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Creo vs. Solidworks vs. Inventor


Creo vs. Solidworks vs. Inventor

I feel like I need to vent a little, so I was hoping to get a discussion started as to why Creo has any advantage over the other popular 3D CAD modeling systems. I want to like this product, I really do, but right now, I feel like I am being forced to learn a dying system. Creo will not survive if they do not change the way things are done.


I am new to Creo (6 weeks), but I have used Inventor for the past 3 years. In my opinion, there is no comparison between the two. Inventor is significantly better than Creo in pretty much every single way I have been using the system.


Component Modeling:

Creo is completely unintuitive. For the novice trying to obtain a grasp on this program, it is next to impossible without a significant amount of training from PTC. This is probably part of their business plan because truthfully, their documentation and training programs are superior to the software itself. It seems like the designers of this software have had no personal experience using a system. The user interface is obviously a copy of what Autodesk has been doing - the Ribbon UI. However, they have failed at the ease and convenience that Inventor provides and it seems like their employees do not understand why they are programming their product in this way.


Right clicking for everything is a nuisance. The commands should be explicit. Once a command has been initialized, it should state what is needed to accomplish a successful feature. When I hover over some of the commands, it's as if the programmer just did not understand the point of what he/she was trying to create. For instance if you hover over swept blend, the information contained says "create a swept blend". Inventor shows a preview of what the function actually does in a quick movie if you hover over it, plus it provides a link to learn further information and even provides an exercise showing explicitly how to use the function and what must be defined for the function to work. PTC expects that you just know that you need to add certain references without actually telling you that you need it. For instance, the rotate feature needs a centerline (should be able to use any datum axis) which you then need to right click and define it as the rotational axis. If you try to do this through the message box, it will not work. There is no documentation in the help file saying this needs to be done. My anger continues to grow.


Also, patterning complex features is pretty much a null exercise, since it takes Creo 20 minutes to regenerate the model. I have never experienced this with Inventor. Their software updates automatically after a function is confirmed. There is no need to repaint/regenerate.



The constraint system seems to have a mind of its own. After applying an angle constraint just this morning, and the preview showing the correct orientation, after confirming, the model just sort of reversed the direction and tilted on another axis which was untouched. I know it's difficult to picture this. But just picture me wishing that Creo was tangible and that I could soak it in Ethanol and watch it burn a slow painful death.


That's enough.


Please provide some insight as to why this program is any good at all. I need to like it. I want to like it. I have to like it. But right now, it is the bane of my existence. Some of the simplest commands that I try to initiate do not work as intended. There are way too many idiosycrasies that 'just have to be known' through experience. There is no way that someone could just hop on this program and start using it. However, with Inventor, they have actually put work and research into making their product user friendly. So much so that at my previous position, I could educate a technician in a day or two and they are off and running producing components, assemblies, and even drawings.


Please help me think of Creo as a helpful tool instead of a hinderence and outdated piece of garbage.


Thanks for your help.






172 REPLIES 172

Funny thing is...I tried to tell them, but how they have their Case Logger and eSupport Portal set up, I do not have access to tell them these things since I don't have administrative rights to the SCN (which is further proof of this whole ecosystem being terrible).

I could go through my CAD admin, but he is already well aware of how I feel about this system. He hears my euphemized WTF!!! each time it crashes as his cube is adjacent to mine.

I really tried to like it and have gone through hoards of online tutorials, but I just cannot deal with a program that seems to hate me for some reason. It can't handle how fast I go through's always stalling or unresponsive, or just gives me a fatal error message.

'Maybe I'll like it tomorrow.' That's what I have to keep telling myself.

Wow. The way PTC released Creo with all the pomp and circumstance, I was really hoping it would be a great thing. I'm still on WF5 but we're thinking of moving to Creo 2 soon. After reading all this, I'm hoping we stay on WF5 for a while longer...


