What’s the Difference Between AutoCAD and Inventor?

When it comes to computer-aided design (CAD) software, two popular names often come up: AutoCAD and Inventor. Both are widely used in the industry and offer powerful features for designing 2D and 3D models.

However, there are some key differences between the two that may influence your choice of software. Let’s explore these differences in more detail.


AutoCAD has been the industry standard for CAD software for decades. It is primarily used for creating 2D drawings, although it also supports basic 3D modeling. AutoCAD offers a wide range of tools and functionalities that allow users to create accurate technical drawings with precision.

Main Features of AutoCAD:

  • 2D Drafting: AutoCAD excels in 2D drafting with features like layers, dimensioning tools, and annotation capabilities.
  • Parametric Constraints: Users can apply constraints to objects, making it easier to maintain relationships between different elements in a drawing.
  • Customization: AutoCAD allows users to create custom commands, macros, and scripts to automate repetitive tasks.


Inventor is a more specialized CAD software that focuses on 3D mechanical design. It is particularly well-suited for creating complex models with intricate parts and assemblies. Inventor provides advanced simulation and visualization tools that help engineers test their designs before production.

Main Features of Inventor:

  • Parametric Modeling: Inventor’s strength lies in its parametric modeling capabilities, allowing users to create intelligent models with built-in relationships between components.
  • Assembly Design: Inventor offers robust tools for creating and managing large assemblies, making it easier to design complex mechanical systems.
  • Simulation: With Inventor, users can simulate real-world conditions and test the performance of their designs before manufacturing.

Choosing the Right Software

The choice between AutoCAD and Inventor ultimately depends on your specific needs and goals. If you primarily work with 2D drawings or need a versatile CAD software for various industries, AutoCAD is a solid choice. On the other hand, if your work revolves around 3D mechanical design and you require advanced simulation capabilities, Inventor might be the better option.

In conclusion, AutoCAD and Inventor are both powerful CAD software options with distinct features. Understanding their differences can help you make an informed decision based on your project requirements. Whether you choose AutoCAD or Inventor, both will provide you with the tools needed to bring your designs to life.