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How Do I Choose the Best Drafting Software?

Article Details
  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Drafting software is intended for use in drawing drafts for interior or exterior designs and has many functions that a normal drawing or graphics program does not include. Choosing the best drafting software can be difficult, because most of the programs on the market offer similar features and, if a drafter is new to drafting, it can be hard to know what features are really important. Some of the features needed by modern drafters are two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) functionality, dimensional tools, pre-rendered designs and a layered design. The pre-rendered designs are best for amateur drafters, but it also can make it easier for professionals to get done quickly.

Many modern drafting software programs have 2D and 3D functionality, and this makes visualizing the draft much easier. With a 3D program, the draft is rendered into a 3D design, so clients can see what the design will look like in real life. This can normally be taken right from the draft with little to no extra work involved. This also can make it easy for the drafter to see any mistakes in the drawing, so he or she can correct errors before building begins.

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Dimensional tools are drawing tools similar to normal lines and arcs, but the scale of the drawing does not change, regardless of how large the print or shape needs to be. If a square is drawn, for example, with dimensional lines and the shape needs to be expanded, all four lines will change simultaneously. This keeps the drafter from having to redraw the shape from scratch. If the plan needs to be enlarged or shrunk for printing purposes, dimensional tools will keep the scale correct, so the drawing does not change. This saves the drafter a substantial amount of time, especially since most plans will go through several changes.

Pre-rendered designs in drafting software include common building plans that can be manipulated by the drafter. This gives the amateur a good starting point by supplying a ready-made design that only has to be changed slightly to fit his or her needs. If a professional is contracted to draft a common design, then he or she can use the pre-rendered design to map out most of the work within seconds, rather than having to draw the entire thing.

Most drafts are layered, because different floors or areas have to be drafted. By using a layered design system, or drafting software with transparent layers, the drafter can work on all the layers of a single plan within one document. This saves the drafter time from having to switch between different files and keeps the drafter from accidentally mixing up different floors from different plans.

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