The industry standard CAD design package
- Slick OS X interface
- Takes advantage of Magic Mouse, Trackpad, Multi-Touch etc
- Create and edit DWG files natively
- Free three year license for educators and students
- Very large download file
- Intimidating for beginners
It was a long time in waiting butAutoCAD was finally available for Mac for the first time last year. The good news is it offers everything that's available in the Windows version but takes advantage of a much more intuitive and elegant Mac interface.
Firstly, note that the download provided here is the Akamai Client Installer for AutoCAD which automatically installs the software for you. You'll need a whopping 2.5GB of free hard drive space to ensure you can download and install AutoCAD for Mac properly.
Those that have used AutoCAD on Windows will instantly recognize the familiar AutoCAD interface and layout. The commands and tools are exactly the same. For those that haven’t used AutoCAD before, you're in for a very steep learning curve although the intuitive interface, extensive documentation and context-sensitive help functions in AutoCAD for Mac make life a lot easier.
AutoCAD for Mac looks much slicker than the Windows version and takes full advantage of OS X, including use of Cover Flow, Multi-Touch gestures, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. You can of course create and edit DWG files natively and you can collaborate on projects across platforms with customers, clients, colleagues etc.
It's impossible to avoid the fact that AutoCAD is one of the most expensive packages there is for Mac but the developers AutoDesk have made a superb offer to students and educators. They can get a three year license absolutely free which means you can use AutoCAD completely for free for three years although a watermark is added to designs. Alternatively, students and educators in the US and Canada can purchase an unlimited license with no watermark for a 90% discount on the full price.
AutoCAD for Mac has been a long time in coming but CAD professionals will agree it was definitely worth the wait.