World’s #1 DWG Alternative

Pure Replacement

ARES® stands at the forefront of DWG-based CAD software as the leading alternative to AutoCAD, providing a full replacement along with features for Cloud-based collaboration and BIM Drawings Automation with Revit & IFC import. Modern CAD… yet only a fraction of the cost: ARES Commander is on average 4 to 6 times less expensive than AutoCAD and has additional productivity advantages.

Desktop, Cloud & Mobile

1. ARES Commander is desktop CAD for Windows®, MacOS® or Linux®

2. ARES Kudo is a full browser-based solution for DWG creation and editing in the Cloud. 

3. ARES Touch is for DWG revision and editing on both Android® and iOS® smartphones and tablets.

Together these are called ARES Trinity. 

ARES Commander

Experience the agility of ARES Commander to create and modify DWG files in 2D and 3D on your Windows, Mac or Linux PC. Leverage the drafting and design features that you've come to expect for your DWG files in a software that is #1 in the DWG alternative space. ARES Commander a direct and often seamless replacement to traditional CAD tools.

ARES Kudo – Browser based CAD

ARES Kudo lets you create and modify DWG drawings in the cloud using just a browser. Nearly all of the 2D CAD editing features of ARES Commander are available in ARES Kudo.

Imagine being able to access, view and edit on any device anywhere you have internet access. 

ARES Touch – Mobile CAD

ARES Touch is the most complete CAD App. ever seen for your mobile device. Create and modify your DWG drawings on tablets and smartphones with a complete set of 2D drafting and annotation commands at hand. It’s a full-featured Mobile CAD App that fits into your pocket and is the perfect companion to quickly review a drawing shared in the cloud or received by email whilst on-the-go.

Familiar CAD – Unique Pricing

ARES Commander is familiar DWG-based CAD designed to completely replace your need for AutoCAD and get additional benefits not available in other software. It provides the option for both perpetual and subscription licenses, floating and fixed and on average is 4 to 6 times less expensive than AutoCAD.

Key Benefits

ARES Highly Cost Effective

Be More Than Your Competitors

Desktop, Mobile and Cloud based CAD with real-time project collaboration for more efficient project management and a sharp competitive edge.

ARES Native DWG Support

Familiar User Experience.

Supports all DWG formats in a familiar interface that will have you up and running immediately. Enjoy a seamless integration with your current business workflow.

ARES Highly Cost Effective

Easy, Effective, Affordable

Full-featured, even beyond traditional CAD software, and at a significantly more cost effective price. Easy to deploy in small, medium and large organisations.


ARES Commander Minimum System Requirements

Windows 11, 10 or 8.1 (64bit)
Intel Core 2 Duo CPU or later, or AMD Athlon x2 Dual-Core processor or later
8GB RAM (more preferred)
1.5GB Hard Drive (SSD preferred)
Mouse with scroll wheel
NVIDIA graphics card with 2GB (4GB or more recommended) supporting OpenGL
1920 x 1080 screen resolution or higher recommended
4k screens are supported
Mac OSX Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor or Apple M1 (only supported for ARM Processors with Rosetta 2 transition layer and Big Sur v11.2)
8GB RAM (more preferred)
1.5GB Hard Drive (SSD preferred)
Standard 2-button mouse with scroll wheel (Magic Mouse not supported)
NVIDIA graphics card with 2GB (4GB or more recommended) supporting OpenGL
1920 x 1080 screen resolution or higher recommended
4k screens are supported
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and 20.04 LTS, Fedora 33
Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Processor or better
8GB RAM (more preferred)
1.5GB Hard Drive (SSD preferred)
Standard 2-button mouse with scroll wheel (Magic Mouse not supported)
NVIDIA graphics card with 2GB (4GB or more recommended) supporting OpenGL
1920 x 1080 screen resolution or higher recommended
4k screens are supported

Looking for a new computer? To be certain you are getting the right machine, you can purchase our CAD-tuned laptops directly from us.

Which operating systems can ARES be installed on?

ARES Commander can be installed on Windows, MacOS or several Linux distributions. ARES Touch can be installed on Apple iOS or Android.

How many computers can I work from?

