AutoCAD is a CAD (Computer Aided Design or Computer Aided Drafting) software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting. It was developed and sold by Autodesk, Inc.First released in December 1982, AutoCAD was one of the first CAD programs to run onpersonal computers, notably the IBM PC. At that time, most other CAD programs ran onmainframe computers or mini-computers which were connected to a graphics computer terminal for each user.
Early releases of AutoCAD used primitive entities — lines, polylines, circles, arcs, and text — to construct more complex objects. Since the mid-1990s, AutoCAD has supported custom objects through its C++ Application Programming Interface (API). Modern AutoCAD includes a full set of basic solid modeling and 3D tools. With the release of AutoCAD 2007 came improved 3D modeling, which meant better navigation when working in 3D. Moreover, it became easier to edit 3D models. The mental ray engine was included in rendering, it was now possible to do quality renderings. AutoCAD 2010 introduced parametric functionality and mesh modeling.
AutoCAD supports a number of APIs for customization and automation. These includeAutoLISP, 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, to create products such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, or third-party AutoCAD-based applications.
Currently, AutoCAD only runs under Microsoft Windows operating systems. It is available in 32-bit and in native 64-bit versions. Versions for Unix and Mac OS were released in the 1980s and 1990s, but these were later dropped. AutoCAD can run on an emulator orcompatibility layer like VMware Workstation or Wine, albeit subject to various performance issues that can often arise when working with 3D objects or large drawings.
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT are available for English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Russian, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Brazilian, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Vietnamese. 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.