Have you finally decided to cultivate your passion for design and modeling in both two (2D) and three dimensions (3D)? Perfect, so you should know that the first thing you need is a CAD program. Have you ever heard of it? I bet yes, but first of all I want to explain to you why this expression is used: the "CAD”Are those programs that allow you to carry out projects and technical drawings using the computer. CAD, in fact, is the acronym that abbreviates the expression "computer aided design", which can be translated as "computer aided design".
If you have ended up on this guide, then you know for sure that one of the best and most popular CAD programs is AutoCAD, the solution of Autodesk for the management and modeling of technical drawings, various types of projects and in general both two-dimensional and three-dimensional prototypes. Yes, I know, the AutoCAD license costs a lot and, at least initially, you would like to understand how to download AutoCAD for free, but that's exactly why I'm here today!
In the following lines, in fact, I will explain in a simple and quick way how to get AutoCAD in a totally free and legal way using the initiative Autodesk Student or by using the trial version of the software made available by the manufacturer. And, if you are not satisfied with AutoCAD, I will point out some workarounds that might be for you. Come on, what are you waiting for to start ?! Happy reading and, above all, happy downloading!
Let's start by talking about the initiative Autodesk Student: a solution made available by the AutoCAD software house with the aim of helping students and educators in their learning or teaching tasks, providing them with a copy of AutoCAD at no cost. The AutoCAD version obtainable with this method is fully functional it's hard three years from the time of installation, however, it is not possible to use projects or documents created with this program for purposes other than teaching (nor for commercial purposes).
With this point clear, it's time to teach yourself how to download AutoCAD for free taking advantage of this very advantageous initiative. Before continuing, however, I recommend that you take a look at the minimum requirements needed to install AutoCAD, so that you know in advance if your computer is suitable for running the program.
AutoCAD Student Per PC
To download AutoCAD for free through Autodesk Student, connect to the initiative website and click on the red button Create Account. Then choose your country from the drop-down menu Länderauswahl and your role (student, educator, school IT administrator or contest preparer) from the menu Educational Role. Finally, enter yours date of birth selecting month, day and year from the appropriate menus and then click on the blue button Next.
On the following screen, enter yours name in the field First Name, last name in the field Last name, your e-mail address in the fields Email e Confirm email (if you don't have one you can create it using my guide) and finally a personal password in the field password. This password must be at least eight characters long and have at least one number, one letter and three different characters inside. Then put the check mark on the box immediately below and click on the blue button Create Account. After a few minutes you will be sent a link to activate your account.
Now open the inbox you entered during subscription, open the message received from Autodesk (you will recognize it because the sender's address ends at accounts.autodesk.com) and click on the button VERIFY EMAIL that you find in the email. If that doesn't work, copy the link you find immediately below (https://accounts.autodesk.com:443/user etcetera etcetera) in the browser address bar and press the button Submit.
In this way the account will be validated: to complete the registration procedure, click on the blue button Done. Wait a few seconds and, in the new page that appears, enter the requested information: in the first field you must write the name of the institution where you study or work, in the second field you have to check thestudy area more relevant to your industry, and finally you need to enter in the boxes Enrolled from e Graduate in the date of enrollment in the institution and the date you believe you will complete your studies (or the date of employment, if you signed up as a worker). Click on the blue button now Next.
At this point the registration is finished. Then click on the blue button Continue to access the AutoCAD download page, press the button DOWNLOAD NOW and fill out the form that is proposed to you with the AutoCAD version you want to download (from 2015 to 2018), yours operating system and finally the language (you can also choose Italian) into which the software must be translated.
You will receive, in your inbox, all the information to use for activate the program; if you have trouble accessing your mail, write down the Serial Number and Product Key that appear on the page, to insert them if necessary during the first run of the software. Once this is done, click on the red button INSTALL NOW, put the check mark on the box I Accept and finally click on the blue button Download Now to download the AutoCAD installation package.
Once the download is complete, start the AutoCAD installation file, which will take care of preparing everything you need to run the program. If you were asked to unlock Windows Defender during the procedure, click quietly on Allow access.
Wait for the procedure to be complete, then click on the button Installation that you find at the bottom right. If necessary, choose the components to install or the installation path in the window that appears. If you are unsure about this, leave everything as it is and fearlessly click on the button Install che trovi in basso.
Now wait for the program to take care of download everything necessary for AutoCAD to work (it may take hours, depending on the speed of the connection in use). If you need it, you can temporarily stop the AutoCAD download by clicking on the button Pause Download and resume it later by clicking on the button Resume download. At the end of this process, the AutoCAD version you have chosen will be installed on your computer.
