Best Apps for Architects – Our selection for 2020


Best Apps for Architects – Our selection for 2020 | ArchiSnapper Blog

The time we have in this world is finite and it is our most valuable resource.

Unlike material things, you can’t lose time and get it back again. You can’t spend time and go earn more of it.

Seneca – a Roman Stoic philosopher – advises that we should treat our time with the same reverence we treat our material things. You wouldn’t give away your money without careful consideration, so don’t give away your time.

“We’re tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.” — Seneca

If — like so many other architects — you’re spending your time on things like being stuck in traffic, writing out field reports in Word, printing out drawings, and using paper notes to keep track of expenses or To Do’s … then keep on reading.

We’ve compiled a list of useful apps that will help you make the most of your time.

After all, you’re walking around with an architecture toolkit in your pocket. You need to harness the power of today’s technology by embracing the apps that are useful for architects — if you don’t, you’re throwing away hours each week.

We’ve done the heavy lifting for you: we’ve tested lots of apps for architects, we analyzed the reviews. We asked our architect community which apps they use and which they like best.

Here’s our updated list, with the 21 Best Architecture Apps in 2020:

  1. Best apps for CAD drawings & 3D Models
    AutoCAD mobile appBIMx | Autodesk FormItShapr3D | ARki
  2. Best apps for Floor Plan Creation
    magicplan | RoomScan Pro
  3. Best apps for Sketching
    Morpholio Trace Pro | Procreate | Concepts | Paper
  4. Best apps for tedious Admin tasks
    ArchiSnapper| TSheets | Hubstaff | Expensify
  5. Best Toolbox apps
    Sun Locator | Construction Master Pro App | Classic Toolbox apps
  6. Best apps for on the Road
    Waze | Pocket Casts
  7. Bonus
    Houzz | Freedom

Jump to Floor Plans | Sketching | Admin tasks | Toolbox | On the Road


Best apps for CAD drawings and 3D models


1 – AutoCAD mobile App 

Autocad Mobile | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Viewing, creating, and editing CAD drawings on mobile devices
WORKS ONiOS, AndroidWindows 10
PRICE | $5/mo – $50/yr (Premium) or $15/mo – $100/yr (Ultimate)

AutoCAD Mobile is a drawing and drafting app that enables you to view, create, edit, and share AutoCAD drawings on mobile devices. It’s a fitting extension to your AutoCAD desktop that lets you share plans across multiple platforms in the DWG format. When you use this app, you can forget bringing drawings to the site — and can use this instead to adjust measurements and annotate on the job. A poll in our architect community reveals that this is the #1 app for many architects.

Best apps for Architects - autocad - iPad screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Access drawings from your smartphone or tablet in the field or outside the office
  • Support for multiple layers to see more detail and contextual information than with paper drawings
  • Draft, edit, mark-up, and measure plans at the job site or on the go
  • Get updated drawings in AutoCAD when you get back to the office

Client reviews

“Autocad is what I like to say “a digital pen and paper”. It has infinite capabilities and is easy to learn. Usually, if I have a question I get on youtube or AutoCAD forums and I always find the best and easiest solution. It is the most widespread software on drawing so all know it or have it, and that helps if I want to connect with another person to just send the file and he can continue working on it or see it. It also uses only the ram of the pc so it works easily and does not need to buy a graphic card. You can draw on 2 or 3 dimensions, making it easy to do anything …”

“We can address discrepancies within the drawings between the trades and figure out where we have the problem. It allows for a certain amount of accountability for each designer within the firm and as potential exterior consultants.”


2 – BIMx 

BEST FOR | BIM presentation on mobile devices
WORKS ON | iOS and Android
PRICE | Free (BIMx) or $49.99 (BIMx PRO)

If you’re using ARCHICAD, then you should consider BIMx from Graphisoft, an app that allows architects to present or share designs with clients and contractors. The app offers full control of your BIM projects, with a cloud interface for working on site. BIMx helps bridge the gap between the design studio and the construction site, sparing you the misery that comes from printing out plans.

