The 10 Best Apps for Architects

  • 17 Sep 2012
  • by
  • Software

UPDATE: We have updated this list to be a more complete guide. You can find the updated list here.

In the frenzy leading up to the iphone 5′s anticipated release last week, we asked our Facebook Fans the best thing about their (when it comes to their professional lives at least).

The answer was overwhelmingly in favor of one key feature: the camera. From snapping shots on-site to taking photos for inspiration (or just to remember later), the ease of having a camera in your phone has made your lives that much easier (and Apple fans rejoice, as the new iPhone 5′s stand-out new feature is its souped-up camera, now with low-light and panorama modes). Many also mentioned the handiness of having email, maps, and a compass always at hand.

But apart from these standard features, we also got tipped to some really useful Apps that are changing the way you work. We’ve (not very scientifically, we’ll admit) compiled them into a top 10 list…check after the break to see which Apps made the cut!

 #10 Evernote

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Although not strictly for Architects, Evernote is a handy little (free!) App that lets you organize your life. See something you like (a document, image, web site, etc.), write up your notes, save it for later, and then find it again in a jiffy.



[steel] a database App of steel shapes
While one of the pricier Apps on our list ($4.99)this thorough database of steel shapes may be worth it – just so you’ll never have to lug that hefty hardback again.


#8 Dropbox

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Again, this App isn’t strictly for Architects, but if you’re constantly using and sharing heavy images/videos/documents like we are, you’ll be glad we tipped you to Dropbox.  It’s basically that place in the “cloud” where you can save all your stuff – so you don’t bog down your computer with it – and then share it easily. All for free. We here at the ArchDaily office swear by it.


#7 Instagram

The free App that turns anyone into a professional photographer, Instagram can give your project that extra finish to make it shine on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. We at ArchDaily are big fans of the retro filters (which you can tell from our own popular Instagram page), and it turns out that most of our readers are too.


#6 Sketchbook

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Autodesk offers a bunch of Sketchbook Apps for , iPod, and iPad -great for a quick sketch when pen and paper aren’t to hand. And the mobile version will only set you back $1.99.


#5 Photoshop Express

To quickly modify your renderings, intensify your images with colors/filters/borders (oh my!), you can’t do better than Adobe’s Photoshop Express. Plus, it’s free!


#4 Flipboard

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Flipboard is a free App that turns your life into a Magazine. The App syncs with all your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) and news/entertainment providers (Google Reader/YouTube/Instagram) and creates a visually stunning Feed that’s tailor made to you. Again, this is not Architect-specific. But it is


#3 Magic Plan

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So apparently this App is hard to master, but worth the struggle in the end. The App measures and draws floor plans just from your pictures and then exports them in many different formats – which means you can finally leave that measuring tape at home.


#2 Houzz

Called the “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design,” Houzz is a huge database of home design photos that you can save to a virtual idea book. Kind of like Pinterest, but exclusively for home design ideas.


#1 AutoCad WS

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One of the few Apps truly made for the needs of Architects, Autocad WS lets you annotate and revise drawings – whether you’re in the office or in the field – and effortlessly share them with others. Plus, the recently updated versions feature 3D viewing and GPS integration. Best of all? It’s free.


Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "The 10 Best Apps for Architects" 17 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 16 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +4

    I can’t imagine Magic Plan is accurate enough to ever truly be that useful.

    You probably should add Photosynth to that list. I find that being able to make panoramas on the fly makes photos of existing conditions dramatically more useful.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    I like Houzz, but Pinterest (When you follow good boards…) has more interesting stuff.
    Flipboard and Feedly are THE apps I use to read Arch Daily RSS.
    Wait, I’m not an architect and use 7 of these apps…

  3. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    I use 360 – the ability to quickly take and upload interactive 360° panoramas of sites or projects on the go (and that are gps located), and send the weblinks to clients (We have many who are abroad) or to the project team cannot be underestimated.
    As Thomas mentioned, Photosynth is handy too.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down +4

    How about a good pdf viewer, like Goodreader. Its zoom and pan abilities on a flattened pdf are very good. PDFs on site.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down -19

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    I used to snap site photos with the 1st gen iPhone and then had to apologise to people I sent the pics to because the quality was terrible. The original iPhone was a complete POS and way behind the curve in terms of the quality of the hardware. Its still the case. really the only thing going for the iPhone is the “idiotproof” OS.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Agree 100%. i love all of these. (especially Paper (best drawing) and Morpholio (best portfolio))
      ArchDaily should consider a second list. (Instagram? really? this is some unique discovery!)

  7. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    You missed out on Architonic. It’s a great app for project reference as well as materials and providers…

  8. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    AUTODESK-360 – A best place to store your design files and renders.

    MAGIC PLAN – A handy map to capture corners of a room and measure the distance. Fun part is that this app automatically generates floor plans once all corners are captured. These plans can be exported to acutocad.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I love to use my SpinCam to capture the whole room…360 degrees in one image. I’m surprised this wasn’t listed…

  10. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    I’m wanting to be an architect too. But first I want to see how much it cost to be one. Or how good of a education I would get in a certain college. So I recommand getting my town 2 or simcity. NOT I’m actually looking for an app for my iPod right now. Ha fooled Ya!

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    great apps… don’t think that I am making money out of this one but Evernote its a great app design by a friend, very well done and great graphics for beam calculation.

    Angela West

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Has anyone heard of an application called “agira”? (I may not be spelling that correctly)
    I’m meeting with an architectural firm on Monday and the IT director mentioned that it’s what they have on their servers. What is it?

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