The activation procedure is finally complete and you will simply have to click on the button end to start using AutoCAD. Remember that the license has a duration of three years, after which a new one can be created (at least under the current conditions of the Autodesk student program) following the same procedure.
Autodesk Student Per Android E IOS
Just like the computer versions, Autodesk gives students and teachers the ability to take advantage of its AutoCAD apps available for Android and iOS without paying for the license (which, however, in the case of apps, costs much less). Before proceeding I have to make you a clarification: you can use AutoCAD for view DWG files absolutely free and with any type of account, however to take advantage of the full management and design features of AutoCAD you need to subscribe to the version Premium o Ultimate application. By taking advantage of AutoCAD Student you have the opportunity to get the Premium version for free for three years.
Before you can use AutoCAD for Android or iOS, you need to follow thewhole procedure that I described to you in the previous paragraph and activate the student license. Once this is done, download AutoCAD from the appropriate section of the Google Play Store if you have an Android smartphone, or from the App Store if you have an iPhone or iPad. Once installation is complete, open the app, press the blue button Log in, enter the email address of your account and tap the button forward, then enter your password and tap the button again Log in. Touch the key OK and you are finally ready to use AutoCAD from your smartphone or tablet!
AutoCAD Free Trial
Wait, are you telling me that the above solution doesn't suit you, as you need AutoCAD for your business and would like to evaluate it before making the big purchase? Perfect, Autodesk provides versions of Free AutoCAD trial lasting 30 days on PC and 7 days on Android and iOS. In the following lines I will show you how to get them.
Download Free AutoCAD Per PC
The first thing you need to do to get the free trial of AutoCAD is to register an Autodesk account: then connect to this website and enter the required information in the appropriate module registration, taking care to choose a password containing at least 8 characters, a letter, a number and three unique characters. When you're done, put the check mark on box at the bottom and click on the blue button Create Account.
Click on the blue button now Close and, to complete the registration, open the e-mail box you entered during registration, open the message received from Autodesk (you will recognize it because the sender's address ends in accounts.autodesk.com) and click on the button Verify email that you find in the email. If that doesn't work, copy the link you find immediately below (https://accounts.autodesk.com:443/user etcetera etcetera) in the browser address bar I awarded Submit. Finally click on the button Close.
At this point, you can finally download the AutoCAD free trial. Then connect to the dedicated web page and click on the red button Download the free trial version. Now put the check mark on the item AutoCAD if you need the version dedicated to Windows, or on the voice AutoCAD for Mac if you need AutoCAD for macOS, then click on the blue button forward. Quickly read what is written in the next window, then click once again on the blue button forward.
Now, select the item in the first drop-down menu A person or business user, choose the version of the operating system from the second menu and the language you want in the third, then click on forward. If asked, enter the email of the Autodesk account created earlier, click on forward and when prompted, enter your password and click again forward. Indicate, in the appropriate forms, the information requested about yourself or your company (they do not necessarily have to be real) and click on the blue button Next. If you do not wish to receive commercial information from Autodesk by email, please check the small box below.
To conclude, click on your button Begin download to download theinstaller of the trial version of AutoCAD. Once the download is complete, open the AutoCAD installation package and follow the simple on-screen instructions to install the program. Remember that after the 30-day trial period is over, you will be able to continue using AutoCAD by subscribing to one of the available subscription plans, which cost 225,70 € for one month, 1.793,40 euro for one year or 5.380,20 euro for three years.
Download AutoCAD for Free on Android and IOS
As mentioned earlier, AutoCAD is also available as an app for Android and iOS. Allows you to view files DWG absolutely free, while to take advantage of the editing functions and other advanced features you have to switch to the plan Premium or that Ultimate, which are both chargeable.
If you want, however, you can try the version Premium of AutoCAD for Android and iOS free for 1 week. To take advantage of this possibility, download AutoCAD from the appropriate section of the Google Play Store if you have an Android smartphone, or from the App Store if you have an iPhone or iPad. Once installation is complete, open the app and, if you already have an Autodesk account, press the blue button Log in, enter the email address of your account and tap the button forward, then enter your password and tap the button again Log in.
If you don't have an Autodesk account, tap the button Create an Account and enter yours in the form fields name, surname, email address and a personal password. Again, the password must be at least eight characters long, have at least one letter, at least one number and at least three different characters. Tap on the box below to check it, then press the button Create Account. Tap the button Close and then touch the button OK- From now on, you can use AutoCAD Premium for smartphones and tablets for free for one week. After the trial period, you will need to take out a subscription Premium at the price of 39.99 € per year, or a subscription Ultimate at the price of 79.99 € year.
