As a PTC reseller, we regularly receive inquiries asking about how our products compare to other CAD solutions. Obviously, we are a little biased but since we have a close relationship with our products and a strong understanding of the other solutions out there, we want to share our opinion on this common question.

We have previously compared Creo to Solidworks, but with new releases of both PTC Creo and Autodesk Inventor, we felt it was time for a new faceoff.

PTC Creo and Autodesk Inventor have many of the same basic functions…

PTC Creo and Autodesk Inventor are both 3D CAD application suites designed to help engineers develop, innovate, and produce products. They have many of the same functions including:

  • Optimization tools
  • Collaboration features
  • Cost estimation tools
  • Part assembly and modeling
  • Simulation and analysis
  • Animations and rendering
  • Documentation support
  • 2D drawing tools
  • 3D modeling tools
  • Parametric modeling

So PTC Creo and Autosdesk Inventor are in the same basic category but what are the primary differences?

Ease of Use

The biggest difference between these applications is how easy and intuitive they are to use. Having all of these features is great, but if they are difficult to find or work with, then they are not nearly as useful.

Fast Sketching

Creo makes it really easy to sketch out your ideas, whether you sketch on paper and convert it into a 3D model or sketch within the software itself. It allows you to sketch directly onto the faces of your model and reference other 3D objects. During sketch creation, you can even modify and taper features. The latest version of Creo includes enhanced tools for preview, editing, and auto-regeneration. These “sketches” can then be imported into the main Creo Parametric software. Autodesk Inventor doesn’t have comparable functionality. You can use outside data in Inventor sketch, by copying and pasting or importing it, but the “sketches” must be AutoCAD files, not hand drawn.

Sketch to CAD
Advantage→ PTC Creo.

Easily Handle Large Assemblies

The power of PTC Creo allows you to handle large assemblies at lightning fast speeds with lightweight graphics capabilities. The intuitive and interactive 3D drag commands make it easy to modify and explore models. Although Autodesk Inventor is able to handle large assemblies, the out-of-box solution is lacking. It requires additional hardware and software optimizations to bring it up to the same efficiency as PTC Creo.

Large assemblies:
Advantage→ PTC Creo

Intuitive Modeling

Advanced freestyle modeling simplifies the creation and optimization process for stylized designs. You can generate freeform shapes and surfaces, speeding up the development concept process for simple and complex shapes. PTC Creo provides a high-quality engineering surfaces library as well as tools for engineers to leverage sub-divisional modeling.

Autodesk Inventor’s shape generator feature provides users with the tools to create optimal freeform shapes as well. It provides similar push-and-pull capabilities as PTC Creo for intuitive design. With Autodesk, you can refine by adding or removing points, bridging faces, or matching edges to existing geometries.

Both programs provide advanced and easy-to-use modeling features. We still prefer PTC Creo,but like we said at the beginning of the article, we’re biased.

Intuitive freeform modeling capabilities:

Powerful Sheet Metal Capabilities

PTC Creo provides powerful and streamlined capabilities for sheet metal modeling. Unlike other CAD tools, Engineers can modify sheet metal features as they are created. Users also have access to dynamic preview and editing tools. The advanced sheet metal capabilities even include persistent flat pattern preview with interference detection.

Autodesk Inventor also provides sheet metal tools for designing, visualizing, and documenting sheet metal parts that conform to your company’s standards. Users can project 2D drawings to create 3D models that can be converted into modifiable sheet metal parts.

Sheet Metal Capabilities:

Manage Design Changes

PTC Creo eliminates the need for complete late stage design reworks, saving your organization time and money. You have the flexibility to make late stage changes while still preserving design intent. Users can quickly select and edit complex geometries with each edit recorded as features, so you can revert back to previous designs if necessary. Although Autodesk Inventor’s tools and features are optimized in an effort to prevent late stage design modifications, if changes become necessary they can be difficult to handle.

Late Stage Design Changes:
Advantage→ PTC Creo

Manage Data No Matter the File Type

Unite Technology in PTC Creo allows you to open and modify designs from 3rd party and legacy CAD systems, no matter the file type. Users can add design intents to imported data by defining features and patterns and even make complex geometry changes. PTC has been doing this now for several years and has worked out most of the kinks.

Autodesk Inventor has very recently added similar capability to their software with AnyCAD. It creates an associative connection between your Inventor models and the original CAD file.

Unite Technology and AnyCAD both greatly simplify the design process by removing the error-prone process of manual file translations and the need for multi-CAD systems. PTC Creo’s Unite technology has been around longer and is more mature than AnyCAD. As a result, PTC Creo handles multi-CAD imports more gracefully than AnyCAD. But give AnyCAD a few more years and we expect it to be on par with Creo’s current Unite technology.

Multi-CAD File Capability:
Mild Advantage→PTC Creo

Creo Users Tend to have Higher Overall Productivity

Based on 3rd party research, PTC Creo significantly improves productivity in your organization. Through intuitive UI and tools, PTC Creo can speed up all aspects of the development process. Overall, users experience a 45% decrease in mouse travel and a 2x increase in productivity with PTC Creo.

Overall Productivity:
Advantage→PTC Creo

Of course, we are biased.

We have always believed the PTC Creo is the superior product, and this comparison definitely reflects that. However, this review is not to say that Autodesk Inventor isn’t a great product. We know that many users prefer Inventor over Creo for many reasons. Including that they’re just used to using it.

Other Opinions

For more information on how PTC Creo and Autodesk Inventor compare, feel free to take a look at some of these resources. (Keep in mind some of this information is based on older versions of both programs and may be outdated).

Quora: What is Autodesk Inventor used for?
Quora: What is Creo Software?
Software Insider: Breakdown comparison of features.

Want to learn more about PTC Creo?

As the largest PTC reseller on the West Coast, we would be happy to help you understand all of the licensing options, prices, and the various packages available to you.

You can contact us through our online form, or call us at 408-986-0200.