Explore how DraftSight 2D CAD stands out in AEC

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When it comes to CAD choices for the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) professionals, many assume their choice is limited. While many firms use a well-known software vendor as a default, they may need to be made aware of the competition. Dassault Systèmes offering in this arena is DraftSight, and it’s well worth your time to evaluate it for your 2D CAD AEC needs.

In this article, we’ll present you with some compelling reasons for either your initial purchase decision or a seamless transition from your current software.

Business Sense

There are many variables to consider when evaluating software, with the most obvious being its price. Let’s consider both DraftSight Professional and DraftSight Premium, for example. Compared to the perceived default CAD vendor, you can expect to pay about half as much for DraftSight Professional. Using current MSRP pricing in USD, that’s a saving of $241 for a one-year subscription.

What about DraftSight Premium? It costs about a fourth as much as the other vendor, or a saving of $1,426 a year. Let’s say you have a design group of 10 that needs DraftSight Premium. You’ll save $14,260 every year on software subscription costs alone. That’s a significant saving, to say the least.

Your due diligence should also include ROI calculations. Make sure to consider all costs involved with implementing DraftSight, not just the cost of the software. Many of our customers report ROIs from 200% to almost 400%. That translates to DraftSight paying for itself within months.

You’ll also save on hardware costs, as the system requirements for DraftSight are much lower than the competition. You’ll need less disk space for installation; DraftSight requires less RAM and lighter graphics requirements. Of course, these are cost savings and should be included in your ROI calculations.


If you’re considering making a change from your current software, you’ll have many things to consider. Most AEC firms would say that compatibility with their existing designs would be at the top of the list. Fortunately, DraftSight reads and writes the industry-standard DWG format flawlessly. In fact, with DraftSight, you can save back to even older DWG formats than its developer’s software can.

Another major hurdle to changing your software is how long it takes to ramp up and become productive. By using a familiar interface and command aliases that map to the competition’s names, DraftSight users find that it typically only takes hours to be up and running.

Over time, the most efficient AEC design firms employ many types of customizations. Often, these critical additions are at the core of their efficiency. Any software solution that could not support them would be immediately dismissed. Fortunately, DraftSight has a robust set of APIs that will fit your needs. Whether developed in C# or C++, VB.NET or JavaScript, or the most popular CAD API, LISP, DraftSight should cover your needs. It even now supports Visual LISP® as well.


AEC Project Management

AEC companies know that a smooth-flowing project is the key to their productivity. To achieve this, they employ best practices, standards, and software solutions. Some software solutions may be external to the CAD program, but others are not. They’re part of the software and critical to the success of a project.

DraftSight has some important tools that help keep an AEC firm on task and operating smoothly and accurately. An AEC project can range from small to large. Sometimes, they’re very large, and managing all the sheets involved is extremely important to the project’s success. To help manage these drawings, DraftSight’s Sheet Set Manager acts as a built-in document management system.


Not only will it help you by becoming the hub for your project, with customizable subsets for all your construction documents, but it also lets you take control of your printing and plotting parameters across the entire project. The Sheet Set Manager lets you add custom properties to the project or sheet, which helps control your title block data. You can define standard blocks to use for your callouts and even add a linked sheet list table.

Also built into DraftSight is the ability to graphically compare different versions of a drawing for those times when changes are made but not apparent visually. You can even save the comparison image for future reference.

In a fast-paced AEC environment, adherence to and enforcing CAD standards is critical. Stay on task by utilizing the DWG Standards feature, which can help you maintain your layers and styles. Once you’ve applied your DWS standards file to a drawing (typically pre-attached via a template), the verification can be either an active or passive process.

The active process continually checks the DWS file(s) after each operation. If a violation is detected, it will immediately notify the user. The passive process requires the user to initiate the process of drawing verification. Whenever a violation is encountered, the user will be notified so they can have the DWG Standards tool rectify the violation.

Productivity Tools Found Only in DraftSight

DraftSight also offers some tools that you won’t find anywhere else. Have you ever needed to convert a raster image (JPG, PNG, TIF, etc.) to vector graphics in your CAD program? DraftSight can do it with its Image Tracer command.


There’s even a tool that’s more powerful than the competition’s. Just as you may need to import raster files, you may also need to import PDFs into vector graphics. Unlike the other guys, DraftSight has a batch processing feature so that you can do hundreds at a time. Now that’s productivity!

There’s the PowerTrim command that speeds up your trimming and extending tasks. Auto Dimension is like an easy button for dimensioning. You can even speed up your command input by using Mouse Gestures.

For more information about DraftSight, visit DraftSight.com, and don’t forget to download the free, 30-day trial here.

Still curious? Join DraftSight at 3DEXPERIENCE World 2024 the premier event for those within the AEC sector contemplating DraftSight’s 2D CAD solution.