Choosing BricsCAD licenses

Choosing BricsCAD licenses

Knowledge is required to choose a BricsCAD license form. The following PDF document can be used as a reference. Download: Choosing a BricsCAD license form, 2019

If questions arise, please contact us.

Choosing BricsCAD licenses


Software licenses always raise a lot of questions:

  • What are the possibilities?
  • What is the most interesting option for us?
  • Are there disadvantages not mentioned?

So-called subscription licenses prove good for developers’ profits but are not always pleasant for the customer. And when is a somewhat more expensive network license profitable? With many developers the choice is limited, so you are pushed in one direction. In the case of BricsCAD you are free to choose and you can always switch from one contract form to another.


The problem with subscription with Autodesk is not only the price but also that you can no longer use older licenses. The latter is sometimes difficult if newer AutoCAD versions do not support older customization and moreover, recent versions are downright slow. Workflow at companies is endangered and additional costs arise to resolve that. This is also an important reason to consider whether you want to continue on the current path or whether you want to take a new road with another party.

The biggest problem with Autodesk subscription is that the choice is limited between subscription and … subscription! In other words: You are stuck and you are completely dependent on the supplier (vendor lock-in1). One of the strengths of BricsCAD is that it has multiple license types so you can always choose.

License types

Strictly speaking, a license is a user agreement. The license types at a glance, we assume BricsCAD v19:

  • “Single/Volume”, standard license, also called “Node Locked”. A “perpetual license” – you purchase the usage right once and, as long as the operating system supports the CAD program, you can continue to use it. You can also purchase updates separately.
  • “All-in maintenance license”, you purchase the “Single / Volume” usage right plus the update for the next version only once, after which you pay annual update costs. This resembles subscription but has to compete with other licensing forms and is therefore often a cost-effective no-frills solution.
  • “Yearly subscription”, you rent an annual version (rental). This is similar to the Autodesk model, with the big difference that you can always choose a different construction. So you are not stuck. This option is interesting for when you temporarily need extra licenses for a project, for example. Unlike the other licensing forms, you cannot cut back on this, not paying means not being able to use the software.
  • “Network license”, also called “Floating License”. A construction whereby the program can be installed freely on all computers, but the total number of users using BricsCAD at the same time is limited. A license server must be installed on the network2. It goes without saying that it is useful to properly index work habits and occupations of computers and to compare this against the additional costs and additional system management.
  • “Specials”, “Academic license”, These types of variants are not taken into consideration here. Individual agreements can be made for commercial education. For example, an “All-in maintenance license” can be purchased that is provided with multiple license keys.

The products

Someone who is drafting 4 hours a week will first investigate whether “Classic” is a suitable option. A mechanical engineer who constructs full-time will soon develop a preference for BricsCAD Mechanical, supplemented with Communicator.

It is advisable to make an informed choice when choosing one of the Bricsys products. However, switching between products is possible without a complete loss of investment.

In principle, all license types are available for all products:

  • BricsCAD Classic
  • BricsCAD Pro
  • BricsCAD Platinum
  • BricsCAD BIM
  • BricsCAD Mechanical
  • Communicator

The basic product is “Single/Volume”, the bare product with a standard license. Translated to the most useful constructions:

  • “Single/Volume”
  • “Single/Volume” + “All-in maintenance”
  • “Single/Volume” + “All-in maintenance” + “Network license”
  • “Yearly subscription”
  • “Yearly subscription” + “Network license”


Shopping to negotiate a lower price makes little sense, the prices are fixed prices. You will therefore not find any differences between dealers themselves and Bricsys, not even on an international level.

However, a dealer will always be willing to convert part of his margin into added value for a customer. Speaking for ourselves, this may include additional support, training, etc., depending on the sales amount. A good relationship between us and you is an important aspect, with mutual interests. Buying directly from a dealer is therefore the advice.

Costs based on current prices

The last dimes are less interesting and moreover this is a moment in time. For that reason we limit ourselves to 2019 and use percentages.

Choose your product, take the “Single/Volume” price as the basis, as 100%.

The “Single/Volume” prices:

BricsCAD Classic

€ 585

BricsCAD Pro

€ 800

BricsCAD Platinum

€ 1 135


€ 1 750

BricsCAD Mechanical

€ 1 650

BricsCAD Ultimate

€ 1 935


€ 500

This graph shows the total license costs divided over the years of use. The license costs are indicated as a percentage of the initial “Single / Volume” price of a product.

As an example, BricsCAD Platinum “Single” costs 1135 euros. A choice for “Single / Volume + All-in maintenance license” (orange) means that the average costs over the first 5 years are 50% of 1135, so 570 euros per year.

