Glossary July 25, 2023
Updated 28 March 2024 by James Ocean

ArchiCAD vs. Revit

Table of Contents


The term “architectural software” is used to describe a wide variety of tools and solutions related to the creation of construction projects. This is why architectural software is often called an “umbrella term” which includes CAD software, BIM software, and many other types of solutions and tools.


CAD is computer-aided design. It describes the creation or modification of project designs in 3D with the help of workstations and specialized software. The term CAD, and the technology itself, is much older than BIM and dates back to around the mid-1960s. The main purpose of CAD software has been project visualization for decades, and it is fairly common for CAD software to be much more specialized and sophisticated than BIM software in terms of 3D modeling.


BIM stands for “building information modeling” (it can also mean “building information management” or “building information model”). It describes the creation or modification of sophisticated, detail-heavy 3D models. The main goal of BIM is to improve the entirety of the process of the realization of construction projects via seamless collaboration and constant access to a centralized project model.

This article’s primary objective is to compare ArchiCAD and Revit, including their advantages, shortcomings, and the primary arguments as to why a company might need a particular solution in the first place.

ArchiCAD vs Revit


Autodesk Revit is one of many software solutions offered by technological giant Autodesk (others include AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Civil 3D, and more). The primary goal of Revit is to improve the results of construction projects all over the world, allowing for more energy-efficient and higher-quality buildings and structures. Revit’s set of features covers construction as a whole, structural engineering, architectural design, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP), and so on.

Revit offers the ability to create and modify information-rich project models, contributing greatly to well-informed decision making across the board while improving cooperation and simplifying collaboration for all project participants. This, in turn, greatly enhances build quality as a whole, reduces the amount of potential rework, and practically eliminates miscommunication between project participants. All of these benefits are made possible by a centralized BIM model that is always up-to-date, consistent, and can reflect every potential design change any project participant makes.


ArchiCAD may not be as popular as Revit in this particular market, but it would also be unfair to say it is not. As BIM software, and one of the first examples of a BIM solution on the architectural market, ArchiCAD offers many different features in the 3D BIM software department, including data modeling, graphics overriding, attribute management, and more.

ArchiCAD puts a lot of emphasis on accessibility and user-friendliness, since it is more or less common knowledge that software such as Revit is powerful but difficult to learn and master. Other advantages of ArchiCAD include the automation of documentation, accurate building information management, enhanced collaboration, and so on.

DescriptionDedicated BIM solution that can both interact with 3D project models and improve various aspects of collaboration.Versatile 3D BIM solution that combines a centralized collaboration platform and a versatile 3D modeling toolset, with heavy emphasis on ease of use.
Initial release19971987
OS compatibilityWindows, macOSWindows, macOS
Software typeBIM softwareBIM software

Pricing and Features


Autodesk Revit offers two different pricing models: a subscription-based model and Autodesk Flex. Autodesk Revit subscriptions can be purchased in three different packages:

  • $365 for a one-month subscription
  • $2,910 for one year
  • $8,730 for three years

Autodesk Flex is a pay-as-you-go pricing model that uses tokens to provide access to some Autodesk features, including Autodesk Revit. Autodesk Revit costs 10 tokens per day, and users can purchase several different token packages on the Autodesk website:

  • $300 for 300 tokens
  • $1,500 for 1500 tokens
  • Custom token amounts

Autodesk Revit is a comprehensive software solution that offers its users many advantages. It is highly accurate when it comes to presenting digital objects and models as representations of their future real-life counterparts. The platform has versatile project management capabilities with easy access to schedules, sheets, elevations, sections, plans, and other elements of BIM projects. It is also extremely useful as a collaboration tool, providing an easy and convenient solution for data sharing and cooperative efforts.


ArchiCAD offers three different licensing options: a commercial subscription-based license, a one-year renewable free educational license, and a fully functional 30-day trial license.

The commercial ArchiCAD license can be purchased in three different forms:

  • ArchiCAD, at $225+ per month (before tax), is the basic version of ArchiCAD.
  • ArchiCAD Solo, at $200+ per month (before tax), is a limited version of ArchiCAD with most of its sharing features disabled.
  • ArchiCAD Collaborate, at $225+ per month (before tax), is a combination of ArchiCAD and BIMcloud.

