Why DraftSight might just be the right solution for you
My name is Peter, and I navigated AutoCAD for many years before moving on to working with the SOLIDWORKS portfolio. In this article, I will go through some of the important differences between AutoCAD and DraftSight – in my opinion. I hope the insight will help equip you to make an informed decision on what is the right solution for you and your company.
My first contact with CAD in working life was in 1994, when Autodesk launched AutoCAD LT for Windows 3.11. A lot has happened in the development of CAD programs since – we got functionality, we did not think was possible in the ’90s.
But when it comes to communication, many people work in the same way as we did 30 years ago. Of course, we have replaced the letter with the diskette and since with e-mail. But we attach a file with our e-mail, and it is sometimes sent back and forth several times between different co-workers.
With DraftSight, however, “the future is here”. Integrated in DraftSight, you can use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to communicate with colleagues, customers and shareholders.
Choosing the right 2D CAD software is business-critical and it’s important to have a complete overview of the options offered.
Here’s what we’ll have a look at:
A quick comparison – AutoCAD / DraftSight
AutoCAD is one of the major CAD software solutions that originated in 2D functions and has since been expanded to include 3D functions, customizations and applications finally creating vertical products for architect/construction and mechanics. From a simple idea, you can continue to produce 2D and 3D designs.
However, AutoCAD is primarily a 2D tool even though it has features for 3D modeling – for 3D modeling, software like SOLIDWORKS tends to be better alternatives. AutoCAD is a disconnected set of tools.
The solution has seen a major price increase in recent years – an increase of 38% by 2019. AutoCAD might be powerful and advanced software, but it comes with a hefty price tag making it stand out as one of the biggest investments to be made on the 2D-market.
Additionally, the software needs strong computer processing power. You need to get good – and costly – computer hardware if you want AutoCAD to be fully functional.
DraftSight is an advanced but user-friendly 2D CAD drafting solution with powerful features, network licensing and APIs to offer you and everyone on your team the flexibility to quickly and easily bring your designs to life – locally, regionally or globally.
DraftSight is a unified innovation platform that unifies 2D and 3D with a broad range of other tools for all your needs.
The solution stands out because of its compelling pricing – you can acquire licenses at a much lower cost than alternatives like AutoCAD. DraftSight is an attractive solution if you’re looking to cut back on costs or identify an affordable alternative.
The hardware and processing power requirements are much less than AutoCAD.
Additionally, DraftSight excels on several parameters in comparison to AutoCAD.
These parameters include:
- Multi-user licenses
- All DWG files formats
- Customized APIs
- Flexible licensing
- Powerful integrations
- 2D and 3D design in one
Is this functionality a priority in your choice of 2D CAD software?
Read on for a comparison between what DraftSight offers and what AutoCAD offers.
This is where DraftSight excels – 6 reasons
1. Multi-user licenses
DraftSight offers multi-user licenses that allow any number of users to share a single license via SNL.
Multi-user licenses are a great way to give your team access to software that they may use only occasionally. It is a flexible solution that saves costs by letting several sporadic users share the software.
If you have multiple locations and users of 2D CAD, then DraftSight Enterprise is ideal for your organization.
AutoCAD offers named-user-only plans based on individual users. Multi-user licenses have been eliminated from their services. Therefore, every user must have their own license as licenses can no longer be shared across teams or locations.
2. All DWG files formats
DraftSight supports both DWG and DXF. You can create, edit, and save any kind of 2D and 3D DWG file. You can continue to use any files you created in AutoCAD and to collaborate with professionals navigating other CAD software.
DraftSight was originally designed to help SOLIDWORKS users with the DWG file compatibility issues that they experienced with AutoCAD.
The DWG files created in DraftSight are 100% compatible and complete with blocks, dimension styles, layers and more.
AutoCAD originally introduced the popular, native file format: DWG. In addition to DWG however, file formats that you can import or export are very limited.
3. Customized APIs
DraftSight offers an open API for a complete customization of your experience. The DraftSight API SDK contains a rich set of facilities that can help you add new functionality to the DraftSight software.
With it you can automate workflows, create add-ins and integrate DraftSight into your own workflows involving other systems such as ERP, PDM, LISP routines, databases and more.
You can even import old .lsp from AutoCAD.
AutoCAD supports a number of APIs, including AutoCAD’s own programming languages, AutoLISP and Visual LISP, ActiveX Automation, and compiled language programming using ObjectARX or the Microsoft .NET framework.
