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Drafting on the cloud with AutoCAD WS

Long gone are the days of drafting tables. And with AutoCAD WS, drafting has just gone mobile. The concept of storing your drawing files on the cloud is not new, but the interface Autodesk has provided is. You can actually access / edit your drawing files three different ways, AutoCAD plug-in, Android / iPad app or the Flash based editor on the website. The AutoCAD plug-in is self-explanatory, so let's look at the other two.

Autodesk's AutoCAD WS Android app running on a Motorola Android A855
Autodesk's AutoCAD WS Android app running on a Motorola Android A855

I started by creating an account on the AutoCAD WS website. I then uploaded a blank sample drawing to the website and then download the AutoCAD WS Android app. The small screen area on my Motorola A855 did not work well when it came to actually drafting. A general rule for drafting, the more screen area, the better. But for those 'mouse jockeys' out there (myself included), the touch screen can be kind of tricky, to say the least. But then there is the website.

Autodesk's AutoCAD WS website
Autodesk's AutoCAD WS website

I found the website to be easy to use and within five minutes, was drafting away (I do have several years of experience with AutoCAD). The feature set is quite rich, with layers, x-refs, blocks, etc. The commands are toolbar based (no command line for input) and no LISP support, but still is a great way to draft when you are mobile. I can see tethering a smartphone's 3G /4G on Netbook and drafting on-site. Here's a quote from Autodesk's website:

The AutoCAD® WS web and mobile application for AutoCAD® software lets you view, edit, and share DWG™ drawings through a web browser or mobile device. Now you have the freedom to work anywhere and with anyone. Store AutoCAD drawings and project files in an easy-to-access online workspace. View and edit your designs online or on your Android OS device, Apple® iPad™, iPhone®, or iPod touch®. Share and collaborate easily with others; there’s no software required, and it’s free*.

  • Online DWG viewer—Access your AutoCAD drawings from anywhere; all you need is a web browser.
  • Web-based CAD—Edit drawings online using many familiar and intuitive drawing and editing tools.
  • CAD for Android OS devices / Apple iOS devices—Work on AutoCAD drawings directly on your Android, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
  • No software required—Invite team members to review and edit DWG drawings online.
  • Collaborate in real time—Conduct online design reviews with participants in multiple locations.
  • Track and manage changes—Record changes to designs in a timeline for version control and auditing.
  • Edit Offline—Work with your DWG files offline without a 3G or Wi-Fi connection from your mobile device (Android OS, Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch)

The AutoCAD WS website editor is Flash based and can download your drawing files in the following formats:

  • AutoCAD 2010
  • AutoCAD 2007
  • AutoCAD 2004
  • AutoCAD 2000
  • AutoCAD R14
  • ZIP with X-refs

For more information on AutoCAD WS, check out the following links:

Watch AutoCAD WS Overview Video on YouTube

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