Is 2D CAD drawings dead?


4 mins

Is 2D CAD drawings dead?

Everyone is talking about 3D models and Building Information Modeling (BIM) nowadays. It is believed that conventional 2D drawing techniques are sluggish, inefficient, and out of date. So, has the digital 2D drawing board era ended?

The response is no. Despite the hype, many designers still prefer to work with 2D drawings on a daily basis. The reportings made by leading surveys shows that most of the respondents continue using 2D drawing & draftings widely in their everyday work. 

Drafting and engineering drawings in 2D Computer Aided Design (CAD) are crucial, particularly for comprehending every design detail. In order for manufacturers to collaborate with partners in their supply chain, 2D drawings provide all of the necessary information regarding the design and manufacturing details, such as required fits and tolerances.

Discussions in the online engineering community reflects that many industries still place a higher value on 2D drawings than 3D ones. For the purpose of using the design data in future, many businesses store a large number of legacy drawings in 2D. It would be very time-consuming and pointless to recreate these drawings in three dimensions.

Why is 2D CAD drafting important?

The answer may be obvious to the average CAD user, but there are numerous reasons why 2D CAD will continue to be useful in 2023

Adaptable to all

2D CAD is an industry-friendly horizontal product. In contrast, every 3D CAD program is renowned for its niche.


A skilled 2D drafter communicates quickly. There are numerous explanations. 2D is easier to grasp. The process is simplified by the Drafting rules. There are a lot of experienced drafters in the 2D market, and more experience leads to faster drafting.


A single file format, DWG (CAD Drawing), has been adopted by the drafting industry as a standard. The DWG file format is used by every 2D CAD product on the market today. It is a reliable and up-to-date format. DWG files can also be imported and exported by any 3D CAD software. One of the three file formats I consider post-proprietary is DWG; PDF and DOC are the other two. They have advanced from being a product-specific file format to global standards.

Scale, tolerance & coordinates

In 2D CAD, the size of a design is unlimited. It is just as good at drawing diagrams of skyscrapers or microscopic brackets. In contrast, 3D CAD tools are designed for a specific size range, making it difficult to work with multiple scales of reference.

Transition period

Being able to toggle between 2D and 3D at will makes the transition to 3D modeling easier for many designers who are accustomed to and comfortable with 2D drawing. Working this way also ensures that no work is duplicated, as the 2D drawings are created as a byproduct of the 3D modeling process or the 3D model is populated using information placed in 2D views. With this flexibility, the designer can get a 2D view of the 3D model and design or detail the model in whatever way is most efficient for them in 3D or 2D. 

Benefits of 2D drafting in projects

When an architectural 2D drafting tool is implemented in the small or big project, the organization reaps numerous benefits such as–

Best drafters at work

Having certified and experienced drafters in the team has its own charm. They bring in their experience of operating in various projects unlike most of the in-house drafters who have experience of working in the construction and manufacturing sector. This gives deeper insights into the client project while implementing 2D architectural drafting tools.

Faster turnaround

2D projects have lots of drawings. Experienced CAD technicians know the trick of using tools for drafting more drawings in less time without hampering the quality & timeline of the project work. 

Accurate layout

In earlier days (before 3D Drafting was widely used), drafters would correctly create third dimensional drawing that couldn’t be seen on a flat surface. 2D drafters aren’t dependent on 3D views alone, they are in-trained to create accurate layouts using orthographic views. That’s a big bonus to have a 2D drafter in your team after all!

Great computing speed

A drafting tool like AutoCAD is just as good as the hardware keeps supporting it. A small 2D task can be completed perfectly with 2.6MHz and up. For a few disciplines such as Civil Engineering, Schematics, 2D is a better tool.

Can we use both 2D and 3D?

Due to the numerous advantages it provides, the utilization of 3D in the current situation cannot be denied. 

Transition from 2D to 3D

While 3D tools can be used to perform design analysis, visualization, and clash detection, 2D systems can be used to create drawings for shop floor requirements or collaborate with outside suppliers. However, using a hybrid approach can ensure that the best of both 2D and 3D is utilized. Manufacturers can use the hybrid strategy to seamlessly transition from 2D to 3D environments.

Interoperability plays a crucial role in this strategy; Using native 2D files, the 3D model should be accessible with all design information. On the other hand, the 2D drawing should reflect any change to the 3D model, eliminating the need for manual updating. Users can share 2D and 3D design data without the need for file translation software in multi-CAD environments thanks to the interoperability.

Role of 2D and 3D

2D drawings will always be popular; and spend a significant amount of time here. The significance of 2D drafting cannot be overstated for numerous sectors, including the civil, electrical, and mechanical ones, as was previously mentioned.

Without 2D drawings, the development process in the civil and electrical fields is hard to imagine. Similar to electrical circuit schematics, which must essentially be presented in 2D with all of the necessary symbols, collaboration between engineers and architects relies solely on DWG files rather than 3D. In this instance, an electrical engineer would only be interested in 2D.

Engineers still adore two-dimensionality because it is similar to oxygen; Essentially, 2D drawings will be required at some point during the design process. For the USP, 3D might look nice, but 2D is essential.


It is wise not to fight which one is a better drafting solution– 2D or 3D. These both are always going to be a part of the design methodology and process. Embrace it. 

However, the challenge for drafters will be to leverage the rich data in 3D models for driving the 2D drawings. 

For example, AutoCAD and Inventor don’t talk to each other. But, both of these tools can be used for the same work, after all they belong to the same family. Just like a dysfunctional family, to make them talk and work together, a new process needs to be introduced where a 2D drawing is created using AutoCAD based on the 3D model Inventor. Integrate your 2D drawing as tightly as possible to your 3D model and experience the results.

So, what’s in store for the future?

The future looks promising- with BIM (Building Information Modelling) continuing its growth in the world of CAD, 2D CAD remains useful and is going strong, transition to 3D modeling has become more pressing! Possibilities are many and varies from organization to organization, on the way they want to use 2D CAD drawings or 3D CAD modeling for best business results.

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