ZWCAD is a cost-effective CAD solution ideal for beginner and intermediate users. With both 2D drafting and 3D modeling capability, the CAD design software can be used to design virtually anything. ZWCAD doesn’t offer the depth in functionality that many of its more well-known competitors do (think AutoCAD), but its decent offerings and low cost are sure to appeal to beginners unfamiliar with computer-aided design.
ZWCAD offers several collaborative and customizable features that make the CAD design software easier and more convenient to use. For starters, the software keeps a command history of all changes made to a design. This feature is particularly vital if the design is a collaboration between two or more users. It also has a measure command that automatically calculates measurements, and it lets you create custom macros. Defined as a sequence of commands saved to be later executed as a single command, macros allow you to automate redundant design process, saving you time and boosting efficiency.
We were surprised to find the computer-aided software doesn’t really have drag-and-drop functionality and there’s no point marker tool for easy object identification. However, these features are more superfluous than essential so their absence probably isn’t disadvantageous for most users.
ZWCAD provides basic 3D modeling capabilities and fundamental 2D drawing tools including parametric drawing. In parametric drawing, you create geometric relationships between objects so they function as a whole. This way, if the value of any one of those objects is changed, the rest of the design is changed accordingly to keep the design accurate. The software also provides a range of design tools including transparency options, cross hatching and lighting effects.
While the application does have 3D capabilities, it’s not as robust as most CAD design software with both 2D and 3D functionality. It offers only the ability to create 3D profiles, not true solid models. It also doesn’t have textures that can be applied to layers or wall tools for use when designing floor plans.
This CAD design software supports most of the file formats we were seeking. Most importantly, it supports DWG files so you can open, edit and save AutoCAD files without conversion or any data loss. The software also allows you to export WMF, EMF, SVG, DWF, EPS, PDF and SAT files.
If you need to export a design as a raster image (which allows people to view but not edit the designs), ZWCAD’s export command allows you to save a file as a JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP or GIF file.
The interface of ZWCAD is polished and professional and subsequently relatively easy to navigate. You can choose which toolbars to display and even create your own custom tool palettes. The software’s command history remains static at the bottom of the interface (unless you opt to close it) so you can easily track design changes.
To make the CAD design software even more accessible and intuitive, we would have liked to see a help button or link that provided information specific to the feature in use. As it is now, when you click on the help button on the interface, it takes you to the main help screen. Instead, it should take you directly to the part of the help section that discusses the feature currently in use.
As mentioned above, the software comes equipped with the standard help section that is accessed directly from the interface. We were able to find answers to all of our questions by utilizing the help section’s keyword search.
The ZWCAD website also has a FAQs section and learning articles to help you become more familiar with the CAD design software. There’s also a user forum, and you can request direct technical support via an online contact form. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not offer telephone support or video tutorials.
ZWCAD doesn’t boast the robust 3D functionality and in-depth feature set as some of the other products in our CAD design software lineup. However, its decent design tools coupled with its easy-to-navigate interface and competitive price make it a great alternative for users new to computer-aided design.
It offers versatile, easy-to-use drafting tools including parametric drawing to ensure your design retains proper dimensions.
The software doesn’t offer solid 3D models, only 3D profiles.
With limited 3D functionality, the software is best used as a robust 2D drafting tool.