Which version of DraftSight should I buy?

One reason DraftSight® has become one of the top five CAD products (by seat count) is that when it comes to drawing technology, one size does not fit all. Autodesk AutoCAD is the industry leader, and it comes with all the bells and whistles, so to speak — and a price tag to match. So many people who need CAD software look for alternatives that can do the work, support existing standards, and not break the budget. 

A significant percentage of people using drafting software do not have complicated needs. They also have very specific reasons for using drafting software, and those specific reasons vary wildly from one user to the next. That’s why Dassault Systemès offers more than one version of DraftSight. Standard, Professional, Premium, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus all offer the basic CAD drafting tools, but as you go up the price/performance ladder, the feature sets gets richer and the possible uses get more varied and complicated. Each version enhances and extends the feature set.

The following list offers several typical tasks, matching them to the specific minimum version of DraftSight suitable to the need. 

Creating rudimentary drawings to share initial concepts: DraftSight Standard or higher. There are many times an idea is better presented as a drawing than with words. You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars (euros, etc.) to get a basic drafting toolkit.  

Reviewing, editing, or commenting on the work of others: DraftSight Standard or higher. Standard can open and edit all DWG drawings. It offers tools for working with data by layers. Users can import, manage, and reuse blocks, and create/edit dimension lines. And there are time-savings tools not typically considered “standard” like PDF Underlay, Insert Centerline, and Quick Modify (move, rotate, copy, and scale entities with one command). 

Creating 2D-only original new product designs or making significant revisions to existing designs: DraftSight Professional or higher. Professional offers a rich set of drafting tools, including a reusable blocks and other elements (Design Library); the ability to compare two drawings (DrawCompare); batch printing; and the use of the DraftSight Application Programming Interface (API), to customize and automate DraftSight processes. 

Working with drawings created in Bentley Systems MicroStation: DraftSight Professional and above. AutoCAD may be the leading tool for construction design and documentation, but there are other products with large markets. Bentley Systems is a leader in civil engineering, network utilities, and power plant design. Bentley products use a file format called DGN, and DraftSight Professional or higher support importing it.

Mechanical design: DraftSight Professional or higher contains a toolbox of standards-based mechanical symbols and mechanical annotation features.

3D design: DraftSight Premium or Enterprise Plus. These two versions include all the drafting features of Professional, and add 3D modeling and editing (wireframe or solids), 3D meshing, and 2D constraints for parametric drawing. 

A highly collaborative workgroup: DraftSight Enterprise or Enterprise Plus. Dassault Systemès brought DraftSight to the market because for every seat of 3D CAD there are between four and ten seats of 2D CAD in the organization supporting the same mission. In the DraftSight family of products, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus are specific to the needs of workgroups. In addition to all the features of Standard and Professional, there is significant integration with the SOLIDWORKS® ecosystem. Supported products include Dassault Systemès 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace Make, SOLIDWORKS Simulation, and SOLIDWORKS Visualize, as well as the basic SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD line.

Beyond the drafting and interoperability, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus offer network licensing support, technical support, and a deployment wizard. The main difference between Enterprise and Enterprise Plus is that 2D Constraints and the 3D Modeling toolset are only in Enterprise Plus. 

Learn more about DraftSight 2020 here.

Randall Newton
Randall S. Newton is Managing Director of Consilia Vektor, a boutique consulting firm serving the engineering software industry. He is a Contributing Editor at Digital Engineering and AEC Magazine UK. You can follow him on Twitter.
Randall Newton
Randall Newton