An email exchange with a friend about AutoCAD

An email exchange with a friend about AutoCAD

Here’s an email exchange I just had with a friend. He’s a local person who I don’t normally discuss CAD with. He works for an architect. He has given me permission to use this discussion here.

Hi Steve,

We are looking to update from 2007 and 2010 versions in the office to more recent versions of Autodesk’s AutoCAD.

We don’t need full version but if that’s what is available ok then. Lite version is ok as we use for 2D architectural only. We use other packages when 3D work required.

We also have call to open consultants drawings which may be prepared on full versions or other packages.

Can you let me know what the last version that didn’t require the annual subscription and is available and likely cost?

Much appreciated if you could help.


Here’s my reply:

You’re out of luck. Regardless of the release, you can now only pay for AutoCAD by annual subscription (which now means rental and used to mean pre-paid upgrades). Cost is currently AUD $2605 a year. Autodesk occasionally does an “upgrade” promotion for old releases but it’s really just a rental discount (15% at the moment) and means throwing away your perpetual license. If you stop paying, you have nothing, not even your old release. Here’s the link:

There’s currently a 20% off deal for AutoCAD LT rental at AUD $460 a year, which ends in a couple of days:

If you just want to convert back to AutoCAD 2007 or 2010 DWG format and work in that, you have a few options. One is Autodesk’s DWG TrueView, which is a free very cut-down AutoCAD that will allow you to open new DWG and save in earlier releases.

Another free option is BricsCAD Shape, which actually gives you more open/save options for drawings than AutoCAD itself, as well as being a 3D architectural modelling application.

There’s another free 2D application called DraftSight but that’s not keeping up to date with the DWG versions (it’s still on 2013 format):

If you want an AutoCAD-like perpetual license product for 2D drafting that will work directly with the current DWG format, you can’t go past BricsCAD. Works just like AutoCAD, uses the same files, up to date with current versions.

Full perpetual license is AUD $765 for the Classic version or AUD $1010 including a year’s maintenance. After that, keeping up to date at AUD $320 per year is cheaper than any option Autodesk has, even for renting LT. You can alternatively just pay your $765 once and do the buy-upgrades-whenever-you-want thing that Autodesk stopped doing years ago. It also gives you an upgrade path to full 3D and even BIM if you want to do that further down the track.

It’s a quick download and install which won’t harm your AutoCAD installation. You’ll probably find BricsCAD will work noticeably faster than any recent AutoCAD, which has got very bloated in recent years. This is particularly obvious if you’re running older hardware.

No, I’m not on commission!


    1. James Maeding

      I guess your buddy was speechless. People look at me funny too when I give them that news. Its like explaining an electric car is faster than the best gas powered one. “So you mean Bricscad makes the same drawings as Autocad, and all my menus and lisps work on it, and its faster, and its 1/5 the cost without rental games?…Can you repeat that?”
      Hard to believe but true.

    2. Steve Johnson

      I didn’t think this added much:

      “Hi Steve,

      Thanks for all the info. Much appreciated.”

      If there’s more substantial news down the track, I’ll report back.

  1. I agree with RK, that said like all companies there are profits to be had and if you release an AutoCAD version with a few glitches at least your making money sooner and fix them at your leisure.

  2. I don’t wish to turn this into a slanging match, although the amount of AutoCAD software updates that continually get churned out is a little ridiculous. I appreciate that design is an ever-evolving medium and more is being asked of software to achieve what we want, but hey it used to be done with paper and I believe that worked out ok.

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