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What software and hardware do you use?

Besides AutoCAD, what do you use?

Many AutoCAD users have a favorite mouse, sometimes with lots of buttons on them. You may have a keyboard that makes entering data easier. Perhaps you think you have the best (and biggest) monitor around.autocad-tips-software-hardware-1

You probably also use 3rd-party software. Let’s share our hardware and software secrets! Leave a comment!

If the item is available on Amazon.com, please give the Amazon.com URL. Otherwise, give as much information as you can and where to purchase it.

Peripherals

Which mouse do you use? Do you use a puck or stylus? Do you have a special keyboard? Can you recommend a monitor?

Why did you make those choices? Why are they great for AutoCAD users?

Software

Have you purchased 3rd-party software that works with AutoCAD? What does it do? Where can others buy it?

Leave a comment and share you good — and maybe bad — experiences!

21 comments to What software and hardware do you use?

  • M. Shreve

    I’ve found using a large HD TV works great with a computer with an HDMI output. I use a 42″ Phillips TV, that allows a setting of “unscaled” input to the HDMI port, so that the ratios are maintained between vertical and horizontal, though that probably isn’t critical as long as your computer is able to output at the HDTV 1920×1080 resolution to match any TV. The bigger the monitor, the less zooming in and out that’s required.

    TV’s are cheap now. I don’t see any reason to stick with a dedicated computer monitor, that has no TV capabilities. This also allows you to watch Amazon Prime, Redbox, or whatever else you may use for streaming video.

    Having a small monitor (your laptop screen or another monitor in the case of a desktop PC) really improves efficiency by allowing you to open Excel or any other program to copy and paste tables, or other text and information from one software package into AutoCAD.

  • Donald Boyer

    I use Bluebeam software for PDF’s (bluebeam.com)and Hurricane software for scripts (www.74mph.com). I find Bluebeam more versatile than Adobe and I can get fast response to questions. They also ask for suggestions on improving the product. Hurricane is worth “it’s weight gold”. Use it create scripts to make alterations in text, Attributes, Purges. You name it. If it needs to be done across an entire project worth of drawings this is the tool for the job. Saves an amazing amount of time. For hardware I use a Logitech Track Marble (I’ve owned 3).

  • Rolland Grigsby

    I use a trackball the fill of movement of the ball is like drawing with a pencil

  • Rolland, which brand and model number do you use?

  • Donald, Thanks for those recommendations.
    Here’s a link to the Logitech Track Marble.
    Here’s a link to Bluebeam’s CAD PDF creation program.
    Here’s a link to Hurricane, which creates scripts.

  • Thanks for that information. I couldn’t find a link (that I knew I trusted) for a Phyllips, but found this LG 42″ monitor on Amazon.
    Here’s an LG 39″ TV.

  • Rolland Grigsby

    I have one USB Logitech Marble Mouse the trackball is between the buttons and one that is wireless with the trackball using the thumb Logitech M570 either one works great for CAD or photoshop

  • Guillermo Monter

    I use a microsoft 4 button mouse. It allows me to use the left button for enter and the right for escape. It’s the closest thing I can get to emulating the microstation functions. Just don’t upgrade the software beyond 4.1 Microsoft removed the escape feature in later versions.

    For pdfin’g we use Cadzation’s acroplot. It allows us to create full sets of documents and reads all the layout, table etc settings from the file. We love it. It saves us hours in creating pdfs and we never have to worry about assembling sets. It’s so primitive to receive single sheet pdfs from consultants… Lastly by using the arial font in all of our documents our pdfs are searchable AND we can issue a 10 sheet E size set of about 2 MBs.

  • alan taylor

    I had thought that using a TV with a large screen would be a good idea until someone mentioned the issue of radiation. We have always been told not to sit in front of a TV. So….does anybody have any figures on the difference between a monitor and a TV. That is the first question, then….why isn’t everybody going to TVs when they are probably cheaper than a monitor and the area available in a TV is nearly always larger than a monitor currently available. My problem is that I need height and you cant find monitors of sufficient height to accommodate what I do so its zoom and pan, then zoom and pan. It works but more height would be a blessing. Until I get the radiation factor sorted out I am staying where I am.

    Any comments?

    Alan

  • Eirik GR

    HP Z700 PC, Logitech Performance MX mouse, 2 x HP ZR24w monitors.
    Software is Autocad, Revit and Sketchup.

