AutoSketch 7 – the CAD-Reviews independent review

Update to entry level, low cost 2D package

AutoSketch 7 review screenshot

AutoSketch 7 from Autodesk

A new version of Autodesk’s entry level, low cost 2D package AutoSketch is now available.

Treading a careful path to maintain simplicity whilst adding functionality with each release, the latest Release 7 offers capable drafting tools with some innovative ease of use features.

The intuitive object snap facility has been enhanced to allow multiple snaps to be set simultaneously.

As the cursor passes existing geometry it changes appearance to indicate the active snap mode such as a circle for a centre snap or a cross for an intersection.

This makes the selection of the required point within a complex drawing far easier.

Similarly the typical problem of selecting an entity in a crowded area of a drawing is addressed by the GetNext selection mode that enables adjacent or overlaid entities to be scrolled through by clicking with the Alt key held down.

The text editor now includes the ability to include multiple fonts and styles in a single text block and direct access to the Windows Character Map for addition of special characters.

Dimensioning is straightforward, benefiting from the multiple snap modes.

Dimension formats are set in a pop up dialog and can be modified for individual dimensions or set as the default.

Detailed views can be created by saving an area of the drawing as a named view then placing back into the drawing sheet at a specified scale factor.

Simple 3D effects extrusion effects can be generated to show isometric or perspective views for clarity.

Aimed primarily at novice or occasional users, AutoSketch is quick to learn due to a simple graphical interface.

Many interactions such as setting up a new drawing sheet and selecting appropriate symbol libraries are handled by step through wizards.

The graphical approach is extended in the latest release to include a drag and drop ‘Content Librarian’.

This enables symbols, hatches and solid fills to be simply dragged into the drawing.

Use of editing handles is aided by shapes and colour coding to indicate their function.

Ease of use is underlined by the simple two minute tutorials and natural language search tool addition to the on line help resource.

AutoSketch uses its own SKF file type but can import and export DWG and DXF files up to Release 2000 although the thick line display that is useful for drawings pasted into documents is lost despite line weight support in 2000.

In order to provide compatibility with AutoSketch files older than version 2.0 cut down version of Release 2.1 is supplied to allow them to be converted.

As may be expected given the roots of much of the AutoSketch ease of use, Drafix version 3 and 4 files can also be opened.

JPEG files are supported to allow drawings to be used as bitmaps on web pages or to import logos or scanned images into drawings.

AutoSketch is compatible with Windows 9x and NT4.0.

The suggested price is £99 with upgrades from all previous versions at £49.

It may not offer all the bells and whistles but for the price is suitable for many drafting applications.