Some of ArchiCAD’s more commonly acknowledged advantages are the general user-friendliness of its interface, its vast BIM-related capabilities, and the ability to view and modify models in both 2D and 3D. Not only is the solution itself highly accessible, making it an outlier in an industry of extremely complex solutions and platforms, but it is also relatively versatile, combining CAD’s ability to modify project models with many BIM capabilities, such as data centralization and workflow management.

Long-term cost of ownership for ArchiCAD and Revit

The initial price tag makes it extremely obvious which option is cheaper by default. However, the world of enterprise-level solutions is rarely about the upfront cost, because there are many other factors and prices that also have to be considered.

Unfortunately, the pricing situation in the long-term still paints Revit as the more expensive solution, and the gap between them becomes even wider, since ArchiCAD provides perpetual licensing, while Revit only works with a subscription model.

To be fair, ArchiCAD does require an additional subscription for both customer support and the latest updates but at the same time, the existence of a rather expensive subscription as the only option makes Revit look a lot weaker in comparison, especially when considering a long-term contract for a large company.

Other than this issue, ArchiCAD and Revit come out relatively even when it comes to the long-term cost of ownership. Both solutions offer capabilities such as paid support, paid add-ons, and paid training that can add to the total price of the solution in the long run.

Certification and training for ArchiCAD and Revit

Speaking of paid training, the topic of education in general is extremely important for sophisticated solutions such as Revit or ArchiCAD. Additionally, proper learning resources improve the chances that a client becomes more comfortable with and works with the software in the future.


Revit’s parent company, Autodesk, provides a wide variety of training resources to work with. The official training options are numerous and include both self-paced learning materials and instructor-led courses. There are also learning resources, such as community forums, documentation, video tutorials, and more, which can be worked with separately. Autodesk also provides the Certified Revit Professional (CRP) credential to those who complete its courses, validating users’ knowledge and skills in handling Revit for BIM purposes.


ArchiCAD provides a similar set of training capabilities. It offers official training resources via its Authorized Training Partners for different skill levels and topics. Other learning resources include a separate Learning Center with webinars, documentation, tutorials, and other information. Unfortunately, ArchiCAD does not have any formal certification program that serves as official confirmation of a person’s skills.

Compatibility and versatility


The prime advantage of Revit in terms of compatibility is the ability of Autodesk software applications to integrate with one another. This way, Revit can be linked with ACC for improved data management and collaboration. There is also an option for the software to work with several third-party rendering solutions (such as Lumion or Enscape).

There is no dedicated mobile application from Autodesk Revit for Android or iOS devices, and, unfortunately, Revit software is available only for Windows users.


ArchiCAD’s compatibility with other software is slightly more varied because it supports the IFC standard by default (one of the few open-source standards for BIM data). ArchiCAD can also achieve real-time collaboration due to its integration with BIMcloud, another Graphisoft software application.

If necessary, ArchiCAD can also work with third-party rendering engines and parametric modeling tools. Twinmotion provides high-quality visualizations of project models, and Grasshopper or Rhino may be used to improve cooperation efforts across the board.

ArchiCAD does not have a dedicated smartphone/mobile app for Android or iOS devices, but it does work with both Windows and macOS devices.

Hardware requirements

It is relatively common for both CAD and BIM software to have high system requirements in terms of hardware, but the requirements do vary from one solution to another. A comparison of both the minimum and recommended hardware requirements for Revit and ArchiCAD is presented below.

Minimum hardware requirements

Processor2.5 GHz or higher 64-bit processor64-bit multi-core processor from AMD or Intel
Graphics cardCompatibility with DirectX11Compatibility with OpenGL 4.0
Disk spaceunspecified5 GB
Display resolutionunspecified1140 x 900
Operating systemWindows 10 or 11, 64-bitWindows 10, 64-bit, macOS 10.14+

It is easy to see that Revit’s minimum requirements are somewhat higher than ArchiCAD’s, with its commitment to working with complex BIM models being the biggest potential reason.

Interestingly enough, the recommended system requirements paint roughly the same picture, with ArchiCAD being slightly more accessible as a whole, and Revit being focused on handling complex BIM models with zero compromises. The exact recommended specifications are found below.

Recommended hardware requirements

ProcessorAt least 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon E5 or later or AMD equivalentAMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7 (or higher)
Graphics cardCompatibility with DirectX11, at least 4 Gb of VRAMCompatibility with OpenGL 4.0, at least 4 Gb of VRAM
Disk spaceNVMe SSD with plenty of free spaceSSD with plenty of free space
Display resolutionFullHD (1920 x 1080) or higherFullHD (1920 x 1080) or higher
Operating systemWindows 10 or 11, 64-bitWindows 10, 64-bit, macOS 10.14+

Community support

Community support is an important factor for practically any software out there, and neither Revit nor ArchiCAD is an exception to this rule. Here is how both of these solutions handle the issue of community support.


Revit is one of the most popular solutions in its field, and its total user base is impressive in size. A large customer base always results in a larger selection of resources and guides available on the Internet. The existence of extensive official support from Autodesk in the form of knowledge bases and support channels makes it even easier to find the answer to a specific question.

There are also many third-party resources to choose from regarding Revit and its capabilities: blogs, tutorials, forums, and other options. At the same time, if the issue or question that the user is looking for an answer to is very specific and niche, it might be more challenging to find the answer simply because of how much information there is about Revit on the Internet.


ArchiCAD’s overall community is no match to Revit’s, although it is still quite respectable. Graphisoft offers its users multiple resources in terms of official support and knowledge sharing, and the community itself adds to that mass of information with many training materials and resources of their own. A smaller, tight-knit community is usually more helpful when it comes to difficult or obscure questions, as well, since it is a lot easier to receive help from an actual expert in the field.


Sustainability might be one of the few fields in this comparison where Revit’s capabilities lag far behind what ArchiCAD offers.

ArchiCAD has its own built-in tool for energy analysis called EcoDesigner. It can define multiple building parameters (materials, properties, location) to calculate energy consumption. This can be exceedingly helpful in various design presentations and other specific use cases, but the inability to connect with other building performance simulation software does limit its capabilities to a certain degree.

Revit, on the other hand, does not include energy analysis capabilities in the first place. It can be integrated with other building performance simulation tools, but it literally has no such capabilities itself, and users have to pay for an additional service to do so.


Both solutions operate using a somewhat similar pattern regarding the extension of their features. The functionality of both Revit and ArchiCAD can be expanded using a system of add-ons and plugins. These plugins are developed by both the original developers and by various third-party sources.

Revit is highly customizable software for unique project creation. It provides multiple customization options for different elements, including their behavior, size, and appearance. Revit’s API allows users to create custom third-party add-ons for the software, expanding upon Revit’s basic capabilities in terms of integration, workflow, and so on. At the same time, Revit itself is a highly complex solution, and its API is just as sophisticated, creating a relatively steep learning curve for the creation of custom modules.

ArchiCAD provides a respectable library of objects with plenty of customization options to work with. Not only does ArchiCAD provide a very similar ability to create custom add-ons, but it also supports Python scripting for operations such as new features, task automation, etc. These options can be relatively tricky, but neither is as complex as Revit’s API.

This way, ArchiCAD has access to tools such as dRoful Connection for data management. Revit, on the other hand, can work with Cove.tool to perform automatic performance analyses of the project model regularly.



As a BIM solution, Revit is well known for its complexity and steep learning curve. Its complex structure and somewhat convoluted user interface are two of the biggest reasons for this. At the same time, Revit’s feature set is more extensive than those of most BIM solutions, including a sizable material library, design autonomy, a categorization system known as “families,” and more.

Revit’s developer, Autodesk, regularly provides helpful materials and tutorials about Revit’s functionality. However, this is not always enough to become fully proficient with Revit’s toolset, and some more dedicated users may have to take up one of the many third-party educational courses to be able to use Revit to its full potential.


ArchiCAD has a sizable reputation as a user-friendly BIM solution, and its many users can easily confirm that. It can work with 2D and 3D models, offering multiple camera paths, view angles, etc. It is relatively fast for a BIM solution and works well with extensive and detailed BIM projects.

ArchiCAD is often considered a relatively simple solution compared to alternatives such as Revit. However, additional training and research may still be necessary for ArchiCAD users who wish to use the software to its fullest.

Target audiences and user ratings


The potential user range for Revit is surprisingly large, since the software can be helpful to structural engineers, architectural firms, civil engineers, contractors, and others. The software itself groups its capabilities into categories: Revit MEP, Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, and so on.

