Difference Between 2D and 3D Shapes

When we look around us, we see a lot of things. All these things are in different shapes. We come across objects that are of various shapes like the rectangle, square, triangle, circle, cuboid, cylinder, etc. These figures are geometrical shapes and usually fall under the category of 2D figures or 3D figures.


Before learning about what 2D and 3D shapes are, let us understand what geometry is.




Geometry is a branch of mathematics. It is the study of solids, shapes, surfaces, points, angles, dimensions, etc. Hence, the various shapes under 2D and 3D figures are a part of geometry.

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2D Figures


Two-dimensional figures or 2D shapes are a division of geometry, namely plane geometry. The term 2D means that the shapes have two dimensions and exist on an XY plane. These are flat surfaces as we can draw these shapes in the X and Y axes. For example, parallelogram, circle, kite, trapezium, pentagon, etc.


We can only find the perimeter and area of a 2D figure.


3D Figures


Three-dimensional figures or 3D shapes are a division of geometry, namely solid geometry. The term 3D means that the shapes have three dimensions and they occupy volume. To draw a 3D figure, three axes, namely X, Y and Z is required. For example, cube, cuboid, sphere, cone, cylinder, prism, etc.

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We can find the area and volume of the 3D figure. Most of the figures also have curved/lateral surface area and total surface area.


Additionally, 3D shapes have three features, namely faces, edges and vertices.


  • Face- The flat surface or the curved surface of a 3D figure is called the face. For example, a cube has 6 faces.
  • Edges- The corner at which the two points meet is called the edge. For example, a square has 12 edges.
  • Vertices- Vertices is the plural form of vertex which refers to the point where two edges meet. For example, a square has 8 vertices.


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Difference Between 2D and 3D Shapes


Parameters2D Shapes3D Shapes
Full FormThe full form of 2D is two-dimensional.The full form of 3D is three-dimensional.
Dimensions2D shapes have two dimensions,3D shapes have three dimensions.
AxisThere is two axes of 2D shapes- X and Y axes.There are three axes of 3D shapes- X, Y and Z axes.
Area and VolumeThese shapes have only area. The volume cannot be found out as they are flat surfaces and only have length and breadth.These shapes have both area and volume. The volume can be found out because in, addition to length and breadth, they also have height.
EdgesClearly visible edgesSome edges may be hidden
Type of ViewThey give us a simple view of the objectThey give us a structural view of the object
Ease of DrawingThese shapes are easy to drawThese shapes are complicated to draw and demand imaginability.
Ease of ExplainingEasy to explain as they can be easily drawn as all the edges are visibleComparatively tough to explain because all the edges are not clearly visible
ExampleRectangle, Triangle, Circle, etc.Cube, Cuboid, Sphere, etc.
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