go to the
Windows 98/Me/NT/2000, Pentium processor, 64MB RAM, 80MB free
hard drive space, CD-ROM drive
US$189 (download) to $249 (retail pack: CD + manual)
Computer Aided Design (CAD) software can be had for less than
$3000 per license. Really. As a matter of fact, according
to CADopia, the publisher of IntelliCAD, for $189 you can
get yourself a genuine AutoCAD 14 clone with AutoCAD 2000
file compatibility. Needless to say, any company that claims
it can compete almost head-to-head with AutoCAD for a fraction
of the price is bound to get our undivided attention.
you've ever used AutoCAD, running IntelliCAD will bring on
a feeling of deja vu. We have one AutoCAD user among our research
staff and her first comment upon launching IntelliCAD was
"it's a clone!" However it gets a bit eerie when
you import an AutoCAD 2000 file, delve deeply into the drawing,
then find that certain things are missing. It gets even eerier
when you re-save the drawing, load it back into AutoCAD 2000,
then find that the things which were missing in IntelliCAD
(text & shapes in linetypes, text on an arc, linked text,
wipeout masks and other niceties) are still intact and properly
displayed in AutoCAD 2000. Obviously, like most other proprietary
formats AutoCAD's DWG format is relatively secure. Competitors
such as IntelliCAD can come close to AutoCAD DWG but never
really fully duplicate or decipher it. Of course the same
thing is true of Microsoft Word, Quark Xpress and other dominant
application file formats. The competition can never fully
emulate the leaders' document structures. Note however that
files created in AutoCAD v2.5 through v14 are 100% compatible
documentation - the manual and online help - are comparatively
thorough, but we really felt the need for a section on importing
AutoCAD 2000 files. On the other hand, trying to work with
AutoCAD 2000 DWG files helped us give IntelliCAD Explorer
a thorough workout. The Explorer feature lets you browse the
content of any drawing - edit and manage layers, blocks, linetypes,
styles, views and user coordinate system.
version of IntelliCAD includes support for VBA, LightWorks
photo realistic rendering and the Hitachi Raster Image Enabler.
VBA support gives IntelliCAD a great advantage over AutoCAD
LT, which does not support any programming features. Third-party
software developers create engineering add-ons using these
tools. The software also includes a Script Recorder that records
anything you type on the keyboard into an AutoCAD compatible
script file - a macro in other words - handy for all those
repetitive drawing tasks. It sure beats VBA programming. It's
a strong, versatile feature as implemented.
the other hand, with more and more companies turning to the
Internet for communication and collaboration it's amazing
that IntelliCAD doesn't support any Internet file formats.
AutoCAD, for example, has a built in Web browser, allows hyperlinking
to objects and exports to the Drawing Web Format (DWF) for
dynamically viewing AutoCAD drawings on the Web. At a minimum
I would have expected IntelliCAD to export as a GIF or JPG
image so that a drawing's representation can be embedded into
an HTML file for viewing online.
Columbus data management system is included with IntelliCAD
as a separate program. Columbus was developed and is supported
by Ove Arup, a big-time engineering consultant in the UK.
Columbus provides a very good compromise between the insufficient
organization of files provided by standard system tools, and
the complex controls provided by some of the big document
management systems. The UI resembles MS Windows Explorer with
several additional management features. It appears to be a
good system for small design shops.
in all, IntelliCAD is pretty darn good. Although its accompanying
documentation is good too, we lament the absence of a couple
of solid tutorials which take you through the most important
parts of the software while guiding you through the creation
of a moderately complicated drawing. As long as CADopia continues
to position IntelliCAD as a serious, low cost competitor to
AutoCAD, new users attracted by the price ticket will benefit
greatly from a set of solid tutorials.
Lineweights in an AutoCAD 2000 file were not displayed when
imported into IntelliCAD, but reappeared when the file was
re-saved and opened in AutoCAD - confusing. In essence, there's
no control of plotted line-widths by the Lineweight property.
The industry standard is AutoCAD, not IntelliCAD. If Autodesk
would open up its format (unlikely) to other developers (under
license of course), the CAD world would be a more interesting
and varied place. No support for AutoCAD's Layouts (which
are used for designing several paperspace layouts in the same
drawing). No 3D solids modeling tools of any kind.
According to our CAD expert, you can use xclip to create a
new clipping boundary, delete an existing boundary, or generate
a polyline object coincident with vertices of the clipping
boundary. With fly-over snapping enabled, tooltip icons display
the most appropriate type of osnap mode applicable to the
cursor location. The mode changes dynamically as you move
the cursor to different parts of the drawing. The Columbus
data management system is very powerful. Displays and prints
ACIS solids in AutoCAD-generated DWG files. IntelliCAD 2001
Professional is recommended for users who don't need fully
editable compatibility with the latest AutoCAD DWG files.
At $189, IntelliCAD is also an excellent value. Recommended.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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