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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

No problem for me doing that on inventor...

I am not saying that Creo is not powerfull program but obviolusly it runs on Fiat 500 tires.

Does Ferrari pulls your steering wheel full turn while you driving? Does it brakes when not needed or not brake at all when needed. Or does it start on its own or does not start when you want it to start. Bad comparation but a lot of frustrated Creo users feels like this when they use/drive this "Ferrari".

I found out that Creo programmers work in groups and they do not have any crossover between each other. Can you believe this? They do whatever they feel is the best or easiest for them. NO STRANDARDIZATION whatsoever. That is why the filter list is different in part and assembly mode. And this is why you cannot make same mapkey work in part and assembly mode because they listed filter items in different orders and mapkey can only call the filter by its relative position in filter list. Or, who the hell wants to place normal constraint first instead of once-called MATE constraint? How normal contraint can be anyones' first option? What these guys from PTC are thinking while making codes for this csoftware?

At LEAST this thread shows me im not crazy.

Thx. That makes my days somewhat better.

Danielo.. i would bet, that most of the people working as programmers, have NO idea what they are programming for. NO clue how to work in Creo.

I worked at a place, where we had a CAD admin, that didnt have any clue as to what my department did.

When we worked on large assemblies, the RAM use went through the roof.

He couldnt reproduce. Not even using 10.000 complex part.

We found out the problem, was that his parts used less than 10 m^3 of volume.

My plant was 400x400 m.

The real problem, was that there was a bounding box, around the used space, and all that volume had to be stored and monitored.

Now our solution.. Xp-64. That gave us enough adressable memory, so that everything worked.

But getting this across to the Cadmin, was a real pain, because he just wouldnt realize the difference between what we used daily, and what he tested.


i think thats the main problem.

The programmers nibble away on ONE command. Not having to use it.

lets see them trying to create the next space shuttle, in 1/4 the time the first one was done in.

THEN we would see efficient, simple tools. Instead of the complex, MEGA configurable ones we see.


Older Ferraris, were prone to faillure.

Needed to be taken care of like small children.

Ate all your money

Needed specialised maintenece.

Only ran well, after some time.

And you werent shure, you would get to the destination on time

perhaps Creo IS a ferrari after all ?

My main problem in this topic is... Do we need help to get solutions or we say it sucks and keep it going?

I can remember several things that Creo does and other software don't but... does it really worth all of this?

Are the big companys changing to PTC products cause it's cheaper? Or instead they are changing cause the potencial of the product is huge and they can think in the future knowing that they have a good structure supporting them?

I really don't know...

To me, this is the classic Windows vs Linux argument. I'm an engineer with a computational background. CAE is what I do. I taught programming at the USU while a graduate student there. I'm quite apt with software - in fact, I wrote my own FEA code back in school. Here's what I've noticed as far as the old vs new...

My Windows buddies hate each new version (let's face it, only every other version of Windows is worthwhile - due to their market promises and deadlines), but they acclimatize to it quick enough. Linux guys, on the other hand, keep holding out for whatever update is next. They love the idea of them being able to customize everything. And frankly, it's fun. A little Python scripting never hurt anyone. However - when you work for a company, they're not paying you to learn software or to customize your own config files. They're paying you to generate product.

PTC feels like Linux to me. It has a strong community of people who are deeply rooted in it. They brag about the benefits, but seldom venture out to see what else was created. I used SolidWorks for a previous job, and am wishing my current company would switch to that or to Inventor.

PTC is so far removed from their new customer base, it's like they're writing software for the 1980's.

Hi Eli.

I think youre a bit unkind.

I dont think Creo is like linux in general.

I think Creo is like Gentoo linux.

You know, the Linux, that takes 3-4 days to install, because you have to decide if you want this or that log program and so on.

Most linuxes eg: Ubuntu, Mint, Redhat(havent tryed since v.5), Suse( havent Used since v 10) are plug and play, "Just work" kind of things.

So i dont think Creo is like linux. Linux can be made to work !


I too agree that PTC is far removed from it's customer base.

I have a feeling that a large portion of it's backwardsness is because it needs to be able to open and modify model files built from it's even more backwards beginning of the software.

The only reason our group is onboard with Creo is because it allows tangency controls to all surfaces and solids. It also has a good working feature tree that allows adjustments to previously modeled geometry.

Solidworks is not capable of the surfacing we need, otherwise we would be using Solidworks. There will be a day when they or other software will figure this true need out. I would prefer to see PTC figure out their lack of a handshake with real CAD users first. There are other examples of CAD software that refused to listen to it's user base due to the notion of it's own superiority, and it didn't go well for them. PTC needs to catch up sooner rather than later.

As a new user I was very happy to just release a job that I know I could not have done with our other CAD software. This would be a real success story if not for the fact that it took 10 times longer for me to build the parts. There are so many extra hoops you have to jump through in order to get to the finish line.

PTC please listen.

22-Sapphire I

Good point Paul. You'd think PTC would realize this because it was founded by Ex-CV (ComputerVision) software guys if I remember. And we all know how THAT turned out. For reference, I started training on CV in about '84. It SUCKED, basically almost impossible to learn or use. We ended up with both CV and new seats of AutoCAD (v2.18), and we shortly dropped CV in favor of A/C because it flat WORKED. Also, because CV was so expensive, and was always crashing.

Is PTC now in the same boat CV was? Almost. I think it's telling that all the new Engineers we hired, and all the schools we use to do programs with use Solidquirks. PTC does NOT support colleges with free software and support, and that will end up sinking them because everyone in the workforce from college will soon be SW guys.


Our 1st hand experience with CAD that failed to realize their need for change was the Anvil software. They were pioneers of CAD. They could have stayed in the driver's seat, but they failed to improve their product in critical areas such as rotating parts. They also couldn't make the solid's transition. Their surfacing was top rate, but building something surface by surface was very painful.

From moving to Creo I see much of the same pain of a product that is rooted in it's past and not able to transition out. I get the same feeling of we are too exclusive to really change.

I would actually like to see PTC build a ground up software built on it's rock solid package of solid and surface creation using their parametrics instead of a direct modeler. Something that could import in legacy pro E data, but ridding the need to be stuck to the same archaic programming with their existing modeling tools.

Oh sweet! CV was my 1st exposure to 3D mechanical CAD as well.. CADDS4X.

I was at Intel and the program was well administrated. We had 3 seats, a qualified instructor/administrator, and engineer for modeling and a drafter for detailing (me). Had I -not- started there, I would have had no benchmark to speak of. It was actually a very robust system if the 12" disk platters didn't crash on a regular basis. But that was a hardware issue, not the code. At the time we used ANSI Y14.5 extensively. Not once did I have a complain with the drafting package. If -only- PTC could have remained that solid supporting standards over the years.

I know this thread has gotten long in the tooth, but I've said it before and I will continue to say it; my short time on SW proved that even that package just plain dumps out of the application out of the blue, repeatedly. There is no silver bullet... and we who persevere on whatever system our employers choose to throw at us, well, we have food on our table. Of course, you can pursue other avenues. I chose to remain on Pro|E and I've worked on many other. They all have their good, bad, and ugly side.

Good points @Antonius.

Use what you got and push it to its limits.

I have equal time experience with ProE Wildfire, Creo Elements, and Inventor.

I have unequal success in completing tasks with PTC products, Inventor works for the user whereas PTC products forces the user to jump through fire hoops.

Far to many mouse clicks and interferences are involved.

Crashes are abundant with a very high end and compliant desktop computer.

I like my job and plan to remain here for many years, but the Creo Elements mill stone around my neck is annoying.

Bjarke, your experience with Creo sounds like mine with SW. SW is easy, but unstable and very difficult to get it to repeatedly do what I want. I typically try particular geometry one way, it won't work, so I try another method and it does. Later, some part of the model changes and the new way fails and I have to rebuild it the first way I tried. Features lose references all the time, many times the reference is still there, but the connection is broken. I have many models where I know if I change anything a particular feature is going to fail in a particular way.

With Creo, I can make it sing, make major changes to dimensions and the model regenerates. I can build faster in SW, but I can make changes over and over in Creo in the time it takes to make one or two in SW.

I've found that SW is much more tolerant of "sloppy" modeling, even encouraging it. I don't mean that disparagingly, just that it's built for speed and you pick the geometry that's handy to get your feature done. It's fast, so if it fails later it's fast to fix or recreate. SW often doesn't even tell you what feature references belong to, only calling them out as "plane1" or "edge1".

Creo punishes sloppy modeling. It's built to reward careful, deliberate choices. It gives your feature and entity ids so you can tie things together that belong together. It gives robust tools to replace references without completely redefining or recreating the failed feature. In SW, if I spend the time to build carefully, I'm not rewarded with a significantly more stable model. In Creo I am, to the point that if I build carelessly it gets very painful to make changes.

