IntelliCAD is a CAD-software programming toolkit and API published by the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium ("ITC"). IntelliCAD aims (at some levels) to emulate the basic interface and functions of AutoCAD.[2] Unlike typical CAD programs, ITC IntelliCAD is not sold directly to end users. ITC IntelliCAD is exclusively licensed to Consortium members who pay fees[3] in exchange for permission and guidance to include IntelliCAD technology in final OEM "IntelliCAD"[4] (and other) products with their own end user license agreements. The ITC has nearly 50 members.[5]

IntelliCAD Technology Consortium

The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium ("ITC") is the non-profit organizational body of developers maintaining all vanilla-stock IntelliCAD source code toolkits and APIs for their CAD interface. The ITC also develops several advanced integrations with third-party technologies. These third-party technologies include the DWGdirect library (now called "Teigha for .dwg files") from the Open Design Alliance,[6] which reads and writes the “.dwg” data format, and the ACIS 3D modeling kernel from Spatial Technology. The ITC office base is in Portland, Oregon, USA.

IntelliCAD Functionality

Modern IntelliCAD toolkits not only provide partial compatibility with .dwg, but also has a set of commands similar to AutoCAD by Autodesk, Inc. Similarly, IntelliCAD provides several calling convention routines, or APIs, such as LISP, COM, Visual Basic, and SDS (IntelliCAD's C/C++ Programming API) that allow users the ability to create complex custom CAD applications.[7]

One focus of ITC development is improving compatibility between IntelliCAD and AutoCAD:[8]

  • Read and write binary .dwg file format using technology from the Open Design Alliance[9]
  • AutoCAD-like command line, menu (.MNU) and script (.SCR) files (AutoLISP macro language), hatches, fonts and true type fonts.
  • new: developing method DRX, comparable to AutoCAD's ARX.

Toolkit features also include support for complex linetypes, multiline text, lightweight polyline, draworder, audit & recover, ADS support in most applications[10] and raster image tools.


"IntelliCADD" began as an independent AM/FM/GIS (Automated Mapping/Facilities Management/Geographic Information System) software firm in La Mesa, CA, USA. One of its products, AutoCAD Data Extension, allowed multiple users to access the same AutoCAD drawing, or have a single drawing point to entities stored in other drawings.[11] Softdesk, the then-largest third-party product developer for Autodesk, acquired this company in 1994 and used the know-how to secretly develop an AutoCAD clone.[12][13] Autodesk had recently entered into direct competition with Cyco Software (another third-party Autodesk partner), and Softdesk was concerned that the same could happen to them. The AutoCAD-clone project was kept semi-secret under the project name "Phoenix".

In December 1996 Autodesk announced that it would instead buy Softdesk outright for $90 million in common stock. A complaint regarding the inclusive sale of IntelliCADD was filed with the US Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"). According to FTC Docket No. C-3756:

In approximately June 1996, Softdesk determined that it no longer had the financial ability to support continued development and marketing of the IntelliCADD product. The head of the team that had developed the product proposed to purchase the technology and formed Boomerang Technology, Inc. ("Boomerang") for the purpose of acquiring the product, completing its development, and bringing the product to market. Boomerang negotiated with Softdesk for the purchase of the IntelliCADD product and exchanged draft purchase agreements with Softdesk. Softdesk, however, terminated those negotiations at around the time that Autodesk agreed to acquire Softdesk. Softdesk representatives previously told Boomerang that Softdesk would sell the IntelliCADD product to Boomerang if Softdesk were purchased by someone other than Autodesk, but would not sell it to Boomerang if Softdesk were purchased by Autodesk...
After being advised by Commission staff that Autodesk's acquisition of Softdesk raised competitive concerns in the market for personal computer-based CAD engines, Softdesk resumed negotiations with Boomerang and divested and sold all of its rights in the IntelliCADD product to Boomerang pursuant to a Technology Transfer Agreement dated February 21, 1997. On that same date, Boomerang assigned and sold all of its rights to the IntelliCADD product to Visio Corporation.