Best apps for Architects - BIMx - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Full access to any BIM content like 3D models, construction drawings, schedules, element or space information
  • All-round 3D cutaways
  • Hyper-model technology for integrated 2D and 3D building project navigation
  • Compatible with Google Cardboard VR, allowing a rich, immersive experience of building design on iOS and Android smartphones

Additional BIMx Pro features:

  • Live presentation with predefined model views
  • Smart measure on Layouts and in the 3D model
  • AirPrint and Google Could Print

NEW: BIMx Lab (iOS only)

BIMx Lab app delivers the next-generation 3D engine for BIMx. BIMx Lab aims to eliminate the BIM model size limit, prevalent on mobile devices and to collect user feedback for fine-tuning the technology for all BIMx apps.

As this is a beta version, BIMx Lab is free. In addition, you will have access to all the additional productivity functions of the paying BIMx Pro version. After the testing phase, the new BIMx Lab engine will be merged into BIMx.

Client reviews

“Makes communicating a new design concept to a client easier and in the end means less likelihood of delivering an end product that differs from their perception.”

“It is very easy to use. Allows a client to navigate themselves around their building on their own computer in their own time. Can be customized to set the style of view that the client sees. Can include hyperlinked drawings into the model so the client can flick between 3D and 2D views.”


3 – Autodesk FormIt

BEST FOR | 3D modeling software that enables sketching, collaborating, analyzing, and sharing early-stage design concepts from your phone or tablet
WORKS ON | Web, iOS
PRICE | Free (FormIt) or Paying (FormIt PRO)

Note: FormIt Pro is available only as part of the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection, which also includes Revit, Autocad and more.

While SketchUp has been all-dominating in this space, we see Autodesk FormIt, which offers intuitive 3D sketching in a web browser or mobile app, as a worthy contender. Conceptual design should drive BIM: With FormIt, you can begin the conceptual design (defining floor layers, orientation, building envelope, and floor plans), and once the design is settled, continue the working drawings process inside Revit. (When a conceptual design is in SketchUp, the geometry really isn’t going to work seamlessly in Revit.)

Best apps for Architects - Formit - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • The core functionality is free and includes the 3D sketching tools, advanced geometry, two-way connection to Revit, and the FormIt Converter for importing existing SketchUp files
  • Formit PRO comes with advanced features like integrated energy analysis, parametric conceptual design, real-time collaboration, customized design, and a Windows installed version
  • The FormIt and Dynamo Studio connection enables customized parametric content to be placed and manipulated in FormIt — which enables you to review numerous design options quickly before making decisions

Client reviews

“This Autodesk app is simply wonderful. The user that takes the time to learn it, will be highly rewarded. Keep in mind that the app will not replace the high-end 3D creation/visualization tools from Autodesk or others but will allow you to give basic shape to most architectural and even industrial design concepts. I use the app on my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil with great ease. Highly recommend.”

“I was pleasantly surprised by how simple FormIt is to use and navigate. FormIt is really cool, and I can see the benefit of sketching something onsite on your iPad. No other app that I know of can do this.”


4 – Shapr3D

BEST FOR | 3D modeling with Apple Pencil
WORKS ON | iOS
PRICE |Free (Shapr3D) or $31.99/mo – $239.99/yr (Shapr3D PRO)

Shapr3D is a 3D CAD app for Apple Pencil compatible iPads. The app’s reimagined modeling interface lets architects quickly sketch concepts with Apple Pencil as they would on paper before transforming them into 3D shapes with an intuitive toolset.

Shapr3D runs on Siemens™ Parasolid™, the same geometric modeling kernel as Solidworks, guaranteeing industry-leading power.

The software is compatible with all major desktop CAD software.

Best apps for Architects - Shapr3D - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO

Features:

  • Draw sketches with Apple Pencil and define their parameters efficiently using smart constraints
  • Create 3D models from sketches with an intuitive set of modeling tools
  • Import and edit existing XT, STEP, IGES, or SHAPR models or work with DXF and DWG reference images
  • Export in commonly used CAD file formats (XT, STEP, IGES, STL and OBJ) and continue your work with a desktop CAD tool
  • Export manufacturable models straight to a 3D printer or manufacturing software

Client reviews

“Shapr3D is very integrated into my workflow. I start most of my projects and sometimes complete them entirely right in Shapr3D. For many of my architecture projects, for instance, I do my initial massing as well as a lot of thinking in Shapr3D.”