I realize that terms like "sloppy" and "carelessly" sound like insults, I don't mean them to be. It's two different philosophies - one is speed of creating and recreating, the other is capturing design intent and robust, easy changes as a result. The first is easy to grasp and appreciate, the second takes some time to wrap your head around.

SW users that come into Creo trying to drive it like SW end up very frustrated. I've watched several, however, dive in and get the philosophy behind it and come away as converts. I much prefer Creo, I feel that it lets me define what I'm after and accomplish it. SW lets me build geometry fast, Creo lets me build a robust design.

Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

Well that goes into my opinion, once you get the philosophy it's going to be much more easy to work with Creo. We can't work with Creo thinking that " i will do like this because in sw that would work " because you will have nightmares in the future. We only have to choose the correct features to do the correct work.

I am contemplating a new position that uses NX.

And I am looking back at my experience in NX.

Interesting thing... that experience is unremarkable!

And that is a good thing.

As for Creo, there are a lot of little things PTC could have done over the years with nearly every command.

Some they improved, and some they replaced with a half backed replica.

Speaking solely about Creo, as a long time user; Creo -should be- a whole lot more than it is.

Yet, PTC decided their business model was to create optional extensions for what should have been included in the core product. That - is my only gripe about Creo ...that and the half-baked candy cane UI wrapper.

However, I see little comment on the detailing side of these 3 products. Again, NX was unremarkable in my mind, yet Creo is pretty much the very same as Pro|E 18, 19, 2000i. One improvement over the years... shaded views. I see this as neglect.

I'm with Rohit on this. My old 2000i seat simply worked. The only crashes I had was from over-clicking and locking up the works. Power or not, it was what I trained myself to use and I made a good living at it. Modeling discipline is not required in Pro|E but very helpful for creating sustainable models. And like so many others, I really did like the old XTOP interface. It was efficient and organized.

It is funny how this thread is likely the largest, longest, and most viewed thread on the forum. And even for my own comments, it just keep going around and around. It doesn't even have a real point to make. But the nostalgia of it all is intriguing.

But to sum up this post, I -am- glad that I can open models I created 15 years ago without issue in Creo 2.0 and continue where I left off. That is in fact a major feat. PTC does deserve kudos for that.

Quite simply it's these products whether wildfire or creo by all accounts are terrible. I'm a long standing Autodesk user and used Inventor from the 2008 release forward. I have never used a piece of software that infuriates me more than WF5. The most user unfriendly design software I've used to date.

Unfortunately I have no choice but to use the software, the unfortunate thing is I now hesitate at the thought of concept design as I know I will have to interact with it. For a product designer that is a bad situation.

I don't pretend to know how to fix it, all I know is.. Inventor is extremely easy to use, you have more intuitive commands from the buttons in all workspaces, the interface is easy to use, and the end product looks 100% better..

Although this post obviously seems extremely negative, the positive is I'm not the only one who thinks this, clearly, so with any luck stuff will change.


There are too many issues that require the end user to make WF or Creo work with or for the user.

Tweaking pro.config, materials database that should allready be good to go, and the list goes on and on.

I to have to use this tool to pay the bills, sort of like a black smith using a rubber mallet...

I have use SW few times and it did not like to me....

so These days I have a full design of an offshore unit which needs a lot of FEA. I am using CREO SIMULATE to run he analisys and It works just great.

I can not stamp the analisys that I do so a third party has to do it, however they use SW and guess what? they can not run the FEA for the full assembly, matter of fact thier analisys takes forever since SW uses the h method for the FEA.

CREO SIMULATE uses the adptive p method which is faster, automatically recognizes the assmeblies and set the proper conection when simulating.

after all I can show the full assembly simulated end everythig makes sense. in SW that is not possible or at least is not easy I think you need like 15 years of expertise to be able to do it.

so my point is that if you only care about modeling I guess even google sketch works, however if you want to do a serious job PRO/E or CREO is the right choice.

have a nice day

hi bart

first of all i am not a person who has like 5 or 10 yrs experience with cad

coming to the point after reading both of your posts, i agree that inventor is a self-guiding software and also provides an example for every tool or function. moreover it requires less steps/references in executing a function, ok that was good for inventor

and creo/proe lacks in guiding on how to use the tool (i actually laughed for a min over your "create a swept blend" remark).............but if you look closely how things are done in creo/proe, it helps u a lot in creating components afterwards.

for eg in a variable section sweep or blend or free form surface feature it requires well defined trajectories, sections,etc- optional tangencies can be applied, all of which is very time consuming but the final result you get is a ready to machine model with no errors or inaccuracy

i like this software because the way it presents things- the preview, the rerouting interface, the strong parametric ability which are better (we can rely on them) than inventor.

