Request a callback
Coffee break-pana 3 2 Thanks for connecting!
Our academic counsellor will reach out to you within the next 24 hours between 10am-10pm IST.

Vectorworks vs Archicad: Which One is Better For Both Design and BIM? (2024)

Thet Hnin

12 min read

November 5, 2022


Table of Contents

Vectorworks vs ArchiCAD takes us to another round of rivals from the same company (the first one being AutoCAD vs Revit). Both owned by subsidiaries of the Nemetschek Group, Vectoworks and ArchiCAD have been making names in the industry for BIM-related workflows. ArchiCAD has gained recognition since its first release as a top BIM software alongside Autodesk Revit, while Vectorworks has gained popularity in recent years for its diverse software varieties.

So which one should you choose? Understand the two software’s functions, pricing and ideal user pool before making your decision.





2D & 3D drafting 2D & 3D drafting
Parametric modelling Parametric modelling
Architectural and interior design modelling Enhanced workflows with BIMx and BIMcloud
Set design Architectural and interior design modelling
Landscape design  


Yes Yes


Yes but limited Yes


Yes Limited compared to Vectorworks


$3300 for one-time purchase
(Quotation required for perpetual licence)

System Requirements (for latest versions)


3.0 Ghz Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 or Apple M1 Max 64-bit Intel or AMD multi-core processor
32 GB RAM Windows 10 64-bit or Mac OS 11.3 minimum
DirectX 11 or Metal CPUFamily2 compatible graphics card 32 GB RAM (mid range projects)
Minimum 10 GB free disk space for installation 5+ GB free disk space
  DirectX 11 compatible graphics card

A Brief History

Archicad was first launched by Graphisoft in 1982 for Apple Macintosh. At its launch, Archicad was introduced as a virtual building concept tool, already capable of both 2D and 3D CAD technology. It was only later that it became known as a BIM tool. The success of the software resulted in its first version for Windows 3.1. Since then, Graphisoft has annually released new versions of the software incorporating new or improved features.

Vectorworks was first launched as MiniCAD with the same base functionality, 3D modelling for designers. Its rebranding to Vectorworks jump started its rapid development in the CAD industry and then later on, in BIM. In 2000, Nemetschek Group, the parent company of Graphisoft, acquired Vectorwork. Just like Archicad, it was first developed for Apple and now available in both Windows and Mac OS.

Software Uses

a 3D Archicad model with its corresponding 2D drawings for plans and elevations


Archicad, of Graphisoft, is a comprehensive BIM software that allows architects to design, visualise, collaborate and document the entire project. Even as a BIM software, Archicad does not compromise on designing and modelling, allowing users to explore their creativity. Archicad has been a constant rival to Revit with loyal users who find it to be more intuitive than Revit.

You can design in both 2D and 3D to create building models that reflect real-world buildings. It is a BIM software after all, and it is important to have accurate real-life information as part of the BIM model.

While many may say that Revit is the go-to choice for large firms, that is not entirely true. Nikken Sekkei, one of the largest firms and a pioneer in BIM implementation in Japan, uses Archicad for BIM workflows!


Similarly to Archicad, AEC professionals can also use Vectorworks to create 2D drawings and 3D models which can be extended into BIM. The toolsets to design, render, document and collaborate make Vectorworks an efficient BIM tool that also provides a wide scope for creativity. It comes in 4 different products – Architect, Landmark, Spotlight and Fundamental – catering to different scopes in the AEC industry, and the all-inclusive Design Suite.

Just like our Revit vs Vectorworks comparison, we will be mainly weighing up Vectorworks Architect and Archicad.

Archicad vs Vectorworks : Key Differences

User Pool

a banner advertising the new Archicad 26 with the quote ‘stay focused, design more

As proudly stated by Archicad – by architects for architects – its main function revolves around architectural design and BIM. Being BIM software, it is capable of designing in both 2D and 3D, visualising, documenting and collaborating between project team members.

On the other hand, Vectorworks come in 4 main products, as mentioned above, so its range of users goes beyond architects.

  • Architect - Architectural design with fully integrated BIM

  • Landmark - Landscape design

  • Spotlight - Entertainment and set design

  • Fundamentals - Basic functions for easy modelling and documentation

Ease of Modelling and Learning

The functions and capabilities of the two software are in fact similar.
Both software support BIM workflows for every design phase, starting from pre-design sketches and massing to the final renders and documentation.

