If you’ve been looking for a new CAD solution, you may have discovered how difficult it can be to compare solutions in an “apples to apples” manner, since each vendor packages and names features differently. We know how frustrating this can be, so as experts in CAD solutions, we have done the comparison of Creo vs AutoCAD for you. We are one of PTC’s largest resellers, so we admit to a bit of a bias, but we have done our best to be fair and impartial.

3D CAD Modeling

AutoCAD has a full suite of 2D and 3D modeling capabilities. It includes a mobile app and several specialized add-on toolsets that cover areas such as architectural, mechanical, and electrical design. It offers a drawing comparison capability that highlights differences between revisions of a drawing.

Creo offers more than 20 extensions that cover all this and much more, including extensions for molding, metal working, large assemblies, optimizing piping and cabling, NC milling, and additive manufacturing, among many others. Creo packages these extensions into 5 different “packs” that allow you to achieve the exact functionality you need for your organization. The flexible bundles and the wider variety of extensions give Creo a slight edge.

As far as the core CAD functionality goes, most people find few differences in basic features. The real differences come into play when you compare advanced capabilities, product strategy, usability and support, so that’s what we focused on in the rest of this report.

Both Creo and AutoCAD have strong 3D modeling features, however, Creo comes out ahead with more extensive functionality extensions and product strategy tools.

Ease of Use

AutoCAD is relatively easy to use, but its UI is somewhat dated, looking like it came straight out of the client-server era of computing. Creo, on the other hand, feels fresh and agile, like the best web experiences.

Creo’s updated UI makes navigating menus simple, while AutoCAD’s interface feels clunky and outdated.


Creo allows for the setup of secure project workspaces for simplified collaboration. To enable easy interactions with suppliers and customers, Creo includes role-based security that allows access to just the information the role requires. You never have to worry about inadvertently divulging cost data or targets to external users, Creo also allows users to open and work with files generated by other CAD systems without requiring an app or a converter to open them, using Unite technology.

AutoCAD talks a good game when it comes to collaboration, but it works with a severely limited number of file types. Files like PDFs or DGN must be imported before use, a much less elegant solution than Creo offers.

Creo includes advanced collaboration capabilities, streamlining teamwork and productivity no matter where team members are located.

Integration and Compatibility

The same shortcomings that AutoCAD suffers from in collaboration also affect the ease of integration and compatibility with other solutions. Most companies have a variety of legacy CAD tools in use and working with partners, suppliers and customers add more to the mix.

Creo’s ability to work with external files without the need to export and convert formats helps improve the productivity of engineers and designers. When you compare Creo vs AutoCAD, you will find that Creo’s openness and flexibility give it the advantage whenever it comes to working with other systems.

The same issues that plague AutoCAD when it comes to collaboration, leak over into integration and compatibility features, making Creo the clear winner.

Supported Industries

Creo supports Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Retail & Consumer Products and Smart Cities as its target industries. While not exhaustive, the list includes strong concentrations in each vertical. Creo also supplies industry-specific extensions such as architecture, flow analysis for molding and piping and cabling layout for equipment design. These enhancements take its industry support well beyond the necessary rudiments for an industry and provide the ability to address difficult problems that can slow down designers and engineers.

AutoCAD, on the other hand, has a limited number of toolsets with broad capabilities and no specialization that can help improve the team’s productivity.

Creo provides highly specialized tools and features for a variety of industries.

Integrated learning and Support

Both Creo and AutoCAD include online learning and support, troubleshooting, service pack downloads and other tools to help users get up to speed quickly and stay productive. AutoCAD has all its learning and support accessible from a single page on its website, while Creo’s are a little more spread out and may require some additional navigational steps. However, this slight nit is more than offset by the built-in wizards and tutorials that help users grasp the fine points of advanced functions right from within the product.

Both platforms offer extensive online learning and support.

Product Vision

There is no question that in the Creo vs AutoCAD contest, Creo’s product vision outshines AutoCAD. Creo includes IoT and additive manufacturing extensions. It supports AR and VR for advanced prototyping and process planning. Creo is laser-focused on helping companies with their digital transformation and transition to Industry 4.0.

AutoCAD is still touting its mobile apps and only mentions IoT in passing. In comparison to Creo’s product vision, AutoCAD seems antiquated.

Creo continues to outpace AutoCAD when it comes to the latest technologies that are helping organizations transition into industry 4.0.

Deployment Flexibility

Creo is available as either a cloud or on-premise solution, as is AutoCAD. AutoCAD talks about cloud primarily as a collaboration platform, which is only part of the story. PTC Creo understands that the cloud is the data center of the future and has made great strides in ensuring that its offerings are widely available, highly secure, efficient, and cost-effective. However, since neither restricts what users can do in the cloud, AutoCAD’s lack of vision is not much of a drawback. We’ll give this one a tie,

Both programs offer a variety of deployment options to meet any organization’s needs.

Market Presence

PTC’s fiscal 2018 revenue was $1.16 Billion while Autodesk reported $2.06 billion, giving AutoCAD a slight edge. The number of search engine “hits” for each product is approximately the same, depending on the engine used and the day. However, if you only count coverage of AutoCAD or Creo with industry influencers such as Gartner and Forrester, Creo outscores AutoCAD by a wide margin, showing that Creo is capturing the larger share of market attention—which leads to more customers.

It is no question that Creo continues to dominate the CAD market.

Who Wins the Creo vs AutoCAD CAD Program Comparison Battle?

When it comes to Creo vs AutoCAD, either solution will get the job done, but Creo has a much stronger position in terms of usability, and vision. Not only does that mean that Creo will help your team achieve greater productivity right from the start, but it is also likely to retain and even strengthen its lead over AutoCAD, making Creo a better choice for the future as well as today.

Creo provides all the tools and features organization’s need to stay ahead of the marketing and create the innovative products of tomorrow.

If you’d like to learn more about Creo, contact us today for more insight into how the right 3D CAD system can improve time to market, lower costs and increase productivity.