First Look Review: Chronos for AutoCAD

12 May, 2006 By: Patrick Davis

Comprehensive software logs time spent in drawings and tracks layer changes, inserts, dimensions and more

Chronos for AutoCAD
Pros: Easy to use.
Cons: None significant.
Price: $49.95, plus $29.95 per DWGLOG user license.

Engineered Design Solutions

Chronos for AutoCAD by Engineered Design Solutions is a comprehensive time-logging program for AutoCAD-based products. Chronos does more than just track drawing time; it also collects drawing data during AutoCAD sessions. This information includes drawing name and time statistics as well as user and computer names used to access each drawing. Chronos also tracks drawing functions such as layer changes, inserts, dimensions and the like. Users can then analyze this collected data through the Chronos interface.

Chronos can be used on a single workstation or in a network environment. The program uses its own DWGLOG.EXE to track information about drawing sessions. In a standalone installation, the program automatically begins to log an AutoCAD sessions when the user starts AutoCAD. When the AutoCAD session is closed, the drawing and session logs files are updated and are viewable in Chronos.

Chronos for AutoCAD

In a networked or multiuser environment, the CAD manager must copy several files to the computers, including DWGLOG.EXE, which can be freely distributed to as many computers as needed. Chronos limits the data that can be viewed based on the number of licenses purchased.

The program displays user and drawings statistics in the Drawing Data Pane with drawings sorted by folder and then drawing name. Time values are provided for each individual who accessed the drawing. When multiple users have accessed the same drawing, all the data is not displayed in the Drawing Data Pane -- that information is located in the Information Pane. It would be nice if all the information was in one place. Users can customize the Chronos interface to display only the relevant information wanted. Chronos tracks a variety of information, including drawing creation date and time, when it was last accessed, edit time by each user, dimensions, layers, blocks and more. Users can set Chronos also to specify when to start and stop a log files to coincide with billing periods. This data can then be easily collected and used as billing information.

I found Chronos to be extremely beneficial for tracking my own drawing activity. I was able to use this information to more accurately complete my weekly timesheet and to bid future projects. In a network environment though, I received a mixed reaction from coworkers. Most were concerned about having someone being able to closely monitor what they were doing.

Chronos delivers on what it promises, providing an effective method for time logging AutoCAD sessions, evaluating the effectiveness of AutoCAD customization and to monitor the effectiveness of CAD technicians, designers and engineers. Installation is painless and Chronos is easy to use.

Download a trial version of Chronos for AutoCAD that records activities of 25 users. The registered version of Chronos tracks a maximum of 255 users. Chronos costs $49.95 for each Chronos license and includes one AutoCAD DWGLOG license per Chronos license. Additional AutoCAD DWGLOG licenses are $29.95 each. Multiseat licensing discounts are available, contact Engineered Design Solution for more details.

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Lynn Allen

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