QCAD License

Starting with version 3.1, the QCAD source code is distributed under the open source license GPLv3 with exceptions to allow proprietary extensions.

The QCAD source code also contains 3rd party libraries and various resources which are distributed under their respective licenses. For a complete overview of the various licenses involved, please refer to the LICENSE.txt file.

In all source code distributions of QCAD, you can also find a copy of the GPLv3 and the exceptions for plugins and add-ons.

QCAD and QCAD Based Products

The QCAD Community Edition

The QCAD Community Edition is everything that can be downloaded from our public git repository at github.com/qcad/qcad.

The QCAD Community Edition is distributed under the GPLv3 with exceptions to allow commercial plugins and script extensions.

QCAD Professional

QCAD Professional consists of the QCAD Community Edition with various additional, commercial (proprietary) plugins to provide support for the DWG format, improved support for various DXF format versions, improved support for splines and polyline and various other tools and improvements.

QCAD Professional is a commercial, proprietary software.


QCAD/CAM consists of QCAD Professional and additional, commercial (proprietary) plugins to create and manage toolpaths based on a drawing and to export these toolpaths as G-Code (or similar).

QCAD/CAM is a commercial, proprietary software.


The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL) is the most widely used free software license. It guarantees end users (individuals, organizations, companies) the freedoms to use, study, share (copy), and modify the software. Modifications and additions made to the software must generally be distributed under the same license.

GPLv3 Exceptions

QCAD is distributed with an optional set of exceptions which extend the freedoms granted by the GPLv3.

These exceptions allow us (as well as any other organizations and individuals) to distribute commercial, proprietary plugins or scripts together with the open source QCAD package.

For example, we distribute the software product called 'QCAD Professional' which contains the QCAD application under GPLv3, bundled together with proprietary extensions as outlined above.

QCAD Professional Single User License

QCAD Professional single user licenses are valid for one single user. A license may be used to install and use QCAD Professional on multiple computers and operating systems as long as there is only one user.

QCAD Professional Site License

QCAD Professional site licenses provide a quantity discount for companies requiring 10 to 20 licenses at one site. Multiple site licenses may be purchased to support more than 20 users at one site. For schools and universities or other educational institutions, educational site licenses are available for an unlimited number of users at one site or campus.

QCAD Professional Server License

QCAD Professional server licenses allow the use of QCAD Professional on a web server to process or generate data as part of a web service. The QCAD Professional application itself may not be made available for download or direct use to the users of the web service.

Extending and Distributing QCAD

Extending and Distributing the QCAD Community Edition

To develop open source or commercial/proprietary plugins or script add-ons for QCAD, you don't require any special developer license. Your plugins and add-ons may be distributed together with QCAD, under any license you choose (see GPLv3 exceptions). You may for example distribute the QCAD Community Edition (under GPLv3), together with your own, proprietary plugins and charge the end user a license fee of your choice. Such a package must contain the GPLv3 license file as well as the GPLv3 exceptions file. 

Any modifications and additions which are made to the QCAD source code itself may only be redistributed under the GPLv3 (optionally with exceptions). Note that such direct modifications are usually not necessary, since almost all aspects and tools of QCAD can be easily extended or modified through plugins and script add-ons.

However, if you for example discover and fix a bug in the QCAD source code or port the QCAD source code to a new platform, those changes must be distributed under the GPLv3 (optionally with exceptions).

Extending and Distributing QCAD Professional

Any QCAD Professional license holder may create their own script add-ons or C++ plugins for use with their QCAD Professional installation. Such script add-ons and plugins for QCAD Professional may also be distributed separately, under any license of choice. QCAD Professional may not be distributed.

DXF/DWG Support (Teigha)

QCAD Professional comes with a plugin for DWG and extended DXF import/export functionality. This plugin uses the Teigha libraries from the OpenDesign Alliance. In most cases, you can simply use and redistribute (see Royalties) the compiled plugin as provided in our QCAD packages. The plugin is available for Windows 32bit/64bit, macOS 32bit/64bit and Linux 32bit/64bit.


If your end product contains portions of QCAD Professional and you wish to distribute it, you have to purchase licenses from us for resale. In this case, you are becoming a reseller of QCAD Professional and purchase the number of licenses required from us.

You can also choose to distribute your plugins and script add-ons as a separate product without QCAD Professional and leave it up to the user to purchase and maintain their respective QCAD Professional licenses. In that case, no royalties are required to be payed to RibbonSoft.

Product Name

An end product that consists of QCAD and proprietary plugins or script add-ons must not be distributed under the name "QCAD", "QCAD Professional" or "QCAD/CAM". Instead, you can choose your own product name. You may mention in the product documentation or about dialog that your product uses QCAD technology.