One of the questions that people usually ask when they are about to start learning a computer aided design application is whether they should learn AutoCAD or SolidWorks. Of course, the two are the most well-known applications for computer aided design purposes right now. AutoCAD has been around for a long time; in fact, it was used to design the Apollo spacecraft. It is considered as the artifact weapon of architects, graphic designers, and engineers. On the other hand, SolidWorks is newer, but packs numerous modern features that attract industry users. Below, we are going to see the differences between AutoCAD and SolidWorks to help you choose.
Compatible Operating Systems
If you want to use the app on a particular operating system, you should note that SolidWorks by DassaultSystemes is only available for Microsoft Windows. On the other hand, AutoCAD is quite more flexible because it is available for both Microsoft Windows and macOS, and even mobile operating systems Android and iOS. So, if you like the idea of being able to work on your mobile tablet just like on your personal computer, AutoCAD makes a very interesting option.
AutoCAD emerged as a computer aided design application for 2D modeling. It uses lots of keyboard commands in addition to mouse controls. Today, it is still used for 2D modeling, but it has been updated to support 3D modeling as well. Still, it does 3D modeling based as its legacy as a 2D keyword-driven app.
On the other hand, SolidWorks has been designed for 3D modeling from the core, allowing you to perform both top-down and bottom-up parametric models. SolidWorks is primarily mouse-driven. In theory, if you map enough functions to your 3D mouse buttons, you will never have to touch the keyboard. Such control is much more intuitive and practical. Seeing technologies like Microsoft Kinect and Leap Motion, we can assume that such 3D control is the future of the computer aided design applications, and SolidWorks seems to be more ready with such technologies.
AutoCAD and SolidWorks are used in different fields. Due to the 2D/3D capabilities and legacy, AutoCAD is very popular for architectural and construction designs. If you are studying architecture or construction, AutoCAD is nearly a must-have tool. On the other hand, though can also be used for architecture, SolidWorks is more popular for industrial purposes, such as designing mechanical components or devices.
|- Supports 3D modeling, but greatly based on the 2D legacy||- Supports 2D and 3D modeling|
|- Keyboard and mouse driven||- Can be completely mouse driven using a 3D mouse|
|- Mainly used for architectural and construction designs||- Popularly used for engineering and industrial purposes|
|- Available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS||- Only available for Windows|
AutoCAD remains as a viable option because of the compatibilities with multiple operating systems, including the mobile ones. Furthermore, if you are learning architecture or construction, AutoCAD is a good choice. However, for industrial purposes, SolidWorks is the way to go. SolidWorks also makes a great choice due to the incredibly intuitive control.