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Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor
Original author(s) Bradley Gelfand
Developer(s) Autodesk
Initial release 1999
Stable release 2015 / March 27, 2014; 6 years ago (2014-03-27)
Operating system Windows
Type Computer-aided design
License Proprietary

Autodesk Inventor, developed by U.S.-based software company Autodesk, is a computer-aided design application for creating 3D digital prototypes used in the design, visualization and simulation of products. It uses ShapeManager, their proprietary geometric modeling kernel.

Autodesk Inventor competes directly with SolidWorks and Solid Edge.

Integrated motion simulation and assembly stress analysis 1

Inventor includes an integrated motion simulation and assembly stress analysis environment. Users can input driving loads, friction characteristics, and dynamic components, then run dynamic simulation tests to see how a product will work under real-world conditions. The simulation tools can help users optimize strength and weight, identify high-stress areas, identify and reduce unwanted vibrations, and size motors and actuators to reduce energy consumption. Finite element analysis (FEA) lets users validate component design by testing how parts perform under loads (using actual load information instead of estimates).

Inventor’s Parametric Studies and Optimization technology lets users modify design parameters from within the assembly stress environment and compare various design options, then update the 3D model with the optimized parameters.


Inventor uses specific file formats for parts (IPT), assemblies (IAM), and drawing views (IDW or DWG). Files can be imported or exported in DWG format. Design Web Format (DWF) is Autodesk’s preferred 2D/3D data exchange and review format.

Inventor includes a Building Information Modeling (BIM) Exchange tool, used to create and publish simplified 3D representations, intelligent connection points, and additional information in native file formats for AutoCAD MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) software. Users can export 3D geometry to AutoCAD Architecture, Revit-based software, and AutoCAD software, and exchange data with industrial design software such as Autodesk Alias Design. Inventor is also used to design mechatronic systems since it is interoperable with electrical software applications such as AutoCAD Electrical and Eplan.

Inventor can exchange data with applications such as CATIA V5, UGS, SolidWorks, and Pro/ENGINEER. Inventor supports direct import and export of CATIA V5, JT 6, JT 7, Parasolid, Granite, UG-NX, SolidWorks, Pro/E, and SAT files.

The Inventor Construction Environment provides fault-tolerant import of large STEP and IGES data sets. A quarantine holds entities containing geometric problems, such as surface slivers and mismatched boundary curves. Users can publish drawings as PDF files, publish 3D part and assembly models in SAT or JT formats, or create STL files for output to stereolithography and 3D print machines.


The latest Autodesk Inventor product line includes the following software titles:

  • Autodesk Inventor 2015
  • Autodesk Inventor Professional 2015
  • Autodesk Fusion 360 (the cloud-based replacement to Autodesk Inventor Fusion, Inventor Fusion remains available for free, but is no longer being updated)
  • Autodesk Product Design Suite 2015 Premium
  • Autodesk Product Design Suite 2015 Ultimate
  • Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Premium
  • Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Ultimate
  • Autodesk Building Design Suite 2015 Ultimate
  • Autodesk Plant Design Suite 2015 Ultimate

Feature Comparison at

Articles and reviews

Find reviews and articles about Inventor on the Autodesk website.

The code names of early releases were the names of sports cars and SUVs, because of the love that division vice president Robert "Buzz" Kross has for high-performance vehicles.

Release dates and names

Version Code name Date of release What's New
1 Mustang September 20, 1999
2 Thunderbird March 1, 2000
3 Camaro August 1, 2000
4 Corvette December 1, 2000
5 Durango September 17, 2001
5.3 Prowler January 30, 2002
6 Viper October 15, 2002
7 Wrangler April 18, 2003 New DWG Support for AutoCAD 2004, Autodesk® Express Viewer Compatibility, Large-Assembly Design Performance
8 Cherokee October 15, 2003
9 Crossfire July 15, 2004
10 Freestyle April 6, 2005 Task Scheduler, Inventor Studio, Associative import of Mechanical Desktop data, Design Accelerators, Assembly constraints use colors to differentiate between the first and second constraint selection.
11 Faraday April 6, 2006
2008 Goddard April 11, 2007
2009 Tesla April 16, 2008 Frame Generator, Sheet Metal, skeletal modelling
2010 Hopper February 27, 2009 The Ribbon, New FEA
2011 Sikorsky March 26, 2010 Dynamic Input, Direct Manipulation, Assemble tool, Visualization, iCopy, iLogic
2012 Brunel March 22, 2011 Provides easier ways to interact with 3D mechanical design data; new opportunities for sharing, accepting and updating CAD data regardless of source and complexity; and high-impact performance and productivity improvements for both users and IT departments
2013 Goodyear March 27, 2012 Equation curves
2014 Franklin March 27, 2013 Express mode, Connection, Symmetrical constraint, Slot geometry, Enhanced rectangle geometry, Thin wall FEA, Frame FEA, Assembly relationship folder

Mouseover grounded constraint visibility, Model & assembly simplification, Joint constraints.

2015 Dyson March 27, 2014 Freeform, Direct Edit
2016 Shelby April 16, 2015[1] Multi-CAD, AutoCAD Electrical and Inventor Interoperability, Shape Creation, 3D Printing Environment, Graphics/Visualization/Studio Enhancements
2017 Enzo TBD TBD

See also


External links