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What is Architecture Software?

Architecture software is utilized by architects, civil engineers, students, interior designers and others to make 2D and 3D home, remodeling, and structural designs. They use the software to design and visualize the structures they wish to build. This platform can be leveraged to produce architectural drawings and documentation and to make design iterations which is a time-consuming process. Show moreIn this era of automation, professionals are utilizing architecture software to minimize the time and effort needed to create detailed structural plans. The tool offers automated features and a wide range of 2D and 3D plans to make designing simpler. Beginners can opt for basic software while professionals can invest in advanced applications. Start by checking our leader Esri CityEngine, and other recommended solutions in this category.Show less

How was this ranking made?

To prepare this ranking of best Architecture Software we have analyzed 172 leading systems currently available on the market, comparing their features, ease-of-use, customer support, available integrations as well as mobile support with our patented SmartScoreTM rating system. This ranking has been prepared by Nestor Gilbert, our B2B authority responsible for the Architecture Software category.

List of Top 12 Architecture Software

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1. Esri CityEngine

Our score: 9.8 User satisfaction: 100%

An easy-to-use, standalone 3D editing and visualization tool designed by EsriR&D for users in urban planning, architecture, simulation, entertainment, general 3D content productions, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

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2. CorelCAD

Our score: 9.6 User satisfaction: 100%

An affordable and precise computer-aided software used for 3D drawing, design, and printing, and 2D drafting; providing design tools and features that accelerate workflows, improve productivity, and boost collaboration. CorelCAD is also capable of transforming 2D drawings into 3D models. Plus, it is interoperable, which makes it flexible.

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3. Floorplanner

Our score: 9.6 User satisfaction: 98%

An intuitive, web-based room design application for interior designers, homeowners, and real estate agents. This platform helps users make quick professional designs easily. It is fitted with key features including photo and video support and 3D rendering. You can even play around with interiors to create actionable floorplan layouts.

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4. SmartDraw

Our score: 9.5 User satisfaction: 100%

An easy-to-use and powerful flowchart maker and diagramming solution which is an alternative to Microsoft Visio; helping companies and organizations document processes, manage projects, plan strategies, and convey ideas. SmartDraw can also integrate with other Microsoft productivity tools like Word and Excel. Additionally, it facilitates collaboration through file-sharing.

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5. Home Designer

Our score: 9.5 User satisfaction: 98%

A powerful home design and floor plan application engineered by RoomSketcher for personal and professional users. It includes easy-to-use features for customization. The platform also provides a library of generic and brand-name furniture and appliances. This way, you'll be able to create and preview your design close to the actual space and outcome.

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6. Planner 5D

Our score: 9.4 User satisfaction: 97%

A simple floor plan and photorealistic 2D and 3D rendering application for home decorators, interior designers, builders, real estate renovators, and architects. With its intuitive interface, it makes design accessible to novice users while making complex design work simple for experts. This bridges the gap between design intent and reality.

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Our score: 9.2 User satisfaction: 98%

An industry-leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) platform for urban planners, interior designers, designers, and architects. The platform makes planning and designing simple. This is thanks to its key design features combined with intuitive productivity and workflow tools. It also provides precise construction documentation and accurate cost estimates.

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8. Bluebeam PDF Revu

Our score: 9.0 User satisfaction: 86%

A design and construction document management software that transforms simple documents into multi-dimensional PDFs. This helps architects, engineers, and designers boost their efficiency by cutting time and costs for document processing. Key features include concurrent editing, automatic form creation, batch link creation, and document sharing among others.

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9. SketchUp

Our score: 8.9 User satisfaction: 97%

SketchUp is a CAD software that excels in creating and editing 2D and 3D concepts. With its intuitive interface and controls, novice users can create professional-looking output and simplify complex design for experts. The platform is complete with animations, textures, 3D models, lighting effects, and many more for realistic looks.

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Our score: 8.9 User satisfaction: 100%

A budget-friendly, DWG file format-compatible Computer Aided Design (CAD) software for MCAD and AEC industries. The platform is compact, lightweight, and comprehensive. It includes design features like tool palettes, the capability to insert OLE objects, and 2D drafting. It also makes it easy to input commands thanks to its Smart Voice and Smart Mouse features.

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11. Carlson Takeoff

Our score: 8.2 User satisfaction: 100%

An estimation software with cut/fill volumes and data preparation capabilities.

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12. Domus Cad Pro

Our score: 8.0 User satisfaction:

A Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for architectural design with extensive 2D and 3D capabilities.

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Architecture Software Guide

Table of contents

Architecture software is used by architects, civil engineers and others to create drawings and blueprints for structures. There is a plethora of quality solutions in this niche. This makes it hard to make informed comparisons to select the best architecture software for your requirements.

We help you in this task by providing info on the main factors and features you should look for in these tools. This includes possible benefits, potential issues, and popular payment schemes you can take advantage of. 

Get to know each product with free trial

We recommend you start your search for the best architecture tools by registering for the free trial or demo of leading platforms. Top architecture software providers offer this convenience to help you check out their app’s features and make a detailed comparison with other programs. We recommend you try out SketchUpCorelCADSmartDrawBentley MicroStation, and ConceptDraw PRO. These applications have won impressive reviews and rankings in our architecture software reviews. These are great places to start. 

Targeted Businesses

Architecture tools are commonly used by qualified architects, interior designers, and civil engineers as well as students for class projects.  

Examples of Architecture Software

  • SketchUp: An intuitive CAD platform that you can use to create and edit 2D and 3D concepts. The solution helps you to create stunning 3D models of landscapes, furniture, interiors and more. It is easy to use and offers a range of professional-quality functionalities. Key features include animations, layer manager, textures, and lighting effects.
  • CorelCAD: A CAD platform that is perfect for technical design work. You can use it for 2D drafting as well as 3D design, drawing, and printing. The tool enables you to collaborate effectively, improve productivity, and communicate your visual plans efficiently. The best part is you can transform basic 2D sketches into sophisticated 3D models.
  • SmartDraw: A diagramming solution and flowchart maker you can use to plan strategies, manage projects, and document processes. It is robust yet easy to use and is a good alternative to the established Microsoft Visio. With SmartDraw, you can create schematic, graph- and chart-based diagrams. Plus, you can easily integrate it with other apps, such as MS Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel.
  • Bentley MicroStation: A visual modeling tool designed for architects, engineers, owner-operators, and constructors.  It provides features for visualization, drafting, modeling, and object management. This robust modeling software accelerates project delivery and enhances the quality of infrastructure assets. You can use it for all kinds of utilities and infrastructures, including mining, process plants, communications networks, water networks, buildings, rails, roads, and bridges.
  • ConceptDraw PRO: A full-featured suite of graphic documentation modules for all kinds of companies. It offers thousands of templates and stencils for instant diagramming. You can easily share your drawings and presentations with your team by using a wide range of export options. With this tool, you can create and share interactive and lively presentations, blueprints, computer network diagrams, electrical diagrams, maps, organizational charts and more.

Types of Architecture Software

The following are common types of architecture software:

  • 2D architecture software
  • 2D and 3D architecture software
  • BIM (Building Information Modeling) software  
  • Presentation and rendering software
  • CAAD (Computer-Aided Architectural Design) software

Key Features of Architecture Software

  • Flexibility. If multiple users utilize the software, look for a solution that supports the requirements of both novices and experts. The software should have a simple user interface, allow users to draw from scratch, and include elements, such as windows, roofs and other objects to make designing simpler.
  • Workflow support. It is important for architects to analyze all proposed concepts, set deadlines, and meet objectives during project implementation. Therefore, look for a platform that supports workflows and allows you to check progress.
  • Support for building info. The tool should support building information by providing details, such as cost approximation, list of required materials, complete documentation, and 3D designing. This feature helps professionals working on residential and industrial projects.
  • User friendly. For sustainable designs, the software should incorporate changes made in one parameter in the implementation of the entire project. This leads to efficient and consistent designing. The tool should be easy to use and users should be able to easily operate it without a manual.
  • Technical support. Architecture software offers many tools and functionalities. The requirements of a lay user are different from those of an expert. Therefore, the software should support all levels of users. If you get stuck, the vendor should be able to provide prompt technical support to bail you out.

