TurboCAD LTE Pro v4
|Pros: TurboCAD LTE Pro is comfortable and easy to learn for AutoCAD users and includes a variety of powerful tools for 2D drafting.
Cons: Didn’t read complex AutoCAD viewports generated from AutoCAD 2012’s Model Documentation feature. Had trouble representing AutoCAD DWG files saved with visual styles. Developed as an AutoCAD LT replacement, it offers no LISP support.
TurboCAD products from IMSI/Design have long been popular with Cadalyst readers. TurboCAD LTE Pro, the second most affordable option in the line, is described as a professional 2.5D drafting and detailing solution. Although it is designed to compete with AutoCAD LT, we chose it for this roundup due to its $500 price.
Installation of TurboCAD LTE Pro went fine, but the included graphics driver had to disable the Aero visual theme in Windows 7 in order to run. Once the basic Windows theme was applied, TurboCAD fired right up.
Users create new design files in TurboCAD LTE Pro via a variety of template files in ISO and ANSI standard unit notation with typical drawing border sizes. Files are saved by default in the TurboCAD TCW file format, but may also be saved as AutoCAD 2010 (or earlier) DWG or DXF, or Intergraph DGN vector formats, as well as a variety of other CAD and image formats. The same file types are supported when opening existing drawings. We opened a variety of AutoCAD and DGN sample files with generally good results.
TurboCAD LTE Pro’s UI encompasses pull-down menus and toolbars along the top of the screen, with toolbars and palettes to the left and right and a Command prompt/history area along the bottom. One thing the UI doesn’t have is a ribbon menu. Creating geometry feels very much like drawing with AutoCAD; coordinate input, directional input, and intelligent snap locators appear to be modeled after the AutoCAD UI. Editing commands such as Move, Mirror, and Trim all work in conjunction with snap locations, much like they do in AutoCAD, but selecting objects for editing (such as AutoCAD grip editing) felt very different, as multiple objects may be stretched or modified in an extent-style editing frame. Zoom/pan and wheel mouse viewing also functioned just as one would expect in AutoCAD. As fans of keyboard entry, we were happy to find that favorite command shortcuts (L for line, E for erase, etc.) worked exactly as they would in AutoCAD. Finally, a unified CUI command means you can set up your own shortcuts, palettes, toolbars, and other interface components just the way you want.
Printing uses your operating system print drivers, with a print style utility mapping colors to print characteristics such as pen widths (much like an AutoCAD CTB file).
In Summary. TurboCAD LTE Pro is a functional CAD tool that can create and work with DWG and DGN data, with an interface look and feel that will be familiar to AutoCAD users. Companies that use complex layout views with viewport-specific visualization features can expect to have compatibility issues when interacting with AutoCAD users.
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