and who says making a pattern is difficult (the way it is done), you have to selected the desired references or input the required values

i agree that there are other softwares which make things happen with less effort

but you can never compare an apple with an orange

as far as ptc is considered,see we live in a world where everyone- company, institution, manufacturer would want maximum profit and business by whatever strategy, so we cannot blame ptc, rather they provide tech support with training and workshops

discussions always happen thats ok, if you want to learn how every operation is carried out in creo/proe buy a book- pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 for Engineers and designers by prof. sham tickoo

it will let you know about every feature

To me learning ProE was a horrendous experience. I learned on Wildfire 5.0 and on top of the illogical and unclear interface, there were numerous bugs that would make my computer crash very systematically. (My computer was spec'd by PTC so my hardware was not the issue). These bugs were so consistent that I actually changed the way I programmed a part knowing that if I had done it differently it would have resulted in a crash.

With the computer revolution in full swing and 90 year olds using computers, tablets, sending emails running software with ease, PTC's software seemed to be stuck in the MS-DOS era. They require the user's knowledge and experience to provide a vehicle for getting functionality out of their software, which is very rare in today's age. Entire companies and fortunes are being created out of easy to use software, CLEAN and LIGHT.

I do however have to give credit to Creo and Creo 2.0 because for me it was a step in the right direction towards a cleaner lighter and more friendly interface. The above mentioned bugs which to me are simply unacceptable were fixed and I would say about 15% of the features had more or simplified functionality.

I am looking forward to Creo 3.0 because I believe they will do more of the same in improving their software. In short I believe the so-so system is getting smarter.

I have to admit my Solidworks experience (which did not include Manufacturing as it does in Creo) was simply on a much higher level. More like the software found on an Apple iPad, CLEAN and LIGHT. Now that I know the software (3years exp) I am pretty comfortable with it, however I find myself relying on more manual ways to program a part as opposed to letting Creo figure it out for me. Lot of sketching the tool path followed by trajectory features and patterns VS. volume milling features where Creo's algorithm creates the tool path.

You picked the absolute worst interface to start on, sadly. AND it's the buggiest release ever. WF4 was a much better, more logical interface, though I actually prefer the pre-WF interfaces. I for one don't like these new "whiz-bang" GUI's. Give me something that takes up minimal valuable screen space, and has logical drop-down menus, let me customize a high-contrast color scheme, and I'm happy.

My opinion about ProE / Creo is that is not business efficient software for too many reasons.

I am familiar with Solid Works, Inventor, UG and ProE/Creo – with CAD and FEA sections.

Shortly about ProE/Creo:

The Sketcher in ProE/Creo is not good enough for complicated relations and many times cannot solve the relations.

The Solid Modeling – edit a feature is nightmare in most cases, many times there are features with references not updated or lost without indication. Not rebuilding the model features even the references exist is common thing. Creating solid features by surfaces is favor by many experienced users, but the result is frustrating for editing or analysis.

Working with PreE/Creo Models for FEA is not possible in most cases – many features are with slivers, blend on the top of other, not merged surfaces, lines, and many gaps – horrifying experience with many hours of lost time. Efficiency is about 10%. Creo Simulation often cannot mesh Creo model. Transferring to Ansys is always done on the way, the model cannot be meshed. I always go through SpaceClaim to get a working model for analysis. Assembly simulation in Creo Simulation is not common and there is no example from PTC support about this.

Help during the solid modeling or a simulation is web based and very poor. Resources for learning are only though courses. DOS based interface is the main description of Creo. Even more – other product in the hands of PTC are transferred in the same dirty bucket – MathCAD from a friendly engineering tool after major rework is going into dead end by missing common features from frustrated users.

I use Creo because this is the available tool for wasting time and energy and is CAD that follow Black Berry’s phone path of business – from a pioneer to dinosaurs. Some others CAD changed – Algors is with brand new user interface in Autodesk compare with old DOS like interface like Creo. Changing the name of product from ProE to Creo to something else will not change the core performance of this product.

Christoff C, I somewhat agree with you, Creo's efficiency is not competitive, I sometimes bring my laptop to work to complete a task using my "outdated" 2012 Inventor.

"Changing the name of product from ProE to Creo to something else will not change the core performance of this product."

Here at work we laugh and scoff at the name chaning game, seems like someone is trying to sell Etch-A-Sketch under the guise of an "improved and getting better" CAD program.

