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Autocad Vs Microstation: Summary and Evaluation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Technology
Wordcount: 1963 words Published: 4th Jul 2018

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Patricia Ferreras

Table of Contents (Jump to)

What is CAD?

AutoCAD and MicroStation History


2D Design Features

3D Design Features




What is CAD?

CAD is an abbreviation of Computer Aided Design, and refers to software used to create detailed, precise drawings and technical illustrations. CAD software is capable of creating two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) models. (WhatIs.com, 2011)

AutoCAD and MicroStation History:

AutoCAD was introduced in 1982 as a desktop application. Since 2010, it has evolved into a mobile web and cloud based application, currently marketed as AutoCAD 360. (Wikipedia, 2014)

MicroStation was introduced early in 1987 with the capacity to write to design files with the extension “.DGN”. In its early days, it had simple modification abilities, and it was capable of displaying each element in their intermediate states during placement. MicroStation V8i (SELECTseries 2)- July 2010 added integrated point cloud support. (Bentley, 2014)


The scope of my research is to compare the two leaders software packages in design, both of them are used by a wide range of professionals, mainly in the fileds of Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design.

Different people have different needs or preferences, but I want to keep my research as objective as possible, that is why I going to focus is three key aspects of the software, 2D, 3D and interoperability.

2D Design Features:

The comparison is based in the latest versions of each program, and on the available functions and tools for managing 2D designs that a CAD software provides. (Chief, 2012)

AutoCAD 2013

MicroStation V8i

In 2D Designing, what makes users happy are the features and tools that AutoCAD provides, such as:

  • The Sketch tool which allows 2D Drafts to be intuitively drawn
  • A customizable tool palette, color palette and command log
  • Tape Measure Tool, text Box and Snap to grid functionalities,
  • From 3D models generates 2D Drawings

Even though MicroStation provides many useful tools, it is lacking some key features for 2D Designing. Its available features include:

  • An advanced sketch tool
  • Color palette, tool palettes and command logs, all of which are customizable
  • From 3D Models, could generate 2D Drawings

3D Design Features:

These features include Simulation, 3D Modeling and animation using features provided by the CAD software. (Chief, 2012) (enggcyclopedia, 2012)

AutoCAD 2013

MicroStation V8i

AutoCAD 2013 include the following features and tools needed for the 3D Modeling, Rendering and Animation:

  • Has parametric Modeling Tools
  • Material changes as they occur, so it could be viewed in real time
  • Extrude 3D Models from 2D Drawings
  • Photorealistic models could be created.
  • Basic animation projects are enable through its animation features
  • AutoCAD is recognized as a business-oriented design tool, and is regarded as following industry standards.

MicroStation provides more of a thorough platform for 3D Modeling and Animation. It is more advanced than AutoCAD in some respects:

  • Parametric modeling tools and features
  • Real time modifications can be previewed as they are implemented
  • Microstation can “extrude” 3D Models from 2D Drawings with 3D geometric surfaces
  • Photorealistic models can be achieved
  • 3D Printing is supported
  • MicroStation claims to respect its users by providing them with a CAD environment built to cater for all their needs.


This factor relates to collaboration functionality with other CAD Applications, the ability for more than one designer to work simultaneously on one platform, cloud features, and a number of other functions. (Chief, 2012) (Alvarez, 2006)

AutoCAD 2013

MicroStation V8i

AutoCAD 2013’s full-featured user-interface and interoperability features include the following:

  • Support for readable and writable file formats such as: DWG, PDF, 3DS, DWF
  • The Autodesk Cloud Feature, Autodesk 360 allows designers on the CAD Software Workspace to work away from the office. It provides each user with roughly 3 GB of space, and this figure can be increased to cater for file sharing.
  • Integration of Google Mapping
  • The users felt that the re-design introduced with Land Development was very different from the previous applications such as CivilCAD and Softdesk.

MicroStation is an application with total integration of other applications within Bentley or external applications that develop in a MicroStation environment . It wins the war of interoperability. The main features include the following:

  • It supports readable and writeable file formats including: Sketchup, DWF, Revit, PDF,DWG
  • An AutoCAD interoperability function which allow designers to work with all of Autodesk’s CAD Versions
  • Geo-location is supported by providing designers with coordinates for actual real-life buildings. It allows integration of Google Maps, and allows for sharing and networking between designers.
  • Designer’s work is protected from intellectual theft via a digital signature feature
  • The users find quite easy to use the different applications of MicroStation, is very similar design.


Which one is better? Well, from a personal point of view, AutoCAD is a clear winner when it comes to 2D Design. This is possibly because it was the first CAD software that I learned how to use, and the one that I have used more often. But I am not the only one that thinks this: many professionals that use AutoCAD agreed that “AutoCAD still trumps the MicroStation with its advanced 2D Drafting capabilities” (Chief, 2012)

When it comes to 3D support, I have to give this to MicroStation. I lost count of how many coffees I had while the computer was rendering a 3D Design. It takes practically forever, so the best thing to do was to let the machine to do the magic and take a break. (Alvarez, 2006)

In conclusion, both CAD tools provide features which classify them as advanced drafting tools. These tools can be used by CAD designers to draw and design both 2D and 3D Designs, independent of their complexity. (Prakoso, 2011)

In summary, I would regard AutoCAD as a better drafting tool, but MicroStation as a better CAD platform.


History of MicroStation – MicroStation – Wiki – MicroStation – Be Communities by Bentley. 2014. History of MicroStation – MicroStation – Wiki – MicroStation – Be Communities by Bentley. [ONLINE] Available at: http://communities.bentley.com/products/microstation/w/microstation__wiki/3164.history-of-microstation.aspx. [Accessed 10 March 2014].

Autodesk – Company. 2014. Autodesk – Company. [ONLINE] Available at: http://usa.autodesk.com/company/. [Accessed 10 March 2014].

AutoCAD – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2014. AutoCAD – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AutoCAD. [Accessed 15 March 2014].

BE Magazine En Espanol – Volume 1-Issue 12. 2014. BE Magazine En Espanol – Volume 1-Issue 12. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nxtbook.com/fx/books/bemagazine/vol1issue1spanmexico/index.php?startpage=12. [Accessed 15 March 2014].

MicroStation® vs. AutoCAD® – which is better. 2014. MicroStation® vs. AutoCAD® – which is better. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.indiacadworks.com/blog/microstation-vs-autocad-comparing-features/. [Accessed 15 March 2014].

What’s the Difference Between AutoCAD and Other 3D programs?. 2014. What’s the Difference Between AutoCAD and Other 3D programs?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://animation.about.com/od/faqs/f/Whats-The-Difference-Between-Autocad-And-Other-3d-Programs.htm. [Accessed 15 March 2014].

Microstation or Revit..what to choose? | Forum | Archinect. 2014. Microstation or Revit..what to choose? | Forum | Archinect. [ONLINE] Available at: http://archinect.com/forum/thread/96142/microstation-or-revit-what-to-choose. [Accessed 18 March 2014].

AutoCAD versus MicroStation, which one is the best? | CAD Notes. 2014. AutoCAD versus MicroStation, which one is the best? | CAD Notes. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cad-notes.com/autocad-versus-microstation-which-one-is-the-best/. [Accessed 21 March 2014].

. 2014. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.google.ie/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CF0QFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcad-software.findthebest.com%2Fcompare%2F5-19%2FAutoCAD-vs-MicroStation-V8i&ei=So4sU5j-MqWI7AaL5YGgBg&usg=AFQjCNHRN8j20Fq52oVzAW6c2-7ihTQpNQ&bvm=bv.62922401,d.ZGU. [Accessed 21 March 2014].


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