progeCAD 2010 Standard is CAD software that touts itself as an AutoCAD clone. While there are some similarities between both applications in terms of aesthetics and functionality, we’re not sure this average CAD software is worthy of such a lofty comparison.
When it comes to features, progeCAD provides a surprising number of convenient and useful functions. For starters, you can create custom tool palettes and track all changes through the static command history at the bottom of the interface. Similarly, a measure command automatically calculates the measurements of a selected object. What the CAD software doesn’t have is a point marker tool to number off identical objects or easy drag-and-drop functionality to drop symbols directly into a design, both of which would boost the overall convenience of the application.
Like most of the lower-ranked CAD software applications in our lineup, progeCAD lacks any 3D functionality and cannot create 3D solid models or profiles. However, the professional version of progeCAD has 3D functionality. What the standard version does offer in terms of design tools is a decent variety of 2D drafting tools. Convenient snap tools automatically align tangents and parametric drawing functionality ensures if any object in your design is resized, the rest of the design’s dimensions will be automatically updated to reflect the change. The application also has impressive cross hatching functionality. Cross hatching refers to drawing two layers of perpendicular lines to create a mesh-like pattern. Hatch patterns allow you to add depth, texture and shading to your design.
Given that the CAD software only has 2D functionality, we were surprised to find it doesn’t have any wall tools for use in designing floor plans. It also doesn’t have photorealistic rendering, though the professional version of the computer aided software offers this tool.
The standard version of progeCAD has limited file compatibility with native DWG and DXF support but not much else. The CAD software does have a DXF converter so you can convert PDFs to a readable DXF file. Disappointingly, there’s no raster image support. Simply put, a raster image, or bitmap, is a way to represent a digital image using pixels. Raster images encompass a variety of familiar formats including JPEG, GIF, PNG and TIFF. When it comes to CAD software, the ability to export raster images is useful because they are not an editable format; you can share them with others but no one can make detrimental changes to your design.
An area progeCAD does seem to emulate AutoCAD is ease of use – or more suitably, a lack thereof. The learning curve with progeCAD is rather steep, and it took us a while to find our way around the software and create even the most rudimentary design. Users familiar with AutoCAD will likely have no issue navigating the CAD software. Those who aren’t should be prepared to invest some time and effort in learning how to use the software.
The software’s manufacturer offers a handful of useful resources that can help you become more familiar with the application and lessen its inherent learning curve. The user guide can be downloaded as a PDF. With nearly 700 pages, it can be a bit cumbersome to browse but it offers valuable information on how to use the software. There’s also a built-in help section that’s accessed directly from the interface and can be searched by topic or keyword. To receive direct technical support, you must purchase a support plan from the manufacturer. The support plan doesn’t include telephone support (only support via email), which is disappointing but rather common among CAD software manufacturers.
In all, progeCAD 2010 Standard offers decent 2D functionality and usability features at a competitive price. However, its cumbersome interface, steep learning curve and subpar file support holds the software back from outshining its competitors.
The software offers versatile cross hatching and snap tools for 2D designs.
There’s no 3D functionality and the software is hard to navigate and use.
Its 2D functionality is decent but there are more robust, feature-rich applications out there.