What is the difference between AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT?

What is the difference between AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT?

The value of CAD Services in the construction sector is constantly on the rise. The CAD market was 5.5 Billion US dollars globally in 2018 and it’s projected to reach 13.83 Billion by 2028. Its importance in the AEC Sector is also ever increasing. From architectural drafting to the creation of shop drawings, CAD is crucial at different stages of the construction process. AutoCAD is far from the only CAD software that is available in the market and there are a variety of other software like ZWCAD, Microstation etc. available.  However, it is perhaps one of the most popular software amongst the construction community.

AutoCAD has two variants available: AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. They are quite similar but not completely identical. They both have similar core features. The most common differentiators between them is that AutoCAD LT is for 2D drafting while AutoCAD offers both 2D drafting and 3D Model.   

3D Abilities:

When it comes to creating 3D models then there is no choice for the architects, engineers and designers but to use the full version of AutoCAD. With LT it is possible to open and view the 3D models that have been created in AutoCAD but they cant be moved, edited, copied or deleted. Infact, even viewing those models comes with a set of precincts. There are only a limited number of viewing options available unlike the full version and it is not possible for the professionals to rotate and orbit the model.

Customization Option:

One of the biggest advantage of AutoCAD is the ability to customize AutoCAD to what is required with minimum effort. For instance the full version supports numerous APIS – Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), including AutoLISP which is an inbuilt programming language that allows to add customization commands to perform activities that architects and designers want to be automated. Other available customizations include visual LISP, Active X Automation etc. It is not to say that AutoCAD LT doesn’t allow for any customization at all for instance it allows to create and modify toolbars, write scripts and makes it possible to custom hatch patterns and line types. It is just not the higher-level of customization that can be at par with AutoCAD.

Standards checking

An important aspect of CAD Services for any construction process to take place smoothly are the standards. AutoCAD allows standard checking by providing CAD standard management tools that ensure AutoCAD drawings are upto the required drafting standards. This maintains accuracy and reduces the chances of errors that could be caused as a result of human errors. AutoCAD LT on the other hand doesn’t support standard checking.


Price between the two variants is a major differentiator. According to the Autodesk website the cost of AutoCAD is $1,775 annually while that of AutoCAD LT in comparison is only $440. For those AEC companies and drafters who solely work in 2D drafting would see no benefit in paying for the customization languages or the 3D capabilities of AutoCAD. They can pay the lower cost of AutoCAD LT and get their work completed.

Network Licensing:

AutoCAD LT doesn’t provide network licensing while AutoCAD makes possible for companies to get a network licensing for an ease in administration. For instance if the company has a 10-seat license then AutoCAD can run on any 10 of the machines as long as no more than 10 are running at the particular time. However, with AutoCAD LT in the absence of network licensing machines means all of them require individual licensing.

Is AutoCAD only for the big companies?

The cost, availability of network licensing and various features might lead to a misconception that AutoCAD LT is just for big companies while smaller contractors will be able to make do with AutoCAD LT. The logic goes that bigger companies have bigger pockets, more requirements and can make use of the additional features. However, whether anyone will opt for AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT is ideally subjective. Even an individual contractor, architect or an engineer whose clients ask for 3D modeling will have to opt for AutoCAD. Thus, the choice of which variant to use for providing quality Drafting Services depends on the types of market, the in-house resources, budget etc.

Written By:
Tesla OS
Tesla Outsourcing Services is an Architectural and Engineering Outsourcing Company providing CAD Services, Engineering and E-building Design Solutions (BIM Services) to clients across the globe.

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