Best AutoCAD Alternative for working with Point Clouds

When it comes to point cloud-related projects, having the right software is crucial for efficiency and productivity. While AutoCAD is a popular choice, there are other options on the market that present compelling reasons to pick them instead.

With nearly 20 years’ experience working in the laser scanning and point cloud software industries – our pick for the best alternative to AutoCAD is ARES Commander

In this article, we will share with you not just the differences between the two, but also a few of the key advantages that ARES Commander offers. The biggest of these being its cost, that when combined with Undet’s specialist point cloud plugin is just one third the price of the AutoCAD alternative. With its user friendly interface and similar functionality, it is not just a cost effective choice, but also one able to handle even complex point cloud projects.

Whether you are deciding on your first CAD software for working with point clouds or looking for an alternate solution to AutoCAD, this article is a great place to get started.

ares commander interface

2D as-built documentation from Point Clouds. Point Cloud modeling software: ARES Commander + Undet.

What are the key differences between Ares Commander and AutoCAD for working with point clouds?


Although both AutoCAD and ARES Commander can be used for working on point cloud projects. As explained in more detail below, there are two main differences – the price and the functionality:


1.   Cost–effectiveness


As touched on above, ARES Commander provides comparable features and functionalities to AutoCAD, but at a more affordable price point. But just how much cheaper could it be for you or your business?

Here is the 1-year pricing for a single license for users in the EU:


The  numbers speak for themselves, with ARES Commander and Undet costing just one third of the price for a similar license for AutoCAD. Whether you decide to pay up front or monthly, this would be a significant saving for your business. At the same time, the lower cost will mean you need to complete fewer projects for the software to provide you with a positive return on your initial investment. Making it much easier for your business to be profitable and viable in the future. 

It is also worth bearing in mind, though, that the pricing for AutoCAD and ARES Commander can vary based on several factors such as licensing options, subscription plans, and applicable discounts. Pricing structures may also change over time, so it’s important to review the current pricing options and consider the specific needs of your business before making a decision on which is the most cost effective choice for you. 


2.   Efficiency and functionality differences


Thankfully, ARES Commander and AutoCAD are much closer when it comes to functionality and how efficiently they work – otherwise we would not recommend it. Like AutoCAD, ARES Commander offers a similar user-friendly interface, commands, shortcuts and customizable workflows that will help to streamline your point cloud-related projects. All of these making it easy for users of AutoCAD to adapt to ARES Commander without the need for extra training. 

In total, we would say around 90% of the features of AutoCAD are available in ARES Commander. Although some features are missing, or do not work quite as well as those in AutoCAD, ARES Commander is the best of the cheaper alternatives we have tested.

In addition, ARES Commander is actually better than AutoCAD when it comes to point cloud management performance, an aspect that makes it a more suitable choice than AutoCAD for some.  

Does Undet software for ARES Commander provide the same point cloud management features as Undet for AutoCAD?


Both Undet for AutoCAD and Undet for ARES Commander, provide easy-to-use tools for viewing and working with point cloud slices. However, Undet for AutoCAD offers a more comprehensive range of functions and tools to do different projects, but in general, these additional tools are not needed to produce accurate 2D drawings such as elevations, floor plans, or sections based on 3D laser scan data.

Despite Undet for AutoCAD having a fuller range of features there are a 4 things that the Undet for ARES Commander plugin offers exclusively:

  • A clean and easy-to-use user interface that is attractive to beginners
  • Better point cloud management performance compared to AutoCAD to utilize massive point clouds.
  • A point cloud transparency mode to make the main point cloud outlines crystal clear.
  • Specialized Undet Tools for Floor Plan creation: built-in and ready-to-use templates, dynamic blocks, specialized workspaces, annotation scripts and blocks.


How quickly can I learn to work with ARES Commander if I already know AutoCAD?

The short answer is very quickly. This is because ARES Commander has a user interface and features that are similar to those of AutoCAD, eliminating the need for substantial retraining or learning a whole new program. By utilizing existing AutoCAD skills and experience, users are able to swiftly adjust to ARES Commander and continue working with little interruption. When you add that ARES Commander uses the same DWG file format, you can even continue working on the same project you started in AutoCAD.   


Try ARES Commander with Undet for free for 30 days!


This trial period will allow you to explore the features and functionality of ARES Commander in conjunction with Undet. Allowing you to fully assess how well the software integrates with your workflows, test its compatibility with your existing point cloud data, and evaluate its overall performance and usability. Providing you with a good opportunity to determine if ARES Commander with Undet meets your requirements and if it is the right choice for your business.

Ready to try?

Register for your free 30-day trial here!

No. ARES Commander is not the same as AutoCAD, but it does offer a similar set of 2D drafting and 3D modeling features. It also uses the same DWG file format, meaning there is no loss of data when projects are shared between users of both programs.

Undet helps users of AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp and ARES Commander to improve their point cloud workflows by adding a suite of tools that make it easier to work with and view point cloud data, while at the same time improving PC performance and speeding up data imports.

To choose the right point cloud software for your business, the first thing you need to do is define your business goals with the software. This will help you to narrow down the possible options and figure out which specific tools will be the most useful for you. Another key consideration is your clients and delivering projects that will be compatible with their software

By choosing ARES Commander for your point cloud-related projects, you can achieve substantial cost savings without compromising on performance or quality. The software’s value proposition makes it an attractive choice for organizations and professionals seeking to optimize their budgets without sacrificing functionality.