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7 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing CAD Software

An important investment for architects, designers, and engineers is CAD software and the dozens of options available can be confusing for new users and the veterans alike. The available packages vary considerably in price,functionality and then ease to use. So determining your software based on some queries would be wise choice.

Here we put together these 7 questions to ask before choosing CAD software for your firm:

1. Price?
CAD packages range in price from free to thousands of dollars. Often the price tag reflects its level of functionality, but more power is not always better; many users find that lesser expensive or mid-range packages has all of the features which their companies would use.

2. What would you create?
Does your firm deal with highly-accurate construction or production documents? Or do you want to generate a photo-realistic image to present to a client? Or are you just interested in using CAD to mock up ideas? You should be clear with your desired output so that you can make sure that the product you consider has the level of accuracy and rendering capabilities that will best fit your needs.

3. How it performs, in 2D  and 3D modeling?
Many CAD products have tools for both 2D and 3D modeling, but most performs better in one over the other. There are also a number of products that offer only 2D utility. So if your firm will be using your CAD program for 3D modeling, make your choice on that respect ; and for those interested only in 2D drafting, products with less-extensive 3D capabilities can be both more less expensive and easier to use.

4. The steepness of the learning curve
Most CAD software is challenging for new users, but some programs offer a more intuitive interface that can be easy for beginners .

5. Who else are using it?
Most CAD programs are flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide range of professionals, but some industries have their own favorites. Knowing which favorites can be helpful in deciding which CAD package will be more relevant for you.

6. Are the program’s files widely compatible with other CAD programs?
You need to check out whether the software of your consideration can import other file types, and whether its native file can be easily opened in other programs that you may need to use. File compatibility is an important element in collaboration and communication for CAD users.

7. How well does it handle large files?
More complex CAD files can create trouble with your computer memory. Some programs are designed to better handle complex designs or large assemblies. You need to make sure that the product you choose will be able to handle the file sizes you anticipate and that your hardware resources will support it.

Asking questions narrows the field of CAD products, and user reviews are a great way to get an answer. You could check out G2 Crowd’s General-Purpose CAD, Building Design and BIM, Civil Engineering Design and Product and Machine Design pages for more detailed reviews to learn how a number of CAD packages have worked for other users.

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