AutoCAD WS Comprehensive Review

I tried to write this review several times now but my WiFi connection at work is flakey at best. so here goes the comprehensive review of the AutoCAD WS Mobile app.

The app is available for all iPhones, iTouches and iPads via the app store. I just did a search of ‘AutoCAD WS’ and it came right up. However, due to aforementioned WiFi problems, I downloaded via my PC on iTunes and then synced it over. It DOES work the other way however.

  • When you install the program, you get a nice splash screen that the view looks very similar to the AutoCAD for Mac splash screen except it is panned to a different view.

  • The next screen you’ll see is the EULA screen. Press Accept to move on (or read it if you want to know all the legalese).

  • After that, you will get to the log-in screen where you log onto AutoCAD WS. Type your information in or click on the Create an Account button. Note: If you type butterfly.autodesk.com, you will be redirected to http://www.autocadws.com.

The above steps only need to done once. After that, when you launch AutoCAD WS, you will get to the Drawings screen.

  1. Note the three sample drawings available to you: AEC Plan Elev Sample, Geospatial Sample, and Mechanical Sample. I selected the first one.
  2. Here is what you will see. You can do the normal iPhone/iPad pinch/squeeze to zoom in and out as well as a single finger to pan the drawing. Pretty easy.
  3. On the bottom of the screen are the menus. From left to right they are: Draw Tools, Markup Tools, Set View Mode, Undo, Redo, Selection, Select Color, and Share Drawing.

Draw Tools

You have the following tools to use within AutoCAD WS: Circle, Polyline, Line, Rectangle, Measure, and Text.

  • The Circle tool draws circles. It displays a size showing you the circle radius.
  • The polyline tool only draws straight segments; no curved segments like AutoCAD can do.
  • Line is self-explanatory
  • Rectangle draws rectangles (again  – self-explanatory)
  • Measure will allow you to measure an object. What is nice about this tool is when you click a spot, it automatically looks for an intersection and will snap to that.
  • Text draws text on the screen. The text is a bit dark for my personal tastes, but it is, nevertheless text.

Markup Tools

The Markup tool offers the following: Rectangle, Cloud, Text, and Free Line

  • The Rectangle tool looks to be a duplicate tool on the Draw Tools.
  • The cloud will draw revision, or what I like to call ‘get my attention’ clouds. You can just draw with your finger and when you get to the beginning of the cloud, it will automatically close.
  • The Text tool looks to be a duplicate tool on the Draw Tools.
  • Free Line will allow you to try to be creative with your finger. It will follow along until you release your finger.

Set View Mode

This is a nice feature that will allow you to se your drawing in Normal or Grayscale mode. Normal shows the actual colors of the drawing and Grayscale turns all of that into shades of gray. I would imagine the grayscale would be nice if you are outside on a sunny day.

Undo/Redo

Self Explanatory

Selection

Allows you to drag across several items for a selection set, if you will. It is limited to 30 objects.

Select Color

You are given the choice of  10 colors to use for your drawing/annotating pleasure. I wish the colors were arranged the way that AutoCAD shows them (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, etc.)

Share Drawing

You can email  (or what they refer to as share) a drawing with someone else. Note that the actual drawing does not get transferred over to the email recipient, rather a link to the AutoCAD WS website where they can log on and modify it. Here’s a tip – if you wish to show the email recipient a specific  area of concern, make sure you zoom to that area before sharing the drawing. The view will show up on the email. And if you have saved in Normal mode, they will see the colors.

Selecting Objects

When you pick on an object, it is highlighted and you are presented with a new set of editing tools: Move, Scale, Rotate, Erase, and Deselect.

Move

Selecting the Move tool, it will prompt you to tap to specify a base point. Then you can drag  or tap to specify the second point. The selected object is moved.

Scale

Works similar to the Move tool except it will scale it up or down.

Rotate

Again, works similar to the Move and Scale commands.

Erase

Will Erase the selected object.

Deselect

Will un-select the previously selected object. Picking anywhere on the drawing will also deselect.

Initial Impressions

Trying to keep in mind that this is a version 1.0, it is a nice interface and tool. There are some comments below that I hope that AutoCAD WS team members will read and possibly introduce in the next release:

  1. It does not work with AEC objects. I work in a Civil engineering firm and was very disappointed to find that it will not open a drawing, such as Civil 3D with AEC objects.
  2. It will will show you 3D drawings in 3D mode.
  3. Allow us to select more than 30 objects.
  4. The measure tool shows us inches, so if I’m trying to measure something that is 30′-4-5/8″, the measure tool will report back 360.39.

But it IS a release 1, so I have (hopefully) all those things to look forward to in the near future (crossing fingers).

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2 Responses to “AutoCAD WS Comprehensive Review”

  1. maximka2010 Says:

    Hi Rick,

    Many thanks!
    It is very clear and accessible. Excellent guide!
    Agree with your initial impressions.
    I also hope for a future opportunity to work with drawings offline.

    Maxim

  2. Great writing, been looking for that..

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