FORM Tech: Great Apps for Architects and Designers

Sifting through all the apps out there all can be quite a task—you could spend days just finding the right kitchen timer. For our architect and designer readers, we know your time is short, so we’ve compiled just a few apps that can not only improve your productivity around the office but also provide some much needed inspiration (not that you need any). So take a moment to peruse a digest of options out there. Even better, many of our suggestions are free and available for both iOS and Android devices.

AutoCad 360

Formerly known as AutoCad WS, AutoCad 360 is an app that allows you to view and edit both 2D and 3D .dwg files making collaboration a breeze. The app is available across different mobile platforms, so you can take your work with you wherever you go. The AutoCad website also includes a list of tutorials that range from creating an online profile to embedding the application within your own website. It’s also possible to export your work as .pdf or .dwg files and share them via email.


Even the best of us can use a little visual inspiration every once in a while. Houzz, the online bible for design ideas, has its very own mobile app full of images that can be saved to your own ideabook. In addition to having purchasing information for every featured item, the app also includes yellow pages used to find contractors, designers and other professionals for potential collaboration. With over one million downloads, there are plenty of people ready and willing to share their ideas with the world.


Described by many as one of the best apps available, this handy little tool allows you to open virtually any file that comes your way. You can easily annotate .pdf files that are then sharable via email, or view a video that was sent to you by a friend. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents are all supported and files can be synced through services like Dropbox and Skydrive.


Carrying around a carefully constructed assemblage of your latest and greatest creations can be absolutely terrifying. Fortunately, this app allows you to group your work in a series of “collections” viewable by clients and others. The images within a particular collection can come from your camera library, Dropbox account or Morpholio profile, ensuring that your work stays undamaged at home.


There are so many beautifully designed buildings around the world that it’s impossible to see them all, but what about the architecture in your area—the city you’re visiting or your next vacation destination? In an attempt to bring you the best architecture, wherever you go, OpenBuildings has extended its online architecture database to mobile devices. Get directions, view photos, write comments and tell your friends about the exquisite buildings around you.

Magic Plan

This is a very powerful app that allows you to generate a floor plan for a particular room by simply snapping a photo of each corner, large or small, within the area. Several smaller floor plans can then be combined to create a layout for an entire home. Have furniture in the way? Not a problem. Continue around the room as if the furniture weren’t there, and let the app take care of the rest. You can also label each room and add symbols that indicate things like bathrooms, plumbing, furniture and much more.

Philips Hue

In conjunction with their Hue light bulbs, Philips has released an app that controls the color your bulb creates. You can choose from simple cardinal colors or go with something a little more obscure that you saw in a photograph by using the built in color selector. You can also choose from different “light recipes” meant to increase relaxation, concentration and energy. 

One thought on “FORM Tech: Great Apps for Architects and Designers

  1. Hi,

    I'm the creator of ArchiSnapper. We recently launched this app for architects to make punch lists and site reports more easy. I'm curious about any feedback on the app. If you want a free trial, contact me on pieter(at)

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