What should I buy if I need a basic CAD program (like AutoCAD LT)?+
In September, Carlson Software introduced a new program in their lineup: Carlson iCAD. This program is comparable to AutoCAD LT with basic drafting and inquiry tools but is built on IntelliCAD 8.3.
If you truly, truly only need generic-CAD functionality, I recommend purchasing Carlson GIS with IntelliCAD. It’s the cheapest of all the desktop products and you can load this basic IntelliCAD menu:
What you should know about purchasing Carlson Software+
Carlson Platform Options
Carlson Software’s desktop programs can be installed as a standalone program on top of IntelliCAD or on top of your separately purchased, full-AutoCAD-based program.
Carlson includes the latest version of IntelliCAD with every purchase.
The full-AutoCAD-based program can be AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, Land Desktop, Civil 3D or other vertical – but does NOT include AutoCAD LT.
Carlson Survey and Takeoff can also be purchased and installed standalone with embedded AutoCAD (also known as the OEM version).
The embedded AutoCAD (OEM) programs include a limited, stripped-down version of AutoCAD that has functionality similar to AutoCAD LT.
The embedded AutoCAD (OEM) programs do not include IntelliCAD and do not require a separate purchase of AutoCAD.
The embedded AutoCAD (OEM) programs are a completely separate install than the programs that run with IntelliCAD or separately purchased license of full-AutoCAD and, although both programs can be installed on the same computer, the programs cannot be “combined”. For instance, if you own a license Survey OEM and also a license of Carlson GIS with IntelliCAD and need to access commands in both programs for work on a single drawing (.dwg) file, you would have to close the drawing out of the Survey OEM and then open it in the GIS program to do the work there.
Retail Pricing for Carlson Software
|Program||Retail Price of Standalone||Retail Price of Network||That CAD Girl Pricing|
(Survey, Civil, Hydrology & GIS)
|$ 3,750||$ 4,125||* See in store|
|Survey||$ 1,750||$ 1,925||* See in store|
|Civil||$ 1,750||$ 1,925||* See in store|
|Hydrology||$ 1,250||$ 1,375||* See in store|
|GIS||$ 1,095||$ 1,205||* See in store|
(Construction, CADNet, Trench, GeoTech)
|$ 7,500||$ 8,250||* See in store|
|Construction||$ 3,750||$ 4,125||* See in store|
|CADNet||$ 1,595||$ 1,755||* See in store|
|Trench||$ 1,595||$ 1,755||* See in store|
|GeoTech||$ 1,595||$ 1,755||* See in store|
|Takeoff with embedded AutoCAD (OEM)||$ 9,000||$ 9,900||* See in store|
|Survey with embedded AutoCAD (OEM)||$ 2,995||$ 3,295||* See in store|
|Other Software or Hardware||Request Pricing
or *See in store
Carlson Software Annual Maintenance
If it is renewed prior to expiration, maintenance costs 10% of the retail price of the software. See Upgrading Carlson Software below for more information about renewals after maintenance has expired.
Carlson’s Annual Maintenance is NOT available for embedded AutoCAD (OEM) products, for SurvCE or for SurvPC. It is only available for IntelliCAD/for CAD-based products.
Carlson’s policy on Software Maintenance can be viewed by clicking here.
|Civil Suite||$ 3,750||$ 375||$ 4,125||$ 412.50|
|Survey||$ 1,750||$ 175||$ 1,925||$ 192.50|
|Civil||$ 1,750||$ 175||$ 1,925||$ 192.50|
|Hydrology||$ 1,250||$ 125||$ 1,375||$ 137.50|
|GIS||$ 1,095||$ 109.50||$ 1,205||$ 120.50|
|Takeoff Suite||$ 7,500||$ 750||$ 8,250||$ 825.00|
|Construction||$ 3,750||$ 375||$ 4,125||$ 412.50|
|CADNet||$ 1,595||$ 159.50||$ 1,755||$ 175.45|
|Trench||$ 1,595||$ 159.50||$ 1,755||$ 175.50|
|GeoTech||$ 1,595||$ 159.50||$ 1,755||$ 175.50|
Upgrading Carlson Software
Upgrading Carlson’s non-OEM desktop products is done through the Maintenance Plan.
If it is renewed prior to expiration, maintenance costs 10% of the retail price of the software. If Maintenance is not renewed prior to expiration, a 1-year Maintenance Plan costs 15% of software list price and increases by 5% per year after the expiration date.
If your license is not currently on maintenance, you can pay the maintenance fee plus an expiration fee which will both upgrade you to the current version of the program AND include any upgrades that are released within the maintenance year.
|Maintenance Status||Annual Maintenance|
(Percentage of Retail)
(Percentage of Retail)
(Percentage of Retail)
|Expired less than 1 year||10%||5%||15%|
|Expired more than 1 year||10%||10%||20%|
|Expired more than 2 years||10%||15%||25%|
|Expired more than 3 years||10%||20%||30%|
|Expired more than 4 years||10%||25%||35%|
|Expired more than 5 years||10%||30%||40%|
|Expired more than 6 years||10%||35%||45%|
|Expired more than 7 years||10%||40%||50%|
Sample Upgrade & Maintenance Renewal Pricing
|Program||Year(s) Past Maintenance|
|Retail Price||Total Fee|
(Percentage of Retail)
|Total Fee to Upgrade and
Renew Maintenance for 1 Year
|Survey||Less than 1||$ 1,750||15%||$ 262.50|
|Networked Survey||Less than 1||$ 1,925||15%||$ 288.75|
|Civil Suite||More than 1, less than 2||$ 3,750||20%||$ 750.00|
|Networked Civil Suite||More than 2, less than 3||$ 4,125||25%||$ 1031.25|
The cost to upgrade Carlson’s OEM products varies depending on the program and how many versions behind you are.
Follow this link then click on Request a Custom Proposal to request upgrade pricing.
Follow this link then click on Request a Custom Proposal to see if additional discounts are available.
System Requirements for Desktop Software
Because it changes from version to version, my “go-to” answer is going to always point to this page where Carlson lists the minimum system requirements for running Carlson with embedded AutoCAD (OEM), on top of AutoCAD and with IntelliCAD.
You may also keep an eye on our System Requirements and Hardware Compatibility FAQs for the latest information.
30 Day Trials
Then click on Request a 30 day Trial Serial Number
Once you decide to purchase, you won’t even need to uninstall. You can activate your software by simply updating your registration with your purchased serial number.
Technical Support & Training
You can see all the opportunities for training with That CAD Girl here and you can follow these links for to see our FAQs about the training and technical support available from Carlson and That CAD Girl.
Use DWG Convert to save DWG files to an earlier version+
DWG TrueView is FREE utility available from Autodesk. They release a new version of this program every year, just like their other products.
With the True Convert utility you can convert any newer version DWG or DXF to any earlier version. I’d recommend you enable the option that creates a .bak file with the original just in case you need it later.
Inside the True Convert utility you can also enable several other options that will run routines such as Audit, Purge, XREF Binding, etc. during the convert process.
You can download DWG True View 2018 here.
What versions of AutoCAD & IntelliCAD & Windows does Carlson run on top of? And what about AutoCAD LT? (a running thread)+
Carlson Desktop Software with IntelliCAD or for Your AutoCAD
Carlson can be installed on top of any full-AutoCAD-based program such as AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, Land Desktop or Civil 3d. Carlson cannot be installed on top of any version AutoCAD LT.
|Carlson Version||AutoCAD & IntelliCAD Platforms||Windows Platforms|
|2019||AutoCAD 2010-2019, IntelliCAD 9||32 or 64 bit Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|2018||AutoCAD 2010-2018, IntelliCAD 8.2||32 or 64 bit Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|2017||AutoCAD 2010-2017, IntelliCAD 8.2||32 or 64 bit Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|2016||AutoCAD 2007-2016, IntelliCAD 8.1||32 or 64 bit Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|2015||AutoCAD 2007-2015, IntelliCAD 8.0||XP, 32 or 64 bit Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1|
|2014||AutoCAD 2004-2014, IntelliCAD 7.2||XP, 32 or 64 bit Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1|
Carlson Desktop Software with Embedded AutoCAD (OEM)
|Carlson Version||Embedded AutoCAD Engine||Windows Platforms|
|Survey 2018/Takeoff R10||2018||Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|Survey 2017/Takeoff R9||2013||Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|Survey 2016||2013||Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|Survey 2015/Takeoff R8||2013||Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
|Survey 2014/Takeoff R7||2013||Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10|
Is embedded AutoCAD (OEM) more like AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT?+
Follow this FAQ to see a list of the differences between AutoCAD, Carlson’s IntelliCAD and the embedded AutoCAD (OEM) platforms.
The primary goals of the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium are to “research and develop CAD technology, the IntelliCAD platform, and to deliver CAD solutions to customers worldwide.” In other words, to provide the personal and commercial CAD markets with a cost-effective solution that is capable of reading and writing the common drawing (DWG) file.
The ITC is a non-profit, independent organization of commercial software developers (members). The ITC has an elected, volunteer, member based Board of Directors which guide its strategic vision. An independent (non-member) President manages the tactical business operations. Members pay annual dues that fund the ITC. Today the ITC has over 50 members who support 13 languages and ship product in more than 35 countries.
IntelliCAD – A Trip through Time
Except where noted, each of the following items were obtained from An Outside Look in at IntelliCAD (used by permission) which requires the free Adobe Reader.
“Where did the name come from? The name of the software ‘IntelliCAD’ comes from a programming company that was formed in the early 1990s in San Diego, CA, USA. Their main claim to fame was ADE (AutoCAD Data Extension), which they sold to Autodesk, and which eventually became part of Autodesk Map.”
“IntelliCAD the software has a complex and fascinating history that winds its way through Softdesk, Autodesk, Boomerang, Visio, just missing Microsoft, then onto the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium, and now [includes] a variety of brand names, such as CADopia, Bricscad, and DWGEditor.”
1994, August: “IntelliCAD is purchased by Softdesk of Henniker, NH.”
1996, December: “Autodesk acquires Softdesk… Softdesk apparently did not tell Autodesk about its AutoCAD clone.”
1997, March: “Autodesk investigated by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) over the alleged monopoly status of AutoCAD… The FTC allowed Autodesk to purchase Softdesk after Autodesk agreed to: (1) spin off IntelliCAD; (2) not attempt re-acquire the technology; (3) not attempt to acquire any company that owns or controls IntelliCAD; and (4) not interfere with employees who leave Autodesk to work with IntelliCAD… IntelliCAD was spun off as Boomerang Technology in San Jose, CA.”
1997, March: “Visio bought Boomerang.”
1998, March: “IntelliCAD 98 ships. The price was originally pegged at US$495; upon release, the price dropped to $349 as a ‘special introductory price’; the price drops further to $149 at computer superstores, such as CompUSA. Through to the end of June, the first three months of sales for IntelliCAD were nearly 12,000 licenses, producing $3 million in gross revenue — an average of $250 per license.”
1998, May: “IntelliCAD is suddenly incompatible with AutoCAD! Autodesk releases a maintenance release for AutoCAD R14.01 that makes a change to the .dwg format, and preventing IntelliCAD from reading drawing files… Visio updated IntelliCAD 98 to work with 14.01 files.”
1999, July 27: “Visio cuts IntelliCAD loose by granting the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium a royalty-free, perpetual license for the source code of the IntelliCAD 2000 technology. The ITC was set up by Visio, but run by an independent board of directors.
1999, September: “IntelliCAD Technical Consortium opens its Web site at http://www.intellicad.org/.”
Subsequent releases of IntelliCAD through the ITC occur every year since its initial release (see the IntelliCAD version history link under the Press section of the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium web site).
IntelliCAD Release History
IntelliCAD 6.4 July 27, 2007
IntelliCAD 6.3 February 28, 2007
IntelliCAD 6.2 May 27, 2006
IntelliCAD 6.1 September 5, 2005
IntelliCAD 6.0 May 3, 2005
IntelliCAD 5.1 January 12, 2005
IntelliCAD 5.0 October 24, 2004
IntelliCAD 4.0 March 14, 2003
IntelliCAD 2001 version 3.3 July 19, 2002
IntelliCAD 2001 May 22, 2001
IntelliCAD 2000 March 6, 2000
IntelliCAD 98 May 1, 1998
Carlson Support for IntelliCAD
The Carlson 2009 installation comes with IntelliCAD 6.4 built-in. When you choose IntelliCAD as the CAD platform during installation, the IntelliCAD engine is installed along with the Carlson program files. Carlson 2009 only works with this built-in version of IntelliCAD and not on any other version of IntelliCAD or other IntelliCAD based products like Bricscad.
Running Carlson 2009 on IntelliCAD is largely the same as running on AutoCAD. IntelliCAD supports a development environment with a similar interface as AutoCAD which allows Carlson Software to use the same code base on both CAD platforms. Of the over 1700 Carlson commands across the Carlson 2009 products, there are 11 commands that are not supported with IntelliCAD for the Carlson 2009 release. These are:
Editor Reactors (ie Link Points To Coordinate File)
Point Object Snap (node snap does work)
Text Explode To Polylines
Edit Centerline On-Screen
Extract Centroid Data
Label Object Data Areas
Drape Image On Surface
Retaining Wall Placement
Production By Block Model
IntelliCAD – AutoCAD Comparison
IntelliCAD has a very similar user interface as AutoCAD, supports the core AutoCAD commands and uses the DWG drawing formats 2009 to R14. For some Carlson commands, creating entities in AutoCAD is twice as fast as IntelliCAD which makes a significant difference in routines that create lots of entities.
