How to Use Windows-Based CAD Applications on Mac


Whether it’s photorealistic animation or 3D models for building planning, architects and product designers depend on powerful graphics and computer-aided design (CAD) programs to bring their work to life. 

Architecture and graphics students are faced with the question of which operating system to choose. The same applies to architectural offices. The big challenge is that Mac computers are very popular among graphics-oriented users, but most CAD programs are Windows-based and cannot be used in Mac environments.

High-speed performance: Windows-based CAD programs on Mac

When a design or architecture firm uses Mac devices, the choice of suitable applications is limited. Even the use of Windows applications via a virtual machine (VM)—the use of a second operating system on a computer—was not an alternative until now, because the graphics-intensive applications did not run under macOS.

With the switch to the Apple Metal API, this has changed. Parallels Desktop™ for Mac supports Windows DirectX 11 under macOS Catalina and, thanks to the improved speed, can also process graphics-intensive CAD programs in the VM on Mac hardware.

Users can easily open and use Windows-based CAD programs such as Autodesk 3ds Max 2020 or Lumion in a VM via the macOS Finder. When the Windows application starts, the VM is automatically launched in a new window. The open CAD program is then located in this window.

Go to a business appointment with an iPad: Use CAD programs on the move under iOS

Through the virtual machine, users of Apple computers and laptops can easily work on their designs and models. But what if the meeting takes place on the site of a new building—without a power supply? Here, the iPad or an Android tablet is the best alternative.

With Parallels Access, architects can access the graphics on the corporate server or cloud even in 3G networks. Simple and reliable remote access connects them to the files needed to present to clients and investors with just a few clicks. In addition, draftsmen can use all desktop applications such as Autodesk and Lumion on the iPad as if they were native apps.

Do you use CAD programs on a Mac? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook.  

Try Parallels Desktop for free for 14 days and run CAD programs on your Mac.

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