Free Alternative to AutoCAD
If you have come this far you have surely learned how to get a free version of AutoCAD to use for three years in the educational sector or for thirty days in the professional one, but you find that the proposed solutions are not for you and you have decided to opt for a program somewhat similar to AutoCAD but completely free.
Also in this case I have what is right for you! In fact, below you will find a list of free alternatives to the Autodesk program that can be right for you. I tell you right away that you will find a number of differences between Autocad and the software I am about to list but, given the completely free nature of each of them, it is worth trying them and deciding in the process if they are suitable for your needs.
- FreeCAD - it is a CAD program not only free but also open source, mainly dedicated to mechanical engineering projects; the fact remains that it can also be used for 3D parametric modeling in general. Offering very advanced working tools, FreeCAD is not very easy to use, especially because some automation features are available only as Python scripts and cannot be called up from the graphical interface. Among the formats supported by the program, in addition to the native FCStd, there are also files of type SVG, STEP, STL, DAE, SCAD, DXF and IFC; FreeCAD is not compatible with DWG files. The program is available for Windows, macOS and Linux in several languages (including Italian). You can download it from the official download page.
- SketchUp Free - it may seem strange to you, but SketchUp Free is the browser version of the commercial program SketchUp Pro. Thanks to its simple interface and suitable for practically everyone, SketchUp Free allows you to design and model 3D creations directly from the browser. It is possible to start from predefined primitive shapes or to draw freehand, and the drawn projects can be saved in the cloud (after creating a dedicated account) or downloaded in SKP o STL (by clicking on the folder icon and selecting the item download for free). You can use SketchUp Free for free by connecting to its web page. To access the cloud saving options you need to unblock the website popups (here I explained how to do it).
- KiCad - is a CAD program mainly dedicated to the design and drawing of PCB (wiring diagrams, printed circuits and so on). Its interface encompasses four different types of software, each with a specific task: the first part deals with managing projects, the second with creating schematics and associating footprints with electrical symbols, the third with visualizing PCBs designed in 3D and the fourth to visualize the Gerbers. KiCad is available for Windows, macOS and Linux in several languages (including Italian), and you can download it from the official download page.
- 3D Crafter - this program definitely deserves a rightful place among the free AutoCAD alternatives. It is a program of real-time 3D modeling and animationPacked with modeling tools, 3DCrafter has the ability to easily record 3D animations and export them for distribution, but the large availability of tools and features make its interface a bit tricky for those new to 3D modeling . 3D Crafter is also expandable with extensions that insert additional features (including exporting to FBX), and can handle numerous file types including 3ds, asc, Dxf (polygonal only), Jb, lp, XGL, ZGL, fbx and many others. You can download the free 3D Crafter for Windows (also as a Windows 10 app), along with two extension packs, from its official download page.
- FreeCAD - this program has no great pretensions and is dedicated exclusively to 2D design, but that doesn't mean it doesn't do its job well. With a particularly clean and intuitive graphic interface, LibreCAD allows you to create technical drawings in two dimensions of different types (mechanical parts, diagrams, plans, etc.). Cannot export to formats VRML e SVG, however it can perfectly read files of type DWG. You can download QCAD for Windows, Linux and macOS from its official page.
- CAD Pockets - is a CAD app for Android and iOS. Even if the power is not that of AutoCAD Mobile, CAD Pockets is a very valid alternative that allows you to view on the fly, modify on the fly, create and view files in DWG and DWF. It also integrates with numerous cloud services and allows you to manage files both from the latter and from the device memory. As for the price, CAD Pockets takes a very particular approach: creating an account from the official website and logging in for a minimum of ten times a month, you get an unlimited version in the features for that month, and so on for the subsequent months.
If what we have seen so far still does not satisfy you, I invite you to take a look at my guides on programs for technical drawing and on programs dedicated to 3D modeling: there I have described in detail many other software, perhaps slightly less similar to AutoCAD but just as functional. I am sure that in these guides you will find what you are looking for and what you need!
But wait a minute, you are telling me that you are looking for something much simpler and that only allows you to visualize i file DWG generated by AutoCAD? You're right, installing a CAD program just to open DWG is a bit excessive! In this case I suggest you instead consult my guide dedicated to free programs to view DWGs: there you can find much lighter and less demanding solutions, which allow you to access DWGs without having to install many additional programs!