Computer aided design (CAD)
Top 10 CAD Drawing Management Software for AEC in 2023
As the AEC industry continues to evolve, its requirements for fast and effective CAD drawing management software become all the more prominent. However, when so many software options are available in the market, it can be challenging (even for professionals) to find an optimal software that will best serve their firm's CAD needs. Last year, CAD drawing management software was at its finest, with multiple developers creating or updating their version of the software. The majority of these remain just as top-tier and relevant in 2023.
We have examined 10 CAD drawing management software options and have classified them as the top choices for AEC firms in 2023—and we expect them to prove to be just as viable in 2024. For each software, we have addressed its unique features, benefits and drawbacks, and their level of compatibility with different CAD programs. So, whether you run a small AEC firm or a large enterprise, this 2023 list will ease off the pressure of choosing an appropriate CAD drawing management software option for your AEC business in 2023.
What Is CAD Drawing Management Software?
CAD, or Computer-Aided Design, drawing management software is an application used to create or optimise designs. It's used in almost every industry to create either 2D or 3D designs that outline the components of projects. With CAD drawing management software, you'll have a more accurate representation that you can modify to improve design quality.
Why Is CAD Drawing Management Software Used in the AEC Industry?
With CAD software, engineers, architects, and designers are more productive. It streamlines the design process, allowing users to seamlessly develop, modify, and optimise technical drawings as needed.
Designs are also stored digitally, making it easier for teams to collaborate and effectively work on them. Ultimately, AEC organisations leverage CAD software to:
- Improve design quality
- Streamline design workflow
- Eliminate errors
- Reduce rework
- Improve key metrics of their operations
Key Challenges in Creating and Managing CAD Drawings
Some of the challenges faced when creating and managing CAD drawings include the following:
- Complexity of designs
- Compatibility issues when converting files from one CAD software to another
- Printing complex CAD drawings
- The requirement of special skills (users need regular training)
- Cybersecurity issues such as hacking or virus attacks
- Regular software upgrades and changes that may require retraining or relearning
However, CAD continues to develop, opening up new and innovative solutions for the AEC industry.
The Top 10 CAD Drawing Management Software Systems for AEC in 2023
CAD document management systems have transformed the way AEC businesses operate. They can now transform concepts into realities with previously impossible precision. Here are the top 10 CAD management software systems for AEC businesses.
AutoCAD is a widely used CAD software that can create accurate models, drawings, and sketches. Developed by Autodesk, AutoCAD supports 3D modelling and visualisation alongside 2D modelling features. It gives you the tools and features needed to build, edit, and share models. It also includes the auto-specification check feature, which checks for any mistakes in the design. With AutoCAD, the options for creating exceptional things are endless.
- Easy to use
- Supports 3D models
- Compatible with other applications and virtually every device
- Supports simulation and virtualisation
- Restricts the editing of lines and places
- Limited colour choices
- Prices start at $245 per month.
MicroStation is the world's leading 3D architecture software for creating and visualising 2D and 3D CAD designs. Designers can use parametric tools, including mesh, to find and manage similar components. With MicroStation, you can deliver high-quality designs for complex and scalable projects. It incorporates interoperability with collaboration functionalities, allowing you to work flexibly on your designs.
- 2D and 3D designs
- Supports Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) platforms
- Supports visualisation and component management
- Automates common tasks
Steep learning process for new
- Prices start at $2,135 per year.
Revit is a BIM, or Building Information Modelling, software for creating high-quality buildings and infrastructure. It integrates BIM and CAD tools such as floor plan design, work sharing, and 3D visualisations that help AEC professionals throughout the project life cycle. Technically, Revit facilitates the production of consistent designs, supports collaboration, and streamlines documentation.
- 3D modelling and visualisation
- Efficient project management
- Unification of teams and workflows
- Extensive library of components and features
- Parametric components
- Difficult software to master
- Not user-friendly
- Prices start at $335 per month.
SolidWorks is a solid modelling CAD drawing management software that offers everything you need in a CAD tool. It provided powerful functionalities for developing sophisticated 3D models and simulations. With SolidWorks, users can utilise the cloud collaboration tools, easy-to-use interface, and other features to reduce costs, shorten development time, and improve design quality.
- Excels in 3D modelling
- User-friendly and easy to use
- Enhances collaboration
- Supports automation
- Complex pricing model
- Limited OS compatibility
- Prices start at $810 per three months.
