Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) solutions are both essential to increase productivity and efficiency in the product development process. Both use computer software to streamline engineering work—but the question remains: Which is the right solution for you when it comes to CAD vs CAE?

CAD vs CAE—What’s the Difference?

CAD Definition

Computer-aided design (CAD) is used to create digital illustrations and 2D and 3D models of real-world products before they are ever manufactured. As the name indicates, CAD is used during the design process. It often includes tools for parametric modeling, analysis, and product documentation.

CAD focuses on 2D and 3D product models.

CAE Definition

Computer-aided engineering (CAE) uses computer-assisted, math-based technology and analysis to aid in product development. It supports engineers throughout the entire process, from ideation and drafting to simulation and testing. There are numerous advanced technologies that fall under the CAE umbrella including computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis (FEA), physics, and engineering. It also includes computer-aided design (CAD). (We’ll get to that.)

CAE focuses on the engineering analysis of those models.


The reality is, CAD vs CAE isn’t a choice you should have to make. Both tools should be used together to complete the product development process. CAD is used to create the 3D model, and CAE is used to analyze that model.

It’s not really CAD vs CAE, but rather CAD with CAE—both solutions should be utilized together to improve modeling and testing throughout the product development process.

Creo CAD or Creo CAE?

It’s a trick question. Creo is both. Creo is a leading engineering solution that includes both CAD and CAE features, so you can do all of the design and analysis in a single environment.

Why Creo?

Creo is the leading CAD/CAE solution available. Its breadth of features cannot be ignored, and enhancements are constantly being added to help organizations stay on the cutting edge of innovation in their industries. The latest release of Creo delivered productivity and usability improvements to streamline work so teams can get better products to market faster.

Creo includes advanced tools for significant productivity improvements across prototyping, testing, efficiency, simulation, and optimization.

Advanced CAD and CAE Tools

The latest version of Creo includes advanced CAD and CAE tools including:

  • Generative design
  • Simulation
  • Additive and subtractive manufacturing
  • Augmented reality (AR)
  • Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)
  • Model-based definition (MBD)
  • Multibody design
  • Analysis

Want to Get Started with Creo?

Contact us to learn more about the latest package offerings, pricing, and more.