While using a single ‘stand-alone’ license, the same user can work from up to 2 computers; You can have one in the office and one at home for instance without switching licenses on or off.

If you choose the ‘Floating‘ license option for 3 or more users you can load the software on multiple computers. Anyone you choose can log in and out of any machine in any location as desired. The license is managed in the cloud but once you get your license from the pool you no longer need an internet connection to run the CAD software. When you log off there is a short 1 hour delay before a different user can access that license.

I already have AutoCAD, can I switch to ARES Commander?

Absolutely. Most users of ARES are familiar with AutoCAD. Switch to ARES Commander without missing a beat.

How do upgrades work?

If you choose to purchase a perpetual license outright then you’ll receive upgrades plus all the benefits of Trinity free for 12 months.

Beyond that time you can choose to purchase upgrade subscription for a further 12 months or just wait a few years before opting to upgrade. The upgrades are the same low price no matter how many versions behind you are. It’s the fairest price structure in the industry.

If you choose to get your license on 1 years or 3 year subscription then upgrades are automatically included for free.

ARES® Commander compared with AutoCAD® or other alternatives?

You will frequently find comparison tables listing features and shiny green ticks that compare one product to another, but the truth is that such tables do a poor job of answering efficiently the fundamental questions that customers are asking.

Such benchmarks were probably useful ten or twenty years ago when AutoCAD alternatives were still significantly behind AutoCAD. Nowadays, leading AutoCAD alternatives such as ARES Commander are able to fully replace AutoCAD. So the question is no longer “what I could be missing?” but “how does ARES Commander differentiate from AutoCAD and the other AutoCAD alternatives?“.

Any benchmark you see over only one or two pages cannot be more than an advertising flyer ignoring most of the commands and emphasizing only the sales pitch of the CAD vendor. You will find instead below an article emphasizing the strengths and weaknesses of each solution in a more comprehensive and detailed way. We hope it will help you to make a more educated choice.

1. Maximum compatibility with AutoCAD files and easy transition

Before getting into the pros and cons, the fundamental points to feel safe about the migration from AutoCAD to ARES Commander are:

1.1 ARES Commander is offering the highest compatibility with AutoCAD

Indeed, both products are simply using the same DWG file format. There is no conversion and therefore no loss of data when files are shared between ARES Commander and AutoCAD users.

Other file formats supported by both software include DXF, DWF and configuration files such as .ctb, .stb, .shx, .mln, .dim or .pcx (aka .pc3 in AutoCAD)
Both software are also able to import or attach DGN files, export to PDF and convert PDF back to DWG.

The N°1 alternative to AutoCAD

Graebert’s CAD technology represents the second largest installed base after AutoCAD. Millions of professionals are working with CAD software powered by ARES. This includes, for example, three of the top 5 construction groups in Japan (Obayashi, Takenaka and Taisei). Besides, ARES Commander is available in 14 languages.

Easy switch

Users who are familiar with AutoCAD can instantly switch to ARES Commander without additional training.

Users transitioning from AutoCAD can even use the same keyboard shortcuts and commands given that aliases have been defined to match the ARES commands when they are different. The user interface is also significantly the same and we recently added an alternative ribbon workspace named “CAD General” to facilitate the switch for users coming from AutoCAD. We also provide a manual for beginners who have no experience with CAD.

2. What full AutoCAD has better?

NB: These arguments are true only for the full AutoCAD, not for AutoCAD LT

2.1 Full AutoCAD has a larger ecosystem of third-party add-ons

If you have developed your own routines in Lisp, Visual Lisp, or C++ they can easily be migrated to ARES with few or no modifications to your source code, however if you are using someone else’s plugin you will need to check if that has been ported to ARES Commander.

Graebert is also offering a number of third-party plugins for a variety of needs such as real-time rendering, 3D point clouds, architecture, structural detailing, electrical, HVAC… etc.

2.2 AutoCAD has more advanced 3D features

ARES Commander includes a full set of 3D Solid Modeling features powered by the ACIS 3D solid modeler of Dassault Systèmes yet AutoCAD has a few more. For example, the ability to import and export IGES and STEP files. Generally however, users working frequently in 3D wouldn’t use AutoCAD or ARES but prefer working with other solutions such as IronCAD, Inventor, Solidworks, Rhino, Revit, ARCHLine.XP, ArchiCAD… because efficient 3D modeling calls for a different approach with assemblies, smart 3D objects, and parametric tools. DWG format and AutoCAD are mostly aiming at 2D drafting.

