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The New AutoCAD Web: Simplified Collaboration for CAD Professionals

Autodesk continues to show that AutoCAD technology offers powerful benefits for multi-party collaboration in AEC and manufacturing workflows.

PROJECT COLLABORATION doesn’t have to be this tedious. And Autodesk has solved this problem with its recently announced new offering, AutoCAD Web—a standalone subscription that offers both AutoCAD on the web and on mobile as a single, affordable product offering.

“AutoCAD Web is for customers who need to transform their business to be more digital and empower their distributed workforce,” said Dania El Hassan, Director of Product Management, AutoCAD.

The new normal

Originally launched in the summer of 2020, AutoCAD’s web-based technologies have helped millions of customers adapt to the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, today’s current product offering reflects a mature refinement of how remote working actually works and how AEC and manufacturing companies have adapted to the “new normal.”

Construction professionals spend a lot of time in the field, so they really benefit from AutoCAD Web for taking precise measurements, checking dimensions, making quick changes, and marking up drawings even offline.

This new normal means that project professionals and their stakeholders seek and expect anywhere and any device to access their project data. And today’s businesses are busier than ever, looking for streamlined methods to get everyone involved to share their expertise and roles, wherever they are. “AutoCAD Web gives our customers access to collaborative workflows that bring teams together to review and modify their CAD drawings, wherever they are,” adds El Hassan. “Users can view, edit and share designs from their browser or mobile device without having to install any software.”

AutoCAD Web in action

Users log into the software through their Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser on Windows or Mac computers. Their DWG files can then be opened from Autodesk Drive, Autodesk Docs, or any of the major cloud storage providers such as Microsoft OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

Dania El Hassan, Director of Product Management, AutoCAD, Autodesk. (Image: Autodesk / All rights reserved).

AutoCAD Web provides core AutoCAD technology so users can review, modify, and even create drawings for concept and feedback. Users can access block technology and use external references. And AutoCAD Web supports powerful Trace layer technology so users can review and add comments directly to the drawing (not a PDF) without modifying the existing file. The user or their teammates can then act on the contents of the Trace layer by incorporating, revising or modifying at their discretion.

Autodesk’s Trace technology works the same way as real trace paper, working in the same spirit. All common AutoCAD tools can be used on the Trace Layer, providing a safe, non-destructive layer where others can collaborate. And because Trace is also present in mobile versions of AutoCAD, this technology is ideal for people working in the field.

Edit and create drawings online with AutoCAD Web, a new subscription offering from Autodesk.

“We’ve seen experienced engineers, project managers, and CAD and BIM managers use the apps to review, annotate, and provide valuable feedback right in the drawing,” says Dania El Hassan. “Construction professionals spend a lot of time in the field,” she adds, “so they really benefit from AutoCAD Web for taking precise measurements, checking dimensions, making quick changes, and marking up drawings even when ‘they are offline’.

AutoCAD Web subscription includes AutoCAD mobile apps so users can stay in touch with AutoCAD workflows, wherever they are. (Image: Autodesk / All Rights Reserved)

This last point is crucial. Solid Internet access cannot always be relied on at AEC construction sites. Readers should understand two aspects of AutoCAD Web Trace functionality. First, multiple participants can draw in the Trace layer, add comments, and suggest changes. Second, the Trace layer also allows these collaborators to add their comments directly to the drawing file for better context. From this point of view, the Trace functionality acts as a sorting space for the resolution of feedback.

Modern Workflows

Modern workflows demand flexibility on all fronts, from how software works to how users access their tools and data. And speaking of modern technology, AutoCAD is one of the newest software codes in the CAD industry, leveraging state-of-the-art agile development and taking full advantage of Microsoft’s latest operating system technologies, Apple and Google.

The new inclusion of mobile versions of AutoCAD with the AutoCAD Web Subscription means that stakeholders who need access to AutoCAD but do not need to create AutoCAD files themselves have a multi -devices that are economical, affordable and flexible.

AutoCAD Web users can measure and take dimensions and make comparisons in the field or at the factory.

AutoCAD Web fully supports AutoCAD block technology, including block creation.

AutoCAD Web works with all major cloud file solutions in addition to Autodesk Cloud.

“We’ve seen customers at all stages of the lifecycle use AutoCAD for everything from concept sketches, suggested design changes, as-built drawings, and maintenance of equipment and buildings,” says El Hassan. . “It’s fast, efficient, and gets the job done for busy professionals.”

Our final thoughts

By enabling direct markup attached to the CAD drawing in the Trace layer, collaborators can provide quick feedback loops to AutoCAD authors in the office and other stakeholders in the field. It’s a more streamlined and faster process than PDF-based collaborative workflows and a compelling go-to option for companies with dominant DWG-based CAD technology workflows.

AutoCAD Web is ultimately about collaboration technologies that democratize CAD data for all users and stakeholders, meeting them where they are, on their terms, and on their devices. (Image: Autodesk / All Rights Reserved)

The new subscription offering will and is likely to drive AutoCAD usage to new categories of users who are instrumental in CAD-driven projects in AEC and manufacturing, but who are not unfamiliar with AutoCAD itself.

When we look at how collaboration is happening today and we see so many first-generation computing practices, it makes sense that these people, in particular, are considering all-digital practices. What Autodesk offers is a streamlined CAD and collaboration workflow that connects all stakeholders, regardless of the computing devices they use.