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This page attempts to answer the most common questions asked on the FreeCAD forums. If you have a problem or question regardign FreeCAD, check below then, if you cannot find an answer for your specific case, head to the FreeCAD forum!


What is the easiest way to install FreeCAD on my system?

The simplest way is to head to the Download page, where you'll find several ready-to-install packages for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX systems. If you are on a debian (>= squeeze) or ubuntu (>= 10.4) system, FreeCAD is already included in the standard software repositories and you can symply install it with the software manager. Note that such packages are only released from time to time, when the developers find it appropriate, and at the moment they do not follow any release schedule.

What if I want to compile FreeCAD myself?

The source code of FreeCAD is always available in the project source code repository. Compiling FreeCAD yourself allows you to use the most recent features being developed, but requires a bit of computer knowledge, although the procedure is fairly simple. Access to the source code is expained here, and we have detailed instructions for compiling on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.


FreeCAD starts normally, but not all icons are displayed, some of them are replaced by a black 'X'

Some parts of FreeCAD depend on an external Python module called Pivy. On Windows, pivy is included in the FreeCAD installation. On Debian/Ubuntu systems, the python-pivy package is part of standard software repositories. On other systems, at the moment, you might have to compile pivy yourself. Note that although some tools are not available without pivy, the rest of FreeCAD works normally.

I have display problems, the 3D view doesn't behave correctly, there is garbage when I move/rotate the view, etc...

FreeCAD depends on OpenGL for displaying 3D contents, and therefore requires a working OpenGL environment. On some systems, OpenGL is not activated by default, and you might need to install or upgrade your graphics drivers. This problems happens most often on Linux systems or on virtual systems. If you are on a linux-based system, try the following steps:

  • verify that your computer has a 3D-capable graphic board
  • type glxinfo in a terminal window, and check in the output that Direct Rendering is set to "yes", and that the OpenGL vender/renderer/version matches your graphic card.
  • install other OpenGl-based software (for exampe blender) and check if it runs and displays correctly

Using FreeCAD

How do I rotate the 3D view?

FreeCAD has two navigation modes that can be set in the preferences settings dialog. In the default mode, zooming is done with the mouse wheel, panning the view is done by pressing the middle mouse button (wheel), while rotating the view is done by pressing the left and middle mouse buttons simultaneously.

What can I do with FreeCAD? Where do I start?

Head to the Getting started page for a quick description of the tools you can use. The User hub section contains more detailed information about the different workbenches of FreeCAD.