AutoCAD LT the cheaper version of AutoCAD, has API limitations so it is difficult to make customizations. AutoCAD LT does not have AutoLISP.
4. Flexible licensing
DraftSight leaves the choice of licensing up to you with a few options. You can choose between a subscription model and perpetual licenses – meaning you can rent or buy them.
This guarantees you flexibility and choice to suit your needs.
With a perpetual license you own the software and have continued access to the files you have created.
AutoCAD operates with a mandatory subscription model. They have now stopped selling perpetual licenses entirely. The subscription-based “pay as you go” licenses necessitates continued subscription in order for you to keep access to your files.
5. Powerful integrations
DraftSight is seamlessly integrated to SOLIDWORKS and other Dassault Systèmes products. Integrations count ERP, MPS, CAM, PDM and many more.
The release of DraftSight 2019 introduced the software as part of the larger 3DEXPERIENCE ecosystem, a platform that connects users and businesses with tools for data exchange, information sharing, and collaboration.
On the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, DraftSight bridges the gap between 2D and 3D design processes.
AutoCAD has few integrations and these include Navisworks, Bing Maps and Bentley Systems’ MicroStation as well as Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint.
AutoCAD LT has very few integration possibilities because the API possibilities are limited.
6. 2D and 3D design in one
DraftSight provides an easier way to accomplish the four key functions of 2D/3D collaboration: Digitize, convert, transform and augment with specific tools dedicated each purpose.
For instance, Image Tracer in DraftSight is a conversion tool making your life much easier. It easily converts 2D data to 3D CAD data and exports it to SOLIDWORKS.
Legacy data only available as 2D line art can be converted to 3D, and old drawings only available on paper can be digitized.
AutoCAD has a few options for 3D modeling, and therefore it is not really suitable for this purpose. You can create 3D models but editing them is complicated and time-consuming.
AutoCAD LT has no 3D functionality.
3DEXPERIENCE – The future way of communicating is here
Today’s challenges are beyond drafting. In order to further serve DraftSight users and help them with communication, 3DEXPERIENCE can be integrated into DraftSight.
Inside DraftSight, you have the task pane, you can search for keywords and you can quickly locate a drawing on the platform. Additionally, you can check files in and out to avoid conflicting edits, save a new drawing revision, replace a local version with a platform revision, and set a drawing maturity stage so your team can learn the latest status and determine the corresponding actions.
Once a drawing is checked in to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, you can securely share it with others. For example, from a browser you can control whether a recipient can view or edit the drawing.
You can even decide whether a recipient can share it with others. In addition, the drawing can also be shared as a link that your collaborators can access directly.
Looking back, DraftSight has come a long way. Ten years ago, DraftSight embarked on a mission to empower users with professional and affordable 2D communications. It has gained the trust of millions of users.
Looking forward, the world is more interconnected, online, complex, and collaborative. With the trust and guidance of millions of users, DraftSight is going further to serve the imperative needs for online collaboration and data management.
AutoCAD has nothing like this.
Making the switch from AutoCAD to DraftSight
For many, it might seem quite intimidating to consider switching 2D CAD system. Because surely there’s no easy way to go about it?
In fact, there is.
Making this switch doesn’t have to be costly, time-consuming or particularly complicated. At least, if DraftSight is the option you’re considering.
The thing is that DraftSight uses the exact same DWG file format as your existing drawings from AutoCAD. The solution offers all the tools and functionality you need for doing your work as usual.
And the interface, commands and features are familiar and easy to navigate – because they have been designed for migrated AutoCAD users. There is a lot of similarities. And you get all this at a fraction of the price.
DraftSight is brought to you with the following appeal in mind:
- File compatibility
- No need for retraining
- Reliable software
- Cost reductions
You can get to work in DraftSight by opening you AutoCAD files natively. There is no need for a data export and import.
And if your colleagues or collaborators are still navigating AutoCAD – maybe even in an old version – you can save your files for them as DWG or DXF in old formats.
You can also reuse old templates and standard layers from AutoCAD in DraftSight. And most naming conventions and commands are the same – or are easily recognized by DraftSight.
Putting it simply: Being a beginner in DraftSight, there is no steep learning curve. Not if you’re familiar with other CAD systems – in particular AutoCAD. You’ll find DraftSight easy and intuitive to navigate. The look and feel are the same.
Making the switch is no problem.
And there you have it. So, what do you think?
Could DraftSight be the right solution for you?
We’re sure about it – DraftSight Enterprise offers the user interface enhancements, compatibility, functionality, licensing and pricing of 2D CAD software, you dream of.