Microspot MacDraft 4.4

Most CAD programs fall into one of two camps: either a precise drafting tool aimed specifically at the draftsman or architect creating plans and working drawings; or a simpler tool, oriented more towards the lay person needing to plan room layouts, technical diagrams and the like. The former is concerned with materials, dimensioning, and using proper symbols. The latter is more concerned with easy drawing tools, labelling, and symbol libraries. MacDraft is a curious program that contains aspects of both, but falls between two stalls, in failing to satisfy either audience. While it features a full range of precise drafting tools, a primitive report feature and much else of worth, I cannot see how professionals will welcome it. Neither is it user friendly enough for general usage, such as space planning. As well as accurate drafting tools, all half-decent CAD software should have layers, dimensioning, scales and symbols. MacDraft has all of these, but the user interface leaves much to be desired with many palettes hidden by default. The addition of a top-row info bar and layer selector could save MacDraft users hours of time. The layer palette, especially, makes hard work of adding, locking and hiding layers. As with most CAD programs, MacDraft allows you to define shapes and groups as objects, that can then be assigned properties. This then allows you to create reports of objects used in the drawing – for instance the length of wall of a certain type, or the number of desks in a room layout. But again, this feature is poorly executed and needlessly complex.

OUR VERDICT

With support for common CAD formats, such as DXF and DWG, as well as bitmap graphics formats, such as PCT and Photoshop, MacDraft is a versatile and flexible tool. But it lacks the depth of features and useability of a professional CAD tool – for example Vector Works, or a more general illustration tools such as FreeHand.

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