I drew it on AutoCAD or I drew it in Matlab.

2 Answers 2


Generally when talking about software, you're going to use the word, "in."

You might work "on" a project "in" AutoCAD.

Also, when talking about a single piece software installed on a computer, generally English speakers will call it a program. The word software is used more often when talking about software in general or software plural.

"My computer is having a software issue. I have lots of software installed on my computer, but the program that's causing the problem is AutoCAD. When I'm working in AutoCAD my screen keeps turning a strange purple color and then everything freezes up. This only happens while I'm working in AutoCAD, so it has to be a software problem and not a hardware problem."

Additionally, to address the verb "drew" in your example, while you might create a drawing on a piece of paper, in AutoCAD, you're still working within a computer program, so the word "in" is still correct. You might draw a plan in AutoCAD or draw a picture in Photoshop, or view a drawing in Paint. All of those things are done in a program on your computer.

If you said your three year old child drew something on your computer, then I would expect to see some kind of drawing on the case of your computer.

  • I agree, but you should address the example verb "drew". I think people might say "drew it on" because drawing occurs on a flat surface. Even in software it is on a flat screen. Or, just to be safe, "using".
    – user3169
    Oct 3, 2017 at 21:25
  • @user3169 - Moreover, I wouldn't characterize the use of on in this context as "wrong" or "incorrect" or "ungrammatical" – even if it wasn't using tablet technology. I think in is probably the safer preposition to use, but on isn't overly jarring.
    – J.R.
    Oct 3, 2017 at 21:30
  • Addressed the verb "drew." Thanks user3169.
    – DoWhileNot
    Oct 3, 2017 at 21:35
  • @user3169 - I agree. "On" isn't wrong. And there are situations where I'd use "on" to refer to a program - especially if it connects to something outside your local computer. "I'm on Citrix," or "I'm on Facebook." I'm guessing that how rigid the usage is depends who is using language. An IT professional may need to be more rigid in their usage than a general computer user.
    – DoWhileNot
    Oct 3, 2017 at 21:53

We (Programmers) use in while talking about software.

Exp : Write a program in java that should display only digits.

Design a 3D image in AutoCAD.

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