  • Jakob Mayerhofer

    I use the Logitech G600 (MMO Gaming Mouse) for my AutoCAD dawings. You can easily use keyboard or mousebuttons for creating macros. I use them in autocad for commands. The mouse just writes text in the commandline to start the commands. Quite nice for fast drawing. I thought of taking my old G15 keyboard to work, but it looks a bit too much like a gamers keyboard..

    Hardware: HP Workstation z220, 2x 24” screen
    Software: AutoCAD Map 3D, ProVI AutoCAD addon (planning streets), Adobe Standard, sometimes PDF Creator

    http://mobile-gaming.logitech.com/de-at/product/g600-mmo-gaming-mouse

  • Jakob Mayerhofer

    @ C.Benner: How precise can you use the penguin mouse? Looks like you need very much space to get enough pecision.

  • Bill N

    I love my Evoluent Vertical Mouse (been using it for two or three years now). Much easier on the wrist than the conventional hand-over-the-top-of-the-mouse style. I use the corded one. I don’t install the software, just plug it in and use it normal like (so no conflicts with my other software). Link is here. http://www.evoluent.com/vm4r.htm

    Our company uses Cabinet Vision Ultimate for Screen to Machine cabinet design-to-production, but use AutoCAD for shop submitals and odd shape or designs that aren’t as suited to Cabinet Vision. We use AutoLink and Panel Maker to send programs from AutoCAD to our CNC machine when we make 2d designs in AutoCAD. Without Cabinet Vision, we wouldn’t be in business.

    We are moving to progeCAD (instead of AutoCAD) as an engineering divsion, due to its lower cost than AutoCAD. It’s not exact exact, but it’s so close and so inexpensive that its hard for us to argue with. Been using it for six months now. AutoCAD is still the gold standard but progeCAD helps us keep a little more silver and be able to have something newer than our old AutoCAD 2005 (due to the costs). It has an awesome built in PDF to DWG conversion that does a pretty good job getting typical pdf’s drawings from our clients into AutoCAD dwg format.

    I recently purchase Print2Cad to do more messy PDF’s (to convert them to AutoCAD elements) but it is a steep learning curve but it is improving.

    I use JING to record videos I can send to show steps on how I do things – most people on the Cabinet Vision Forum use that. It helps to see what you are doing rather than try to just use words. It’s pretty simple. 5 minute limit, but that’s long enough for a free version.

    Love Excel, love Outlook, love Word, typical stuff.

    We are all into dual monitors. I got some Dell Monitors, windows compliant with 16:10 ratio (not 16:9) in 24″ version. You can show an 11×17 pdf full size AND have room for the toolbars and indexes too, so it is not shrunk AT ALL. Phenomenal, really big deal. Always get identical monitors, and avoid issues, believe me. Well worth the money. It’s either buy better glasses for dinky screens or get bigger screens and relax your eyes a bit more.

    Etc.

  • UK Jo

    Just been upgraded to AutoCAD Map 3D 2014. Use a usb Logitech trackball mouse with buttons either side of the trackball. Much easier to work with than a conventional mouse. I work in traffic engineering so the AutoCAD “add ons” I use are KeySignals, KeySign (both from Keysoft solutions) and Savoy’s AutoTrack.

  • UK Jo

    …and I still have my copy of your old 2002 bible!!

  • Joanne, Thanks, you made my day! There are newer editions, you know.
    Ellen

  • Lecra

    Hi community,
    Just to let you know how I’m working with Autocad, 3DS Max, Maya etc.
    In order to improve the workflow and to speed up some procedures I use the follow hardware/software:

    Logitec G602 http://gaming.logitech.com/en-ch/product/g602-wireless-gaming-mouse
    This while I’m allowed to programm all the 11 mouse buttons with keys and macros. Second choice is a Logitech MX Performance.

    The piece of hardware I love is a SpacePilot Pro from 3dconnexion. http://www.3dconnexion.com/products/spacepilot-pro.html
    This is a 3d Mouse which allow you to move smooth the objects in every axis and many more. Have a look, you will be impressed.

    On the software side I love a free tool called X-Mouse. This allow to define your mouse buttons in different modes and with multiple assignments: http://www.highrez.co.uk/downloads/XMouseButtonControl.htm

    With this combination, I can work 80% of the time without moving my hands to the keyboard.

    KR, Lecra

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