If you are considering a new 3D modeling software solution, you are probably considering both Creo and CATIA, two leaders in the field. This comparison of Creo vs CATIA attempts to help you make the right decision by comparing the two products. While we admit to a strong bias in favor of Creo—we are, after all, one of PTC’s largest distributors, we have tried to make this comparison fair and unbiased.

Creo vs CATIA: Feature Breakdown

3D CAD Modeling

Both Creo and CATIA have strong functionality in 3D CAD modeling. You are likely to find any required capabilities in either solution since both are leaders in the field. Each solution has some capability the other does not, but in general, both are highly functional. Since it isn’t likely that you will find any important functionality missing in either solution, we call this one a tie.

Tie: Both Creo and CATIA have advanced 3D CAD modeling features.

Ease of Use

The productivity and efficiency of your engineering and design team is critical—that’s why you’re considering investing in a 3D CAD modeling tool in the first place. One of the most important points to evaluate is the ease of use. How quickly can an engineer sit down and become comfortable using the product?

CATIA’s user interface has undergone some recent modernization, but you can still easily discern its roots in the client-server era. While engineers may find it simple to use for basic requirements, more advanced functionality will be harder to use.

Creo, on the other hand, was designed for the cloud. Its UI is streamlined and modern, making it easy to become productive quickly. Built-in tutorials and training tools help ensure that even seldom-used functionality is easy to find and wield. In this case, the advantage goes to Creo.

Creo’s streamlined UI improves productivity.

Integration and Compatibility

CATIA has a few partnerships, and of course, Dassault has many other engineering tools in its arsenal, but integration is not this system’s strong point. Obviously, it works well with other Dassault tools, but users may find sharing files with outside applications to be clunky at best.

PTC Creo also operates seamlessly with PTC’s other tools, but it incorporates built-in integration and file-sharing capability that makes it easy to work with other teams that may be using other CAD tools. Creo Unite enables users to open files created in other CAD systems simply by clicking on them—no cumbersome conversion required. Once again, the advantage goes to Creo.

Creo seamlessly integrates with other PTC products as well as other solutions for simplified file sharing.

Industries Supported

CATIA supports a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, financial services, aerospace, and natural resources. While the company is large enough to support 12 industries, it has broken them down into 52 subsegments, each with its own challenges and solutions. While at first glance this might appear to be an advantage for CATIA, this level of specialization is difficult for any company to sustain, and may imply that the company has, at best, a cursory understanding of the industry and its challenges.

PTC, on the other hand, focuses on just six industries and provides in-depth information about the use of its products and services for each industry. It demonstrates a clear understanding of the industry challenges and the solutions it provides. If your industry is not among PTC Creo’s focus industries, then CATIA may be worth a second look.

Tie: Both solutions support numerous industries. CATIA is more expansive, while Creo is more focused.

Integrated eLearning

Both companies support a strong online user community and have online help and support options. There is a robust market in eLearning and training for CATIA, but PTC has built the eLearning tools directly into its product, a major advantage for users in a hurry or companies on a budget.

Creo includes built-in eLearning tools and a strong online community.

Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation, IoT, and AR

PTC adopted Industry 4.0, digital transformation, and all the supporting technologies early on, incorporating them into its entire lineup of design tools. As a result, companies looking to undergo a digital transformation or the ability to make a transition to the fourth phase of the industrial revolution would do well with Creo.

Despite its focus on industries such as oil and gas and energy that began their digital transformations early on, CATIA seems to have missed this as a key driver within any of its verticals.

Creo continues to support emerging industry trends.

Deployment Flexibility

PTC focused on the cloud and other advanced technologies early on, well before the technologies became mainstream. As a result, they have many referenceable cloud customers of all sizes and across all its focus industries, and PTC’s annualized subscription license revenue for 2018 is up 61% YOY from 2017.

Dassault doesn’t break out its recurring license revenue by product line, but total recurring revenue for the company is reported at 26%, with little change from FY17. Cloud references are primarily small organizations attracted mainly by the perceived low cost of cloud deployment.

This implies that the company has not made strides in cloud deployment. Most software companies experience a dip in revenue as they convert to cloud, and Dassault apparently still has this difficult revenue chasm to cross. It was late to the cloud party, and may find it hard to make up lost ground.

Creo’s early cloud adoption simplified deployment.

CAD Comparison: Creo Is the Winner

As we said at the beginning of this article, we are biased toward Creo, but we tried to remain unbiased in evaluating the two products. Our years of experience with all the 3D CAD tools on the market have familiarized us with the available offerings, and working with customers has helped us understand those factors that make a difference in day-to-day productivity. Given that, we have to say that while CATIA is a nice product, Creo is the superior choice.


If you would like to learn more about Creo and why we think it’s the best 3D CAD product around, contact us today.