SketchUp is a 3D modelling CAD software that emphasises usability. Therefore, it's easier to learn and more intuitive than many other programs. It also offers a robust toolset for your CAD needs. SketchUp allows professionals to create sustainable designs, visualise quickly, collaborate easily, and clearly document their work.
- User-friendly and easy to learn
- Offers both 2D and 3D designing tools
- Creates beautiful renders and animations
- Offers free 3D modelling software with limited features
- Doesn't support automation
- Limited file type compatibility
- Prices start at $119 per year.
DraftSight is an industry-leading collaborative CAD drawing management software for creating, editing, and viewing 2D and 3D designs. The software allows you to switch from 2D drafting to 3D modelling effortlessly, making it easier to optimise and maximise designs with speed and efficiency. With its extensive features and seamless integration with other SolidWorks solutions, DraftSight offers limitless functionalities.
- Integrates 2D and 3D modelling in one platform
- Seamlessly integrates with other CAD solutions
- Reliable automatic functions
- Multi-user licenses
- Limited guide resources
- Poor technical support
- Prices start at $249 per year.
ArchiCAD is a world-class architectural BIM CAD software with powerful tools for AEC professionals to design, visualise, and document 2D or 3D projects. It's one of the most efficient BIM tools with powerful information management and coordination. ArchiCAD is a top-choice, integrated 3D modelling tool and BIM software, offering a more intuitive interface and real design freedom.
- Powerful built-in tools
- User-friendly interface
- Parametric 3D modelling
- Steeper learning curve
- Less flexibility
- Prices start at $115 per month.
ActCAD is a feature-rich engineering designing software for CAD drawing management. It provides all the functionalities of industry-leading CAD systems, from 2D geometry and solid modelling to advanced 3D modelling tools. With ActCAD, teams can effortlessly draft 2D drawings, create and edit custom models, and handle the 3D rendering of models.
- Full functionality for 2D and 3D CAD
- Offers perpetual license
- Very affordable
- Simple, familiar user interface
- Supports various add-on tools, features, and commands
- Limited resources
- Difficulty with license transfer
- Prices start at $199 as a one-time fee.
Rhino is a free-form 3D modelling CAD software for NURBS modelling. It offers a wide range of uninhibited free-form modelling tools. Users can do so much with Rhino, from creating and editing designs to analysing, documenting, rendering, and translating models. Therefore, if you're looking for complete software with drawing, CAM, and animation functionalities, Rhino has everything you'll need to make an accurate, high-quality model.
- Facilitates real-time collaboration
- Uninhibited free-form 3D modelling tools
- Compatible with other tools, including CAM software
- Requires fewer hardware resources
- Quite complicated commands
- Documentation is complex
Prices start at $995
Inventor is another 3D CAD software developed by Autodesk. Therefore, expect the modelling, integration, and simulation capabilities found in AutoCAD. Additionally, Inventor offers a wide array of robust material simulation and presentation features. This includes tools like sheet metal, cables, and more, allowing you to get the best possible representation of your design ideas.
- 2D and 3D modelling
- Built-in collaboration tools
- BIM interoperability
- Supports design automation
- May lack some sophisticated features
- Lack of fluidity in transferring data between programs
- Prices start at $300 per month.
Choosing the Right CAD Drawing Management Software for Your AEC Needs in 2023
Here are a few things to consider when choosing CAD drawing management software for your business.
Consider Your Budget
When considering options for CAD software, you need to look at your company's budget. Different CAD software programs have different price ranges and licensing models. Therefore, choose an option you can afford without compromising quality, flexibility, and scalability.
What Is the Purpose of Your Use?
Different CAD programs are tailored toward specific industries and offer different levels of sophistication. Therefore, consider a program with functionalities, features, and tools that you can utilise to drive business success.
What Kind of Integration Is Required With Other Software and Tools?
You should consider CAD software with high levels of compatibility. This will help when transferring files between different CAD software tools and ensure seamless integration with your existing IT infrastructure.
Reach Out to HP With Your CAD Drawing Software Needs
CAD drawing management software is an integral part of the AEC industry. It makes architectural drawing faster and improves efficiency and accuracy while supporting visualisation and real-time collaboration. With the right CAD software right and high-quality printer, you can seamlessly deliver top-notch designs and drive business success.
At HP, we offer high-quality large format printers to help you maximise your CAD drawings and increase efficiency. Get in touch with us today to find the perfect printer tailored to your needs.
Download our eBook now and discover how innovation is streamlining workflows, producing prints of unmatched quality and increasing IT efficiency like never before.
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