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AutoCAD Freestyle

1 rating: 5.0
Software

AutoCAD Freestyle is the simple design tool for smart ideas. It's easy-to-use, low-cost 2D drawing software ideal for creating professional-looking drawings, layouts, and plans that you can share. No training required. It has a simple user interface, … see full wiki

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1 review about AutoCAD Freestyle

Really easy CAD

  • May 28, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+5
I've been a cheerleader for Google SketchUp in educational contexts, but AutoCAD Freestyle is actually easier to use. When you first open the software, you'll get a welcome screen that leads you to a clear (and printable) introduction to the toolbar and a helpful video.

Once you've gone through these simple introductions, you can jump in and try the program out -- and you'll probably do fine. The icons are familiar, if you've used any graphics programs (Paint, for example). The layout of the screen is simple and help is readily available. If you're not confident, though, there's plenty of support, including training videos and a community to talk with.

AutoCAD Freestyle is specifically designed for drawing plans: house plans, garden designs, interior design, classroom seating charts, and site plans. I'll use it for fast, professional wireframes, too, and lessons on everything from geometry to social studies.

Say you want to plan a better arrangement for the furniture in your office:

1. Draw lines. It's easy to make them the right length -- you can just type in the measurements. There's also a snap-to feature to keep the lines straight, and special green light symbols that let you know when you've lined things up correctly. Curved lines are very nearly as easy as straight lines, and the video show you just how to manage them.
2. Change the nature of those lines if you want to. Color, thickness, angle, etc. can be changed with a single click. Fill in with several different palettes of colors, plus gradients and patterns.
3. Add details. You can add circles and rectangles easily. There's also a library of shapes, with things like windows and furniture and people you can just drag and drop in. Grab an object to move it or rotate it, use the paint bucket to give it color, and zoom in if you want to work in close. You can grab a "doodle" tool (a lot like a pencil)and draw in anything not provided.
4. Save, print, etc. This program saves in .dwg format, so you can readily swap files with people using fancier programs.

This is a simple, 2-D product. You can't rotate your objects or give them dimension. You can certainly design a building, though. For planning your vegetable garden, it can't be beat.

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