It’s no accident that software brands develop devoted followers. that’s the way the marketing departments plan it. Not to mention each user’s investment in product licensing and time spent learning and mastering product intricacies. So asking an existing CAD user advice will always result in a highly skewed opinion. So how does an architectural business moving into CAD or reviewing existing design operations decide which software path is best?

One of the biggest decisions to make when setting out alone- either as an independent architect or starting your own firm – is which software to use. It can be tempting to simply choose an industry leader, but you may end up paying over the odds for a product which doesn’t suit your style. In this post, originally published on ArchSmarter as “Which architectural software is right for me?” Michael Kilkelly works through the factors that should influence your decision, whether you’re making it for the first time or reviewing a choice you made long ago.

Which CAD or BIM software should you use? Well, that depends. What functionality to you need? What are your priorities with regard to cost, comparability, interoperability? Are you using a Mac or a PC?

I put together the above flowchart to help you select the best software based on several criteria. The criteria listed are based solely on my opinion either using the software or through my own research. I’ve included a list of all the applications and their websites below. If I missed any programs, please let me know in the comments on ArchSmarter and Ill update the flowchart accordingly.

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