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Editor’s Pick: CorelCAD 2014 Introduces Ribbon User Interface

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Once when I was a near vagrant college dropout, I had to get a real job so that I could get on with re-engineering western civilization as I was meant to do. The latter didn’t go so well, but I got a job selling vacuums door-to-door. My problem with this employ, beyond ineptitude, was that the rig cost a ton and had all these attachments people didn’t need. People want to clean the floors, not get a vacuum-powered back massage. Very practical of them. When you go into business for yourself or when you run a small business, you get very practical too. Why spend 5,000 smackers on an application that can do all sorts of things that you don’t need when you can spend a lot less and do what you need to do?

At about 700 bucks direct from the developer, CorelCAD might just be the application that does what you need to do. Just released in its 2014 version, CorelCAD fits squarely into that area called low-cost/high-function CAD. This 2D and 3D design package has most all of the tools you want when creating, manipulating and modifying a design. It’s available for both Windows and Mac systems. And it’s based on the Graebert ARES CAD platform like a number of other well-known CAD systems.

CorelCAD uses native DWG formats, and it supports DWG, DXF and DWF up to AutoCAD R2014 file format. You can export to such formats as PDF for documentation and STL for 3D printing as well you can save back to R12 DWG or DXF format. You can customize the interface for user profiles and make aliases for commands.

CorelCAD has smart tools, such as entity snaps and polar guides, so that you can do things like reposition, align or resize entities quickly. Its Smart Dimension tool suggests the most appropriate and precise dimension type for lines, polyline segments, arcs, circles and rings automatically. You can embed recorded messages — VoiceNotes — in your drawing, and you can mark up drawing items with freehand sketches.

Version 2014 of CorelCAD appears focused on efficiency enhancements. Among these are a new Windows Ribbon user interface, enhanced layer tools and a new 64-bit Mac version. Notable introductions include CAD file standards verification, something called QuickGroups, some new search functions, and a feature called Design Resources.

CAD file standards verification means that beginning with CorelCAD 2014 you can verify a CAD drawing against drawing standards such as those stored in DWS files. The cool thing about this feature is that it not only detects industry standard violations in your drawing, it repairs the violations it finds. QuickGroups are collections of drawing shortcuts that you create and edit, which provides quick and easy access to things you do all the time.

The new search functions let you search by keywords to find application settings, preferences, drafting style settings or drawing file properties. All you do is type into a dialog the name of a setting, tool or whatever you’re after. Somewhat similar, the new Design Resources dialog helps you find, access and manage design components like blocks, styles, drawings and images so that you can re-use them in and across CAD projects.

CorelCAD 2014 just seems a very practical tool. You might like to consider it if you’re setting up shop and do not need everything a so-called major CAD system has to offer, or if you need an inexpensive but highly capable system to enable people in your organization to work with DWG files. Or maybe you just need an application for easy collaboration with colleagues and suppliers. Whatever your shtick, you can see for yourself by taking CorelCAD for a complimentary spin for 30 days by hitting the trial link at the end of today’s Pick of the Week write-up.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.