CAD Software Applications for Mac |

Top 5 CAD Software Applications for Mac

As a graphic designer who makes use of computer aided-design software applications in various projects, you have most likely created a comfortable workstation to ease day to day struggles that come with graphic design. Your work station in most cases will consist of;

a lovely but worn-out chair, a personal computer, and your favorite software application brand, which you most likely continue using to this day.

Placing our focus on the personal computers, I believe that 8 out of every 10 graphic designers make use of PC’s running either Windows or Linux operating systems while Macs—despite their popularity—are hardly used as CAD platforms due to the need of running a parallel Windows installation, before you would be able to fully explore the features of most advanced drafting applications.

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CAD for Mac

The Steve Job’s era which saw Apple and its Mac operating system leap frog the competition, forced most major CAD developers to re-think their production strategy and to design software applications that can run on Mac OS without any external aid.

This leap gave Apple user’s worldwide the capacity to run most advanced drafting applications on their personal computers and therefore, we are providing you with a list of the top CAD software applications Mac enthusiasts can use without any issues.


Nemetscheck AG’s VectorWorks is a 2D/3D CAD platform that combines its extensive toolsets with its BIM enabled platform to provide graphic designers with a powerful tool for designing mechanical components, architectural designs as well as animations. VectorWorks does not come cheap and with approximately $3,000 you can get the full BIM package running on your Mac.

Punch! ViaCAD 2D/3D

The ViaCAD is an extensive 2D/3D software that comes with numerous features that costs approximately $100. The software supports almost all file formats including: DWF, DXG, PDF, etc. Although, its workspace is definitely not as intuitive as compared to more advanced CAD platforms.

Rhino for OSX

McNeel’s CAD software application can be said to be one of the most popular tools available on the Mac operating system. It comes with a wide array of toolsets and its interface was built to be more “Mac-like” according to Scott Davidson the head of marketing at McNeel. The software application supports multiple file formats and you can download its beta version for free.


This drafting tool which was initially designed to be used on Windows based platforms has now migrated to Mac and in 1999, its 3D modeling software application was released to the general design public for downloads. SolidThinking integrates the use of several file formats and it costs approximately $2,000.


The FormZ is a 3D modeling software application geared towards designers from the architectural community. This versatile software which was developed by AutoDeSys can be used for modeling, rendering and animation projects. You can take advantage of the free trial version AutoDeSys offers and you can also purchase the full package for approximately $999. It runs on both Windows and Mac operating systems.

AutoCAD for Mac

If you are looking for the complete CAD application, then AutoCAD is your best choice. They are one of the first softwares available in this market and have a great community behind them. They offer a free trial version, which you may download to try it out. Other CAD softwares listed above tend to follow on the footsteps of AutoCAD. An example is AutoCAD's DWG file format which is a standard in this industry. Most other softwares will have one way or another to import such a file format. If you decide to purchase, the price is approximately $1200.

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