Revit’s customer ratings are:

  • Capterra4.6/5 points rating based on 384 customer reviews
  • G24.5/5 points rating based on 795 customer reviews
  • TrustRadius8.7/10 points rating based on 189 customer reviews


ArchiCAD’s primary audience revolves around the profession of architecture, including designers and architects of all specializations. It can work with MEP and structural elements, as well, but the software’s primary audience is the architectural sphere, with an intuitive workflow for the entire process.

ArchiCAD’s customer ratings are:

  • Capterra4.5/5 points rating based on 258 customer reviews
  • G24.6/5 points rating based on 235 customer reviews
  • TrustRadius8.8/10 points rating based on 24 customer reviews

Potential shortcomings


Autodesk Revit has multiple potential disadvantages:

  • It has relatively high hardware requirements, even though this is a fairly standard issue for most BIM/CAD solutions due to the sheer complexity of the models they usually work with.
  • The complexity of the solution as a whole is a significant issue with Revit, and it is rather difficult to start learning it, which may somewhat limit the scope of the potential customer base.
  • The price of Revit makes it practically inaccessible for most small- and medium-sized businesses, which is not a problem with Revit itself, but it is a problem for potential clients who are not large enterprises.


Graphisoft ArchiCAD has a number of shortcomings in its feature set:

  • The object library is somewhat limited in terms of customization, making it difficult to set the solution up to a specific user’s liking.
  • ArchiCAD’s 2D drawing capabilities are neither versatile nor detailed, which is slightly problematic for software that is mostly aimed at architects as its primary audience.
  • Layout drawing may be a long and problematic process since layout drawing updates tend to take a while to apply.

Which solution is better for newcomers?

Many different factors contribute to a given organization’s choice of BIM software. Some of the best-known factors include geographic location, the company’s specialization, business workflows, and more. The BIM software market as a whole is highly competitive, and there are dozens of different BIM solutions to choose from. And yet, one solution is the most popular option for most of the market.

That solution is Autodesk Revit, the preferred BIM software application in the construction sector in 2018 (in the United States): 46% of the builders surveyed for this article chose Revit as their first option for complex BIM tasks. At the same time, the market leader is not always the best choice when it comes to choosing software for a specific task.

For example, it is not uncommon for market leaders to have exorbitant price tags and to be missing features, and they face no pressure to resolve these issues because they are already at the top of the rating. In this context, solutions such as ArchiCAD may be better, cheaper, and more specialized for a task such as architectural design.

At the same time, the popularity of a given software application is not always an indicator that the software is the most accessible to new users. Revit is an industry leader like this. It is notoriously difficult to work with and almost requires architectural education courses for users to be able to work with it to its full capability.

Alternatively, if the task in question is mainly centered around architecture and not other aspects of the BIM workflow, solutions such as ArchiCAD may be far better (cheaper, more accessible, etc.).


Graphisoft ArchiCAD is a comprehensive BIM solution that offers two different feature sets: 3D model creation/modification and a collaboration platform. Both of these work great in the context of the architectural industry, providing a versatile and easy-to-use solution for architects and other specialists while acting as a single source of truth for all project participants to eliminate miscommunication, reduce the amount of rework, and so on. However, it also has its issues, such as layout updates taking a long time to be shown on the model or the overall limited set of features regarding integrations with other BIM/CAD solutions.

Autodesk Revit is one of the best-known BIM platforms on the market and is created and distributed by a well-known software provider. It can be seamlessly integrated with many other Autodesk solutions while also creating and managing BIM models and expanding its functionality via a system of add-ons. It can also be rather demanding in terms of hardware, and it is rather expensive and difficult to learn.

As mentioned above, it is practically impossible to find the single best solution for every possible use case due to the sheer complexity of this industry. As such, everything boils down to the very specific set of needs and priorities of a company looking for a BIM solution to meet its needs.

About the author
James Ocean

BIM/VDC Specialist. James Ocean is Head of BIMspiration at Revizto and keeps everything moving onwards and upwards. From supporting and teaching our internal team as well as our clients, James shows us the ins-and-outs and how to best leverage Revizto to maximize workflows, cut costs, and get all types of projects through the finish line.

ArchiCAD vs. Revit The architectural industry is a highly sophisticated field that relies a lot on various technological advancements. The market for architectural software is highly competitive and varied, and it can also be extremely difficult for users to navigate when trying to pick a single solution for their company. We aim to take a small selection of this kind of software in each piece and compare them to one another in as much detail as possible. 2024-03-28
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