Can I Get BricsCAD for Free?

Updated Dec 9, 2021
bricscad for free, white gray graphics2

BricsCAD has attracted attention from various factions for its capabilities that rival Autodesk’s flagship product, AutoCAD. BricsCAD is the most cost-effective CAD software, boasting superior performance, 100% .DWG compatibility, and flexible licensing. What’s even more compelling is that you can use all the premium features of BricsCAD for free, as we’ll discuss later in this article.

Quoting a 2015 analysis exploring whether BricsCAD is a real alternative to AutoCAD, the US Library of Congress’ (LOC) Sustainability of Digital Formats website, which offers information about digital content formats, pointed out that 100% .DWG compatibility is the single most crucial factor in considering alternative CAD products. Boasting this capability and more, BricsCAD, which was first released in 2005 by Bricsys, now an affiliate of Hexagon AB, has grown to become a formidable CAD software comparable to or perhaps even better than other CAD programs. 

Yet, the 100% compatibility attribute is not even the main differentiator. What sets BricsCAD apart from the likes of AutoCAD is its cost. Bricsys even states that its product is “the most cost-effective CAD software with .dwg compatibility, flexible licensing, and superior performance.” 

About BricsCAD

BricsCAD is a modern CAD software built for designers and engineers. Available in several packages, BricsCAD offers distinct capabilities to different users. 

For instance, if you choose BricsCAD Lite, you will access a powerful 2D drafting software program. On the other hand, the BricsCAD Pro package provides access to 2D drafting and 3D modeling software. 

The third package, BricsCAD BIM, offers AI-powered building information modeling (BIM) capabilities needed by designers, architects, and engineers working in the construction industry. Lastly, the BricsCAD Mechanical package provides mechanical engineers and product designers access to advanced mechanical design tools. 

Simply, BricsCAD offers a complete and comprehensive suite of design products anchored in a rich history that traces back to the early aughts. Version 1 of BricsCAD was first released in 2005 but had been in development since 2002 when Bricsys was established. 

The release of V1 indeed set a robust foundation for a product that has survived constraints occasioned by AutoCAD’s dominance as well as the fact that .DWG is Autodesk’s proprietary file format that contains copyrighted objects. For instance, you are likely to see a warning message when you use AutoCAD to open a .DWG file created using BricsCAD. The message will warn that the DWG file was saved by a software program that was not developed or licensed by Autodesk, BricsCAD’s 100% .DWG compatibility notwithstanding. 

Despite such setbacks, which may put off users who may not be familiar with the fact that the warning message is absolutely harmless, BricsCAD has continued to thrive owing to its powerful tools and, more importantly, pricing. In fact, you can use BricsCAD for free. But we’ll get to the pricing comparison in a bit. First, though, let’s talk about BricsCAD’s tools.

BricsCAD Capabilities and Features

BricsCAD has emerged as a powerful and comprehensive alternative to AutoCAD. For instance, BricsCAD offers the following features and tools:

  • Full Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP) support
  • 2D constraint management
  • 3D modeling (BricsCAD Pro and higher) and 3D auto-parametrization
  • 3D constraint management
  • Deformable modeling
  • Support for third-party applications
  • Rendering capabilities
  • AI-based modeling (BricsCAD BIM and BricsCAD Ultimate)
  • Structural and HVAC toolsets (BricsCAD BIM)
  • Assembly modeling (BricsCAD Mechanical and higher)
  • Sheet metal design
  • Bill of materials

Notably, these features are tools are restricted to specific pricing tiers. However, they are still available when using BricsCAD for free. With this in mind, let’s delve into the pricing aspect of BricsCAD.