“I can show my clients exactly what we are going to be doing via the app. Plans can be changed in the field, and I can help them to see issues that may surface or enhancements that they could benefit from. By the time we leave those first meetings, we have pretty much agreed on what we are going to do and they know what they will be getting.”


5 – ARki

Best apps for Architects - ARki | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | visualization of 3d projects in Augmented Reality, so that you can view, share and communicate the design journey with greater clarity.
WORKS ON | iOS, Android (available soon)
PRICE | Free (1 plan), $23/mo – $255/yr (PRO)

This award-winning app enables you to visualize your 3D projects in Augmented Reality. You can use this app for interactive presentations and storytelling. Import multiple models and create dynamic layers and toggles to dive into the different aspects of your design. Or use the “full scale” option to wander around in your 3D models on-site in real-time. Say hello to the future!

Best apps for Architects - ARki screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Import 3D Models in .FBX file format from software including, 3dsmax, Maya, Blender, SketchUp, MicroStation, ArchiCAD, cinema4d, Revit, rhino and more.
  • AR/3D Mode: Mixed reality allows on-site visualization so that models can be located in any environment or viewed in 3D
  • Visualize models at any scale using AR
  • Store models on your own device so that you can access models without internet
  • Create realistic shadows and real-time lighting
  • Import multiple 3d models to create interactive layers and toggles.
  • Accurate scaling of projects so that you can view projects easily at 1:1 scale-Sync projects between devices so that you can access files remotely.

Client reviews

“This App is Going Places. I work in a high-end residential architecture firm and I am very excited to see where this app goes. Not everyone can understand 2D drawings and 3D prints can take forever. I see this as a staple for early SD/DD client presentations. This app allows you to upload your 3D model directly. Other apps require you to submit your model to them and they charge a fee and need a week or so to “prepare the model.” I can make design changes, save as an .fbx and have my AR model ready to go in minutes. It may have a simple feel, but better to start small and grow more complicated as AR begins to take off in the coming years. Looking forward to the updates the team has in store…”


Jump to CAD & 3D | Sketching | Admin Tasks | Toolbox | On the Road


Best apps for Floor Plan Creation


While architects use CAD software for detailed floor plans, in some cases (eg in a sales or brainstorm phase) it can be handy to be able to draft a rough floor plan without spending too much time. Guess what, there are apps for that :).

6 – magicplan

Best apps for Architects - Magicplan| ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Creating professional floor plans with the camera of your mobile device
WORKS ON | iOS and Android
PRICE | $2.99/plan or $9.99/month (for unlimited plans)

Over 18 million (!) downloads can’t be wrong. magicplan is a room-scanning app that uses input from either your smartphone or tablet to devise complete floor plans. With its augmented reality technology, magicplan lets you create your floor plan within seconds: pictures of the corners of the room are turned into measurements and can be fine-tuned in the 2D overview.

In 2019, Magicplan 8 was launched including a new AI-based feature that automatically detects, sizes and places windows and doors. You can scan multiple rooms to complete floor plans of entire buildings – and even add furniture if you want. This app takes a bit of practice to get the hang of, but once you’re familiar with how it works, it’s a great tool.

Watch the VIDEO.

Best apps for Architects - magicplan screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Features

  • Create floor plans with the camera of your mobile device
  • Connect a laser distance meter via Bluetooth
  • View plans in 2D and create 3D models
  • Export plans as PDF, JPG, PNG, SVG, CSV, DXF
  • Compatible with Excel, AutoCAD, and Chief Architect
  • Furnish your plans with over 1000 objects (furnishing, plumbing, electrical, etc.)
  • Create virtual tours with 360 panoramas
  • Add photos and notes
  • Get statistics automatically (distances, surroundings, surface)
  • Estimate materials and costs with customized price-lists

Client reviews

“This extremely helpful tool that could reduce your time 10x—no more need to carry a bunch of paper and Laser Distance Measurer to survey. It is helpful for plotting a floor plan and surveying a site. I would highly recommend it if you spend more than 10% of the time on-site surveying.”

“It’s a very easy way to have a sketch of the room—let’s say that I am on a first visit to a client, just to talk about the project. I can make a very fast plant with magicplan in minutes, before doing the final one later on AutoCAD.”


7- RoomScan Pro

Best apps for Architects - RoomScan Pro | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Creating professional floor plans with the camera of your mobile device
WORKS ON | iOS
PRICE |Free version or $8.49/yr for the full version

This app is originally designed for real estate, flooring, plumbers, but might come in handy for architects in need of a quick floorplan as well. The app lets you create a floorplan or 3D model of a room or even an entire house. After you’re finished you can use the ‘view in AR’ mode to experience walking around the room.

Watch the VIDEO.

Best apps for Architects - RoomScan Pro screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Features

  • Create floor plans with the camera of your iPhone, by touching it against all walls or draw manually
  • Connect a laser distance meter via Bluetooth
  • View plans in 2D and create 3D models
  • Export plans as PNG (free version) or PDF, DXF, FLYPLAN® and other formats with the full version
  • Create virtual tours – view your models anytime – anywhere in augmented reality

Client reviews

“Faced with the need to measure a four story home in a short period of time, I figured there “must be an app for that” and found RoomScanPro did the trick. Pleased that my pre-purchase questions were answered via a very prompt email, I made the purchase. After a 5 minute learning curve and 30 minutes of scanning, I had the measurements I needed to create accurate enough foor plans for my planning purposes. Accuracy in tight quarters (e.g. closet, stairwell) seemed a bit off but in a CAD program I layered the floors on top of one another and honed the dimesnions. Had trouble reading (without reading glasses on at the time) the buttons for doors, and found that by the time I figured out which one to press, they had gone away. I decided not to use that bell and whistle, as I can easily get the doors in later using CAD software. Like I said, the app did the trick and saved me a lot of time fiddling with a tape measure.”


Jump to CAD & 3D | Floor Plans | Admin Tasks | Toolbox | On the Road


Best apps for Sketching


8 – Morpholio Trace Pro 

Best apps for Architects - Morpholio Trace | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Amazing sketch and drawing features from concept to construction
WORKS ON | iOS
PRICE | Free (Basic), yearly subscription for Essentials, Premium, or Pro features

Morpholio Trace is the perfect sketching app for architects. Used with an iPad or iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, it allows users to instantly draw to scale on top of PDF drawing sets, maps, 3D models, images, or background grids; layering comments or ideas to generate immediate sketches that are easy to circulate.

This app pushes the boundary of emerging technology utilizing AR for a cutting-edge sketching experience. Based on the reviews, it’s clear that users really love this app.

Best apps for Architects - Morpholio Trace - iPhone screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Create designs with all your pens, brushes, scale tools, stencils and moveable layers of trace
  • Mark-up drawings sets, 3D models, photos or contact sheets
  • Use the Augmented Reality Camera to draw live site sketches in perspective
  • Calculate areas while you sketch using SmartFill
  • Inhabit your drawings using the Augmented Reality Sketch Walk

Client reviews

“It has been literally a game-changer, allowing me to work faster, save costs on printing and scanning, and free up my team’s time. It changed the way I work and allows me to do more in a shorter time, especially once I started exploring some of the expanded functions in Pro.”

“It really takes the power of iPad and Pencil and makes a tool that really is powerful and intuitive to use for marking up drawings and sketching out ideas. The big game-changer is using PDFs with multiple sheets. Now every time I have a call or meeting I open the set in Trace and we make real-time sketches, take notes and can send out a PDF of the set in seconds.”


9 – Procreate

Best apps for Architects - Procreate | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Sketching with layers and drawing revisions on iPad with Apple Pencil
WORKS ON | iOS – iPad Pro with Apple Pencil only
PRICE | $9.99

With Procreate you get everything you need to create impressive sketches, illustrations, and animations for a very low price.

The hundreds of handmade brushes allow you to draw in a very realistic and accurate way. It feels like you’re way. It actually feels like drawing with a real pencil.

