Drawing Express

Drawing Express
Drawing Express
Drawing Express system with tablet and overlay
Drawing Express 2018
Developer(s) Trial Systems Ltd
Initial release 1994
Stable release 2018 / March 15, 2011; 7 months ago (2011-03-15)
Operating system Windows & Mac OSX (By use of Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion or Bootcamp)
Platform Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Available in English
Type CAD
License Proprietary
Website www.drawingexpress.co.uk
Drawing Express 2018

Drawing Express is a CAD software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting. It is used primarily by architects and builders, but the tools and commands present on the system can be adopted for use by landscape designers, surveyors, civil and construction engineers. The software is developed, sold and supported by the British company 'Trial Systems Ltd' based in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.[1] The software was first released in 1994, developed by Peter Boyce & Steven Pearce in conjunction with Anton Heymann. The software is based around a tablet and pen interface.[2] A graphics tablet, pen and overlay are used to select, use and manipulate commands thus mimicking the draughtsman’s drawing board. This differs from the traditional CAD software ‘drop-down’ menu structures on-screen as the menu system is laid out in front of the user. The method of drawing in this way is aimed at being intuitive allowing the user to create and amend drawings as quickly as possible.


Versions and 3D


There are two separate versions of the software aside from the standard Drawing Express package:

  • Drawing Express Timber Frame - In-built module for Drawing Express which produces panel detail drawings and cutting lists for timber frame buildings.
  • Drawing Express Underfloor Heating - In-built module for Drawing Express which aids in designing water and electrical based systems. Automatic commands within Drawing Express create these systems. Cable lengths are automatically calculated and layouts can be modified.


A 3D model can be created while displaying it in rendered mode in 'real time'. The 3D model is automatically created from the 2D plans including all walls, openings, and roof. Other information can be added to the model such as sky, landscaping, people and cars for detail. The model can be exported to POV-Ray and rendered off inside the raytracer software giving more resolution and detail.

Drawing Express 2018 - 3D mode

Platforms and license types

Supported platforms

Drawing Express is primarily developed for Windows operating systems. Drawing Express runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit).

Drawing Express will also work on Mac OS X. This is possible on any Intel based Mac running Leopard, Snow Leopard or Lion operating systems by use of Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion or built in Bootcamp software.

License types

Drawing Express requires a USB dongle to be present on the system it is running on. This is the license for the software and without a dongle present on the system, the program will not open or save drawings.

Data interchange

Drawing Express drawing file's use a .EXP file extension. The software can import and export DWG and DXF files amongst others. Drawings can also be saved to PDF format using any available PDF converter. Images can be imported and exported. Importing works with most mainstream image file formats.

Version history

  • 1994 - Drawing Express (DOS)
  • 1998 - Drawing Express for Windows
  • 2000 - Drawing Express 2010
  • 2001 - Drawing Express 2011
  • 2003 - Drawing Express 2012
  • 2004 - Drawing Express 2013
  • 2005 - Drawing Express 2014
  • 2007 - Drawing Express 2015
  • 2008 - Drawing Express 2016
  • 2009 - Drawing Express 2017
  • 2011 - Drawing Express 2018

See also

  • CAD
  • Comparison of CAD Software


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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