Editor's Note: Brian Benton takes a look at AutoCAD LT to help you figure out whether it is the right choice for you.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Novedge.
Autodesk has two major CAD programs: AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. AutoCAD is likely the worldwide CAD leader being used in every design industry around the globe. AutoCAD files are often the standard file type (DWG) accepted by many government agencies for their projects. This varies of course depending on the design industry. AutoCAD LT, Autodesk’s “other” CAD program is just as powerful as “regular” AutoCAD but at a much lower price. The lower price is there because several AutoCAD features are not available to AutoCAD LT Users. This allows Autodesk to offer a powerful 2D drafting tool at a lower price that most CAD users can handle right out of the box.
What are the major differences between AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD?
– Price. AutoCAD 2015 is listed on autodesk.com as $4195 [Note: $3,975 at Novedge] while AutoCAD LT 2015 is listed as $1200 [Note: 1,079 at Novedge]. That’s a huge price difference.
– Rental price is also lower. A three month rental of AutoCAD goes for $599. A three month rental of AutoCAD LT goes for $129. If you have short term needs, a rental plan might be an option for you. [Note: if you buy a one-year rental of any Autodesk LT product by October24th, 2014, you will receive thee extra months for free.]
– AutoCAD has Express Tools, parametric constraints, or data extraction tools which are not available in AutoCAD LT.
– AutoCAD supports 3D mesh, solid or surface creation or editing tools. It also has point cloud tools, 3D navigation tools, visual styles, material rendering tools, rendering tools, or lighting. AutoCAD LT does not.
– AutoCAD LT does support CUI customizations but lacks an Application Programming Interface, the Action Recorder, Network Licensing, CAD standards tools, and access to Autodesk Exchange Apps.
Many users often think that the “LT” in AutoCAD LT stands for “lite” or “less trouble” or “Low Tech” but it is my understanding that there is no meaning behind the initials. It’s simply a way for Autodesk to identify similar products from their more feature rich relatives (as in Revit, Revit LT and Inventor, Inventor LT).
Why would anyone want a smaller version of AutoCAD?
The biggest reason is the huge price difference. AutoCAD LT lists for about 28% of the cost of AutoCAD. A company could purchase three AutoCAD LT licences for the price of one AutoCAD license and have a bit of cash left over. In fact, you could purchase a license of AutoCAD LT and a good workstation for less than one license of AutoCAD. Face it, the biggest influencers of business are cost and the bottom line.
AutoCAD LT is very cost effective and still provides three major aspects of AutoCAD. Those three aspects are:
– Design. All 2D drafting tools in AutoCAD are also in AutoCAD LT.
– Documentation. AutoCAD LT has the same annotation, printing, and Sheet Set tools that are also in AutoCAD.
– Collaboration. AutoCAD LT uses the standard file type .DWG, the same as AutoCAD.
AutoCAD LT also provides affordability and can be used by anyone that needs a powerful 2D drafting tool. If you are currently an AutoCAD user and do not need custom LISP routines, 3D design tools, parametric constraints, and typically use AutoCAD as it is right out of the box then it’s highly likely AutoCAD LT will suit your needs.
If you or your users know how to use AutoCAD then you already know how to use AutoCAD LT. AutoCAD LT is essentially AutoCAD with the features listed above turned off. Although a simplification of the fact, it is essentially accurate. AutoCAD LT files are 100% compatible with AutoCAD files and the reverse is also true. Making the switch to AutoCAD LT means no learning curve.
Anyone that needs a powerful 2D drafting tool can use AutoCAD LT. If you have AutoCAD experience then you already know how to use AutoCAD LT. If you have a library of DWG files they will still work with AutoCAD LT.