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Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

There are 2.2 million apps on the app store, but really you only need to know about thirteen of them. So the apps included in this list are the apps I wish I had when I was studying architecture and are the apps that I found to be super useful as an architect. Now in no way shape or form are any of these apps sponsored or too generic. Every single app is highly purposeful and targeted at your job. You may not realize it especially if you're not in the profession yet, but you will use all of these apps almost every single day.


Top 10 Best Apps for Architecture, Students, and Designers



1. Morpholio trace

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

If you don't know what Morpholio trace is? It is a very targeted app for the architecture profession. It allows you to draw documents and just trace freely like you were with normal butter paper. So, you have the ability to start sketching out your floor plans, your sections, your elevations, whatever it might be overlay a piece of butter paper make some adjustments overlay another piece of butter paper make some more adjustments maybe you don't like that one turn that layer off, put another layer on and just keep going really get your flow and understanding of the concept design out very well.

Now Morpholio trace has a lot more capabilities than that, but personally speaking, that is the extent of what I use it for. It gives you the ability to even take in some pdfs of the job that's been documented overlay a piece of butter paper you can change it from yellow, light yellow to white, or transparent whatever color you want and then start marking up your changes. So, if you're sitting in a client meeting for example, and you need to document the changes that the client is talking about you're going through the drawings page by page, you can quickly start tracing over that document without ruining the pdf.

It is basically the high-tech version of tracing paper. That's the best way I can put it but it is a very versatile app that you at least need to try out. It does have a free version. There is a paid version as well. If you start using it more and more you'll probably end up getting the paid version just because I think it's like 12 bucks a year or something. It's not very expensive. It gives you a lot more freedom to import more data as you need it.


2. Microsoft To-do

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

Microsoft to-do again another Microsoft app because I use the Microsoft platform. It can be any to-do list you can think of but having a to-do list is essential. You're going to get bombarded with so many requests, so many emails, so many tasks to do clients are going to give you information. You're just going to forget realistically you need to be able to organize and manage your information very well.

So, having 100 emails come in a day reading through them all, and going okay I need to do this, this, this and this I'm not going to do that now I'm going to put it on my to-do list and get to it but continue doing my job, makes it so much easier than when you do transition to that job you just look at the to-do list go through it one by, one by, one and just get it done. You don't have to sit there going through hundreds of emails, thinking back to all the meetings you've had, and just trying to remember all this information you have it all compacted and concise.

Now personally I am a little bit biased here because I use a to-do list in my everyday life. I use it for everything. It reminds me to buy things at the shops to do things when I get home to reply to people that I haven't spoken to in months and to run all my businesses at the same time as working a full-time job. There are many things that you remember but there are many things you forget.

So, having it all written down and that information available anywhere because it's on the app, it's on the cloud, it can be accessed anywhere around the world. It is very important that you learn to start using these to-do lists.


3. Apple notes

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

I use apple notes for a number of reasons, predominantly the fact of its versatility and freedom to do whatever you want. It also gives you the freedom to file and document and order all of your jobs based on that job number. So, if you have a hundred meetings with one client, you can store that all under the one client folder and then you can have all different notes for a different client or a different project.

I've tried to use a whole bunch of different notes apps and trying to slowly convert everybody in the office to a digital form of note-taking and so far notes are the best form for the architecture profession. Simply, for the fact that it allows you to be creatively free. If you have to just scribble down some notes and take minutes, you can do that. If you have to type some notes, you can do that.

If you have to sketch out a floor plan, mark up some details, or showcase an image to the client you can do that. If you need it put up your iPad take a photo of something on-site draw it all over it file it in that note section you can again do that. It's all stored in the cloud so it's automatically filed. I go on about filing and documenting so much because it is a very big part of your job as well as obviously designing and documenting buildings.

