March 4, 2013

CorelDRAW vs AutoCAD


One thing I never quite understood, is that CorelDRAW is not used more often for creating technical drawings. In The Netherlands companies seem to have an unwavering preference for AutoCAD, which is almost exactly 10 times more expensive than CorelDRAW. Most drawings do not require the complex features of AutoCAD; the drawings' simplicity can be constructed with CorelDRAW considerably faster, allowing to apply more visual options, such as line thickness, style and color, gradient coloring of planes etc. at lower cost.

Years ago I decided to put things to the test while working for a well known Dutch air carrier company by creating an educational drawing to be used for presentations in the classroom. It took me 10 hours to draw that image in CorelDRAW and when I attempted to do the same in AutoCAD, I did not even complete one third of the drawing at the 10 hour mark.

CFM 56-3 Engine Airflow

Besides the slower performance AutoCAD's output was quite less visually appealing than CorelDRAW's. I am well aware of the fact that hard core drafts persons (I worked among them) consider CorelDRAW an inferior product compared to their cherished tool of choice. But still, in this type of work CorelDRAW far outperformed AutoCAD, both in speed as in visual appearance. Then my co-workers said CorelDRAW wasn't able to draw exact measurements, which is an other biased opinion, since it actually is capable of doing that (with the transform tool).

After that argument was debunked they bragged that AutoCAD allowed to work as accurate as four digits behind the decimal mark. That is of course true, and CorelDRAW is unable to match such accuracy. But then, which production employee is capable of seeing the difference between a 0.001 and a 0.0001 millimeter measure with his bear eyes? Not many I guess. For drawing purposes the drafts person only needs to indicate the actual measurement in the measure indication - the difference is invisible in the drawings made by either of the applications.

CorelDRAW has the same layer-capabilities as AutoCAD, more coloring options and more search and replace options than AutoCAD. Engineers can even replace colors throughout a project, line thicknesses or even basic shapes. It can also read, import and export DXF-format images and a lengthy list of other formats (including PDF). CorelDRAW also has a trace function with which bitmap images can be converted into vectors (not overly accurate, but it works). In addition hardware requirements can be more modest when running CorelDRAW, which is an other cost-saving advantage. Besides Corel matching or exceeding many of AutoCAD's drawing features (and trailing in just a few of those) the price of the application is much more attractive than that of AutoDesk's expensive product.

Note:
When working with Windows 10 CorelDRAW version X6 is disqualified as an alternative for AutoCAD. It is horrifically slow and not fit anymore for production of technical drawings.

An other Note:
With CorelDRAW X8 Corel rehabilitated itself. It's fast again and the renewed measurement method works quite well. They should perhaps drop the annual issuing of a new version, some of which just aren't ready yet (= teeming with bugs). System admins would hugely appreciate a reduced issuance rate of properly working versions as well (particularly since .cdr-files of a newer version cannot be opened by older ones). AutoDesk has a similar update rate and that invariably gives admins a thorough headache too.