Is AutoCAD a One Time Purchase?

Is AutoCAD a One Time Purchase?

AutoCAD is a widely used computer-aided design (CAD) software that has revolutionized the design and engineering industries. With its powerful features and extensive capabilities, AutoCAD has become an essential tool for professionals in various fields.

However, one question that often arises among potential users is whether AutoCAD is a one-time purchase or if it requires recurring payments. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

The Subscription Model

In recent years, Autodesk, the company behind AutoCAD, has transitioned to a subscription-based pricing model for most of its software products, including AutoCAD. This means that instead of purchasing a perpetual license upfront, users now have the option to subscribe to the software on a monthly, annual, or multi-year basis.

Benefits of Subscription: The subscription model offers several advantages to users. Firstly, it provides access to the latest version of AutoCAD and any updates or new features as soon as they are released.

This ensures that you are always working with the most up-to-date tools and functionalities.

Secondly, subscribing to AutoCAD allows you to install the software on multiple devices, making it more convenient for users who work on different computers or need access on both their desktop and laptop.

Drawbacks of Subscription: While the subscription model has its benefits, it also comes with some drawbacks. The recurring cost can be a significant consideration for individuals or businesses operating on tight budgets.

Over time, these monthly or annual payments can add up and potentially outweigh the cost of a perpetual license.

Perpetual Licenses

Although Autodesk has shifted its focus towards subscription-based pricing, perpetual licenses for AutoCAD are still available. A perpetual license provides the user with a one-time purchase of the software, allowing them to use that specific version indefinitely.

Benefits of Perpetual Licenses: The primary advantage of a perpetual license is that it offers a one-time payment, making it more cost-effective in the long run. If you plan on using AutoCAD for an extended period and do not require regular software updates, a perpetual license may be the better option.

Drawbacks of Perpetual Licenses: However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Firstly, perpetual licenses do not include access to new features or updates that may become available after your purchase.

To benefit from these updates, you would need to purchase additional licenses or upgrade to a subscription plan.

Secondly, perpetual licenses are typically tied to a specific version of AutoCAD. If you require compatibility with newer file formats or want access to the latest tools and functionalities, you would need to upgrade your license at an additional cost.

Which Option is Right for You?

Determining whether a subscription or perpetual license is right for you depends on various factors such as your budget, workflow requirements, and the frequency of software updates you desire.

If you prioritize:

  • Cost-effectiveness: A perpetual license may be more suitable for those who can afford the upfront payment and do not require regular software updates.
  • Latest features and updates: If staying up-to-date with the latest tools and functionalities is crucial for your work, a subscription plan ensures continuous access.
  • Flexibility and multiple device usage: Subscription plans allow you to install AutoCAD on multiple devices, providing convenience and flexibility in your workflow.


In conclusion, AutoCAD is no longer solely available as a one-time purchase. While perpetual licenses still exist, Autodesk has shifted towards a subscription-based model for most of its products, including AutoCAD.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to consider your specific needs and budget when deciding which option is right for you. Whether you choose a subscription or a perpetual license, AutoCAD continues to be a powerful tool for design and engineering professionals.