AutoCAD was derived from a program that began in 1977, and then released in 1979 called Interact CAD, also referred to in early Autodesk documents as MicroCAD, which was written prior to Autodesk’s (then Marinchip Software Partners) formation by Autodesk cofounder Michael Riddle.
The first version by Autodesk was demonstrated at the 1982 Comdex and released that December. AutoCAD supported CP/M-80 computers. As Autodesk’s flagship product, by March 1986 AutoCAD had become the most ubiquitous CAD program worldwide. The 2020 release marked the 34th major release of AutoCAD for Windows. The 2019 release marked the ninth consecutive year of AutoCAD for Mac. The native file format of AutoCAD is .dwg. This and, to a lesser extent, its interchange file format DXF, have become de facto, if proprietary, standards for CAD data interoperability, particularly for 2D drawing exchange. AutoCAD has included support for .dwf, a format developed and promoted by Autodesk, for publishing CAD data.
Compatibility with other software
ESRI ArcMap 10 permits export as AutoCAD drawinfiles. Civil 3D permits export as AutoCAD objects and as LandXML. Third-party file converters exist for specific formats such as Bentley MX GENIO Extension, PISTE Extension (France), ISYBAU (Germany), OKSTRA and Microdrainage (UK); also, conversion of .pdf files is feasible, however, the accuracy of the results may be unpredictable or distorted. For example, jagged edges may appear. Several vendors provide online conversions for free such as Cometdocs.autoCAD commonly use in all purposes.
Auto CAD and AutoCAD LT are available for English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Polish and Hungarian, Albanian (also through additional language packs). The extent of localization varies from full translation of the product to documentation only. The AutoCAD command set is localized as a part of the software localization.
AutoCAD supports a number of APIs for customization and automation. These include AutoLISP, Visual LISP, VBA, .NET and ObjectARX. ObjectARX is a C++ class library, which was also the base for:
products extending AutoCAD functionality to specific fields
creating products such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D
third-party AutoCAD-based application
There are a large number of AutoCAD plugins (add-on applications) available on the application store Autodesk Exchange Apps. AutoCAD’s DXF, drawing exchange format, allows importing and exporting drawing information.
For example, AutoCAD Architecture (formerly Architectural Desktop) permits architectural designers to draw 3D 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 construction industry, or extracted into a data file for pricing, materials estimation, and other values related to the objects represented.
Additional tools generate standard 2D drawings, such as elevations and sections, from a 3D architectural model. Similarly, Civil Design, Civil Design 3D, and Civil Design Professional support data-specific objects facilitating easy standard civil engineering calculations and representations.
Softdesk Civil was developed as an AutoCAD add-on by a company in New Hampshire called Softdesk (originally DCA). Softdesk was acquired by Autodesk, and Civil became Land Development Desktop (LDD), later renamed Land Desktop. Civil 3D was later developed and Land Desktop was retired.
AutoCAD LT is the lower cost version of AutoCAD, with reduced capabilities, first released in November 1993. Autodesk developed AutoCAD LT to have an entry-level CAD package to compete in the lower price level. Priced at $495, it became the first AutoCAD product priced below $1000. It was sold directly by Autodesk and in computer stores unlike the full version of AutoCAD, which must be purchased from official Autodesk dealers. AutoCAD LT 2015 introduced Desktop Subscription from $360 per year; as of 2018, three subscription plans were available, from $50 a month to a 3-year, $1170 license.
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