Autocad 3D vs Revit comparison

by Design Workshop Sydney

How do the two programs compare?

People commonly ask how AutoDesk’s two 3D programs, Revit and AutoCAD, compare. In this first blog of our new Revit series we take a look at how the two programs compare. Both are created by AutoDesk but they have significant differences. Our Autocad training courses are customized for each client but a brief description of the two programs is as follows.

3D Revit model

Autocad is the older of the two programs, first released in 1982, whereas Revit’s first release was in 2000. Autocad is a general CAD (computer-aided design and drafting) program which is used by a variety of industries in the creation of precise & accurate 2D drawings & 3D models.

We run two AutoCAD courses, one for 2D drafting and one for 3D modelling.


Revit, on the other hand, is known as a 4D program in that it specializes in BIM (building information modelling) mainly in the creation of 3D architectural buildings (residential, commercial & retail).  The 4D element refers to these models as “intelligent” in that edits and modifications are seamlessly updated throughout the model. A simple example: we replace a small window with another larger window – the walls & their dimensions will automatically adjust in all floor-plans and elevations. (To do this in Autocad would require manually changing each elevation.) In addition BIM means that construction documentation, schedules & costings, can be extracted automatically from the model.

So the 2D functions of Autocad (or Autocad LT) can be viewed as a more general drawing tool, whereas Revit is specific to building design & documentation. Autocad is possibly better suited to smaller projects, for example a kitchen renovation, whereas Revit is better for larger projects like an office block, or house build. Having said that, both programs are often used within the same company, or by the same drafter. Revit is better for generating BIM deliverables and collaborating with other design disciplines.


Autocad’s main strength is in its 2D drafting capabilities for a wide range of industries. The 3D functions are actually not used much – these were added much later (2008). Basic 3D models can be created from 2D drawings; it also has 3D primitives (solids like cube, cone, sphere, etc), and 3D Boolean operations (union, subtract, intersect). But it’s not good for parametric modelling, which is what you really need in a design context. For this you’re better using other 3D CAD software like Inventor, SolidWorks, Fusion 360 or CATIA which are much better for designing mechanical parts and assemblies.

AutoDesk’s Revit, or Archicad, are best for architectural design work. Another option would be the AutoCAD Architecture with specific toolsets for architectural drawing, documentation, schedules and automated tasks. AutoCAD Architecture ships with over 8000 intelligent objects and styles. Again the difference is that Revit is a 3D program with BIM functionality.

For AutoDesk’s own comparison go to:

In our Revit training courses we take time to teach a wide range of common techniques, relevant to industry practice. You can see many examples of our class work on our Facebook page.

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