Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
AutoDesSys’s formZ pro is CAD software with strong editing tools and a good support network. The software contains plenty of texture, transparency and lighting effects options to help create professional-looking designs. If you want to create more advanced photorealistic renderings, however, you will need to purchase a separate plugin or pay more to purchase a package that includes AutoDesSys’s RenderZone program.
This easy-to-use CAD software has a number of helpful design and editing tools. It has a wall tool that will let you specify the dimensions and look of a wall and automatically incorporate it into your design. However, it lacks a house wizard, which is especially helpful for novice designers, as it will guide you step by step through a home design. Nonetheless, it is a relatively easy program to learn with an attractive, modern user interface and easily accessible toolbars that let you add elements to a design with a single click. Unfortunately, this program doesn't feature a command line, which would make the program easier to use. If you want a program that does use a command line, you might be interested in progeCAD.
Transformation macros are another element in formZ pro that add to its usability. This is a great time saver in that it allows you to save a string of commonly used commands into a single macro that you can apply to any stage of a project. The transformation macros in this program let you update any of the macros if you want to add commands. You can change the name of an existing macro, much like changing a document name using a “save as” function. You can change the sequence of commands and transformations or add commands to each macro as needed. Snap tools, text and color editing, and point makers are all included. Also, you'll have hundreds of free models, pre-installed components, as well as 2D and 3D symbols to choose from and add to your designs. Many of the symbols and models are very well designed and lifelike.
Computer-aided design software should be compatible with many different programs to foster collaboration. formZ is compatible with many important file formats, including DWG, DXF and DWF. This will allow you to import 2D and 3D drawings and edit them within the program. Also, you'll be able to save in STEP and STL formats and image files for read-only sharing of your designs. You can also save designs as PDFs to store or share.
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AutoDesSys, the company behind formZ pro, provides many different support options to help you learn and use the software. You'll have unlimited access to email support, phone support, video tutorials and the in-program manual. We found that representatives answer emails quickly and the in-program help really takes the edge off the steep learning curve.
formZ pro is a relatively simple CAD program that has great customer support to help you get accustomed to it. It has easily accessible toolbars that let you make changes to your design with simple commands. Macros will let you easily incorporate often-used command strings into any design. Its file compatibility will let you import files and edit them within the program, then share them with colleagues and friends. It’s a good choice for novice and experienced designers alike.