible with simple means, for example, text editors, and almost all programming languages ​​, including the VBA from Excel to generate DXF files to analyze or manipulate. These opportunities are particularly suitable for geometric and geometric -based calculations of CAD models, for example for the optimization of space. The structure is very clear, simple and structured.

This interface has established itself in the CAD market as a quasi - standard data exchange, although it was not developed by Autodesk with this objective. The DXF format was created by Autodesk to to pass geometric information from AutoCAD to an internal or external application for further use. Similarly, the result should be passed to AutoCAD for example, a calculation again from the application back. For this purpose, a list of geometric objects created by the developers and documented. This open documentation was then adopted by other CAD, CNC and CAM manufacturers due to its simple structure and overview as a CAD interface. It is often the lowest common denominator of many vector graphics programs and is supported by almost everyone. However, most all the features of the other manufacturers are not fully supported and therefore sometimes go crucial details in the exchange via DXF lost.

Also the DXF file format was how the DWG file format, continuously adapted to the requirements of the respective versions of AutoCAD and expanded.


The DXB file format (English drawing exchange format, binary ) is a binary form of the DXF file format. It is extremely compact, can be read and written quickly in relation to DXF, but is considerably more expensive than the ASCII version of the programmer. DXB is only used in a few mainly time-critical applications.


Another format is completely proprietary file format DWF ( engl. design web format) as highly compressed vector format for presentation on the Internet and to the view. The format is documented. A DWF Toolkit with C API for reading and writing is available with source code free of charge at Autodesk. DWFx is a further development of DWF, which is based on the XPS format from Microsoft.


Another format is the DGN file format, which is defined by MicroStation and is also supported in the current versions of AutoCAD. The abbreviation stands for DGN design (English for "draft" ).


Another format is the file format SHP (English shapefile, not to be confused with the ESRI shapefile ), a symbol definition. This file format is used for the coding of drawing elements at the lowest level and is compiled prior to use SHX. Areas of application are custom hatching, lines, dimensions, or fonts. Only the most basic objects are defined as lines and arcs.


For AutoCAD there are too many fields of specialty applications. For example, for the construction industry, mechanical engineering (see above), the landscaping, the supply and electrical engineering. These are usually written in C . Autodesk offers here with ObjectARX (C API ), the corresponding bases. The development will also apply here. NET. Simple program tools ( tools ) are sometimes written in Visual Basic or VBA. There are also a variety of AutoLISP routines that are often exchanged in the free forums. A list of commercial applications can be found in Autodesk catalog.

Literature and training materials

  • Günter Scheuermann: 3D design with Mechanical Desktop 6 ( CD - ROM). 2nd edition. Hanser Fachbuchverlag, 2003, ISBN 978-3-446-22549-7.
  • Andreas re: Autocad Mechanical 6 Basics: Autodesk Official Training Courseware Specto courseware. CAD TRAINING WIEDE, 2001, ISBN 978-3-932850-33-2.
  • Detlef Ridder: Architectural Desktop .. Mitp -Verlag, 2004, ISBN 978-3-8266-1487-3.
  • Michael Gehrlein: AutoCAD MEP 2014 Fundamentals Volume 1, 2014, ISBN 978-3-00-045252-9.
  • Andreas Habelt: Autocad Basics 2014 video2brain, 2014..

Pictures of AutoCAD