Archicad software focuses on the design phase with smarter databases, better geometry controls and easier access to data. The aim is simple – unrestricted creativity for great design. Being a BIM software does not compromise the creative workflows for Archicad in all design aspects. Even though it is said to be software for architects, the Integrated Design concept promotes planning full MEP projects in the later versions of Archicad.

Archicad has gained many loyal users for its intuitive interface and relatively easier learning curve for BIM software. However, bear in mind that you may need more effort to fully utilise its BIM capacities.

Project designed and rendered by ARP ArchitektenPartnerschaft

Meanwhile, Vectorworks is also known for its intuitive interface but it takes a while to get familiar with it for a new user. With Vectorworks (Architect), not only can you create 3D models but also draft with precision and document all the information in the model. Just like most BIM software, you can also run building performance analyses, and automate schedules and cost estimation.

Interoperability: Connecting Different Software

Graphisoft offers BIMcloud, a cloud-based server hosting, for secure and efficient collaboration in real-time whereas the BIMx is the presentation and coordination app for an engaging discussion with the client and the team. Additionally, Archicad also supports openBIM and IFC (Industry Foundation Classes - open standards for digital description of built data) formats. The benefit of open standards and files is seamless collaboration regardless of the type of software being used.

While Vectorworks lacks in certain functionalities, for example, MEP, the software enables fluid collaboration through numerous file types, the most default import/export options than any other BIM tools. It provides direct links to Sketchup, Autodesk Revit, Rhino 3D and even Photoshop as well as open-source IFC and openBIM.


Plugins and add-ons are important features that extend the functionality of the software to execute your desired outcome. Many of the plugins target modelling and productivity while a handful offers a direct link to other software and tools.

For example, the Archicad Connection plugin for Revit allows the IFC model and bi-directional data exchange with Archicad for free. If you want more holistic modelling with parametric and generative capacities, there is the Rhino-Grasshopper-Archicad toolset that connects the power of parametric modelling in Rhino with Archicad’s powerful BIM. There are also plugins from third-party developers; the BIM object app is a useful tool that allows users to download BIM objects from the site directly into Archicad.

A render of a building site using Twinmotion and Vectorworks

Vectorworks has fewer plugins than Archicad, many of which aid in modelling and visualisation. Most top-notch rendering engines such as Enscape, Lumion and Twinmotion, can synchronise with Vectorworks models for real-time photorealistic renders.

It is safe to say bigger and more established software has more options for plugins. Check out 7 universally popular Revit plugins you should know for effective bim workflows.


The subscription-based pricing for Archicad full version is $320 per month (or $2545 annually). There is a cheaper Archicad Solo version at $280 monthly but it only offers limited capabilities of Archicad. Graphisoft also offers a full perpetual licence but you will have to contact them directly for a quote.

Vectorworks offers the licence in two options – Perpetual and Subscription-based. The perpetual licence is a one-time purchase for the software that comes with 2 GB of cloud storage at the price of $3300 (without maintenance). The subscription-based licence comes in monthly and yearly payments. It costs $153 per month or if you prefer an annual subscription, that’s $1530 ($128/mo).

User Base: Who Is it Ideal For?

 a 3D model in Archicad software for BIM workflows

Archicad is a powerful BIM software that offers a holistic approach to both design and BIM. It is a favourite for many architectural firms regardless of size. Although we can now use Archicad with MEP Modeler to create MEP systems, its primary functions centre around architectural design, making its main user pool architects. It is an intuitive tool with a learning curve less steeper than other BIM software, making it a suitable tool for students and graduates to learn.

Vectorworks comes in five products catering to the needs of different design industries. Hence, it is easier to choose the right product and master it without needing to be able to use other functions. The user pool of Vectorworks is more diverse than Archicad; in addition to AEC professionals like architects, interior designers and planners, even set designers can use Vectorworks (Spotlight) to plan productions. Meanwhile, landscape architects can use Vectorworks Landmark to design projects with BIM.

Vectorworks and Archicad started off as software for Mac but are now available for both Mac OS and Windows.


Choosing the right software is never an easy task; it all comes down to your needs and desired outcome. Both software are well-known in the AEC industry for their superb features and capacities so it’s safe to say that neither will be a wrong choice. If you prefer a tool that will aid designing with BIM, Archicad will be the answer. But if you want to explore more than architectural design, Vectorworks is a tool that you should try out.

Did you find this guide helpful? We have more software comparisons and insights on our Resources page.

Understand how BIM can help your career!

Speak with an Expert Now!

Frame 12423100

BIM Professional Course

Understand how BIM can help your career!

Subscribe to Novatr

Always stay up to date with what’s new in AEC!

Get articles like these delivered to your inbox every two weeks.