By late 1996 a formal search for new venture capital was underway. Marketing director Robert Drummer was referred to John Forbes at Visio Corporation[14] and "gave him the pitch". Further according to his own first-hand account,[15] "He (John Forbes) called back a few hours later and said that he along with Jeremy Jaech and Ted Johnson would be chartering a plane that day and would be down to take a look at a demo. They arrived in San Diego that evening." A core team of nine Softdesk/IntelliCADD developers soon moved to become employees of Visio. In March 1997 the FTC forbade "Autodesk or Softdesk from re-acquiring the IntelliCADD product or any entity that owns or controls it, without prior notice to the Commission for a 10 year period".[16][17] The FTC granted Visio leave to acquire Boomerang completely for $6.7 million in the same ruling that prevented Autodesk from doing so (above).[18] IntelliCAD's original architect, Mike Bailey, turned and left Visio before the first release. Nevertheless, after several years of background development, "Visio IntelliCAD" (one 'D' for the product, two for name of the original company) was finally released for the first time to the public in 1998[19] with a very low price compared to AutoCAD. Twelve thousand licenses of IntelliCAD were sold in the first three months before new concerns over software stability emerged.

Visio's IntelliCAD 98 sold about 30,000 copies—far less than some expected. IntelliCAD development seemed to need more resources than Visio could grant it.[20] At this point, Visio "granted a royalty- free, perpetual license for the IntelliCAD[21] (2000 version) source code to The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium".[22][23]

On September 15, 1999 Microsoft announced that it would acquire Visio Corporation (completed in January 2000)—a deal that evidently included Visio's IntelliCAD 98.[24] A new IntelliCAD 2000 source code branch, however, continued independent development under the new ITC.[25]

IntelliCAD 3 (IntelliCAD 2001) introduced complex linetypes, XREF clipping and IntelliCAD's first display and printing of ACIS 3D solids on May 22, 2001.[26]

IntelliCAD 4 followed with full ACIS 3D solid modelling.

IntelliCAD 5 - added workspaces with tabs and DWF file support in October 2004. ITC has also announced a new partnership with SolidWorks.,[27] which added tabbed workspaces and DWF support. The ITC also announced a new partnership with SolidWorks.[28]

IntelliCAD 6 - in November 2005 added True Color color support (16 million colors), ADeko Raster raster image support tool, previewing thumbnails while viewing drawing files, drawing and viewing elements, attaching WAV files as audio notes.

IntelliCAD 7 - on October 29, 2008. During the annual ITC meeting in Athens, Greece, the first test release of the new version was announced. One of the functions is the complete replacement of the old ITC internal database and the old "SDS" API with newer DWGdirect and DRX APIs from the ODA.[29] As of 2009, about 50 ITC members globally shared in IntelliCAD development.[30]

IntelliCAD 8 - on June 13, 2014 Intellicad made available in 64-bit and 32-bit versions of IntelliCAD 8.0 that allows opening, saving and creating *.dwg files, including the latest file format 2014. New features include layer states, search layer filters, layer transparency and window freezing, custom menu *.cui files, quick selection, 3D orbits, additional mesh capabilities, Collada (.dae) file import, MrSID MG4 compressed raster image support and more. IntelliCAD 8.0 includes several API enhancements, including Teigha® Open Design Alliance (ODA) version 3.9.1 updates and VBA 7.1 support. ITC members now have access to the source code for advanced rendering and image processing components.

IntelliCAD 9 - is a version that contains many new features and improvements, including native support for opening, editing and saving files *.dwg 2018. IntelliCAD 9.0 increases performance in many areas, with the most noticeable increase in speed when saving files. Now only modifications are saved to *.dwg files, which provides exceptional speed, especially for large *.dwg files that contain only a few changes. Some issues related to running IntelliCAD on Fall Creators 2017 Microsoft® Windows® 10 have also been fixed.