There is also an advanced layering system and the Valkyrie graphics engine works at a lightning fast pace.

The 10.000 5-star ratings speak for itself as this app is absolutely loved by thousands if not millions of creatives.

Best apps for Architects - Procreate - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Ultra High Definition canvases – up to 16k by 4k on iPad Pros
  • Beautifully intuitive interface made for iPad and Apple Pencil
  • Revolutionary QuickShape feature for perfect shapes
  • Smooth and responsive smudge sampling
  • Powered by Valkyrie: the fastest 64-bit painting engine for iPad
  • Connect a keyboard to use shortcuts for advanced features
  • Create art in stunning 64-bit color
  • 250 levels of undo and redo
  • Continuous auto-save – never lose work again

Client reviews

“Procreate lets you generate high-caliber artwork at a blistering pace using a robust layering system, stunning filters, and thousands of importable brushes. Plus, Savage Interactive’s super-intuitive app supports pressure sensitivity and Apple Pencil—as well as iCloud Drive and a seamless video recording of each brushstroke—so sharing your work is incredibly simple. ”

“A friend of mine suggested this App to me because I have an iPad. I was extremely skeptical. One, I hated drawing on glass/touch screens. Two, the fact that it was for the iPad and the price was so low. I figured that it would be a barely functioning sketchpad, only one step above Microsoft paint. However, since I got this App I have started drawing almost exclusively using it. I am amazed by how smart a lot of the tools are. I have never used any software with a fill tool able to fill a gradient, maybe I am just out of the loop, but I would have never imagined before getting this App that it was possible to do that. Whenever I use this App, I frequently forget that it only cost $10 because it feels on level or better than some $100 software I have. I am considering buying an apple pen just to be able to use this app to its fullest.”


10 – Concepts

Best apps for Architects - Concepts | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | exploring ideas on an infinite canvas
WORKS ON | iOS, Android and Microsoft
PRICE |Free, with in-App purchases

Concepts is a next-generation design platform, completely re-imagined and built for mobile devices like the iPad Pro. Concepts enables faster, more natural design for creative people everywhere. Architects use Concepts to go paperless. Concepts has been around for many years and was awarded Apple Best of 2016, Apple Best of 2013, and Tabby Awards Best Creative App.

Best apps for Architects - Concepts - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Draw lines, then move / copy / mirror / scale them, as well as changing colour, line weight etc.
  • Infinite canvas
  • Optimized for Apple Pencil
  • Realistic and responsive tools such as the pencil brush
  • Import/export of PDF to make it easy to mark up and sketch on PDF.

Client reviews

“Having the ability to draw with real accuracy on the iPad using a tool like Concepts has fundamentally changed my workflow. Now both the initial sketches and the more polished products live side-by-side in the same documents, and I can go back and forth from freehand to highly technical drawings without even switching to a new document.”

“Stumbled upon this app and I’m loving it so far. This app has great features for an architect like myself, I’ll definitely be subscribing.”


11 – Paper by WeTransfer

Best apps for Architects - Paper by WeTransfer| ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Mobile sketching
WORKS ON | iOS
PRICE | Free, with in-App purchases

Paper by WeTransfer is the immersive sketching app for forming ideas anywhere. Over 25 million (!) people have found their personal creative space in Paper – handwriting notes, drafting, diagramming, sketching, exploring creativity and giving form to their vision.

NEW – By the end of 2019 Paper launched it’s Paper Store (Watch the video) – a collection of journals with creative prompts, daily exercises, and drawing tutorials.

Paper’s simple, quiet interface and gestural navigation offers you space to create without the distraction of controls and sliders. It has been named “iPad App of the Year” in 2012 by Apple. The app’s perfectly tuned tools make it easy to sketch, collage, diagram, and draw using fast, gesture-based navigation to keep users in flow.

Paper is a part of WeTransfer’s set of tools, including Paste®, WeTransfer, Collect and WePresent. Together, they allow users to quickly grow and develop ideas from initial thought to final delivery.

