AutoCAD or Revit. Comparison. Pros and cons.

08 june 2023 year

Autocad and Revit are considered to be the top software programs for automated design. They have been in existence for a long time and offer various tools and features to assist you in your projects. Today, we will compare them and see what they have to offer.

In 1982, Autocad made a significant breakthrough when it was released by Autodesk. The program has been continuously updated, and its latest versions feature cloud storage capabilities, compatibility with portable devices, and, with over three decades of existence, Autocad has become the market-leading software for drawing, designing, and drafting.

About 20 years ago, Revit emerged and gradually became a phenomenon because it operates differently. It enables closer modeling to real buildings, hence the term "Building Information Modeling" or BIM. However, just like the transition from paper to screen didn't happen overnight, today people are still hesitant to fully embrace Revit.

Revit Technology Corporation released the first version of Revit in 2000, initially named "revise-it." Revit aimed to surpass simple 2D diagrams and enable the creation of computer-generated smart building models. Autodesk acquired Revit Technology Corporation in 2002 after recognizing the potential of the software package.

AutoCAD и Revit

What are AutoCAD and Revit used for?

AutoCAD can be referred to as a digital drafting tool. It is used for drawing each element separately. In the design process, we work on the elevation, then the facade, then the sector. This provides a certain freedom of thinking as the graphics are not interconnected.

AutoCAD is used for 2D design, creating drawings and documentation, as well as for 3D modeling and visualization.

Revit is a powerful software package capable of creating 3D models for a project that include the physical properties of building elements and their interaction with building components.

For example, if you have multiple architectural plan drawings and you make a change to one of them, that change is reflected in the real model. And all the other drawings are updated accordingly. This is one of the main strengths of Revit. It allows projects to be completed faster.

Modeling Differences

As we have discussed before, AutoCAD and Revit are used for creating drawings and models. These models are then used as plans for actual construction and can also be utilized for other purposes like 3D printing.

AutoCAD is a powerful software for 2D drafting as it provides greater flexibility in creating projects. It allows you to use multiple methods to manipulate geometric shapes and create precise drawings. So if you need a tool that enables you to draw arbitrary shapes, AutoCAD is ideal.

This software offers a plethora of tools that help architects or designers bring their imagination to life. It also has 3D functionality. While AutoCAD was not originally designed for this purpose, it has evolved over the years through updates and changes, adding the capability of designing 3D models to cater to the needs of designers.

Revit, on the other hand, differs slightly as it does not allow users to draw as freely as AutoCAD. This means you cannot use it to express your creativity in the same way as with AutoCAD. Revit is more focused on what is known as Building Information Modeling or BIM.

Here, you use tools to create 3D models of buildings and other concepts primarily used in construction. It does not offer the same freeform drawing and freedom as AutoCAD. Instead, it provides real-time information. For example, if you model a building in Revit, you obtain data on required materials, how they interact with each other, and even cost estimates.

AutoCAD и Revit

Differences in Animation

Both AutoCAD and Revit allow their users to create animations. However, it is easier in AutoCAD, especially for external details. With AutoCAD, you can create a short animated video with a step-by-step guide of your model, which helps you present your ideas more creatively.

Using short animated step-by-step instructions, you can convey a large amount of information without using multiple tools. Even an average person can understand your design ideas. You just need to click on the palette, then "Show Panels," and select "Animations" with a checkmark next to it.

Then, you can choose an icon to start configuring the animation.

In Revit, creating animations is a bit more complex. Generally, it is easier to start creating a walkthrough animation in a plan view, but you can also create a walkthrough on a facade, in a section, or in a 3D view. During this process, you can open different views to precisely position the path and cameras.

You need to place keyframes to define the path of the walkthrough. You can place keyframes anywhere, but you cannot change their position once the path is created. However, you can edit them after you finish the path.

Flexibility in Design

Making changes to constructions, models, and specific parts of a drawing is a common action for these tools, and both AutoCAD and Revit allow for making changes.

Making changes in AutoCAD can be challenging or, rather, time-consuming. The reason is that each detail needs to be modified individually. There is also an issue that changes in projects do not automatically update across all views in AutoCAD.

Revit provides a much simpler and straightforward way of making changes. If something is changed in Revit, it automatically updates in all existing views, eliminating the need for manual updates. This is related to the workflow. Since Revit treats the project as a "whole," whereas AutoCAD has a more fragmented approach.

AutoCAD и Revit

Industries Using AutoCAD and Revit

AutoCAD is used in a wide range of industries, including industrial design, engineering, and specialties such as architecture, structural engineering, HVAC engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering. It can also be used in automotive design, site planning, electrical design, cartography, graphic design, and more.

One of the great advantages of AutoCAD is its customizable user interface. This means you can tailor the workspace in AutoCAD to suit your preferences, which can greatly simplify the use of the program once you become familiar with its basics.

Revit, on the other hand, is a program with a much larger volume of data, which can be challenging for some individuals. However, its interface appears cleaner, and since processes and workflow are not compartmentalized like in AutoCAD, it is generally considered that the tools are easier to use. You may not have to delve as deeply into mastering Revit as you would with AutoCAD.

Learning materials for both AutoCAD and Revit can be found abundantly. This makes the learning process of these two programs more accessible.


Both programs offer 30-day free trial versions, as well as options for monthly, annual, or three-year subscriptions. AutoCAD costs $1,690 for an annual subscription for a single-user license. You can also purchase a monthly license for $210 per month or opt for a three-year license to use AutoCAD, with a total cost of $4,565.

When purchasing AutoCAD, you also receive a range of additional tools such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD Plant 3D, and AutoCAD Raster Design. You can also use AutoCAD through a mobile app.

Revit is more expensive than AutoCAD, with an annual subscription cost of $2,425 for a standalone license. You can also choose a monthly subscription for Revit, which costs $305. Additionally, there is a three-year license option for Revit, which costs $6,550.

If you are a student, you can get free access to both AutoCAD and Revit. However, commercial and professional companies need to pay a licensing fee.

AutoCAD и Revit

n conclusion, both AutoCAD and Revit are powerful design tools, and when used correctly, they can be highly effective in what they do. They do have overlapping features that are often used for different purposes. For example, Revit is typically used in the construction industry.

AutoCAD excels in drawing and drafting, while Revit is more oriented towards parametric object-oriented design and analysis.

Overall, for a significant portion of people, AutoCAD is the preferred program when it comes to 2D and 3D capabilities, benefiting architects, industrial designers, engineers, and many others. It also offers compatibility across various platforms, which is not available in Revit.

However, Revit is also a great tool for drafting and design, offering a more holistic and systematic approach with an improved workflow. Changes made in the project can be updated automatically, which can be very useful for handling large volumes of work or working under tight deadlines. Based on the experiences of many users, Revit is slightly easier to learn compared to AutoCAD.

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