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Autodesk: Inventor

What is Autodesk Inventor?

Inventor LogoAutodesk Inventor is a computer-aided design (CAD) program that follows a direct solid modeling workflow, similar to SolidWorks, that is typically used for engineering or mechanical assemblies. Free access to it is included in the Autodesk Education License only.

Fusion 360 or Inventor?

At first glance, Fusion 360 and Inventor may seem very similar. There are notable differences in their features, and the modeling paradigm used to get to an end result in each program is very different.

How you must approach creating a three-dimensional model will vary based on the program, and your design requirements will influence which is better for you.

Fusion 360

  • Parametric modeling paradigm
  • Cloud-based saving, file revisions, and history
  • All parts are in one design file
  • Windows or macOS


  • Direct (aka solid) modeling paradigm
  • Local or network-storage only, fewer cloud/collaborative features
  • Parts and assemblies in different files
  • Windows only

Useful Inventor Plugins

Inventor comes with the ability to extend its capabilities with plugins, which can be found on the Autodesk App Store. Some useful plugins for Inventor include the following: