Autocad vs MicroStation

Autocad vs Microstation: Which is better

Digital innovation has steered a lot of changes in world technologies. The construction and design industry is not left out of this. Gone are the days where white paper and pencil were your best bet for any form of architectural design. There are now Computer-Aided Design programs aimed at automating the design process.

However, technological advancement comes with the problem of choice. There are several design programs out there that perform brilliantly with unique features. Which should you go for? This guide will be comparing the Autocad and Microstation features to help you make an informed decision that will best suit your construction and design needs

What is AutoCad?

AutoCad is an advanced Computer-Aided Design program used by Engineers, Architects and other construction professionals to draft, create, annotate and design 2D and 3D drawings. It allows the user to conceptualize ideas, create blueprints, automate tasks and produce designs at an advanced level of technical accuracy.

This software was developed by Autodesk and first released in December 1982. Before the release of AutoCAD, commercial CAD programs ran on mainframe computers but AutoCad could run on microcomputers with internal graphic controllers.

What is MicroStation?

MicroStation was developed and sold by Bentley Systems. It is a Computer-Aided Design software used by AEC (Architecture, engineering snd construction) professionals to design, draft, develop and generate 2D/3D vector graphics objects. It also combines Building Information Modelling (BIM) features for design.

MicroStation provides an advanced interoperable environment and ensures that project information is easily accessible by members of the construction team. It allows centralized communication and builds efficient project management.


Comparing AutoCad and MicroStation


AutoCad thrives well in the realm of 2D designing. The software was originally designed for this purpose and has served so long in the field to provide a number of superior tools and features. AutoCad provides several hotkeys, shortcuts, and customization options. It offers a tool palette, color palette, and command log that can be customized to your design preference. The sketch tool is easy to use to conceptualize your ideas into 2D drawings. AutoCad is also able to generate 2D drawings from 3D models. It provides snap to grid functionalities, text box, and tape measure tool.


AutoCad provides tools and features for 3D modeling and animation. It has parametric modeling tools and you’re able to make changes in real-time. It also provides Photorealisticmodels and can derive 3D models from 2D drawings. AutoCad can handle not so complex animation projects with its animation features.

AutoCad has an advanced user-interface and collaboration features. It comes with Autodesk 360 and Autodesk cloud features. These features make it possible to work remotely with the AutoCad software. Autodesk 360 allows the proper integration of members of the construction team and helps all project stakeholders stay up to date with changes. AutoCad also supports writable and readable file formats like PDF, DWF, DWG, 3DS. It provides each user with up to 3GB of free space which can be increased for file sharing. It also integrates with google maps.


MicroStation is an advanced two-dimensional drafting CAD program. It is an advanced sketch tool with as many customizable options as AutoCad but lacks some major features for 2D drawing that AutoCad provides. MicroStation interface is a bit more systematic.

The color palette, tool palette, and command log are also customizable. It provides features to generate 2D drawings from 3D models.


MicroStation is a bit more advanced when it comes to 3D modeling. It has all the necessary features needed to handle 3D modeling and animation. It also provides parametric modeling features and you’re able to view changes in real-time as they’re implemented. It can extrude three-dimensional models from two-dimensional drawings on three-dimensional geometric surfaces. MicroStation can be used to print 3D designs and it also creates Photorealistic models. Microstation can offer 3D graphics without crashing, but there’s a chance of that happening with AutoCad.


MicroStation has a strong edge here with its Building Information Modelling (BIM) features that provide advanced collaboration and project management. MicroStation also provides features that allow users to view and use data from all Autodesk’s CAD versions. However, AutoCad doesn’t offer any MicroStation specific integration. It supports writable and readable file formats like DWG, PDF, 3DS, DWF, Sketchup, Revit. MicroStation provides its users geolocation services by providing coordinated information on real-life building structures and integrates google mapping, allowing networking among construction professionals. MicroStation also goes a step ahead by protecting designers from Intellectual theft with a digital signature feature.


Differences between AutoCad and MicroStation

Here are some key differences between AutoCad and MicroStation

  • AutoCad is a command-based program while MicroStation is a tool-based program.
  • MicroStation has a more technical interface while AutoCad is easier to understand
  • Microstation can detect clashes snd design faults easily, saving cost snd wastes. It is more difficult to do this with AutoCad.
  • AutoCad is faster at object snapping compared to MicroStation.
  • MicroStation doesn’t require LISP or any other third-party application and allows users to design rather than code, unlike AutoCad.
  • AutoCad is more design-oriented while MicroStation is more engineering-oriented.


No CAD program is the best overall. It all depends on your design needs and requirements. AutoCad is better designed for 2D drawings and has a wider scope for this while MicroStation provides more advanced features for 3D modeling. Microstation also offers inbuilt collaboration features to make project management easier for you and your team. Overall, AutoCad is geared towards design and documentation while MicroStation favors design and production. Both programs have features that classify them as advanced design and drafting tools.


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