Benefits of Architecture Software

  • Improves collaboration. Collaboration and sharing are important to architecture and construction projects. A project often involves different designs as well as multiple versions of a single design, which can cause confusion.  The solution is to use cloud software, which makes all stages of a project lifecycle available. You can view your projects offsite or onsite on any internet-ready device which improves coordination and communication between teams.
  • Better visualization. Clients may find it difficult to understand 2D and paper designs in a real-world scenario. Architecture software allows you to include detailed 3D models and floor plans as well as virtual and augmented reality features so that you and your clients can visualize the whole design before starting construction.
  • Cost-effective. It is expensive to correct a design error, such as a pipe going through a wall after starting construction. Architecture software helps you avoid this as it automates clash detection. You can detect clashes early before you start construction, which means you can avoid costly on-site clashes.
  • Enhanced productivity. In the engineering and construction industry, if you make a mistake in a stage, it can set back the whole project. Architecture software helps you avoid this as each alteration you make to one model is automatically made in other models. The change is automatically added to the 3D model and construction plans. This speeds up the production process, minimizes labor costs, and boosts client approval times.
  • Improves communication. Architects and designers often find it difficult to communicate their technical designs to lay clients who may not be able to interpret them. With architecture software, you can show your designs in an interactive format and present info in an understandable manner. This helps to boost communication and collaboration with your client.

Mobile cloud apps. Cloud collaboration will continue as people in different locations can simultaneously view real-time data from the design and construction process. All they need is an internet-enabled device. Thus, partners can perform cloud collaboration from the design stage to delivery. Architecture models can be quickly shared with the building site and reporting can be done instantly to facilitate productive collaboration.

Green is the mantra. Architecture and BIM software enable you to take into account energy and materials properties during the design stage which helps to make buildings more energy-efficient. During the construction stage, modular constructions, prefab, and BIM can be used to reduce CO2 emission as well as energy costs.

Potential Issues

Misunderstanding the software’s capabilities. Some users may expect too much from architecture software or may not know how to use it effectively. If you face these issues, contact the vendor’s customer support team for help on how to utilize the tool properly and efficiently.

Misunderstanding of final models. During construction, problems may arise if the architect’s drawings and model are erroneous. Another reason for issues is that the subcontractor may not be able to correctly interpret the model due to miscommunication or misunderstanding of the info provided. The solution is to use architecture software correctly to create error-free designs and blueprints and then communicate the models properly to the building contractors to ensure perfect construction.

Payment Schemes

Usually, architecture software solutions are available in three deployment types. These are (1) on-premise, (2) cloud-based, and (3) hybrid. Each type has benefits and disadvantages. Thus, you have to carefully consider which of them fits your company best. 

On-Premise. This is the traditional deployment type. Software solutions of this type are needed to be installed on your machines to be used. Also, software performance depends on the power of your hardware. Most of the time, architecture software solutions of this deployment type require faster machines to run well. 

Also, many software solutions of this type are offered via a one-time license. However, this license could just last you for a numbered edition. And, you might need to buy a new edition of the software in the next few years should you want new upgraded features.

Cloud-based. A good thing about cloud-based architecture software is that you can access your designs on any device and at any time you need them. Also, you can save costs on hardware for these. Computational power for performance is outsourced to a remote server. However, more complex designs and heavier files are usually better-processed using on-premise hardware. 

Also, having a cloud-based platform will allow you have flexible collaboration.

However, there are two considerable drawbacks. First, these types usually come in a recurring plan (monthly and yearly). Second, you can’t work without an internet connection. 

Hybrid. Other providers offer their products via both an on-premise client and an online portal. Now, you can work on complex projects using your powerful on-premise machine. And, you can work on the go using the web interface for simpler projects. 

The Bottom Line

There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing the right architecture software solution for you. Price and payment schemes are top of the list for smaller operations. Power, building support, and speed are the most important requirements for larger firms.

Needs are quite different. Therefore, you really need to carefully consider which product and plan can help you do your job well and earn more ROI. You need to look out for the bottom line. It’s not really all about having the best software out there. The game is about having the software that’s the best fit for the job.