Big words, nice looking package and customers' hopes/wishes that new product will solve their problems and frustrations, is what sells the product. Like I said before, software is the only product you can start selling before it's even finished.

Currently, we have an issue with Creo when one workstation cannot open the part, even you can select it in File-Open window,, while other stations can open the same file just fine. Also, it loks like Creo has mind of its own. You get used to something in one way and then all of sudden you cannot do it that way and you have to find new way.


For seasoned users, it is not nearly as bad as all that. Yes, you need to relearn pretty much all the commands in where to find them and where to find your prompts... if there are any. Face it, advanced functions have -always- been criptic! This is not a Creo induced issue.

But I have to admit, after nearly a year, I've ventured a lot further in Creo than I would have in earlier versions.

If all you do is make sheetmetal or machine parts and assemblies, literally any version of Pro|E will work just fine. When you start to stray from the fray, so to say, you might like Creo after a while.

Again, the stipulation for "seasoned users" is a significant distinction here because you already know the limitations of the software. These have not changed. There is a much steeper learning curve if you're coming from another platform all together.

As for stability, the Creo 2.0 releases have been very stable. I've lost a file to corruption that I traced back to using images as 3D underlays, I still have license issues on occasion, and the learning connector fails every so often on a Java update. But if your hardware is robust (read: approved), it seems to work much better today than Creo 1.0 F000 did. My workstation is a Dell M6600 laptop with the Nvidia 3000M. Graphics drivers is another story... Just don't update to the Nvidia drivers, only Dell drivers seem to work correctly.

And for a user to not have access to CS is -criminal-! I don't know how this works but every user should have access to the support pages. Without that, problems will never be vetted. And you have to drive these issues. CS does everything they can to -not- have to report a problem. Somehow it either reflects on them or it is simply too difficult to get a SPR submitted. Regardless, I don't let issues drop. If it is a problem, I need a solution. So if your company policy it to drive issues through an IT guy, make it happened. But I highly recommend reconsideration of this policy. There are already too many layers between you and a solution.

Thanks for the response Antonius...very in depth.

I have calmed down a bit from this morning after speaking with a nice woman from eServices who sent my everpresent qualms to the Global Support team and set up a case for me with a Tech Support engineer.

I am driving on a Dell 4600 with an Nvidia 1000M (which should be approved). I am hoping that the Tech Support engineer is able to modify my configuration or settings so that it does not have these recurring issues.

If the Global Support team reads my frustrations and suggestions for improvement, I am hoping that the next release becomes more of a friend than a foe.

Maybe I'll like it tomorrow.

Hello Bart,

Wait a minute, It seems that you are so angry with CREO because it crashes so aften, am I right?

So if that is the case something is not right with your machine. I do not have an "approved" machine to run CREO but as I mentioned before once I ran the fix my pc software CREO has not crashed again ( 3 or 4 months ago). I can not tell you why ( I am not an IT guy) but it is something with windows that of course PTC must be aware of.

I have a Toshiba QOSMIO X505 18.7 inch screen, so it is designed for gaming not for enginnering software but is doing well so far.

I can tell you that just with the basic training for CREO will let you know the way it works or at least it worked for me.

Look my point is that we must "unlock" our mind to understand the softwares work. It could be thought but there is not other way.

I use to develop firmware for MICROCHIP microcontrollers in assembly code then I had to develop firmware for SAUER PLUS1 controllers and displays. They work different but inputs are inputs, digital is digital or analog is analog no matter what manufacturer does it

I hope this view points give you another picture of the issues.


Hi Antonio,

I actually put a ticket in with the service department to have them configure my computer like they did for yours. It was actually due to your post that I requested the assistance, but I have not yet met my place in their queue.

And when I go to Creo, I leave notions of all other softwares or methodologies behind and use what was taught in my basic instruction class. I have also gone through numerous online eLearning modules.

The gripe is not only the crashing (which should be fixed soon), but also the feature flow. I know that I will excel at it one day, but it's taking entirely too long in my opinion (because most of it is not straightfoward). But, each day I need to use it, I give it another chance not thinking of anything that happened previously. Monday was not a good day, but I'm back at it today trying to implement some of the knowledge acquired through the eLearning and putting it to use towards NPD.

My high hope is that a few months from now, I can finally say I like, or hopefully 'love' Creo. It's just that right now, I am feeling the opposite. I am trying to convince the powers that be to let me attend PTC Live Global because I know I will learn a plethora of useful tips and tricks and be surrounded by people with a positive attitude towards the software with numerous examples of how helpful and how much better it is than all of the other CAD packages available.

So, the hope is still alive...

THIS is what I am talking about. HOPE, that some miracle will happen, keeps people buying newer software releases. Maybe you'll have to pay a few bucks to get in, but there is no way out ...

Hi Bart,

I have just read through this whole stream of posts from your original back in November.

Like Josh I said Wow! Also like Josh I am a dinosaur from being on ProE (R14) in '95 and sometimes ProE/Creo still frustrates the heck out of me. I am on a Technical Committee for on section of the software and it is interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes to the extent we are allowed to see.

We are still on WF5 and hoping to go to Creo 2.0 in a month or so.

Like many of the old timers I remember the pre WF UNIX based Menu Manager though perhaps not with the degree of rosy glow fondness. I knew it and my fellow users knew it but to get any new person up to speed was long and difficult. I had a rant on our move from R2001 to WF2 where I took a real productivity hit for up to 3 months but from then on I have preferred WF. My biggest gripe since then was that WF was never fully implemented even with the change to Creo (still Menu Manager Commands exist). It was easier to train people in WF. Also in WF the power of the Extrude and Revolve features making or cutting solids or surfaces was great and still is. That was always a huge drawback in pre-WF as if you went down the wrong menu path then all that work was gone

Some of the newer functionality in Creo, more specifically 2.0, looks good though I am not looking forward to the Ribbon interface. Somebody mentioned the search function and that works well. The comment about knowing older commands was relevant too though. As for increased productivity it will take a bit to dial in the configurations and settings to make it as good as it can be for us but initially there will be some drawbacks. As I was told for AutoCAD 2.5 "It is infinitely customisable" to which my response was "I just want it to freaking work" so you can see that the more things progress the more they stay the same.

What can I say? It is a complex tool with which you can do powerful things in a stable way (and if you insist in some less stable ways). You can make it sing if you want and we certainly try to have it belting out. Basic features seem to be very easy for people to pick up. Could I do my work in some other 3D CAD system? I would if I had to and you can bet anything you like I would be majorly frustrated at whatever that was.

And as a finale the crashing has to be some conflict thing if your hardware is in the approved listing and I would be doing anything I could to get that sorted out. As far as I can see Creo 2.0 (I have M020) has been stable for all my testing.

Regards, Brent

I have been using Inventor for the past 4 years. In the mean time I ahve used a little bit of Solidworks.

Now I am using Creo 2.0 for about 3 months...

For 3D, Creo seems ok to me. it has some more functions to modulate in solid. In the surfaces the is something that I miss, that is the surfaces in transparency.

In the assembly Inventor it's A LOT superior in my opinion. PTC NEED TO WAKE UP!!!!!!. Where are the design acelerators? Chain transmission? Belt transmission? Involute spline transmission? and this get worst when you do not have lybrary!!!... In my opinion Creo2.0 in the assembly it's no good.

Drawing: Inventor it's a lot superior too. More intuitive. Easy to get dimensions, On Creo there is alot of mid clicking. And the right menu from the older versions (pro-engenieer) keeps on showing... And whe are in 2013 not in the 90's...

Resuming For the 3d Creo seems ok. It's little bit better compared to inventor or solidworks. In the 2D, assembly, there is a lot to do. My opinion.

Best regards

Where are the design acelerators? Chain transmission? Belt transmission? Involute spline transmission? and this get worst when you do not have lybrary!!!... In my opinion Creo2.0 in the assembly it's no good.

you don't need design accelerators,you got mathcad or excel analysis for that,it's just that you have to prepare design in that first, not easy but that's how creo rolls i guess.

there is a belt function in mechanism.

if everything is like light,creo is like darkness,darkness has already reached there where light is arriving now,i mean to say it's not like PTC has made creo devoid of any tool, they have made everything in it.

Lately, my system has been running like garbage, but I'm sure it's a "Windburn" issue as it crashes when I try and do any check in's etc. I can count on it crashing at least 2-4 times a day. Not happy at all. Pro/E was by far the most stable on the Unix box I had ('96-'98), and has progressively gotten worse over the years. windburn is a certifyable nightmare. whoever thought it was a good idea to run a vaulting system over the LEAST stable platform in the world, the internet, should be tarred and feathered.

Yes, the Menu Manager might have been a little dificult for some, but it was totally consistent and made sense. The WF GUI does not. the "lead vs. follow" mentality is absurd, you never know what to do first as it varies from command to command. The old MM was logical, and all the same. Creation commands went here, modification commands went there. I will say the WF interface is a lot better than the nightmare that is the creo interface......

I have been using Creo now for 9 months and find it the most awful package I have ever used in my 22 year experience. I am a Soliworks 12 year user and astonished by the way in which this system works.

I find that most mechanical CAD systems effectively allow you to build a prototype within the model and essentialy produce a working model from your design.

Just grab stuff and move it around, almost like it's in front of you.

I find this daily, that you build your model in CAD and do not prototype on the shop floor. it works nearly first time, every time.

The company I am working at are building prototypes that you would have seen, quite simply do not work in SolidWorks. They then prototype the manufactured prototype, to find it doesn't work 3 months later.

This is working in the past to me, I thought we had advanced mechanical design software now a days?

Creo/PTC works on the old business model where everything is insanely difficult/complicated/or doesn't work. They will charge you for extra modules like BOM, Parametrics or Relations between parts in assemblies, if not PCBs and even export files like SolidWorks, IGES or STEP.

You will need training at every aspect of everything you do come basic modelling, to detail, which in my mind hardly ever works, period.

Old fashioned way is that you always have a guy that knows stuff in the office, a CAD guy, with a workaround to achieve what you should have been able to do in the first place.

Creo is 90% not doing work as a mechanical designer, 10 % productivty.

Solidworks is 90% productivty, 10% worrying about CAD.

Do the math.

And it cheaper.

I know it has pitfalls over the history based system, but they have nailed most of these issues with wizards and diagnostics. With direct modelling (which SolidWorks already has, only design intent), I understand the benifit but I cannot see how a tiny function of a CAD system can decide your entire solution to a mechanical advanced CAD solution.

SolidWorks is quite simply amazing.


before making such statements...try using Creo(Pro|Engineer) properly. the only reason solidworks was that it could be more user friendly than Pro/Engineer.....

Pro/Engineer is the backbone of Solidworks......

Pro/E is very easy to use...very logical..........

the assembly in solidworks is very bad......

i am not too happy with the way Creo has come up..but its predecessor...Pro| good.

You do not know how to use it do not blame it in on Creo(Pro/Engineer).

its never how fast you can make something..its always how fast you can make changes...

Hi There,

I apologise to vent but I am talking about Creo Elements/Direct . I have used Pro/E only once, so cannot give opinion there.

I find this very hard to use, and to make changes to model or assembly, very difficult and confusing.

I want to like this product, and am having some training over the next month, so maybe my viewpoint will change somewhat! I hope so.

I fiind Creo E/D has got a great direct modelling approach, but I find the Co-Pilot seems to give unexpected results and I am never sure if it has performed the task in hand correctly, and having to double check if it has done the previous operation correctly.

Still, I may be a Creo Enthusiast yet?!




I have good news for you. Creo Parametric is a world apart from Creo Elements/Direct.

