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There are many folks who use either MicroStation or AutoCAD, and some who use both. I wanted to share some of the things that AutoCAD users should know about MicroStation CONNECT Edition. At first both are CAD applications and drawing lines, circles or arcs is accomplished in an almost identical way. Mechanically, the differences in drawing simple graphics are minor at best. Yes, some terminology is different but what will really fool you is your hands not your brain. Most of the things you learned about AutoCAD are applicable to MicroStation. Ask someone who uses both ... mechanics is what is tough at first not the intellectual challenge. MicroStation uses a simple idea for controlling the application with a mouse, the yes and no buttons.
There are many differences though between the two applications. For example, MicroStation is a disk based application and saves automatically (with unlimited undo and out-of-order undo, yes, that's right I said out-of-order undo!) this means you do not need a lot of RAM to run MicroStation. The hardware is used efficiently by MicroStation allowing you to use less expensive computers to do the same task, or if you have a computer that already runs AutoCAD, MicroStation will really run fast on that machine. The tools in MicroStation are continuous, you do not need to pick the same command over and over again, you pick it once and use it as many times as you like. The way you view your graphics is also different. The Views in MicroStation are independent of each other so each view can show different levels (layers), Display Styles, Display Rules, and view attributes (like perspective or line styles and much more). You can customize the view the way you need it at the time. You can also draw from one view to the next, that is start a line in View 1 and finish it in View 2.
Some of my favorite features about MicroStation are that it takes advantage of the computer. The computer does math better than us and MicroStation uses that to our advantage, like computing Units of measurement. MicroStation is built on the metric system and can convert between any system of units. It does the math for you, so no more fumbling around with units and scales. No need to keep a piece of paper and a calculator by your desk.
There are so many things MicroStation does that is so thoughtful, like no conversion required to work on a DWG file, or detailed CAD Standard management and automatic delivery to the users so everyone uses the same CAD standard even if it changes in the middle of a project (so it scales easily and quickly), or not changing your file format every couple of years (why AutoCAD, why?) or force you to use the Cloud. MicroStation is also a Platform for most of our other products, so if you learn MicroStation you know most of our Architectural, Civil, Plant design products because they are built on and consume all of the technology that MicroStation developers create. Plus you get training and support from Bentley not a 3rd party and you get to keep your software license if you buy one.