)Acronym for computer-aided design. A CAD system is a combination of hardware and software that enables engineers and architects to design everything from furniture to airplanes. In addition to the software, CAD systems require a high-quality graphics monitor; a mouse, light pen, or digitizing tablet for drawing; and a special printer or plotter for printing design specifications.
CAD systems allow an engineer to view a design from any angle with the push of a button and to zoom in or out for close-ups and long-distance views. In addition, the computer keeps track of design dependencies so that when the engineer changes one value, all other values that depend on it are automatically changed accordingly.