June 20, 2024
Get a comprehensive guide explaining whether AutoCAD is free, a comparison of its various versions, the benefits of using it, free alternatives & how to get discounted AutoCAD access, and explore the free trial version features. Make an informed choice to purchase AutoCAD today.


If you are looking for computer-aided design (CAD) software, then AutoCAD is likely on your radar. However, the first question that comes to most people’s minds is whether AutoCAD is free or not. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail, and provide you with a comprehensive guide to understanding AutoCAD’s costs, benefits, free alternative software options, free trial, and student discounts.

A Guide to Understanding AutoCAD Costs

Before understanding whether AutoCAD is free or not, it is essential to look at its various versions and their associated costs. AutoCAD comes in many options, and each is tailored to meet specific professional needs. AutoCAD’s prices range from $1,690 to $2,970 per year, depending on the subscription model chosen. However, there are also monthly subscription plans, with prices starting at $210 per month.

AutoCAD offers three subscription plans:

  • AutoCAD – This plan includes basic 2D drafting and documentation tools and is ideal for users who only need to create 2D drawings.
  • AutoCAD LT – This plan is more affordable and is for users who need to create 2D drawings or those who want to create, edit, and document their work with significant ease still.
  • AutoCAD Architecture – This plan is tailored to meet the needs of architects and designers. It offers specialized tools for building design and construction documentation that speeds the architectural design process.

There are also industry-specific AutoCAD subscriptions, such as AutoCAD Electrical and AutoCAD Mechanical, which cater to the needs of electrical and mechanical engineers.

However, just because AutoCAD is expensive does not mean that it’s not worth the cost. In the next section, we will explore whether AutoCAD is worth the price.

Is AutoCAD Worth the Cost?

AutoCAD is one of the most popular computer-aided design programs, and for good reason. It offers a range of powerful tools that can increase productivity, accuracy, and speed up drafting processes. AutoCAD’s parametric tools, for instance, can help in creating accurate 3D models and reduce design time by up to 80%. Similarly, AutoCAD’s customization features allow designers to tailor the software to meet their specific needs, making it an incredibly efficient design tool.

Some of the benefits of using AutoCAD include:

  • Improved accuracy in measurements and design.
  • Speed and ease of use, thanks to the software’s automation and customization features.
  • Better collaboration since AutoCAD is the industry-standard software, and its files can be shared seamlessly between professionals across the globe.

However, this does not guarantee that AutoCAD is worth the price for every user. One must assess the benefits against the price to determine whether it’s worth the investment.

AutoCAD is particularly useful in the following situations:

  • Large-scale projects with intricate designs
  • Design projects that require 3D modeling
  • Collaborative projects where professionals on different platforms need to work together.

AutoCAD vs. Free Alternatives: Which is Right for You?

While AutoCAD remains the industry-standard CAD software, several free alternative options are worth considering. For example, the open-source software LibreCAD is free and offers a versatile set of 2D CAD tools. Similarly, SketchUp offers a free version with basic 3D modeling tools and a paid version with advanced features.

One of the main advantages of free alternatives is that you can try them out before making a purchase. Also, the learning curve for free software is often more natural, and training materials are abundant. Free alternative software options are also useful for small-scale projects or those that require only basic functions and simple designs.

However, they also come with limitations and cons, such as limited features, reduced productivity, and less accuracy. Free software also often lacks the level of support that paid software offers and may require more troubleshooting to resolve issues.

Exploring AutoCAD’s Free Trial: What You Need to Know

If you are uncertain about whether to make an investment in AutoCAD, Autodesk offers a free trial version. This free trial version gives aspiring CAD professionals a chance to try out the software’s various features before committing to a subscription.

Autodesk’s trial version lets you try AutoCAD’s full range of features for up to 30 days at no cost. This trial version comes with the same tools and functions as the paid version, offering designers the chance to explore the software’s capabilities fully.

However, this free trial version comes with some limitations. These limitations include a watermark on all designs, and it’s not possible to print nor export designs. It’s essential to note that unlocking these restrictions requires purchasing a subscription.

Therefore, it’s important to take advantage of the trial period and explore the software’s features fully before making a purchase.

AutoCAD for Students: Free and Discounted Options

For students, Autodesk offers free and discounted access to AutoCAD software, including the software’s full range of tools. This access is available through the Autodesk Education Community program.

The Autodesk Education Community program is open to students and educators worldwide who are enrolled in qualified educational institutions. Once enrolled, students can access AutoCAD for free for up to three years.

Additionally, educators can also receive discounts on software subscriptions, training materials, and certifications.


In conclusion, AutoCAD is not free, but its cost is justified by its functions and benefits. However, there are free alternatives worthy of consideration, and students can access AutoCAD for free or discounted prices.

When looking into purchasing AutoCAD, one should consider their professional needs and levels of usage to determine which version provides the most benefits.

You can even try AutoCAD before buying it, thanks to the free trial version. Whatever route you choose, the important thing is to get started and explore AutoCAD’s range of powerful features.

If you are looking for reliable and efficient computer-aided design software, AutoCAD is the right choice for you.

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