List of Architecture Software Companies

Order by:

  • Newest
  • Score
  • User Score
Product name:
Smart Score:
User Satisf.
User reviews:
Drawboard Projects reviews

Drawboard Projects

Architecture Software
Cedreo reviews


Architecture Software
cove.tool reviews


Architecture Software
By quote
Coohom reviews


Architecture Software
Renoworks reviews


Architecture Software
By quote
SoftPlan reviews


Architecture Software
Draft It Architectural Software reviews

Draft It Architectural Software

Architecture Software
ARCHLine.XP reviews


Architecture Software
Synergy reviews


Architecture Software
ArctechPro reviews


Architecture Software
DataCAD reviews


Architecture Software
ActCAD Professional reviews

ActCAD Professional

Architecture Software
Arcon Evo reviews

Arcon Evo

Architecture Software
Domus Cad Pro reviews

Domus Cad Pro

Architecture Software
Præsto AE reviews

Præsto AE

Architecture Software

Things to consider when you invest in a SaaS

Disaster recovery and security are two important aspects that need to be considered by SaaS buyers when analyzing potential providers.

Many SaaS vendors do not have a disaster recovery site. Therefore, ask the following questions to your shortlisted vendors: How do you test your disaster recovery procedures? What is your recovery time? How often do you test? Do you have discrete infrastructure; are your main site and your disaster recovery site placed in different geographical locations?

You need to be aware that many SaaS vendors do not use enterprise-grade infrastructure to deploy SaaS apps. Many systems have multiple providers. For instance, there may be a firewall provider, an Internet provider, and a few others too in the mix. If an issue rears up, there is a lot of finger-pointing. This issue is common with on-premise IT applications. The solution is to minimize the number of vendors so that there is accountability to ensure they take responsibility about performance.

Ask the potential SaaS vendors the following queries about security: Is your organization SAS70 compliant? What security measures are used at your data centers? What security audits and principles does your company follow? Who manages access and identity management, web application firewalls, log file management, and network connectivity?

Needless to say, take your time to research thoroughly and get the answers to the above queries before you invest in an apt SaaS product.

Frequently asked questions about Architecture Software

What is the best architecture software?

The best architecture software is Esri CityEngine. It is used by professionals to design urban environments. In fact, you can design and build entire 3D city models. You can do this through a five-step process. 

First, you choose your area. Second, you sketch and design over the city. Third, you add 3D models like roofs, trees, and other assets. Fourth, you add details and textures. Lastly, you export your 3D city to the web or for game engines, geodatabases, and VR experiences. 

Esri CityEngine is popular among city planners, architects, and even game designers. It has been used in urban planning in Marseille and the reconstruction of Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain.

What are the benefits of architecture software?

The benefits of architecture software spans file security to accuracy and compliance. Here are the most common benefits below. 

Accurate Planning. With snap-to-grid options and scale limitations, architecture software solutions help you create accurate designs. Plus, some of them have real products with dimensions for interior design. 

Collaboration. Usually, architecture software allows multiple users to edit plans and designs. Some even allow concurrent editing. 

Professional Visualizations. Thanks to powerful rending, users can create beautiful and realistic 2D designs. Also, premiere software solutions can even create immersive 3D models. 

Improve Communications. These tools allow users to go back and forth with their designs and ideas. Usually, architecture software comes with a commenting tool and other project management features.

What are the features of architecture software?

Different architecture software have different features. Some programs are generic, while others are quite specialized. Moreover, there are also those that are quite basic and limited. Some premiere platforms can render accurate, realistic, and actionable design plans. However, there are features that are generally available with varying degrees of comprehensiveness. Here they are below. 

Design Tools. These tools allow you to draw, draft, add objects, and create digital spaces for planning. 

Building Support. These sets of features include documentation, cost estimates, and a list of required materials. 

Customer Support and Tutorials. Software providers offer both technical and business support for their products. Also, most companies provide easy-to-understand tutorials on the web to guide novices to becoming experts.

What is the easiest architecture software to use?

The easiest architecture software to use is SketchUp. It sports a slick and clean design. Also, its interface is very user friendly. Novice users will feel like experienced users in no time. And, almost anyone that can just hop on and try get into designing. 

There are options to draw by hand or to use the smart modeling creator. You can even customize your workspace. Plus, you can share your design and collaborate on it with others. It even has VR capabilities and is used in game design as well.

What is a good free architecture software?

SketchUp Free is a good free architecture software. It is the unpaid version of the popular SketchUp offering. However, you don’t get an on-premise client for it. You only get to access your account and work through its web portal. What’s great about this free version is that users can have up to 10GB of cloud storage for free. 

Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.


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FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.