Some conclusions:

  • “Single/Volume”, a basic license (blue) and not upgrading, is, as expected, the cheapest solution in the long term – but often not the most sensible. You could do this and then do an update with “All-in maintanance”. You could also do this as an alternative to “Yearly” if, for example, a project takes a little longer than two years.
  • “Single/Volume” + “All-in maintenance” (orange) is interesting for many organizations because the pace of development at Bricsys is high and there is a good response to market wishes. Bricsys itself also tries to put this variant on the market as a good alternative. This is a long-term approach.
  • “Single/Volume” + “All-in maintenance” + “Network license” (yellow) is interesting in places where people are not working full-time on CAD. This is actually only interesting within larger organizations.
  • “Yearly subscription” (+ “Network license”, green and purple) is interesting for limiting investments. See also the graph with comments below.

Tip: “Single/Volume” can be copied once extra for the laptop at home.

Crystal ball

The price data is anything but stable. In a sense, the CAD market is a saturated oligopoly. As a result, companies do not pay in line with the market. Newcomers have virtually no chance to penetrate that market. As a breath of fresh air, Bricsys appears to be an exception to that rule.

To generate a sufficient development budget, Bricsys needs market share. You can carefully conclude from this that prices will remain considerably lower for many years than those of established competitors. In other words: Increasing the market share from, for example, 1% to 2% results in a doubling of budgets, while doubling takes 5 years if the price increases by 15% each year.

It is likely that Bricsys will continue to raise prices for the time being. Then the question arises what the consequences are. For this reason, the following scenario has been worked out, with an annual price increase of 8% being applied. This is a more or less random assumption.

The picture then looks like this. Suppose you are going to use BricsCAD Mechanical for 5 years, Single + All-in (orange), then the average price per year is 55% of 1650 euros, which means 908 euros on average per year.

  • So if a program is purchased for a maximum of two years then “Yearly” is interesting.
  • For more than two years “Single / Volume” is interesting with the remark that an upgrade after 3 versions almost corresponds to the purchase of new. Moreover, new developments are not available and support is somewhat more limited.
  • In the long term, variants with “All-in Maintenance” will be the most interesting for many organizations. You would like to maintain a choice for a CAD platform for many years.
  • Bricsys will influence this picture in the coming years. For now it seems no coincidence that prices for “Yearly” and “All-in” converge (purple with yellow and orange with green, between years 7 and 8). The trend is “license-hopping” (with “Yearly Licenses”). In other words: Another CAD program tomorrow. “All-in-users” are therefore more valuable for Bricsys, but you can only see that back between 7 and 8 years. With Solidworks3, for example, this tipping point is around 3 years old.

In perspective

This story is about costs and choice of licensing forms of BricsCAD. If the products are compared with other packages, it is clearly visible where the differences are:

Some remarks are desirable:

  • About the packages:

    • BricsCAD Classic is the alternative to LT.

    • BricsCAD Pro is the alternative to AutoCAD plain.

    • BIM is the alternative to the Revit and AutoCAD combo.

    • Mechanical can be measured with Inventor and SolidWorks.

  • The graph shows very well the consequences of the price increases of recent years, the oligopoly of the big ones. And these turnovers go to a large extent to shareholders where at Bricsys the turnovers go to product development to a large extent. Many organizations are concerned about the development of price increases for “subscription”.

  • The wishes of CAD users are the key. If they discover that Bricsys products are faster, better, made with a vision for the future, with updates that add surprisingly useful functionality every time, then switching to BricsCAD is extremely obvious. And with a wide range of license forms, a good construction is always possible.

If you have any questions, you can of course contact us.

Paste on the command line, a font with visible spaces

Paste on the command line, a font with visible spaces

For BricsCAD and AutoCAD, the use of the space bar corresponds to the Enter key. Why would you want to use a font where spaces are clearly visible? To see what you are going to paste on the command line of your CAD program of course!

The principle

You can type a number of commands in a word processor and then copy and paste them on the command line.

The challenge is to ensure that everything is correctly selected during copying – near spaces at the end you have to be careful, because every space is an enter.

An paste example where each underscore is a space:

  • A circle with a radius of 1: circle_0,0_1_
  • A line from 0,0 to 1,1: line_0,0_1,1__

Note that there are two spaces at the end of the last example.

A font with visible spaces

How nice would it be if there were a font with visible spaces?

I searched and did not find it.