Best apps for Architects - Paper by WeTransfer - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Draw, sketch, outline, write, color, diagram, cut, fill, and mix
  • Auto-correction snaps rough drawings to straight lines and crisp shapes for quickly drafting architectures and diagrams
  • Drop-in templates like grid, lines, and storyboard to help structure your ideas

Client Reviews

“I looked at several apps and programs to assist me in capturing, editing and keeping ideas and designs for a home design project. It’s perfect for that first pass getting concepts to paper. Unlike real paper, I can modify easily and maintain versions. I’m in love with this app.”

“Paper by WeTransfer (formerly 53) combined with an Apple Pencil on a larger iPad is absolutely fabulous, flexible, and fun. I am a creative thinker and artistic person in general, but I have never been very good at creating traditional hand-drawn art work whether using digital tools or traditional ones. Something about this app lets the creativity and beautiful drawings flow right out of me without significant effort… and somehow I almost forget that I’m using a digital device.”


In this video, Marc Sawyer from Whitewash studio demonstrates his favorite iPad Pro sketching apps:


Jump to CAD & 3D | Floor Plans | Sketching | Toolbox | On the Road


Best Apps for tedious Admin Tasks


12 – ArchiSnapper 

Best apps for Architects - ArchiSnapper | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Field reports, inspection reports, and punch lists
WORKS ON | Web, iOS and Android
PRICE | Starting at $24/month, $14/month per additional user

Drafting field reports from site visits can be a long and tedious process. ArchiSnapper is a simple tool that allows you to use your smartphone or tablet on-site to draft reports with text, photos, assignees, and annotations on floor plans.

When you’re back in the office, the field report or punch list is available in your online account (on your desktop) for further editing and distribution.

Just think about it: No more struggling with Word or Excel to draft field reports :)!

Best apps for Architects - ArchiSnapper - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Snap a photo and write text to record any observations or issues. Annotate on your photos or drawings. 
  • Forget about printing out blueprints. View all your drawings from any device – Web, iOS, Android. Easily pinpoint observations on your plans with our app, adding clarity for everyone involved.
  • Generate professional and clean PDF reports in seconds and send them out to the project team.
  • Don’t worry about managing the report layout or observation numbering: this is done automatically.
  • Clone your previous report to start a new one
  • Work together with your colleagues on the same ArchiSnapper account
  • Collaborate with (sub)contractors

Client reviews

“The software saves me a lot of time in the office compiling my field reports. The reports look great with a minimal amount of effort. It also really helps me organize and track issues that need attention until they have been completed. Getting up and running with the software is quick and pretty intuitive.”

“This is a great tool to add notes and take pictures, sketches, PDF annotations – on site. The reports are generated automatically and still editable from the desktop version. This app doesn’t only save me a lot of time: I had customers and other construction people congratulating me with the clear and professional field reports. I’ve tried a lot of field report and punch list tools, but this is by far the easiest to use I’ve found.”


13 – TSheets 

Best apps for Architects - TSheets | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Time tracking, project tracking
WORKS ON | Web, iOS and Android
PRICE | $20/mo base fee (1 user) and $8user/mo for additional users – 14-day free trial

For architects and contractors, the time you spend on a project directly affects how much money you’ll earn. Tracking time on each project is crucial for making sure you get paid for the hard work you put in.

The TSheets mobile time tracking app allows you to track time for jobs, clients, and projects. When it’s time to bill, use that time data to create accurate invoices from the web dashboard. Or sync TSheets with your preferred payroll solution to generate invoices.

With detailed time reports, your time is clear and accounted for. No more illegible or lost paper spreadsheets!

Best apps for Architects - TSheets - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Mobile time tracking with GPS
  • Geofencing and location-aware time tracking
  • Project tracking and estimates versus actuals reporting
  • In-app activity feed for project tracking
  • Attach photos and signatures to timesheets
  • Tablet-optimized time clock with facial recognition technology

Client reviews:

“The product makes it time tracking extremely easy and gives me the ability to accurately account for all of our time spent on various projects throughout the day, even while on the go. The seamless integration to quickbooks takes all the duplicate work out and streamlines my billing process, and again, allows me to do this on the go from a phone or a tablet.”

