It is the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. CAD software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications through documentation, and to create a database for manufacturing. CAD output is often in the form of electronic files for print, machining, or other manufacturing operations.
Computer-aided design is used in many fields. Its use in designing electronic systems is known as Electronic Design Automation, or EDA. In mechanical design it is known as Mechanical Design Automation (MDA) or computer-aided drafting (CAD), which includes the process of creating a technical drawing with the use of computer software.
Beginning in the 1980s computer-aided design programs reduced the need of drafts men significantly, especially in small to mid-sized companies. Their affordability and ability to run on personal computers also allowed engineers to do their own drafting and analytic work, eliminating the need for entire departments and the traditional drafting supplies they used. In today's world, many students in universities do not learn manual drafting techniques because they are not required to do so. The days of hand drawing for final drawings are virtually over. Universities no longer require the use of protractors and compasses to create drawings, instead there are several classes that focus on the use of CAD.