ProgeCAD is DWG/DXF-native 2D/3D CAD software that can serve as a replacement to AutoCAD or work in conjunction with it, and is built for professional drafting. The “Professional” version includes such enhancements as information tables, basic dynamic block support, 3D solid modeling, rendering and PDF import & printing. As of 2011, progeCAD also began including its 3D architectural design technology, EasyArch.
ProgeCAD currently uses OpenGL hardware graphics technology, with limited GDI support for older video cards. There is no current support for DirectX hardware acceleration. Its latest feature additions include progeCAD Cloud, Dynamic Input (an alternative way of entering commands through a command line interface at your Crosshair), Dynamic UCS (automatically creates a temporary XY plane to draw on, thereby speeding up drawing in 3D environment), Annotative Objects (automates the sizing of annotations such as text, hatch and dimensions in multiple viewports with varying scales. The annotative objects are scaled based on the current annotation scale setting and are automatically displayed at the correct size), Drawing Fields (automates the insertion of titleblock text or any other annotations in a drawing.), PDF/A (creates PDF files compliant with the PDF/A Standard, often a requisite for official institutions and public administrations), and more.
Many users note that relative to its low cost compared with other solutions, you get a lot of feature-rich functionality from progeCAD. These users also note that its capabilities are comparable to AutoCAD, and because it writes its files in DWG format, it’s fully compatible with AutoCAD as well. Because it’s so similar to AutoCAD, most users find it easy to learn how to use it.
It’s biggest strength (similarity to AutoCAD at a fraction of the price) is also its greatest weakness, as many users expect it to be able to do all the same things as AutoCAD, but it doesn’t replicate every single thing in AutoCAD, just a whole lot of it. You’re bound to come across something you could do in AutoCAD that you can’t in progeCAD, and that will be frustrating. One specific item mentioned is the pedit>multiple command (pedit in general edits polylines, objects to be joined to polylines, and related objects) and also using pedit to join plolylines when cleaning up drawings made by others.
For those people who have become frustrated or disenfranchised with AutoCAD for whatever reason, progeCAD definitely serves as a surprisingly affordable replacement. The fact that it is so similar means you’ll be very familiar in the progeCAD environment and how it works. However, you will also probably come across certain things that aren’t the same as AutoCAD. If you can find workarounds, then progeCAD may be just the AutoCAD replacement you want. If not, it may be an exercise in frustration.