Computer-aided design changed the way that many professionals do their jobs. It’s hard to imagine many of today’s architects trying to draw plans by hand. It’s even more difficult to imagine many engineers trying to coordinate complicated blueprints without help from computers. People managed to build things before CAD was invented, but they couldn’t make them nearly as quickly.
Today, one company stands on the cutting edge of CAD technology. Not surprisingly, it’s the same company that invented CAD. AutoDesk has the name recognition and technology to keep producing useful software that benefits professionals and laymen alike.
AutoDesk is a software company founded by John Walker and Dan Drake in 1982. The company, under Walker’s direction, created the first computer-aided design software, called AutoCAD. AutoCAD helped solidify the company’s reputation for developing powerful software for professionals. Since this success, AutoDesk has continued to update its CAD software while publishing programs that target consumers.
AutoCAD has been used by a wide range of successful companies and individuals. Tesla, for instance, uses AutoDesk software to design its electric cars. Architects working for New York City used AutoDesk software to design the New York Freedom Tower.
AutoDesk’s professional software can cost quite a bit of money, although the company keeps consumer software affordable. Students can access free or low-cost versions of professional software during their educations. This helps ensure that they will have the computer skills needed to find positions once they enter the job market.
Top Features of AutoDesk.com
AutoCAD, which is one of the most popular programs created by AutoDesk, comes loaded with features that help engineers, architects, and other professionals make trustworthy designs. Some of the most important features include:
- Enhanced PDFs that make it easier for designers and their colleagues to track changes, add notes, and search for text
- Ribbon galleries that let designers create and insert pieces without stopping workflow to open dialog boxes
- Online maps that help civil engineers and architects build useful designs that match existing environments
- 3D free-form design tools that lets designers manipulate images as if they were three-dimensional objects
- A360 Connectivity that uses the Internet to synchronize updated files instead of forcing designers to update files on each machine
AutoDesk has several useful pieces of software. The specific price you pay depends on the software you want. The price will also vary depending on whether you want to purchase the software or get a membership. The company maintains that yearly subscriptions offer the most cost-effective way to access the software.
AutoCAD Revit LT Suite costs $1,675 to purchase. A monthly subscription costs $780 per year, which comes to $2,340 over three years. A yearly subscription costs $505 per year, which comes to $1,515 after three years of use.
If you or your business plans to use AutoDesk software for more than a year, then it makes the most sense to get an annual subscription. Subscriptions come with software updates and advanced customer support. Plus, you can avoid the high upfront cost of purchasing the software outright.
Criticism of AutoDesk.com
AutoDesk is one of the most prominent software corporations. Anyone who wants a good job in an industry that requires computer-aided design needs some familiarity with AutoDesk’s software options.
The subscription versus purchase option, however, annoys plenty of people. AutoDesk is hardly the only software company to take this route. Regardless, it’s annoying to think that buying software isn’t the smart option anymore. Some professionals worry that the subscription-based service could interfere with intellectual rights. They also fear that they could lose work because an employer decides to switch to another software subscription.
Some customers are also surprised to learn that they do not necessarily have access to all of the client services they may need. This is addressed in the next section.
Customer Support From AutoDesk.com
The support that customers receive from AutoDesk depends on the types of plans they choose.
Customers who purchase AutoDesk software without subscriptions can only access the up-and-ready support services. This includes help with installation and configuration, access to AutoDesk’s online knowledge base, and Web support from AutoDesk professionals.
Those who choose AutoDesk subscriptions have three options. All of them include the services that come with up-and-ready.
Basic adds expedited community forum support. An advanced subscription adds:
- Phone support during local business hours
- Extended hours phone support
- Remove desktop assistance
- Application programming interface support
- Access to streaming online seminars
Enterprise priority includes everything from the advanced subscription, plus:
- The opportunity to participate in some beta programs
- The option to interact with the company’s leaders
- Proactive support services
- 24/7 phone support for severe issues
- Unlimited named callers
To get the best services, customers will need to sign up for enterprise priority. This can cost quite a bit, though. The exact price depends on the software you choose.
FAQs About AutoDesk
Does AutoDesk make software for Mac and PC computers?
Yes, although some of the programs have slightly different features.
What are the system requirements for AutoCAD 2016?
PC users need Microsoft Windows 7 or higher. Their computers also need, at minimum, a Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor, two GB of memory (although three GB is recommended), and at least 6.0 disk space for installation.
What professions use AutoDesk software?
Any profession that designs physical or computer-based objects could potentially use AutoDesk software. Some of the most popular software options are designed for construction, 3D printing, civil engineering, character animation, and drafting.
Does AutoDesk make software for mobile devices?
Yes, AutoDesk has made dozens of apps for mobile devices. Most of the apps are free. This gives professionals and laymen opportunities to get more functionality from their mobile devices. Some of the apps require payment or paid subscriptions to access.
Pros of Using AutoDesk
- Access to some of the best CAD software available
- A wide range of features that makes CAD useful for engineers, architects, researchers, inventors, and other professionals
Cons of Using AutoDesk
- Complicated pricing structure can leave customers feeling uncertain
- Customer service options vary depending on subscription plan
AutoDesk invented computer-aided design software, so it’s not surprising that it’s still one of the best companies for professionals who need reliable programs. AutoDesk has become a diverse company, but it still maintains its roots by updating and growing its CAD software frequently. You may find other software designers you like, but none of them are objectively better than AutoDesk.
The high price of AutoDesk’s professional software, however, does cause concern. If you’re an independent architect, inventor, engineer, or other type of designer, you will have to shell out thousands of dollars for AutoDesk software. That’s not an easy bill to pay, no matter how successful you’ve gotten in your career. AutoDesk makes payment easier through its subscription plans, but even those come at relatively high prices. Plus, it’s difficult for individuals to know exactly what levels of customer service packages they will need.
Other than the complicated pricing structure, you can’t go wrong with AutoDesk. Most people have access to AutoDesk software through work. Companies might balk at paying for the software, but it’s worth it, especially since AutoCAD has become the standard in many industries.
Unless you have to save money, you should choose AutoDesk software. It will not let you down. It has the powerful features that today’s designers need to avoid mistakes while saving time.