So let’s make it! Fontforge is heated up and character 0020 (space) will be hit by the forging hammer. The default font is FreeMono. During editing, the capital S and P are placed together as SP and then scaled to 35%, after the anchor points have been removed. Then a TTF was created with the name FreeMonoSp.ttf

FreeMonoSp.ttf is here:

Create a style in LibreOffice. And it works!

This way a problem has been solved in a very nice way. However …

The minuses

However, many people are not used to receiving LibreOffice documents. And they also have to install the font with the spaces. One more reason to get started with this package!

Everything looks very good in PDF. But copying does not work well. Almost all PDF readers see extra spaces after a text as an error and thus delete the spaces! A big bug that you can not work around.

So you have to think every time: copy the text, paste the text and do not forget to add the unselected spaces.

Yet useful!

Despite the minuses, this font clearly shows exactly what needs to be pasted on the command line. This makes this font a great addition to the documentation of CAD programs such as BricsCAD.


The license is inherited from FreeFont and is GPL. See

Apparently there are more applications for fonts with visible spaces, such as log-in screens of computers.

NedCAD’s expertise: processing 16,000 CAD drawings within one week

NedCAD’s expertise: processing 16,000 CAD drawings within one week

From our client IFE Tebel Technologies, part of Knorr Bremse, we recently got the question whether we could quickly convert 16,000 CAD drawings to PDF, PNG, TIFF. A spreadsheet with all information about the drawings – such as revisions, scale and paper format – was required.

Previous attempts by other parties with various utilities did not produce the desired result.

The background to this story is that IFE Tebel Technologies wants to store its CAD drawings centrally in the document management system of Knorr Bremse in Austria. For distribution and easy readability, all CAD drawings that had ever been made had to be converted to a specific PDF format.

In order to carry out this task properly, NedCAD has deployed a computer grid with CAD-optimized hardware and software.

By using LISP and BASH scripts in Linux, the 16,000 CAD drawings could be prepared and exported in a number of batches. By first checking all drawings for errors and imperfections, and immediately solving them, the next steps were a matter of sufficient computing power.


  • BricsCAD v18.2 was able to process 2000 drawings per processor per hour.
  • The sizes of bitmaps of drawings increased up to 140 Mpixel.
  • For many tens of thousands of cycles of opening, editing, and saving, BricsCAD has not crashed once.

Interested in what NedCAD can do for you in this area? For more information contact us, without obligations.

Acquisition of Bricsys by Hexagon ppm

Acquisition of Bricsys by Hexagon ppm

A day after the BricsCAD conference in London, it still dizzies. There are loads of radical innovations and improvements to mention. Then there is the news that Bricsys has been taken over by Hexagon ppm. What are the consequences?

Bricsys is a model of our rapidly changing world. A little over a year ago we wrote a widely read article entitled “AutoCAD? Or just BricsCAD?” That article now feels like being outdated and no longer relevant. BricsCAD has technologically passed that station at a high speed. Where is BricsCAD now?

  • Alternative for Revit when it comes to BIM
  • Alternative for SolidWorks and Inventor when it comes to mechanical engineering
  • Alternative for AutoCAD

This makes it immediately clear that you can do everything in one program with one storage format (DWG). This works better, faster and with the efficiency of one environment. It also means a significant cost saving on education and licenses. Finally, this guarantees the quality and compatibility of valuable CAD files. These are not exactly the standard arguments for buying a software package and it is good to think about it.

Obviously, the acquisition by Hexagon ppm raises questions. Hexagon ppm is very close to the industry with specialist products that fill niches. From this point of departure, it is conceivable that BricsCAD as a CAD platform forms a valuable basis for building many solutions. In fact, people are already working on that. For example, the CADWorx Plant Design Suite was made suitable for BricsCAD last year. Hexagon ppm is therefore no longer dependent on Autodesk and it also works faster and more stable.

Then there is a concern what Hexagon ppm does to the Bricsys team. This team functions under the enthusiastic founder Erik de Keyser as a well-oiled entity. The emphasis here is on the team in Ghent for the general features of the whole and the team in Novosibirsk for the translation of difficult wishes into mathematical approaches and ultimately the code. It is a fragile whole with extremely good performances. It can be assumed that Hexagon understands what “do not change a winning team” means.

What does it all mean for market share? BricsCAD is a small player that has shown significant growth every year. However, it is realistic to say that a substantial market share would take many years to come. Hexagon ppm offers an environment to significantly shorten that path. That leaves no room for short-sighted money-rake constructions for shareholders as Autodesk uses with mandatory subscriptions. In order to achieve this rapid growth, it is also not obvious that prices will rise sharply.

PS After writing this, an interview with Erik de Keyser and Rick Allen was published and more or less confirms this vision. The interview can be found here.