AutoCAD 360 remade as a Universal Windows app, free 2D CAD editing

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AutoCAD, as you'll know, is one of the tech industry's favourite Computer Aided Design systems. And AutoCAD 360 is the cloud-based, app-centric, teaser system that gets new users and companies on board. You get free mobile apps with some restrictions and some free cloud storage (enforced for storing - and backing up - your drawings), but after that the hope is that anyone serious (especially companies) will evolve up the system of subscriptions and extra products, which is how AutoDesk makes its money. AutoCAD 360 here is a brand new Universal Windows implementation of the existing viewer (and basic editor) for 2D 'DWG' drawings and, conveniently, it's fully Continuum compatible.

From the Store description:

Built for Windows 10, AutoCAD 360 is a free*, easy-to-use drawing and drafting mobile application that allows you to view, edit, and share AutoCAD drawings across desktop, web, and mobile devices - anytime, anywhere. Simplify your site visits with the most powerful drafting and editing tool available. AutoCAD 360 offers an abundance of features and capabilities. You can upload and open 2D DWG drawings directly from email and view all aspects of your DWG file, including external references, layers, and image underlays. Whether working online or offline, in the office or in the field, design every detail, everywhere.


  • Draw and edit shapes with accuracy using object snap
  • Select, move, rotate, and scale objects
  • Use multi-touch zoom and pan to easily navigate large drawing
  • Add and edit text annotations directly on your drawing; no need for paper mark-ups
  • Measure accurately using the distance measurement tool while on site
  • Keep drawings up to date by saving edits as you go
  • Work offline and sync your changes once back online
  • Share your designs with others directly from mobile
  • View drawings from a multitude of cloud storage services (Google Drive, OneDrive, Buzzsaw, Dropbox, and more)
  • Use the free companion web app to easily access drawings from web browsers

Which is pretty impressive, see below for my screenshots on the large-screened Lumia 950 XL. The quoted changelog for the new version, the redevelopment as a UWP, is:

  • AutoCAD 360 is now an Universal App on Windows platform
  • Completely revamped UI for UWP
  • Improvements in canvas performance
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements

Here's AutoCAD 360 in action:

Screenshot, AutoCAD 360Screenshot, AutoCAD 360

Windows 10's UI and design is at the heart of the rewrite; (right) opening even moderately complex DWG drawings isn't quick. The 'motor' 2D example shipped with the application takes around 30 seconds to open, even on the Lumia 950 XL!

Screenshot, AutoCAD 360Screenshot, AutoCAD 360

Zooming in and panning around a drawing works very well though, and a right-top hamburger menu gives rise to AutoCAD's typical layering and visualisation menus....

Screenshot, AutoCAD 360Screenshot, AutoCAD 360

You can do simple annotations and edits on mobile, though it's almost impossible to do anything fiddly or accurate on a phone touchscreen; (right) by default you have access to your free storage in AutoCAD 360's cloud, but you can also hook-up a variety of other services as storage for your new drawings.

And it works under Continuum too. I'll use it as an example in one of my Continuum features next week. You can grab AutoCAD 360 here in the Store. I should emphasise that CAD is hard and, in any serious capacity, you'll be wanting a LOT more than a smartphone and even a Continuum dock in order to get anything done. But it's great to have this free viewer and basic editor available for mobile for those occasions when your company sends out engineers with schematics, for example.

Source / Credit: Store