Personally, I had a really tough time with the workflow in Creo Elements/Direct.

There is a really huge following of people that love Creo Elements/DIrect who will most likely, rant and rave how terrible Solidworks and Creo Parametric are.

There is really no way that I could hate this software any more. I knew from day one it was a giant turd, but it has really been proving itself to me over the past several months.

If there is any way for you to use a product that does not completely s*ck, I would recommend it.

Go back to WF4, you'll like it better. It's much more efficient with fewer bugs.

Hi I would agree with you.

Unfortunatly, i think the only way to "fix" this is a job application.

We have a setup, where by combining

1) vb. Project manager, to create custom project specifik's.

2)A Real Mess of AutoIt scripts.

3)Some REAL nasty Excel scripting.

4)The internal Mapkeys

We have a system thats at least a little more helpfull, than Std. Crapo.

Still i would set my time use as.

30% work, being creative

70% fighting Creo

Now yesterday, my car lock remote broke.

So i powered up inventor for the first time in 2 years.

Made a model.

Cut i in half.

Created a shell.

Made a boss, for a screw/bolt ( the first time i have ever used that function)

Made a joining edge( again a first use of this tool)

Not ONCE did the model requere redrawing.

Not ONCE did i have to look at how to use the software.

So my question ?

Anyone for a mech. eng, with expertise in cad/robot/plc/windows programming in the esbjerg area of Denmark ?

Hi Bart!

I don't think there's a real question here, but i will try to give a good answer from a " maybe " question.

I prefer learning 6 months to drive a Ferrari that 3 days to learn to drive a Fiat 500.

PS: I have nothing against Fiat!

creo or pro/e has upper hand in " in context designing" or otherwise known as top down approach,these days most of the cad is related to making something which is already seen or materialized,if someone want to design something from scratch he/she won't think about nuts and bolts first and then make profile.

general process is thinking about outside profile that's where creo scores in,making skeleton models etc.

in todays scenerio most of the parts are already known and seen and stress is on barfing it out form of 3D models and that's where creo loses badly.

it employs strict discipline to learn its ways.

having said that

and message prompts in pro/e must be written by some 90 years old woman suffering from severe case of dementia.


What a depressing situation, and here's another one. It took me about 6 months to get marginally competent on ProE, and about 3 days to learn Solidworks. I used ProE for about a year before switching to SW, and will never go back. Unfortunately, my company has now switched from ePDM (Solidworks PLM) to Windchill. What a step backwards from a $20K system cost to a $140K system cost. I just spent the last 6 weeks transferring 877 prt, asy and drw files to Windchill and we still don't have the BOM right. I counted 22 mouse clicks, drags, etc just to associate each pdf file to the Windchill 'part'. I learned and practiced designing and drafting on the drawing board, then went to CADAM, which automated laying down the lines. About 10% of the time was spent on file and BOM management, now it seems to be more like 50%.

My advice? Find another job. Use Solidworks paired with SW PDM. Don't look back.


guess u never learned proe the right sorry.

a very very small do we rename a solidworks part file?

how do we retrieve a older version of a part file in solidworks?

the complete solidworks software has proe as its backbone....

when solidworks was being written..they had proe as reference(parametric modelling)

when proe was written there was no reference(parametric modelling) software...

there is no doubt..solidworks is much easier to use....but then which is better doubt..abt it also ..proe always.

It's easier to learn how to drive a Chevette than a Corvette. Me, I'd rather have the added power Pro/E has over the limited power SW has. I used SW for about 6 months, got good at it, and hated using it. I just didn't have the tools I needed.

Of note, I have 2 new Engineers I'm helping in Pro/E, having previously been SW guys......and guess what? With the right instruction, they like it BETTER. They keep telling me they're seeing tools and features SW flat doesn't have.

So, if you like your SW, great, keep using it. But when you want to step up from drawing with crayons........


Well, youre proberbly right.

