Corel's primary goal is to create products that give you the freedom to express your creative work in an exciting and persuasive way. Their professional AutoCAD software is easier to learn then most and still includes many of the standout features necessary for architectural or mechanical drafting. Corel's primary 2D and 3D design software is CorelCAD, a true CAD solution for your architectural or mechanical CAD needs. Their clean design makes browsing the large list of tools and features quick and easy while still giving you the power to create even complex designs. CorelCAD offers an affordable CAD option for designers starting their own business or getting a new company off the ground. The use of standard tools for both 2D and 3D design earned CorelCAD our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award.
CorelCAD comes with all of the typical features needed for creating, manipulating and adjusting CAD designs. Features like custom tool bars, drag-and-drop designs and layers will help you customize your work and speed up the design process. We were pleased to see that commands are available and that most commands have a shortcut. By simply typing in the letter 'L' and hitting enter, you will be able to draw a line; this is just one example of how commands can simplify the design process.
Like all professional CAD software, you can choose to work in either 2D or 3D modes. The software will recognize which mode you are in and will adjust some of the tools to match the current style of drawing. You can also take 2D drawings you created, or even drawings someone else created, and convert them to 3D models. The process is not quite seamless, but the overall outcome will save you time and money in the long run. We would like to have seen a few additional features like object grouping, auto complete and macros; however, even without these features, we were able to use the software without any real issues.
CorelCAD is limited to the basic 2D and 3D tools most standard CAD software uses. You will, of course, find tools like the line tool, fillet and snaps, and there are even pre-defined shapes for 3D designs. The tools that are visible when your first open the application are all meant for 2D design. However, you can add additional tool bars, which include some of the more advanced tools. We were pleased to see the 3D viewing capabilities of this software. You can choose either to set the view to a fixed side or pan around the object to see every angle.
Changing a drawing from a flat 2D design into a 3D design takes only a few minutes and can be done by extruding, revolving, sweeping or lofting the flat image. The variety of ways to convert the drawing makes it simple to work in one view and then change over to another. Once an object has been made into a solid, you have the freedom of slicing, editing edges or surfaces of solid 3D objects. Adding textures or filling in the object takes only a few seconds and creates very little stress on the software.
We would like to have seen some of the more advanced tools found in other professional CAD software. Tools and features like arrays, purge functions and basic design wizards save you hours when working on similar house plans or you simply need to duplicate an object along a specified path. And they are missing in CorelCAD. However, even without these tools, CorelCAD is still easier to use than most other applications, and it offers enough design tools to get you by.
For 3D file compatibility, Corel seems to have focused the majority of their attention on working with 3DS files and didn't really implement many of the other file types other software uses to save 3D drawings. You can save, open, import and export DWG, DWF and DXF files without any data loss. CorelCAD also supports PDF, SVG, SAT, STL and many other file types that are not quite as common. You can save drawings back to R12 DWG and DXF formats in case you need to work with legacy hardware or plan to open the file in older software. We would like to see a little more variety to the supported file formats, but the fact that the software uses native DWG files should be enough for most people.
CorelCAD includes the major tools you will need for 2D drawings the first time you load the software. There is no need to browse through the different menus to find the tools you need for a basic project. You can add or remove additional toolbars as needed, and 3D tools are all located under the same menu. The tool icons are slightly different looking then some of the other CAD software we reviewed; however, after a few minutes of working with the software, we were able to find the tools we needed without even thinking. The software is laid out extremely well, and it is one of the easiest CAD applications to use.
Corel's online help and support is also very easy to use and offers everything from simple phone numbers and email to a FAQS page, patch updates and a learning center. The easiest way to get in contact with the company is by either calling them directly or by sending an email with your question. You can also access the company's user forums and ask your questions or see if someone has already asked the same question. We were a little disappointed to find that the software itself has very little to offer when it come to in-program support. You can access the basic help feature and that’s about it. However, we had no real issues with the software and found the online support more than adequate for most of our questions.
CorelCAD may not be the software with the most features or tools, but is one of the easiest pieces of professional CAD software to use. The simple look and feel of the application puts your mind at ease and makes it easy to find basic tools. We expected to find a greater number of advanced tools in a professional CAD software application like this, but it does have the necessary tools for creating 2D or 3D designs. CorelCAD is ideal if you are looking for a cost-effective professional CAD application.