3. Finally, the key question is also how ARES Commander is better than AutoCAD or other AutoCAD alternatives?

3.1 The business model and licensing

AutoCAD is only sold as a subscription (term licenses of 1 year, to be renewed every year). Autodesk stopped selling perpetual licenses and even decided recently to stop selling network licenses.

ARES Commander offers a very flexible approach and a cost significantly less than AutoCAD (frequently 6 times cheaper depending on the region):

a) License types: You can buy Perpetual licenses, Network licenses and even term licenses (subscriptions) of 1 or 3 years

b) Upgrades and subscription renewals: Each Perpetual license includes 1 year of subscription (maintenance) for free. In case you don’t want to renew the subscription every year you can always buy an upgrade later, even if it is many years after.

c) Work from multiple computers: Each user gets a Graebert account with a login and password that allows him to work virtually from any computer. The license is following the user and there is a tolerance for up to two simultaneous computers for the same user (eg one PC at the office and one laptop on the go) to avoid constant log in / log out from each device. Of course, the user can work on a third or more computers if he logs out from one of the first computers he used.

3.2 ARES offers Modern DWG Editing with significantly better collaboration

In addition to the features traditionally replacing the AutoCAD features, Graebert has massively invested in R&D to significantly improve productivity and collaboration.

a) Additional productivity features that don’t exist in AutoCAD
Work faster and easier with the most frequently used commands. Click on the links below to see some videos:
Power Trim, Dimensions palette, Quick Modify, Mouse gestures, Heads up toolbar

b) Other advanced features that don’t exist in AutoCAD
BIM features: ARES Commander ambitions to be the best solution to document BIM projects with best-in-class DWG drawings. Click on the links below to see some videos:
BIM Navigator: to import and filter IFC and RVT filesRead BIM Object propertiesExtract BIM data to tables or Excel
Maps features: Professional Maps including satellite images and street maps with geo-referencing (requires to stay on subscription)

c) Modern DWG editing leveraging mobile and cloud to improve collaboration workflows between users at the office and the users working remotely or on-site.

See also these other videos:
Share Drawing as a view-only link URL
Synchronize files with One Drive, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox or private Internet servers via WebDAV
Markups and commenting collaboration features

LEARN MORE – Read how cloud-based CAD systems from Graebert and Autodesk compare:

3.3 Possibility to customize for large accounts

If you are considering having 100 users or more you could be interested to learn about our ARES for Enterprise features. Even more than our innovations what makes the difference with large accounts is our ability to customize ARES. Some examples include:

a) Authenticate users with a third-party single sign-on (SSO) technology such as the Microsoft Active Directory Federation services – Users would log in to our products with this solution instead of using a Graebert Account.

b) Integration with your file storage systems: Admins can define which storage their users should use including local file servers (via WebDAV protocol) or secure access to Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive for Business… etc.

c) Restrict user rights on specific features to increase security according to your organization requirements: some features can be disabled

In hopes this helps to clarify,

Kind regards,

Cédric Desbordes
(Minor additions by Nigel Varley, CAD International)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ARES®, ARES Commander™, ARES Touch™, ARES Kudo™, ARES Map™, ARES Mechanical™, ARES Sketch™ and SiteMaster™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Graebert GmbH. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

    Which file formats does ARES support?

    ARES can import DWG, DXF, DGN, PDF, ACIS SAT, IFC (BIM) and STL files.

    What is Trinity?

    ‘Trinity’ is the name used to describe the use of all three products

    1. ARES Commander (desktop CAD)
    2. ARES Touch (mobile device CAD) and
    3. ARES Kudo (Web based real-time viewing, editing, sharing, and version control)

    When you have Trinity you also get extra tools for working with digital Maps.

    What does the trial include?

    Access to ARES Commander (desktop software), ARES Touch (phone and tablet software) and ARES Kudo (Web based Cloud software).

    Can I get support?