Everyday I get pretty annoyed at Creo, and as you clearly pointed out, the user must enroll in classes to accomplish what can be self taught using other CAD that is simply intuitive.

Have you tried using the piping?

It's a real treat!

AutoCAD MEP does a superior job of routing many various types of tubing, piping etc...

we do a lot of work on Pro/e and are involved with big customers doing lot of stuff very efficiently with Pro/e...we are also not very happy with the way Creo has come up..but it is mainly due to the bugs in Creo..

i have been using solidworks for last three years..have to admit it is the easiest software to learn and work with..

and they have made lots of improvements going upto solidworks 2014..

i don't think there is any software you can learn without proper training...

and when there is proper pro/e there is not a better software...

The best part about pro/e is that it is very deep...the moment we start thinking that this or that cannot be done in pro/e ..that functionality is there..that's why i have been a big fan of pro/e...

just try to learn the software properly...they are different softwares..there are bound to be don't try to learn or work oin the pro/e the inventor or solidworks it the pro/e way...!

Creo is really powerfull software. No question about it. But, it looks like unfinished software to me. Trying to find a way to avoid some of the bugs or even to find a fix around it hurts my efficiency. Sometimes I feel I spend 10% on design and other 90% on trying to find workarounds. This week I had so many of these situations. It is not even funny anymore. And it is not only me who's frustrated, my co-workers are also. And I am not even a newbie.

the right answer is to every 3d software has own exclusively advantages over other software,you mustn't find a better job which is with respect to Mechanical Desing or product stucture design if you can't be familiar with the PROE/CREO in ShenZhen City in China

After +20 years experience I can say:

Inventor is a waste of time and effort for industrial engineering, might be of some interest for design projects in non-industrial environments (f.i. inventors of projects where manufacturing processes are not involved whatsoever). The name says it all...

SolidWorks has issues for reuse of complex assemblies. The versions I worked with were not 100% parametric. SolidWorks tries to sell this as a benefit, but for me it was a problem as I expect that parametric changes on one model will also affect all children and drawings automatically.

Creo was, is and always will be 100% parametric, but as a result it has a steeper learning curve than the former two. In my experience (apart from a bug here and there) in 99.9% of the cases, if there is a problem with Creo it is related to the user rather than the application.

If used wisely, Creo can be a real moneymaker. But this "if" is a very big one...

I worked 10 years with Autodesk Inventor, and then, switch job to a company that uses CREO 2.0 and Solid Works.

In this past 6 months, I used both CREO 2.0 and SW, changing from one to another because we have clients who have CREO and others SW.

From my point of view, CREO is superior to both Inventor and Solid Works to complex projects.

But, Assemblies and drawing of Inventor are better.And a very important aspect, the navigation.

Inventor's navigation is superior of both CREO and SW, and this is important part of the project routine...

Everyone cheers for his team. I don’t have one. If we are looking at Creo as CAD ONLY – it is superb. But is intended eventually to be something more, and in this part is very lagging. Enjoy the CAD system until the next improvement!

For all supporters of PTC – about PTC MathCAD Prime 1, 2, 3, 4 and so – Why the old MathCAD handbooks are gone, as VBA support as well? does not supply them anymore? Is this an enhancement of the product or degradation of good inherited MathCAD 14 product?

This is a very obvious trend for ProE to Creo, Mathcad 15 to Prime 3.0 and what else?

May I Please Have Your Attention?

I am an experienced Engineer in Aerospace, Medical and Auto having been fortunate to learn a few programs from ground up. Maybe your time should be better focused on helping to improve ALL of them! PTC, SW, Autodesk, etc.. If you loved your LAST CAD program then embrace the new and consider yourself better informed and more valuable. No time to learn? Then how can you really be an effective designer?

I feel as though we should ALL make them better. How? Something i think most have forgotten in this world. The masses will out way the few. Hmm i wonder what would happen if 500,000 Engineers all signed or endorsed a non-malicious, this is what we want or we will keep seeking till we get it system. We are the power! Imagine if PTC or SW or Autodesk were submitted a petition signed by thousands to request companies boycott them or demand they don’t pay maintenance until they fix or their software.

It can be done and it is the only way we can combat big corporations. In essence we need to strive for CAD systems to apply unilateral conformance and shared architecture so that any one system does not become a “we cannot change” due to legacy files.

I have never witnessed something in one design or software or product that I did not wish was in my own software or product. With social media especially prevalent, we have far more power of influence than you think. We just need assemble to demand the changes. We are all correct, less time learning the software in order to better the designs and manufacturing are the end goals!