This is one element of your job and it's the best part of your job but in reality, there is so much communication, so much teamwork, so much collaboration, and so much information that needs to be retained and accessible at any given time to ensure that project is mastered, and when it's built, it's absolutely perfect.


4. Scale Calc

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

Back in my day, we had to use the abacus to calculate the conversion of scales. Just kidding, we used scale rulers which is a rudimentary tool just like the abacus. The problem with scale rulers is I often forget them at home or worse I misplaced it or it gets stolen by some secret association of scale, stealers, incorporated. My point is if you're in a bind and you don't have the scale ruler with you this app is the solution.

So let's say you need to make a scale model with like some sort of one is 258 scale for some reason. So even if you have a scale ruler with you I doubt that that scale ruler has a 1 is 258 scale conversion ratio. So yeah with this app you don't have to worry about that. All you got to do is open the app then type the scale you desire onto the space provided then on the space above that just type the actual measurement.

Let's say about 3 meters, and the app will automatically calculate how many millimeters that is. So you could also change the input and output units of the measurement. You could choose feed, millimeters, yards, and English measurements that make zero.

Now with this app, you can magically convert any measurement to amaze your classmates and your instructors with your one is 258 scale model. You probably get a failing grade with that kind of weird scale. So, don't use one is 258 scale.


5. Onedrive

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

Onedrive is not an architect or architecture student-specific app, but seriously if you do not have a cloud system jump onto Onedrive. I recommend this one because I use office 365 so much word, excel all those things. It integrates really really well. By having Onedrive you have the ability to bring up any drawing, any photo, any document, anywhere in the world and share it with anybody.

So, the limitations of sending over 10 megabytes via email are gone. The limitations of calling up the office and going I've forgotten this drawing can you email it to me or can you bring somebody with the printed documentation are gone. You now have the ability to quickly and easily access any single file ever produced in your office.

Now I don't know about you guys but that makes my job so much easier. We transitioned from a server-based system a couple years ago to the cloud, and man, I don't know why we didn't do it sooner but the cloud system is phenomenal.


6. AutoCAD

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

This app allows you to view and edit your AutoCAD drawings. You can link your dropbox, your google drive, and so many other programs too. So that you always have access to these drawings so you can have them consistently updated automatically. Now, this app is really good it really shows you everything in detail. For example, a construction detail, you can zoom in and it's really clear and crisp and it shows you all of the details and you can even edit them.

It's really amazing. Now I don't recommend using this app to do your ideas from scratch. This is just something that if you have a quick idea and you want to edit something quick, and you don't have your laptop with you or if you're on a train journey that's a couple of hours or you have just a travel journey, you can edit your drawers and be productive just a little bit.

Because every little helps now this app is available on android and ios. It's free. There aren't any ads so it's really good to use. It's nice simple you have most of the AutoCAD tools.


7. Photoshop

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

Photoshop is something we use on a day-to-day basis as architecture students and as architects in the pro in our profession. Once again you don't have all of the options on photoshop and it's mainly to edit like posters, or like a greeting card, or you can do some great stuff on it.

But I wouldn't recommend again to use this for presentation, drawings, it just booms you to its quality because again you're using like your phone resolution and just won't be clear, you don't have all of the tools that you would have as with a normal photoshop on your computer the tools.

This photoshop app has does beat the general photo editing software on normal phones. So, it is something that's important to have so that you can always go back to it and edit your images through there rather than through a gallery.


8. Floor plan creator

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

I had some really good fun using and trying the program. It's available on ios and android. It's free there are some ads but it's not something that's annoying. You can create anything from 2D and edit them and add corners and do so much and then turn it to 3D instantaneously and it's so cool.

You can add staircases. You can change the width of the staircases. You can add like a spiral staircase, courtyards, windows, glass, curtain, wall, whole shelving you can create some really good stuff. Now again I don't recommend you to do this for your project, but if you are for example on a train, you have some ideas in your head that you want to get out on some paper. We don't have any pen or paper or just annoying to write.