Software based on IntelliCAD

Intellicad Technology Consortium: IntelliCAD

  • Acca Software
  • ActCAD
  • Act IntelliCAD
  • Adeko
  • Arcadia Intellicad
  • Cadian
  • Carlson
  • CMS IntelliCAD
  • 4M CAD
  • Leica imap360
  • Microsurvey
  • Progesoft ProgeCAD
  • TrueCAD
  • Zwsoft ZwCAD

See also


  1. ^ "IntelliCAD Technology Consortium Announces Release of IntelliCAD® 8". ITC Press. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  2. ^ Grabowski, Ralph (2004). "Ralph Grabowski on IntelliCAD 2004". TenLinks, Inc.
  3. ^ "IntelliCAD Membership Fees". IntelliCAD Technology Consortium. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  4. ^ Note some end-user products may use the expression "IntelliCAD" within the product name.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Smith, Susan (2004). "IntelliCAD 6.2 Update". Internet Business Systems, Inc. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  7. ^ Grabowski, Ralph (2004). "Tailoring IntelliCAD". upFront.eZine Publishing. Archived from the original on 2009-07-03. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  8. ^ "IntelliCAD Toolkit Features". IntelliCAD Technology Consortium. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  9. ^ Harrod, Geoff (2000). "Bricsnet IntelliCAD 2000 Review". Digital Business Media Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  10. ^ Sri Surya Prakash Sarda (2007). "Understanding ADS compatibility". Cadopia I Pvt Ltd. Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  11. ^ Grabowski, Ralph (2004). "An Outside Look in at IntelliCAD" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  12. ^ J. Marsden DeLapp, PE. "Early History of IntelliCAD". Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  13. ^ Cohn, David (2 December 1997). "A Whole New side to CAD". PC Magazine. p. 45.
  14. ^ Newton, Randall (1997). "Visio Acquires Assets Of Boomerang Technology". Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  15. ^ Private email sent from Robert Drummer to contributor, 2010 January.
  16. ^ Farrell, Claudia Bourne (FTC) (1997). "Autodesk, Softdesk Settle FTC Charges". Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  17. ^ CNET staff writer (1997). "Autodesk settles antitrust charge". Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  18. ^ Loizos, Constance (1998-10-31). "Taking in on Autodesk". RedHerring. Archived from the original on 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  19. ^ "VISIO Form 10-Q for Quarter Ending 30 June 1998". Visio Corp. 1998. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  20. ^ Prepchuk, Ronald (1999-04-12). "How to Fix IntelliCAD" (PDF). Visio Corporation Confidential. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  21. ^ "About IntelliCAD | IntelliCAD 2015". That CAD Girl. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  22. ^ "Visio Corp SEC Filing 29 December 1999". SEC, archived by EDGAROnline. 1999. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  23. ^ "Visio Announces Source Code Collaboration Initiative for IntelliCAD Technology". Visio Corp. PR Newswire Highbeam Archives. 1999-07-27. Retrieved 2009-10-20.[dead link]
  24. ^ "Bricsnet Signs Agreement with Microsoft's Visio (..for) IntelliCAD". BUSINESS WIRE. 2000-01-27. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  25. ^ JackosCAD. "IntelliCAD - The VISIO/Microsoft Years". Reprint Visio Press Releases. Archived from the original on 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  26. ^ "IntelliCAD 2001 Situation Overview". 2001-05-22. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  27. ^ "IntelliCAD Technology Consortium Debuts IntelliCAD 5". 2004. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  28. ^ "IntelliCAD Technology Used to Develop Key Functionality in SolidWorks 2005 Software". 2004-07-01. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  29. ^ "ITC Conference: IntelliCAD 7 Demo". 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  30. ^ "ITC announces IntelliCAD version 7". 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-20.

External links