13 free CAD software | drafting software for Windows, Mac and Linux

Are you looking for free cad software? You come to the right place. CAD (computer aided design) software is widely used in all engineering and architecture careers to create both 2D and 3D designs. To use the software you must buy one either from prominent vendors such as AutoDesk or use free drafting software. Usually, the commercial versions of most drafting software are expensive. Don’t worry, despite some limitations you can still create drawings, plans and 3D models with free cad software.

Here I have searched the entire net and listed most of them for you.

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AutoCAD Student Version


If you are a student and pursuing your degree in engineering or a faculty member, you can download and use this free cad software. The student version is only intended for teaching, learning and training purposes.  It is not allowed to use it for commercial, professional or for-profit instructional purposes. Like the commercial versions the educational version is fully functional except when plotting the term “educational version” is stamped on all sides of the paper output.

Compatibility: AutoCAD 2008 or older versions are compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista and recent versions (2009 – 2013) support Windows 7 both for 32-bit and 62-bit.

Website: AutoCAD Student

Draft IT

There are four versions of DRAFT IT, the FREE version and three enhanced versions PLUS, PRO and Architectural.  Features such as dynamic dimension display, snap to end points, mid points, intersections etc are supported. Also some of the drawings tools we found in AutoCAD such as Line, Arc, Circle, Rectangle, Offset, Rectangular and polar arrays are also included.

On the other hand, the free version has limitations comparing to the commercial versions (Draft IT Pro and Draft IT Architectural). You can’t import/export AutoCAD DWG and DXF and Adobe PDF file formats in the free version. Since it is free drafting software, you can download and see the other yourself.

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7

Website: DraftIt

Draft Sight

If you are looking for free cad software that can create, edit and view DWG files, DraftSight fulfills the requirement. This free, professional-grade 2D CAD product works like AutoCAD and has very similar interface. DraftSight user interface includes Main menu (drop down, context menu), graphics area, standard Toolbar, layout tabs, status bar, model and sheet window, command window, Palettes and set of tool bars.

DraftSight is a standalone version ideal for individual design need and can be used without limitation. But to download the software you will be asked free registration. It has also well complied freely available user’s guide that tells each steps if you weren’t familiar with CAD software before.

Compatibility:  works with Windows, Linux and Mac

Website: DraftSight


CadStd is a simple and easy to use 2D free cad software. You can create quality mechanical designs, house plans, blueprints, schematics and charts using CadStd software. One of the beauties of CadStd is that it can import and export DXF file that lets you share and work with AutoCAD.

You can create Arcs, Arrows, B-Splines, Circles, Linear Dimensions, Lines, Polylines, and Text. It also supports snaps such as Intersection, Tangent, Center, End, Midpoint, Perpendicular, etc. other than DXF you can import/export SVG, HPGL/1 or copy images into office or other applications. In addition it can export watermarked PDF, Postscript and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

Compatibility: Windows 7, Vista, XP, NT, ME, 98 or 95 (OSR2) and supports both 32 and 64 bit systems with minimal memory

Website: www.cadstd.com

DoubleCAD XT

DoubleCAD XT is a full featured free cad software that supports most tools we found in AutoCAD or other drafting software. If you get used to AutoCAD, the interface of DoubleCAD XT will be familiar to you. It comes with advanced drawings tools, editing/modification tools and dimension types. You can use DoubleCAD XT for personal, educational or commercial purpose without limitation. However, as you may find soon, though it incorporates known AutoCAD tools, it is not as easy as AutoCAD.

The features of Double CAD XT includes:-

  • It is compatible with SketchUP.SPK and AutoCAD (DWG). Open and save DWG, DXF and DWF formats up to AutoCAD 2009
  • It features layering, automatic scaling of units between drawings, advanced polyline editing, self-healing, flatten 3D to 2D views, smart dimensions, split objects, viewport exploding, Import xrefs etc.
  • Built-in with free DWG viewer
  • Can import and export files to DWG, SKP, DXF, PLT, WMF etc
  • Creates and edits Hatch patterns from bitmaps, transparency and full color
  • Works with 3D models, view an object in 3D perspective or use Orthogonal Views for object with dimension

There are many more features DoublCAD XT free cad software.

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7

Website: DoubleCAD


Developed by Russian company, NanoCAD is the other free cad software comes with features that suites wide range of professions, ease of use and cost effective implementation. NanoCAD incorporates all the necessary tools required for basic design and allows you to create both 2D and 3D vector objects. The drawings space, command line, place of menus and icons on the toolbars are easily recognizable. It has familiar interface similar to AutoCAD.

Some of the features include:-

  • It uses DWG format
  • It has Powerful Excel Style Table Editor which helps to create tables with macros in their cells
  • Support automation through scripting
  • Provides Application programming interface (API) such C++ and C#
  • Allows to edit lines using built-in Linetype editor
  • Allows extending plotting functionalities and batch plotting

Sure, NanoCAD is deserves to be one of the best free cad software we may find on the net. Free technical support is provided through NanoSoft community forum.

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7

Website: www.nanocad.com

Microstation PowerDraft V8i

Microstation PowerDraft V8i is a 2D general purpose computer drafting program provided by Bentley Systems, one of the leading providers of CAD software. It is like AutoCAD but PowerDraft has some advanced and powerful commands we usually don’t find in AutoCAD. These include self referencing, smartline, single-click element Dimensioning, Verb/Noun or Noun/Verb method of commands. The software can also be used for 3D modeling.

