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Posted by in AutoCAD Tutorials and Tips, Learn to Freelance | 2 comments

The 2013 Guide To: Alternative AutoCAD Software Options

It was about this time last year when I posted a quick round up of the most popular and widely used alternatives to Autodesks AutoCAD. While the post turned out to be missing a few key software options it still became one of my most popular posts last year and I have received a bunch of requests to update it with the new options that are out there for us as Drafters and Designers.

With the new year just starting decided to take some time to search out the most widely used Autocad alternatives that are similar to AutoCAD in use and layout as well as cheaper.

In the spirit of honesty and the best interest of you I will not be offering any detailed reviews or recommendations since I do not have much experience with many of these programs. As you probably know based on my videos I personally use the AutoDesk suite of drafting software and have only had a little experience with other software.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links that will earn me a commission if you purchase through them. If you do, I very much appreciate it and if you have any questions at all don’t forget to just ask!

Now on with the software!

The 2013 Guide To: The Alternative Autocad Software Options


 Bricscad:  A very popular and cheaper AutoCAD Alternative, this 2d and 3d drafting software is a great choice. Plus it’s compatible with most/all Autocad file formats.

Bricscad - Cheaper Autocad Alternative Options



FreeCAD:  FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeler for CAD, MCAD, CAx, CAE and PLM, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits a wider range of uses in engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties. It is 100% Open Source and extremely modular, allowing for very advanced extension and customization.

FreeCAD is based on OpenCasCade, a powerful geometry kernel, features an Open Inventor-compliant 3D scene representation model provided by the Coin 3D library, and a broad Python API. The interface is built with Qt. FreeCAD runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux platforms.
free open source CAD Software linux, pc, mac

ProgeCAD: progeCAD is powerful DWG/DXF-native CAD software, a cost-effective AutoCAD® replacement, built for professional drafting. Optimize design costs without renouncing quality and compatibility of the industry standard.

progeCAD guarantees maximum compatibility with AutoCAD® drawings: reads, writes and saves directly in the native AutoCAD® format.
Click here to View/Buy on Amazon

alternative cad software option


Draftsight: DraftSight lets professional CAD users, students and educators create, edit and view DWG files. DraftSight runs on Windows®, Mac® and Linux.

free autocad alternative



ZWCAD: a powerful Autocad Alternative CAD Software with native DWG format. It offers nearly 100% of the functionality for 90% of mainstream AutoCAD users at less than one-fifth (1/5th) the price.

Click here to view/buy on amazon

cheap autocad software


LibreCAD: LibreCAD is a free Open Source CAD application for Windows, Apple and Linux. Support and documentation is free from our large, dedicated community of users, contributors and developers. You, too, can also get involved!

free autocad software alternative



PythonCAD: PythonCAD is a CAD package written in Python. The PythonCAD project aims to produce a scriptable, open-source, intuitive, cross platform CAD package.

open source cad software


AutoCAD LT: A cheaper yet almost as fully featured version of the full autocad software. I have used Autocad LT many times and like the fact that everything feels the same as regular autocad yet it’s less than a third of the price.

For more info/or to buy click here

cheaper cad alternative

While there are certainly more options on the market when it comes to AutoCAD alternatives, I feel that these choices which range from free and open source options all the way up to semi professional options at 8-9 hundred dollars are the most similar to Autocad, affordable and popular options available now.

I stuck with these particular packages as they are all 2d drafting software and offer compatibility and ease of use similar to that of AutoCAD.
With that said though I am completely open to hearing what you are using right now as an alternative or if you simply use the full version of AutoCAD like I do? Let me know in the comments below:)

PS. If you would like to support Better at Everything and pick up the same version of AutoCAD I use in most of my tutorials and day to day work you can use my affiliate link here:


PPS. I hope this list has helped you find a viable option for your drafting needs but if you have any questions at all please, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments below, or email me: admin  at


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  • JvdH

    I’m using Delcam PowerShape as an alternative. I don’t use it professionally though. Just for teaching myself how to engineer / design in 3d, by shaping little hobby projects.

    • brandon loehr

      Thank you for the tip, I’ll have to check out Delcam PowerShape for the next time I make an AutoCAD alternatives post