Let’s have your AutoCAD WS 1.6 reviews

Let’s have your AutoCAD WS 1.6 reviews

Autodesk has just released the latest iteration of its free online CAD app, AutoCAD WS. It’s available directly via your browser or as iOS, Mac or Android apps. This is the closest Autodesk has yet come to showing us what real CAD in the Cloud can do. Autodesk has now had three years’ work behind it since buying the company responsible for this technology. I’d like you to put aside any Cloud concerns you may have and give it a fair go. Please try it out and report back what you find in a mini-review. How well does it work? The customer stories are all from organisations using it as a viewer or for simple markup edits. Is that all it can do, or does it come close to deserving to have CAD in its name?

What do I want you to try? It’s up to you, but I don’t want to waste too much of your time. Why not have a go at something that would only take you a couple of minutes in any AutoCAD release from the last quarter of a century?

For example, I’m sure everyone here could start a new drawing using a template containing your company’s layer standards, insert a title block and populate a couple of the attributes, then accurately draw and dimension a single 2D view of a rectangular plate containing a single round hole. Try to do the equivalent in AutoCAD WS. If you have difficulty with that, try uploading a simple drawing and perform a few simple edits instead. How did that go?

I’ll be interested to see what you came across at each stage of the process. Was the setup process straightforward? What was easy to do in the WS editor? What was difficult? What was impossible? What worked well? What didn’t? What happened quickly? What took a long time? What’s good about the interface? What’s not? Do the commands work as you would expect them to? Please try to describe your experiences as objectively as you can.

Note: I’ve asked a similar question before, but that was some time ago and things have moved on since then.


  1. James Maeding

    I grabbed the new one and opened a 3d utility base file.
    It opened the file ok, and showed the file in about 10 seconds.
    So I can view my file in plan ok, but the 3d viewing is bad. Its missing a 3d orbit type command, and choosing a isometric view is too limiting to see utility conflicts. The ws version has the basic markup and share utils you might expect from a viewer, but its still a toy.
    There is no cursor in the program, so no way to select items and get info or do things. I did not see how to xref another file either.
    No customization like features to speak of, this is not even close to an SAAS type product. I don’t think feedback on WS is even related to an SAAS version of acad at this point.

  2. James Maeding

    By the way, the gps settings do not make sense to me. I guess it just shows where you are on the drawing. If so, we need something that lets us say what coordinate system the drawing is in, and if there are xyz offsets, rotations, and scale factors involved. Then you could deal with an architects drawing that is 12x scaled up and rotated by some amount.
    The only thing you can do now is pick where you are on the drawing, which is no good if you are looking at the middle of a proposed development and are walking on undisturbed natural ground that looks nothing like streets.

  3. James Maeding

    I did not think the drawing part worth mentioning since there are like 5 commands. If there is no xref command, and layer dialog is some popup that would be insane to use, I did not bother adding more lines by hand gestures.
    I have a Galaxy Note 10.1, which has a precise wacom stylus built in (sorry ipad users…), and that could be a useful digitizer. Even touch screen ultrabooks do not have that. There needs to be good ways of handling osnaps and a better cursor to be efficient at all, then also some kind of command shortcut method rather than buttons.

  4. Chris Cowgill

    I’ve been giving it a try, mostly as a viewer, sucks that there is no find (or at least none I can find) my attributes keep disappearing, it doesnt accept multiline attributes, and you cant edit an attribute, or anything to do with a block.
    You can draw, but I dont know how youre supposed to be accurate with it. I dont see any coordinates, so that makes it real hard for me to draw, especially with my fat fingers on a touch screen.
    I’m using a Galaxy III

  5. I am in one of those phases at the office that doesn’t have me getting out on too many site visits, so I haven’t used it for any real markups yet.

    We are about to move our offices, so I have used WS (on iphone and ipad) to view the plan of our new space.

    We’ve used it on 2d and 3d plans of the space and the navigation was intuitive enough that our admin staff could navigate their way around just fine.

    My my frequent tasks deal with lisp routines and drawing cleanup on a large scale, so, I haven’t found a reason to try to work WS into my everyday tasks.

    We’ll have some bigger projects coming up soon with a lot of site visits in my future, I will be trotting it out again for that and see what uses I can come up with.

  6. Raja

    i am using samsung galaxy grand i have downloaded autocad ws application from android,but icannot view the full screen only half screen is visable kindly give a reply regarding problem.

    Raja Kumar

  7. Paula Fye

    I went from using AutoCAD 2004 to Microcrustean (company was taken over by a new one who used MS, they immediately took away my AutoCAD) to now being thrust back into AutoCAD with release 2014. Image my dismay. I found your blog when I was bewildered by new terms like “Inferred Contraints”, googled it (after scratching my head in Help) and ended up here. I guess that AutoCAD WS is now AutoCAD 360. I was wondering if there is anyone to further critique this cloud over my head and the current direction of the Autodesk wind? Thanks. By the way, I have used AutoCAD since R9. (not 2009)

    Thanks for this blog. I have learned a lot already.

    Paula Fye
    Technical Artist

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