You can create small diagrams or small even concept diagrams of your ideas on this program which is really useful. Now when you open the app, you will see that there's a lot of detail on that. It's easy to edit. You can change the numbers and it's just a really cool program to have on your phone where you can edit and create diagrams and buildings at any time.



9. Magic plan

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

This program is actually used by, for example, contractors and other small architect companies. When you go to the app there's like a video that just explains to you how it's used and what you can do with it. You can measure room layouts and roof heights. It's really cool. So, what this app can do is it can draw the floor plan of your room by just using your camera, and then you can turn it in you can add a height to it and it will create a 3D model and a floor plan.

Now you can save multiple projects so when you go to a site visit or you just go anywhere and you want to for example measure a break or measure the length of a wall to get some idea of how of the skill of the project. You can measure it straight away and it's really useful. It's easy to use. There's a lot of editing tools you can add furniture, for example, kitchen equipment, you can add beds, doors, windows, walls. So, it is really useful.



10. Sun locator lite

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

This is a great application for determining the sun path of a certain location. Now this app works in many ways, you could use your current location by pressing GPS or you can select a specific location using the Google Maps program embedded in the application, or if you're super extra you could type in the exact geological coordinates of your desired location.

Now that you have selected a location, you can now pick the time and date, you want then just wait for the app to process. Once it's done processing you can now see a detailed overview of important solar information regarding the date you choose like the solar azimuth and the solar transit. You could even switch to a map view and see the sun path. So if you need to do a site analysis.

All you have to do is use this application then copy the sun path and you now have a super detailed sun path diagram with matching solar azimuth and elevation details included. So these details are super important information needed to design windows and sunshades.



11. Cam to plan

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

I was super mind blown when I discovered this app. Basically, it is an ar-based app or augmented reality-based application which uses your phone's camera Gyrometer and another magical hoopla inside your phone to estimate measurements. I won't go into specifics of how this application works. When you open the app it tells you to click on the plus button.

If you did congratulations you just took orders from a phone. When you click that it now shows you three modes. Two of which are locked behind a pay-to-access wall so the only option is horizontal cuz we ain't got no extra cash to spend.  So once you're done, satisfying the needs of the application click on ready. Then all you have to do is scan the floor around you until the app tells you that it's okay to stop scanning man this app just keeps telling me what to do.

That's done you can now use the app to measure out and plot the outline of whatever you want to measure like the outline of your room. Now, this is super useful if you need to make a rough bill sketch of a certain area and you don't have any tape measure or paper with you. So, this app automatically creates a rough drawing of the area you just measured.


12. Microsoft teams

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

Microsoft teams, covid really changed how we do practice and how the world operates in general. No longer are we isolated and stuck inside our cubicles for hours on end never speaking to anybody, and we're no longer having face-to-face meetings as regularly. It is now a lot more common to have a video conference with a whole bunch of people at any time of the day or night.

People have become a lot more accepting of it and now also just learned to use the programs. Microsoft teams again are something that I recommend because it falls into that Microsoft suite, so it just integrates with my workflow very well. You can use anything from zoom to skype to Webx whatever it is a very important app to have.


13. Scale Ruler

Best Apps for Architecture, Students & Designers

I'm sure you can guess what it is?  It's already in the name, it's a scale ruler app. The first thing you do, when you open the program, you have to calibrate it. Now you have to make sure that you do this it does do it very accurately sometimes, but you have to just use the buttons to measure it. If you don't have an actual ruler it shows you what the average credit card length is, so you have to make sure that you calibrate it before you actually use it, and then it has a large range of different skills.

1 to 100, 1 to 200 anything you want, and you can measure and draw things to scale which is so cool. Now, this app I personally use for the rest of my life. It is so cool. The fact that you can turn your phone into a ruler is just amazing.

That's all for me today guys. Thank you so much for reading the article. I hope you enjoyed it if you did make sure to comment below.

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