The upcoming IntelliCAD 7 will be built on DWGdirect from the Open Design Alliance and will add a “DRX development environment” similar to ObjectARX with AutoCAD. Using DRX should greatly improve the speed of entity creation within IntelliCAD.
While most of the AutoCAD commands Carlson clients use in AutoCAD can also be found in IntelliCAD 6.4, there are many features in AutoCAD that are not in IntelliCAD. Among these features are ones for architectural and mechanical applications that don’t apply to Carlson customers. For this initial release of Carlson 2009 on IntelliCAD 6.4, here are AutoCAD commands that Carlson customers might miss:
Sheet Set Manager
Page Setup Manager
Import .PC3 Files
Clipboard commands for copybase and paste to original
VBA not supported for custom applications; VB with COM is supported
Object Enablers for LDT points and contours
User-interface for menu customizaiton (no CUI, old MNU method)
Ctrl-pick cycle for object selection
Dialog user interface for WBlock
Dialog user interface for Purge command
Dialog user interface for Filter command
Entity Properties as docked-dialog
Grip snapping to other grips
Highlighting of entities when dragging cursor over them
Mudst hatch pattern
If you identify any other AutoCAD feature that you miss when running Carlson with IntelliCAD, please email us at email@example.com and we willl add to this list which helps guide future developments.
“IntelliCAD Technology Consortium – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”
Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IntelliCAD_Technology_Consortium 09 April 2008
“IntelliCAD® Technology Consortium: The intelligent alternative for CAD developers.”
Available at: http://www.intellicad.org/join/index.php 09 April 2008
“Natural monopoly – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”
Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_monopoly#Regulation 09 April 2008
“An Outside Look in at IntelliCAD.”
Available at: http://www.intellicad.org/WorldMeeting2004/presentations/OutsideLookAtIntelliCAD.pdf 09 April 2008
Information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment on the part of the vendor.
IntelliCAD® is a registered trademark of the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium, Inc. and is used under permission.
AutoCAD® is a registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc.
Windows® and Visio® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.
All other registered or unregistered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
All links contained herein open in a new web-browser window.
What’s the difference between Carlson with IntelliCAD and with the embedded AutoCAD (OEM) platform?+
Whether you’re using Carlson Survey or Takeoff on the IntelliCAD or embedded AutoCAD (OEM) platform, the Survey and Takeoff functionality will be identical. Any differences are going to be strictly limited to the underlying engine – IntelliCAD or embedded AutoCAD.
- From a feature and functionality standpoint, IntelliCAD will be closer to a full AutoCAD and embedded AutoCAD (OEM) will be closer to an AutoCAD LT.
- IntelliCAD is generic version of AutoCAD and tracks closer to a 4-5 year old version of AutoCAD. See this FAQ comparing IntelliCAD and AutoCAD
- Embedded AutoCAD (OEM) will look more like today’s AutoCAD and may have more of the current bells and whistles – but it’ll also be missing some key functionality such as the ability to create aliases (command shortcuts) and load LISP routines. See this FAQ comparing embedded AutoCAD (OEM) and AutoCAD
It’s a work in progress but you can check out this FAQ where I’m starting a list of the differences between the two programs.
Is IntelliCAD more like AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT?+
Now, you also shouldn’t expect IntelliCAD to be the equivalent of today’s AutoCAD. IntelliCAD is a generic version of AutoCAD and will have the feel of an older “model” of AutoCAD and be missing some of the bells and whistles included in newer releases of AutoCAD.
But, it’s more customizable, supports LISP routines and 3D drafting.
Follow these links to see my FAQs that explain the differences between AutoCAD, Carlson’s IntelliCAD and the embedded AutoCAD (OEM) platforms.
You may also want to read this Software Review: AutoCAD and IntelliCAD that I wrote for Professional Surveyor Magazine several years ago.
What is the relationship between Carlson and IntelliCAD?+
GIS Starter Kit for Carlson’s IntelliCAD users+
- ArcGIS for Desktop Basic
- A to Z GIS: An Illustrated Dictionary of Geographic Information Systems
- Getting to Know ArcGIS for Desktop, Third Edition