by Ralph Grabowski
ZWCAD is an IntelliCAD-based computer-aided design program developed since 2002 by ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd in Guangzhou, China. The company now claims over 180,000 users in 80 countries.
ZWCAD emphasizes such features as faster speed, support for Windows 7, DWG file format support, efficient drawing features, and powerful APIs. For this whitepaper, I tested two of the claims: DWG 2010 support and Windows 7 compatibility.
DWG 2010 Support
When I test DWG compatibility in non-Autodesk CAD software, I load a series of test drawings that identify problem areas. Generally, problems with DWG compatibility fall into two groups: (a) entities that are displayed incorrectly, and (b) entities that are not read at all.
After examining 45 test drawings, I found that ZWCAD 2010 performs remarkably well. Most entries are loaded and displayed correctly, even problem ones, such as proxies, gradient fills, complex linetypes, and filled multilines. (Multiline styles cannot, however, be edited.)
Associative dimensions are handled correctly, even new types, such as jogged and inspection dimensions. Three-D entities are displayed correctly, including 3D solids, 3D polygon meshes, and the new 3D meshes introduced with DWG 2010; 3D mesh objects cannot, however, be edited.
ZWCAD 2010 displays dynamic blocks as regular blocks. Stand-alone attributes are always displayed, even invisible ones, because it appears that ZWCAD converts them to text. Whiteouts are displayed with their borders only. Named plot styles appear as colors, instead of as patterns.
Among the advanced features of DWG 2010, ZWCAD does not reproduce geometric constraints, dimensional constraints, parameters, or materials. The source geometry is displayed correctly, but the additions are not present.
Windows 7 Support
I found that ZWCAD 2010 works correctly with Windows 7. There were no problems installing and running the software. On the Windows 7 taskbar, the ZWCAD button correctly displays its preview image and shortcut menu.
As a side note, I found the software to be speedy in loading and displaying drawings, even when dozens were loaded at a time. The only time I noticed a slowdown was when ZWCAD searched for missing fonts.
For more information, you can contact the company at http://www.zwcad.org.
About the Author
Ralph Grabowski is a technical writer who specializes in computer-aided design. He is the author of over 100 books and whitepapers on the subject, and edits the weekly upFront.eZine newsletter on the business of CAD. Mr Grabowski received his B.A.Sc. degree in civil engineering from the University