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CAD Software Solutions

PTC’s computer-aided design (CAD) solutions have been the industry standard for product design and development software for parametric modeling, simulation and analysis, and product documentation for more than 30 years. Everyone’s product development challenges are unique—so you need choices, from robust on-prem solutions to innovative pure SaaS CAD solutions.

What is CAD?


Computer-aided design (CAD) is a way to digitally create 2D drawings and 3D models of real-world products before they’re ever manufactured. With 3D CAD, you can share, review, simulate, and modify designs easily, opening doors to innovative and differentiated products that get to market fast.

In 1985, Dr. Samuel Geisberg formed Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) and defined a radically new approach for CAD software. This innovation produced the first parametric and feature-based solid modeling CAD software in the market, which today is known as Creo, the industry standard for product design and development software.

More than 30 years later, the product development industry is beginning to adopt the next wave of technology-driven innovation, as so many other industries already have.

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How to choose CAD software

The mechanical 3D CAD buyer's guide helps you score and select the software that's the best fit for your organization. Using a 7-step process, you'll go through a worksheet of must-have fundamentals like sketching and parts and assembly modeling along with weighing more recent innovations like augmented reality and model-based definition.


PTC’s CAD Products


Creo—Deliver your best designs in less time

Creo delivers the most scalable range of 3D CAD product development packages and tools in today’s market. Its variety of specific features, capabilities, and tools help engineers imagine, design, and create their products better. Creo includes breakthrough capabilities in additive manufacturing, generative design, IoT (Internet of Things), model-based definition (MBD), and augmented reality (AR).

Empower your engineering teams with our robust design system to:

  • Perform structural, thermal, modal, fatigue, motion, and mold analysis, toggling between steady-state and transient simulation
  • Create multibody modeling and exclude construction bodies from BOM information and mass property calculations
  • Run generative studies based on both engineering requirements, as well as manufacturing methods
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Onshape—Modernize your product design process

The industry’s first pure Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product development platform unites robust computer-aided design (CAD) with powerful data management, collaboration tools, and real-time analytics. The cloud-native solution is a perfect fit for companies requiring the flexibility of remote design teams, enabling engineers to work together from anywhere, any time, and on any device.

Quickly deploy Onshape on any computer or mobile device to enable your teams with:

  • Real-time design views and collaborative workflows for interactive design reviews and concurrent design edits
  • Built-in version control and data management to eliminate the need for separate PDM (Product Data Management) systems
  • In-sync bill of materials (BOM) tables with editing assemblies
  • A robust REST API for improved integrations across your systems
  • Increased security from role-based access, AES-256 encryption, and more
Explore Onshape

Put the power of the cloud to work for you with Creo+ 


Creo+ combines the power and proven functionality of Creo, delivered via SaaS, with new cloud-based tools to enhance collaboration, improve accessibility for engineers, and simplify license management for CAD administrators. Creo+ is compatible with on-premises versions of Creo for better interaction with engineering colleagues and suppliers. 

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Design and innovate better with Creo

PTC’s 3D CAD software solution Creo streamlines workflows and makes product design a seamless, creative experience. Our customers experience an overall increase in operational efficiency while seeing a decrease in design time, prototype costs, and time to market.

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Explore the capabilities of CAD (computer-aided design)

Explore Creo's advanced toolset to see how we enable users to expand deeper functionality. From generative design and additive manufacturing to simulation and analysis, learn more about Creo's capabilities in 3D part and assembly design, analysis, manufacturing, and more.

Explore simulation and analysis solutions

Validate the performance of virtual 3D prototypes to understand how your design performs in real-world conditions that allows you to test the stresses and loads.

Explore generative design

Creo Generative Topology Optimization extension creates optimized product designs based on constraints and requirements. Test designs against real-world conditions and stresses.

Explore additive manufacturing and CAM

With additive manufacturing, you can develop innovative designs, optimize, and print to a variety of printers with ease—all within Creo. See how you can improve quality while reducing costs.

Explore model-based definition (MBD)

Dimension and annotate your 3D models with Creo using model-based definition.

Composites design and manufacturing

Use Creo to design with composite materials to ensure a strong but lightweight product. Design plies and cores, including laminate sections and resulting solid geometry properties. Simulate draping and composite structures for analysis. Easily generate ply book and digital work instructions.

Design for electrification

Define, model, and validate cable, piping, and harness projects from the conceptual design phase to manufacturing. Creo has a dedicated cabling tree to help you create and manage harness assemblies. The Split/Merge Harness Tool enables collaboration on and reuse of subharness assemblies. ECAD capabilities have been extended, including import of paste masks and better handling of ECAD hole parameters.

How is CAD software used?


Hill Helicopters unlocks top-class performance processes

Hill Helicopters took control of their data management, change control, and other business processes to make the production of visually stunning designs the foundation of their strategy.

Read Their Story

Actronika relies on Onshape for design of interactive products

Actronika designs touch-sensitive haptic technology systems for interactive consumer products and relies on Onshape’s SaaS CAD platform to collaborate with manufacturing partners in real time.

Read Their Story

Cummins: Prioritizing sustainability in product designs with Creo

Leveraging Creo Generative Topology Optimization, Creo Simulate, and Creo Simulation Live (CSL), Cummins is designing and testing digital prototypes to understand how they will perform in a real-world engine system.

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CUPRA: Optimizing vehicle component design with Creo

Thanks to PTC’s CAD software, CUPRA has managed to optimize the design and manufacturing of their vehicle components resulting in a 15% reduction in component costs.

Read Their Story

SoulArc Boards: Gaining competitive edge in skateboard design with Creo

SoulArc Boards credits Creo for playing a crucial role in the company’s success. Using Creo’s design platform, they meet their internal metrics and design groundbreaking products.

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CAD (computer-aided design): Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of computer-aided design? (CAD)

Computer-aided design (CAD) allows users to create digital 2D drawings and 3D models. The creation of these models allows users to iterate on and optimize designs to meet design intent. It increases the quality of the overall design, allowing users to test out real world conditions, loads, and constraints on the design thus creating a virtual prototype of any object.

What are the types of CAD?

2D CAD and 3D CAD are broad classifications of distinct types of CAD, and CAD with the addition of CAE (computer-aided engineering) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) software elements is now becoming the norm.

What are the advantages of CAD Software?

Presenting 3D objects accurately is easy in CAD software instead of relying on hand drawn models. Once modeled, a 3D object can be analyzed, optimized, and tweaked with technologies like generative design to create the best version of that object within the scope of design intent.

Who uses CAD Software?

CAD software is used by designers, engineers, and hobbyists to create virtual models of objects. Anyone can use CAD, but we see it most frequently used in the manufacturing space. Any company responsible for the design and creation of a product—from homes to industrial complexes, toys, electronics, cars, and everyday objects—can utilize CAD to create their products.

How do I learn CAD?

PTC’s CAD solution Creo is simple to learn and is known for its ease of use. We offer Creo training that lets you become a Creo power user.

How is Creo 10 different from Creo+?

Creo+ combines the power and proven functionality of Creo, delivered via SaaS, with new cloud-based tools to enhance collaboration, improve accessibility, and simplify license management. In addition to all the capabilities of Creo 10, Creo+ includes collaboration tools to enable multiple team members to review, explore, and edit part design—in real time. CAD administrators will appreciate the cloud-based desktop tools for license management, deployment, and telemetry services. Creo+ is compatible with on-premises versions of Creo for better interaction with engineering colleagues and suppliers. Get the best of both worlds—proven Creo technology, combined with cloud-connected collaboration and license management tools.