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Developing LT

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Architech: CADlogic have provided a set of tools that make working with AutoCAD LT much easier

One of the major concerns of adopters of CAD is file compatibility with other users in a project. For this reason many users turn to AutoCAD which, by virtue of its user base, has set the standard for file transfer with the DWG and DXF formats. With a single seat of AutoCAD costing over £3000, however, it can be beyond the reach of smaller practices.

When AutoDesk released AutoCAD LT, a cut-down 2D version, many jumped at the chance to gain 100 per cent file compatibility with AutoCAD users for under £500. Obviously you don't get all the bells and whistles for this price, and LT is not as flexible in terms of 'add-ons', which provide users with additional functionality.

CADlogic, a software developer based in Staffordshire, has come to the aid of LT users with the release of a LT Architect.

LT Architect adds architectural functionality to basic LT, automating many mundane tasks such as placement of windows and doors or the creation of cavity walls. Unlike AutoCAD, LT does not provide easy hooks onto which developers can hang additional software; this makes it a difficult package to develop applications for. CADlogic cleverly got round this by utilising macros and the functionality of the Windows operating system.

LT Architect, while still a far cry from Autodesk's own Architectural Desktop or AEC package, does make LT a much more productive tool. The inclusion of parametric doors and windows along with some parametric symbol libraries greatly speeds up working. Sections and elevations can be generated for plan information and edited to match exact requirements. CADlogic has automated many tiresome tasks by building an intuitive front end to basic cut-and-paste and macro generation. LT Architect doesn't do anything you can't already do, it just makes it a lot easier.

A demonstration CD is available from CADlogic or the evaluation software can be downloaded from http://www.ltarchitect.com.

At £495 LT Architect is not cheap, costing the same as LT itself, but you may well find that with the boost in productivity it will soon pay for itself.

CADlogic can be contacted on (0)1543 419886.

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