This free floor plan software is available for students and schools at no charge. And the functionality of the PowerDraft V8i is no less than the professional version. Means, you can create both 2D/3D drawings in all disciplines.

If you are new to CAD or need additional help, the Microstation PowerDraft Student Training guide will take you through the whole process of creating drawings using step by step illustrations and exercises.

Some of the feature of this free drafting software include:-

  • Receives graphic input from mouse or digitizer (no command line input like AutoCAD, which is one of the weaknesses of Microstation, I believe so). I use keyboard input to create drawings.
  • Create a drawing using basic building elements such as lines, arcs, French curves, point, text etc.
  • Manipulate unlimited number of different layers
  • Can separate information by use of reference drawings
  • Can display from 1 to 8 different views of the same file
  • Views drawings through up to eight windows
  • Can assign attributes for each element created
  • Microstation PowerDraft has .DGN file extension but can open DWG as well

Though it is a free drafting software, Microstation PowerDraft is a professional-level drafting tool you may worth to try. The software works for 30 days. After that you must reactivate by connecting to the internet for another 30 days.

Compatibility: Windows XP (all editions), Windows Server 2003/2008, Vista, Windows 7

Website: Microstation PowerDraft


Built-in with the necessary basic drawing tools LibreCAD is open source free drafting software used to create simple 2D designs. Like AutoCAD, LibreCAD has drawing area, toolbars with frequently used commands, layer window, command window and status bar. Other than the main drawing interface, you can draw different objects (ex. line, circle, arc, ellipse) using CAD commands that are common in most CAD systems. LibreCAD supports dimensioning, modifying an entity, drawing elements using snap commands. You can also create, insert, explode, rename or edit a block.

The produced drawings can be saved in DXF, CXF, JWW file formats. You can also export the drawing to JPG, PNG, BMP, SVG, TIFF formats for presentation purpose.

To create simple but fill informational 2D drawing either for your own or for your client, LibreCAD is free drafting software you may give a try.

Compatibility: Windows, Linux and Mac

Website: LibreCAD

Vector Engineer Quick-tools

VectorEngineer is a 2D free computer drafting software developed for creating technical drawings that include professional drawings, working drawings, designs, plans, layouts and diagrams. You only enter input commands and data through mouse click (mouse driven).

VectorEngineer interface comprises two main parts: Drawing area and floating toolbar. The floating toolbar holds all drawing and editing tools you need to create a drawing. You can draw, edit, dimension, insert text, view, and layer a drawing. Some snap controls also supported. In the professional version more advanced tools are supported.

After creating a drawing you can save it as VEC or DXF. The DXF format lets you to open the drawing in AutoCAD.

Compatibility: Windows 98, 2000, Vista and Windows 7

Website: Vector Engineer


BabaCAD is free drafting software which can be used to create technical designs. The file extension of BabaCAD drawing is DXF, one of widely used AutoCAD file format. You can open, edit and view any DXF drawing with BabaCAD. It has command window where it allows you to enter commands and non complicated professional looking interface.

Some of the features of this computer drafting program includes:-

  • Draw and modify 2D vector objects
  • Objects snap, tracking and coordinates input from command window
  • Use different colors, line types, line widths by block or by layer
  • Can insert standard images
  • Import/export standard DXF CAD files
  • Works even on old hardware

BabaCAD free drafting software has some similarities with AutoCAD but limited features. However, you can create any 2D drawing quickly.

Compatibility: Works on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7

Website: BabaCAD


A9CAD is another general purpose 2D free drafting software from A9Tech. It is built-in with the most important features of CAD. You can draw most common shapes, enter text and dimension. Drawing modify tools such as move, scale, rotate, explode, trim, fillet and mirror are supported. The industry standard formats, DWG/DXF are supported as well.

It has a property where you can change attributes of individual objects and manage drawing styles and settings and configure drawing environment.

Compatibility: Windows 98, 2000, Me and XP

Website: A9CAD

CAD X11 Free

CAD X11 Free is free computer drafting software that includes 3D wire frame modeling and 2D drafting tools. The developers claim that, it is particularly ideal for mechanical drafting. The standard features of CAD X11 comprises surfacing, DXF import, True Type Font support, Undo/redo, dynamic rotations, multiple views, data verification, geometric analysis, crosshatching etc. Advanced feature such as cross sections, 3D cubic spline, surface edge curve, surface intersection curve etc are supported.

One of the weak sides of CAD X11 free CAD programs is the output. It only output the produced drawing to Windows printer and PDF.

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7

Website: CAD X11 Free

ProgCAD Smart

ProgCAD smart is AutoCAD compatible free drafting software available for non-business, student and learning use only. Built-in with industry standard AutoCAD commands, the software reads and writes AutoCAD DWG files from old version to 2009. Some of the features of ProgeCAD Smart include AutoCAD Menu, Script, Font compatibility, Auto lisp compatibility, express tools, export to PDF and JPG.

Other advanced tools are also built in with this Computer drafting program, so check out their website for more information.

Compatibility: Windows XP and Vista

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