EasyCAD is a general purpose CAD package for home or small office
applications. It has several tools for generic CAD drawings. Minimum hardware: A
80386 with 4M bytes RAM, Windows 3.1 and 2M bytes of hard disk space.
List Price: $250
Evolution Computing, 437 S. 48th St., Suite 106, Tempe, AZ
85281; ph: (602) 967-8633.
Every time you access a command from the menu system, the command becomes the default and any subsequent mouse clicks yield to this command. This is convenient for repetitive editing commands, and since there are no icons this is the only way to access the same tool over and over.
EasyCAD offers a relatively rich array of drawing tools for 2-D drafting, including Bezier, bi-cubic splines, and polylines. The dimensioning tools are adequate for any application, except when you need to specify baseline or datum dimensioning features. You can customize the dimensioning styles, including unit conversion control in both decimal and fraction representation. Unlike other CAD packages, EasyCAD does not come with a predefined symbol library. Symbols in EasyCAD can be special characters, or anything you design or import.
Edit Tools. The selection menu is the main tool for editing entities in EasyCAD. You can select them individually or by layer, color, style, or geometric attribute. Boolean operators also allow you to combine entity selection. One of EasyCAD's main shortcomings is its single-level undo. It also doubles as redo, leaving you few options for backing up in your drawings. Use of the Dynamic edit feature can help redefine virtually anything in the drawing, including dimensions.
EasyCAD's line and fill (hatch) attributes are defined as Styles. You can use the default ones or define your own. The hatch feature of complicated shapes is done by actually combining the shapes using the MultiPoly tool. Cross sections made of a complex entity totally enclosed in another present no challenge to EasyCAD. Its fill algorithm falls apart, though, when you have two entities with the inner one within close proximity to or crossing the outer entity. In this case, the results can be unpredictable.
EasyCAD mimics the clipboard by saving the entities that are modified into a temporary file. The same technique is used for auto saving files at assigned intervals. The absence of multi-level undo makes the auto saving feature a necessity.
Documentation. The documentation is limited to one small manual that lists procedures on a step-by-step basis for most EasyCAD features. Certain powerful features like macros and screen management are covered in one page. Luckily, EasyCAD's on-line help makes up for the manual.
EasyCAD comes with macros that execute repetitive tasks. The macro file can be edited from within EasyCAD and re-executed. Starting from the existing macros, you can create new macros with little effort. In certain instances, use of the built-in macros made the system unstable and caused the program to crash.
EasyCAD communicates to other programs via DXF only. Drawings from AutoCAD 12 were imported flawlessly. Exporting in DXF format is not as robust as importing. When imported as pictures in my word processor, the same drawing from EasyCAD and another CAD package yielded different results. EasyCAD's file was perceived as damaged and could not be imported.
EasyCAD is an easy-to-use CAD package with some above-average features. Lack of features like symbol libraries, OLE 2 support, and the ability to open more than one file at any given time put the package at a disadvantage in the growing Windows CAD market. However, considering its low price, the value of the program is high in the low-end CAD league.
A similar product:
Visual CADD--Numera Inc., 1501 Fourth Avenue, Ste. 2880, Seattle, WA 98101; ph: (206) 622-2233; fax (206) 622-5382.