“The app reduces time spent recording hours worked. It is easy to edit and approve timesheets. Integrates with the payroll system – with a click of a button, data is exported to payroll.”


14 – Hubstaff

BEST FOR | Time tracking, activity monitoring, and invoicing
WORKS ON | iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux
PRICE |Free (Solo Lite), paid plans start at $5.83 per user monthly

Hubstaff comes with several features that can help architects manage their time more efficiently and boost their productivity. Its accurate time tracking lets you record every second you spend on every single project. It sends you automated, daily reports so that you stay on top of your time spent and budgets and generates auto-engineered invoices. An app that makes you spend less time on administrative tasks freeing up more time for your clients.

Best apps for Architects - HubStaff screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features

  • One-click and lightweight time tracking on desktop and mobile
  • Understand your team’s working habits with keyboard and mouse activity monitoring
  • Online timesheet approvals
  • Automatically generate invoices based on the projects worked on and bill rate

Client reviews

“We bill by the minute/second and run reports for payroll and client billing through Hubstaff. It meets our needs incredibly well for this and we haven’t found a time yet where it hasn’t worked. The site is always up and running and the clocks are never down, which is important since staff works 24/7.”

“Overall Hubstaff has been an excellent way to track and verify productivity and hours worked. Every day we’re sent an email showing the team’s productivity and hours worked for the day, the staff is able to easily download and use the tool, and they are able to make adjustments to their own time clocks without having to have a superior edit the time for them which was an issue with other systems we’ve used in the past. Hubstaff requires notes for all time edits so it is easy to see when and why edits were made.”


15 – Expensify

Best apps for Architects - Expensify | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Receipt and expense management
WORKS ON | iOS and Android
PRICE | Free for individuals, $5/mo/user for small companies which most architect offices are. More info on prices here.

This app was not designed specific for architects, but we really love it and it’s a real productivity booster for anyone who’s struggling with expenses.

Architects are often on the road, making expenses (for lunch, travel, fuel, …). Keeping track of all these expenses can be a pain. Expensify automates every step from receipt scanning through reimbursement.

Expense reports are finished in just one click: simply take a photo of a receipt and put your phone away. Expensify automatically reads and transcribes the receipt data then adds it to an expense report, which can automatically be submitted, approved, and even reimbursed the very next day.

Best apps for Architects - Expensify - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO

Features:

  • One-click receipt tracking
  • Automatic expense reporting and submitting for approval
  • Next-day reimbursement
  • Integrations with all major accounting softwares
  • NEW: you can also use the free Expensify Card: just swipe the card and your expenses are done.

Client Reviews:

“Expense management used to be a headache for our corporate office. Now, it just runs in the background automatically thanks to Expensify.”

“Staff now self-serve their own expense management tasks rather than relying on the finance staff to do everything for them.”


Jump to CAD & 3D | Floor Plans | Sketching | Admin Tasks | On the Road


Best Toolbox apps

16 – Sun Locator

Best apps for Architects - Sun Locator | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Tracking and analyzing solar path and shade
WORKS ON | Android
PRICE | Free (Lite version) – $9.5 (Pro version)

Although not purely focused on the architectural field, this app makes a great companion tool for architects. It helps you decide on the right orientation for your buildings by providing data like the solar path, the winter and summer solstice paths, and sunrise and sunset times. Using a highly-interactive augmented 3D view, it allows you to instantly determine the amount of sunlight your building will receive.

Best apps for Architects - Sun Locator - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • 3D sundial: visualizes the sun position and the shadow direction and length over the course of the day and year on an interactive map.
  • Augmented Reality Sun- and Moonlight simulation: fast forward from sunset to sunrise for any time and day of the year through your camera.
  • Day and Night World map: interactive visualization of the earth showing daylight and twilight regions.
  • The Lite version is free and limited to information for the current day. The Pro version enables you to get information for any day of the year (and to adjust the height of the sun dial in the map view)

Client reviews

“Great app! I used the paid version to locate the best place for my solar panels. Easy to use with lots of useful information. Easy to locate the exact position of the sun every day of the year and any time of the day. Using the camera view, you can see any obstructing trees or buildings.”