Its not the software, its that im incompatible.

Thats what the support guys told me.

I have installed it wrong (they were guiding me)

I have configured it wrong ( they revied the config's)

I have the wrong approach to using it. ( but they cant tell me where im going wrong)

Now my problem is.

The models/assemblyes that fail, are not flawed, as per the support.

Now of course we can create them differently, to get to the goal.

But THIS method worked on 3 models already, Whats the difference to the fourth ?

Why am i not supposed to make THIS model, the way i learned on the Creo course ?

The workflow of a LOT of things are like black magic.

You press here, wave the mouse there, click here. and so on. until you at long last, find out you missed something, or.. to my suprise, it works.

The workflow is really click intensive, movement intensive, and its hard to get an acurate description of what to do.

Then lack of macro language. Can be helped by getting either Java, or going.

Unfortunatly no one we, or the support know of, can.

Trying to understand the docs, gives a bit of an idea of WHY creo is as it is.

I have tryed following the manual.

I have tryed having a couple of programmers i know follow the manual.

I have given up, installed AUTOIT, and told my people to keep the hands clear of the keyboard while its working.

Dont get me wrong.

For surface fiddeling Creo is proberbly fine.

For mechanical things, hanging from cranes.

I would like a software, that just works.

Software, that can actually do a pattern, without failing nr 14 or 16.

I have part, weighing more, than the assemblyes their included in.

I have parts, that refuse to calculate mass.

I have parts that cannot be repaired, and that even the support line is at a loss explaining.

I have used support more the last 2 years, than i have for 15 in Inventor, and while they normaly can fix, this single model, they cannot explain to me what im doing wrong.

We are talking about a software, that lets you save a "green" model, and next morning its in pieces.

And now for the worst of it.

The users comming from WF, actually think its a step UP ????


I know of companies redrawing YEARS of back catalouge from Pro -> Inv. in Months.

Using the same Pro/E Trained staff, using the time they had to spare, once they got rid of this abbomination.

But Anyway.

I think ill get a job, working in crayons, with a program, i dont have to configure every 5 minutes.

Where a failure of the program to work, is fixed by a service pack, not by new procedure/workaround.

Where there is a base for expanding the program, with intelligent macro languages.

Where i can be creative, constructive and who knows. Have fun working as a mech eng. again

Unfortunatly that means i have to stop working, for one of the nicest bosses i have ever had.

a guy i really admire.

I really would like to learn to like to use this, to be able to stay.

One question i got at the job interview for this job.

"Do you think you can learn to work in pro ?"

i thougt well of course.

I know now.. I was wrong :'-(

BTW one thing i DO love.

The replace, by unrelated pairing dialog.

I have to either do one for my self, or find out how Inv. does this more effectively

Epic Response - too perfect.

This software is garbage no matter how you spin it. It is the most frustrating, flaky, unintuitive 'tool' I could ever imagine.

I think you're right. there's no use in learning this program - look at PTC stock prices vs. ADSK or DASTY.

This software is officially the Blackberry of the CAD world.

yes its the worst software available in the market.....solidworks is way better...inventor is even better....

it is simple black magic for some major companies that use Pro/E..and these are big companies....they should look for extremely good software..or may be inventor ..pretty good one too..

Pro/E ....these guys they don't know anything....

speaking about me..on Pro/E for 8 years now.....may be its black magic..that i am still using Pro/E....

Sorry, im all out of breath.

Just sad, thinking about sitting here.

Letting my family be home.. Without me.

While im fighting Creo.

Every time i start a project, i say. Do i have to hurry, or use Creo.

And he says "You have to hurry, AND use Creo)

The main reason of course being, that he wants it so he can finish it, if someone runs from their seat.

Now i Know i sound like a little princes

I know i sound like a spoiled brat.

But what do you want to work with, knowing you have to hurry


Hello all

Try to make tangent cut to the side in SolidWork or in Inventor.

Software consultant for PTC products.