ARES Commander

ARES Commander

World’s Number 1 DWG Alternative

Seamless CAD Alternative

ARES Commander is familiar DWG-based CAD designed to completely replace your need for AutoCAD. Get the power of full CAD at a fraction of the cost. ARES Commander is the alternative your company will applaud you for – The No. 1 alternative, trusted by literally millions of users every day.

“We’ve saved a great deal of money over the last few years without loss of productivity. Perhaps the best decision I have made in relation to CAD.” Dale Whaite, CAD Systems Manager

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Designed specifically to make it easy for AutoCAD users to switch instantly without missing a beat. If you’re currently using AutoCAD, ARES Commander is the perfect tool to give you what you already have for a great deal less cost every year you use it. Create, open and edit DWG files up to the very latest versions. You’re no longer stuck with only one choice of software. ARES is the No. 1 alternative world wide and is trusted by literally millions of users every day.

The decision to buy ARES in place of traditional CAD is now seen as the smart choice.

ARES DWG Alternative

See the ARES (pronounced ‘Ah-rez’ )Difference

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Trusted by millions of professionals including

Same smile on the dial

AutoCAD users quickly appreciate ARES Commander’s familiar interface and command structure. Keystrokes, command line entry, icon menus and drop down menus all closely resemble those of traditional CAD.

“It took me just a couple of hours to completely adapt to ARES Commander from the way I used to use AutoCAD. I can’t believe how familiar it is.”

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How to compare ARES Commander with AutoCAD or other CAD software?

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 elses 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, 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)

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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.

The ARES Trinity of CAD

Modern DWG Editing Across All Your Devices

ARES One Ecosystem

ARES Commander™


Windows®, macOS® and Linux® computers

ARES One Ecosystem

ARES Touch™


Android® and iOS® smartphones and tablets

ARES One Ecosystem

ARES Kudo™


Nothing to install, runs in your Internet browser

ARES Commander

ARES Commander is desktop CAD for Windows, Mac or Linux. It offers you all the features you need to create or modify DWG drawings in 2D or 3D in a productivity-driven environment. Software will be fully installed on your computer and you can work even when there is no Internet. It is a direct replacement for your current CAD application and with it, comes the added bonus of ARES Touch and ARES Kudo. Together these three products are known as the Trinity of CAD

ARES Touch

ARES Touch is the natural extension of ARES Commander for smartphones and tablets so you can open, edit and mark up your DWG’s on the move, anywhere with your mobile device. Providing you a complete set of 2D design and annotation tools for tablets and smartphones, ARES Touch fits a variety of mobile use cases where your drawings need to follow you around and fit into your pocket .


RES Kudo is browser based CAD for creating, editing and sharing your DWG projects. With ARES Kudo you can access your DWG drawings from literally anywhere. Nothing to install nor upgrade: ARES Kudo runs directly in any internet browser to access DWG drawings online. ARES Kudo is also integrated with ARES Commander and ARES Touch to nicely synchronize files across all your devices. 

Experience the agility of ARES Commander to create and modify DWG drawings in 2D and 3D on your desktop. Leverage the drafting and design features that you've come to expect for your DWG files, at a significant cost savings. ARES Commander brings your productivity to the next level with smart productivity tools and a unique concept: The Trilogy of CAD™

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 managers,… well everyone really, is super happy.
Ken Jones – CAD Manager

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Its called the Trilogy of CAD because you get three distinct ways of accessing and working with DWG files; desktop, mobile and web browser. In addition all the files are synchronized and your one license can let you access any one of these at any time from anywhere. Now that’s flexibility.



3 Key Benefits

ARES One Ecosystem

One Ecosystem

Coherent Look & Feel across all platforms: Desktop, Mobile and Cloud
ARES Native DWG Support

Native .DWG Support

Supporting latest DWG-Standard file formats and previous versions
ARES Highly Cost Effective

Highly Cost-Effective

Full-featured and all-inclusive, our pricing makes it easy to deploy CAD to a large audience
ARES Essential Training PDF

ARES Commander Essential Training

If you have very little experience with AutoCAD, you’ll find this e-book very useful. It contains 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.

Technical Support

Get full support every year, for whenever you may need it.


ARES Commander System Requirements

Windows 10 or 8.1 (64bit)
Intel Core 2 Duo, or AMD Athlon x2 Dual-Core processor
4GB 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)
4GB 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
4GB 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 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. You can even load the software on multiple computers then log in and out of any machine as desired. Brilliant.

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

Yes. For a short time there is an opportunity to upgrade from your current CAD software to the latest ARES Commander. You will need to provide an email with proof that you own a competing product and confirm that you will unlicense your old competing software within the required period of time.

How do upgrades work?

In your first 12 months you receive all upgrades free. Beyond that time you have a choice.

  1. Pay a very low annual fee to always receive the latest upgrades as they are released, and if you have Trinity you’ll be keeping this active too or…
  2. Wait until the features you want appear in the software then pay a single upgrade fee to get the latest version. It’s the same price to upgrade this way no matter how many versions behind you are.

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, ARES Commander (desktop CAD) ARES Touch (mobile device CAD) and ARES Kudo (Web based DWG editing and sharing) 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.

Buy ARES Commander Online

Basic License

Option #1

ARES Commander, yours to keep forever

(includes upgrades for 12 months)


Outright purchase in a single payment.

Trinity Included

Option #2

ARES Commander, yours to keep forever 

(includes upgrades + Touch + Kudo for 12 months)


Outright purchase in a single payment.

Limited Time Upgrade Offer

Option #3

ARES Commander, yours to keep forever

(includes upgrades + Touch + Kudo for 12 months)

as and upgrade from competitor CAD software


Offer only valid for Australia and NZ. By switching to ARES you agree to:

1. Send proof of ownership of competitor software license to info(at)

2. Remove license of competitor software from your computer within 60 days

Prices shown in AUD. Australian buyers add 10% GST


Try ARES Commander for Free

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