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Appendix B - Pg. 468

Appendix B Other CAD software and Design/Analysis tools and concepts While it is true AutoCAD is the market leader for drafting software, it certainly doesn't operate in a vacuum and is not the only game in town. The list below summarizes other major players in the drafting field. The reason you should know about them is because you may run into them in use, and may have to exchange files if collaborating. Saying "I've never heard of that" is usually not a good way to start a technical conversation in your area of expertise, so take note of the following products. MicroStation A major (and really the only serious) competitor to AutoCAD, it is produced and marketed by Bentley Systems. For historical reasons the software is widely used in government agencies and in the civil engineering community. It comes in full and PowerDraft variations (akin to AutoCAD and LT). The current version is MicroStation V8 XM. Its file extension is DGN. AutoCAD does not open these files directly, though that may soon change. MicroStation, on the other hand, does open AutoCAD's DWG files. There are of course many techniques and even third party software to quickly and easily convert one file format to another. MicroStation is more icon-driven, but otherwise similar to AutoCAD in many ways. Its 3D capabilities are considered excellent, but its interface can be a bit cumbersome to use for a novice. Its main disadvantage is that it is not an industry standard; it is otherwise excellent software, and its ability to handle Xrefs (multiple external file attachments) is unparalleled. Its users are a sometimes fanatical bunch, promoting its virtues against AutoCAD at every opportunity. An objective view of both applications yields an opinion that both have their pros and cons, and anyone that disparages one over the other usually doesn't know what they are talking about. ArchiCAD