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Wednesday 23 November 2022

QCAD and LibreCAD 2D drawing

I have started to look at software to prepare some drawings. I need to create site plans and building designs.

As usual I am looking at open source software and the two products that come up are LibreCAD and QCAD Community Edition. QCAD also has a paid for professional version. I'll come on to that in a minute.

It has not taken me very long to decide which of the two, very similar applications to use.


The latest nightly builds of LibreCAD throw up a Windows security warning. There may not be anything wrong with them, except that the nightly builds are not signed. That makes them untrusted and for this small project, I don't have the time to spend authenticating them.

That leaves me with the last full stable build of LibreCAD 2.1.3, released in 2016.

I have not given LibreCAD much of a chance. The first thing I found out is that LibreCAD does not include layouts. These are the drawing views that allow different elements of the same drawing to sit next to each other. It can be awkward creating drawings in the layout intended for final presentation.

LibreCAD did not strike me as very efficient. The document I loaded crashed first time. When I did load it, I used the auto zoom to find where on Earth it was in the view. I found scrolling and zooming fairly slow. I guess this is to be expected as the application is based on an older underlying code base. When I try to do anything, there is a 50% chance the programme will crash!

I won't be using LibreCAD for the time being.


I've been happier during the short time I've used QCAD. I've been using it on and off for a couple of days and it has been stable. I had no issue loading and importing multiple drawings to form one larger. The scroll and zoom is very fast and smooth.

I've installed QCAD 3.27.8 which is more up to date. It installed without issue. This version was released about a month ago, October 2022. Looking  at the change log, it is in continuous development  at the moment, with releases every few months.

The QCAD Community Edition, also does not have layouts, however, the Professional version does and it does not cost very much. It adds a lot of nice to have features.

We'll see how I get on.


There are a number of reviews that compare the two. I found the following useful;


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