Making the Most of 30-Day Software Trials

10 Aug, 2011 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: The best way to evaluate an application is to try it yourself — after you do your homework, that is.

Want to expand your software knowledge by learning about an application you'd never use on the job? Yearning to dabble in rendering, or explore a completely new CAD tool? Trying to determine whether a particular piece of software would make sense for your company, but don't have the budget to purchase a license? The 30-day trial offered by many software providers gives you a month to investigate, learn, and expand your knowledge base — but only if you plan for it.

Here's how to get the maximum value out of a trial version:

  • Do your reading first. By reading up on the software via reviews, blogs, company web sites, etc., you'll learn a good bit about what is possible and how to approach your trial software period. Take note of any limitations on the trial version: Does it include all the features and capabilities of the paid version?
  • Find tutorials. Sometimes tutorials can be found on company web sites, and often you can find computer training companies that offer short text or video tutorials. All these will help prepare you for working with the software.
  • Consider purchasing a reference guide or online training course. When you think about the fact that you only have one month to explore the software, doesn't it make sense to spend $50 or $100 dollars on a great training resource to help you get the most from that brief period?
  • Block out the time you'll need. Never start a trial license on a Monday unless you know you'll do some work with the software every day after work. It's better to start your trial on a weekend and set aside several quality hours per day to really focus on the software. Don't start your trial until you're sure you're ready to start learning.

It is amazing how much you can learn about a piece of software if you read up on it, know what to expect, and work through some training exercises before you jump in. Once your trial period is completed, you'll have learned enough to decide whether purchasing the software makes sense. And the best part is, you can do all this for no or very little cost, so there's no way anyone can object!

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at; if I use it in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Do you use social media — such as Facebook or Twitter updates, YouTube videos, or discussion forums — for work-related purposes?
Yes, I regularly use such resources for work-related purposes.
Yes, but on a limited or infrequent basis.
No, because my employer frowns upon or prohibits doing so.
No, because I don’t have the time or interest.
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition