Taking DraftSight for a Spin – Making the Switch with Lynn Allen: DraftSight Tips for AutoCAD Users


You may notice a running theme at the end of every one of my blog posts, where I highly suggest you download the free DraftSight trial and try it for yourself. But what does that really mean? Of course, I’m excited for you to try the feature I’ve just written about, but in the end, you really do need to make the most of your 30 days so you can decide for yourself if you can get your job done.

Once you do take the plunge it will be time to put DraftSight through its paces. I liken this to how we might check out a new car. Of course, you already know how to draw in CAD, just like you already know how to drive a car. But you want to make sure that new make and model truly fits your needs (or maybe your garage), and of course, you’re going to want to check out all the cool new gadgets and gizmos that aren’t on your older model. My goal here today is to help guide you through that process, as it’s more than just kicking the tires and admiring the style and color.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll start by fussing about the differences when opening a new software package for the first time. That’s normal, but you should also feel somewhat at home, with DraftSight’s familiar interface. Take some time at the start of your trial to explore the new interface. Locate all your favorite tools, dig through the Options dialog (where you’ll also find all those standalone Styles dialogs that you’re used to hunting for in AutoCAD). Don’t panic. Breathe in, breathe out. It will be ok… it’s just different. And once you start to feel comfortable, try making some changes to the UI so that it’s more to your liking. You might check out this blog post for a few recommendations on where you can get started.

Possibly your number one priority will be to make sure your most important asset, your DWG files, stay safe and accurate. I wrote about how great DraftSight is with DWGs in this blog post, but you’ll want to test them yourself. Make some changes. Save them and open them “over there”. Go in reverse. Save to older formats. I think you’ll find that your files will be just fine.

We all have our own ways of using our CAD software. Whether it’s your personal preferences, or office CAD Standards, you’ll want to be able to perform your work in the manner you’re used to. Make sure things like your XREF structures work properly. Verify that your title blocks, attributes, and fields perform as you expect. Create some new files from your existing templates. Do you utilize the Sheet Set Manager? Open a copy of one of your DST files in the DraftSight version. In short, consider anything that is important to how you do your work and test it out.

You’ll also want to take time to verify your hard copy and electronic output (prints, plots, PDFs etc.) are created correctly. Make sure your printers or plotters are available, and that their functionality is as you expect. Make some test prints or plots to ensure you are getting the results you need. You should even give DraftSight’s Batch Plotting a whirl.

Make sure you test out any customizations you may currently rely on. That may be CUIx files, AutoLISP routines, or other API files. They’re fully supported, but there may be some code within them that are application specific, so you’ll need to make note of anything that may require some time to alter the code.

Of course, the most fun part of testing new software, or a new car for that matter, is to try out all the cool new features! Make sure that you explore all the commands that you will only find in DraftSight. From (my personal favorite) PowerTrim, to Auto Dimensioning, and everything in between, I’m sure you’ll find something that will give you a severe case of feature-envy. Don’t worry though… that’s completely normal.


Once you’ve done your due diligence by trying everything I’ve mentioned – and anything that’s important to you that I didn’t mention – you’ll want to answer a few questions. Do you trust it? Can you still get your job done with little impact? How much training will you and your team need? And perhaps most importantly, how much money will I save by making the switch?

So, what are you waiting for? There are literally no strings attached. Leave the credit card in your wallet because you won’t need that either. Download the trial. Give it a spin but go in with a plan. When your 30 days are over, crunch some numbers and have an honest conversation with yourself. Perhaps you’ll find some compelling reasons to become one of the millions of satisfied DraftSight users.

Lynn Allen

Lynn Allen

Technology Evangelist
Lynn Allen spent over 20 years with Autodesk promoting its annual releases of AutoCAD, producing hundreds of AutoCAD video tips, writing countless articles for Cadalyst Magazine and writing three AutoCAD books. There are not many people out there who know more about AutoCAD than Lynn does. As a Technology Evangelist, she is always staying on top of CAD trends and working to help people move forward and embrace change. Lynn’s speaking engagements, online presentations and videos have reached over five million individuals. Her passion and strength is connecting with users, sharing CAD insights and shining a light on new technology. Throughout her tenure at Autodesk and now Dassault Systèmes - she has proved instrumental in helping customers adopt and move from one technology/software to another. Lynn was recently designated one of the top 20 Advanced Manufacturing SMEs by Onalytica in 2020.
Lynn Allen