    Absolutely. We support all the software we supply. You can add this local support to at any time by selecting ‘Support’ from the options at the top of this web site.

    What is the difference between Subscription and Perpetual license?

    Click here to see the difference between a perpetual license and a subscription: Perpetual vs. Subscription Licensing Explained – CAD International

    What Others Are Saying

    “ARES has a familiar environment that allowed us to switch from AutoCAD in a day! We looked at a couple of other options before deciding on ARES and so far we’re really happy with our decision. Support has been outstanding too. With AutoCAD we didn’t get any support so this is very refreshing.”
    Darius P, Production Manager

    “We can’t afford down time and need to be fully compatible with DWG files. We have thousands of legacy drawings we need to access and edit quite often. ARES hasn’t missed a beat.”
    Erik Varvel, Clark Patterson Lee

     “If you have ever used AutoCAD you’ll be right at home using ARES Commander. I have been 100% satisfied with the performance and ease of use. The major plus is one can choose to own the application vs. paying for a subscription
    Edward C, Sales Engineer

    “It’s a very stable product with all the features that one expects from a professional level cad program along with some extra’s we didn’t know we were getting that pleased upper management”.
    DeAnne Gaylen M, Arch. Designer

    “First class software at a fair price. We use ARES Trinity to collaborate throughout the organization and have just begun getting our clients on board too. It reduces construction times because communication is handled by the cloud tools.”
    Damian Grey, Project Manager

    “Our entire office need to use our CAD drawings. Having up-to-date access on any device from anywhere has been a real bonus to productivity. Project manager,… well everyone really, are super happy with the software.”
    Ken Jones Design, Managing Director 

    World Leading Professionals Use ARES Technology

    ARES Essential Training PDF

    ARES Commander Essential Training

    Lessons and exercises to learn the fundamentals, including the user interface, layers, blocks, properties, most frequently used drawing features, dimensions, printing features, etc. The exercises will guide you step by step with clear instructions and sample drawings.


    World’s #1 DWG CAD Alternative

    Buy Floating Subscription

    Share each license with multiple users anywhere. Minimum of 3 licenses required in the pool. 

    Buy Subscription

    Renews automatically until you cancel.

    $380 / year

    $816 / year


      • ARES Commander License
      • ARES Kudo cloud based CAD
      • ARES Touch, tablet based CAD
      • Software Upgrades
      • Cloud services.

      Buy Perpetual

      A license that’s yours to keep.




        • ARES Commander – Perpetual license
        • ARES Kudo cloud based CAD – 1 Year
        • ARES Touch, tablet based CAD – 1 Year
        • Software Upgrades – 1 Year
        • Cloud services – 1 Year

        Switch to ARES

        Go from AutoCAD or BricsCAD to ARES.

        Original price was: $1,224.Current price is: $677.

        Requires proof of existing CAD license


          • ARES Commander – Perpetual license
          • ARES Kudo cloud based CAD – 1 Year
          • ARES Touch, tablet based CAD – 1 Year
          • Software Upgrades – 1 Year
          • Cloud services – 1 Year

          Floating Subscription Licenses

          As practical alternative to stand-alone licenses, share each license with multiple users anywhere.

          Requires a minimum of 3 licenses (Buy the 3 Seat Starter Pack first).

          Requires internet connection to get license, then runs without connection. 

          License is released to others after 1 hour of a user logging off.

          A truly cost effective and flexible option for 3 or more users in any organization.

          3 Seat Starter

          3 concurrent floating licenses to share with unlimited users

          Price for all 3 licenses for one year

          $1,835 / year

          $3,673 / year

            • ARES Commander subscription license
            • Trinity that includes:
              Software Upgrades,
              ARES Kudo cloud based CAD,
              ARES Touch, tablet based CAD,
              Cloud services.

          Extra Seats

          Extra floating licenses you can add to the starter pack

          Price for each extra license for one year

          $611 / year

          $1,224 / year

            • ARES Commander subscription license
            • Trinity that includes:
              Software Upgrades,
              ARES Kudo cloud based CAD,
              ARES Touch, tablet based CAD,
              Cloud services.

          10% GST is added at the checkout


          Try ARES Commander for Free

          Choose your ARES Commander version (Windows or Mac) and submit the form

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