In addition to its capabilities, BricsCAD’s status as a powerful alternative to AutoCAD is also born from the following factors:

  • BricsCAD is easy to use, meaning that it does not have a steep learning curve
  • It requires low transition cost, given that it is cheaper; you can even use BricsCAD for free – this pricing aspect makes it an attractive option for users looking for AutoCAD’s functionalities but at a lower cost
  • With V19, BricsCAD became available to Mac users
  • It has a community of over 1,200 registered application developers, partnerships in over 80 countries, and authorized resellers
  • Bricsys has embraced web-based technology (cloud services) and even offers BricsCAD 24/7, which enables users to access designs and documents from any device and location, thus facilitating collaboration
  • BricsCAD offers comprehensive product and developer documentation, release notes, and educational material – this helps those who wish to learn more about the software and how to use its many features
  • BricsCAD offers support services
  • Its user interface is somewhat similar to other CAD software programs, including AutoCAD
  • It is said to be 2.7x faster than AutoCAD at the opening .DWG files
Black and white bricscad’s familiar user interface

BricsCAD’s Familiar User Interface (source)

BricsCAD vs. AutoCAD: Pricing


Autodesk slowly phased out perpetual licensing in favor of subscription plans. Starting January 2016, new users of most individual Autodesk products could no longer purchase the software using the traditional perpetual licensing format. Notably, existing perpetual license holders would still retain these licenses but would need to keep their software up-to-date by using the newly introduced Maintenance subscription.

Over the next two years, Autodesk gradually transitioned software purchases to the subscription-based options currently available today. As a result, the cost of its products, including AutoCAD, has soared. 

Previously, under the perpetual licensing format, users could purchase an AutoCAD program for a one-time price of $4,000. Today, however, the same program is available at a monthly subscription cost of $220 or an annual subscription of $1,775 (as of December 2021). 

Comparatively, the new model is more expensive for users than the older pricing format, particularly over the long term. This cost makes it difficult for would-be one-time users of AutoCAD to pay for the subscription. Instead, they opt for free DWG/DXF editors. 

The pricing may also compel users to look for alternatives, and this is where BricsCAD comes in. 


Unlike AutoCAD, BricsCAD has retained a perpetual licensing offering for its users. Its pricing structure (one-time fee as of December 1, 2021) for each tier is as follows:

  • BricsCAD Lite at US$590
  • BricsCAD Pro at US$1,150
  • BricsCAD BIM at US$1,890
  • BricsCAD Mechanical at $1,780
  • BricsCAD Ultimate at $2,100

In addition to perpetual licensing, Bricsys also offers a subscription package for BricsCAD users. The pricing structure for a 1-year and 3-year subscription plan are summarized in the table below:


1-year subscription cost*

3-year subscription cost*

BricsCAD Lite



BricsCAD Pro






BricsCAD Mechanical



BricsCAD Ultimate



*Pricing as of December 1, 2021

BricsCAD is clearly cheaper and more cost-effective than AutoCAD, yet it offers equally powerful and reliable tools and features. At the same time, you can also use BricsCAD for free.

Using BricsCAD for Free

You can use BricsCAD for free, either during a 30-day free trial or if you are a student or educator. Under the free trial offer, Bricsys offers you full access to BricsCAD Ultimate, meaning that all the features of BricsCAD Lite, Shape, Pro, BIM, and Mechanical are available for use at no cost. 

After the thirty days elapse, you can continue using BricsCAD for free. Specifically, Bricsys offers BricsCAD Shape, its free solid modeling platform, at zero cost.

Additionally, if you are a student or educator, you can also use BricsCAD for free for one year. The academic license, which is renewable upon fulfillment of certain conditions, offers a one-year BricsCAD Ultimate license at no charge.

Parting Shot

BricsCAD is a powerful yet cost-effective alternative to AutoCAD. It is a recommended option if you want to enjoy the capabilities of AutoCAD at a more affordable price point. And if you are a student or teacher, you can use BricsCAD for free as Bricsys offers a one-year academic license at no charge. Notably, other users can also enjoy the many features and capabilities packed into BricsCAD for free by simply starting a 30-day free trial.

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