“Best app I’ve found so far to give the sun’s location at any address for any time of day. I use it daily for work to find the best time to photograph a house. I love that it incorporates Google Map’s satellite overlay.”

iOS alternative: Sun Seeker


17 – Construction Master Pro App

BEST FOR | Solving construction-math problems on the jobsite or in the office, including completing layouts, plans, bids, and estimates
WORKS ON | iOS, Android, Windows
PRICE | $24.99

Installing a calculator app on your phone saves you from lugging around a physical calculator. The Construction Master Pro App helps you solve tough construction-math problems on the jobsite or in the office.

CM Pro can help you do almost everything from laying out stairs to figuring out how much drywall to use to calculating right-angle solutions. Its advanced tape function enables you to display, review, save and email inputs, descriptions and calculated values for each function.

This app will help you and your crew on every phase of your project’s estimating, bidding and building process.

Best apps for Architects - Construction Master Pro - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Dimensional math and conversions
  • A host of right-angle tools including irregular hip/valley and jack rafters
  • Expanded and arched rake-wall
  • Arched rake-walls with on-center spacing
  • Area, volume and perimeter solutions with length, width and height keys
  • Advanced stair layouts for risers, treads, stringer length and incline angle
  • Roof/rafter calculations for estimating and building
  • Trigonometric functions
  • Advanced Paperless Tape function enables you to display, review, save and email inputs

Client reviews

“This is a must for anyone in the construction industry. I have been using the calculator for the last 20 years (plus or minus), it is a powerful tool.”

“For so many years I would have to break down fractions into decimals to use them on my calculator then turn that decimal back into a fraction that I can actually use on my measuring tools. Being able to do everything on the calculator makes projects go a lot faster.”


18 – Classic Toolbox Must-haves

Best apps for Architects - Compass app | ArchiSnapper Blog

The Compass app comes pre-installed on every new iPhone, and it’s helpful for orientation. Don’t forget to calibrate the compass before your first use. For Android users there’s also Compass.


Best apps for Architects - Bubble level | ArchiSnapper Blog

Various apps help you to measure the level of an object or surface. iOS users can use this feature in the Measure app (see here below), for Android users we recommend Bubble level or MyMeasures


best apps for architects archisnapper blog measure app

Measure is an iOS augmented reality app developed by Apple for the iPhone and iPad. You can quickly gauge the size of objects, and automatically detect the dimensions of rectangular objects. Android users can use the similar Measure app by Google.


Best apps for Architects - Moasure | ArchiSnapper Blog

A more accurate tool for measurements is Moasure. This is the first motion-based measuring tool. It enables you to measure distance, angles, areas, circles, gradients and more while moving. Watch the video here.


Best apps for Architects - Photo Measures | ArchiSnapper Blog

Photo Measures (Apple app Store | Google Play) is a simple app that you can use to add any dimensions, sizes, angles or other details you need to remember on your own photos.


Best apps for Architects - Adobe Fill & Sign | ArchiSnapper Blog

Use your mobile devices for scanning documents. iOS users can scan and sign documents with the Notes app. For Android users we recommend CamScanner or Adobe Fill & Sign

 

If you are interested in more free apps for construction, check out this article.


Jump to CAD & 3D | Floor Plans | Sketching | Admin Tasks | Toolbox


Best apps for On the Road


19 – Waze

Best apps for Architects - Waze | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Avoiding traffic jams
WORKS ON | Android and iOS
PRICE | Free

Waze is a free navigation app that saves you from wasting time in traffic. It uses user feedback – like mentions of traffic jams, police locations, and roadblocks – to find better routes for your next trip. Waze – or Google Maps, which is very similar – is a must-have, especially for architects who are often on the road.

Let’s not forget: Time is your most valuable asset, so being stuck in the middle of traffic is a huge pain. Not to mention, traffic jams are stressful!

Best apps for Architects - Waze - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Fastest route to destination
  • Reminder for when to leave, based on actual traffic conditions
  • Find the cheapest, closest gas
  • Get alerts when you’re over the speed limit

Client Reviews

“Best navigation app available! Waze has been a lifesaver more times than I can count.”

“The best navigation for everyday driving and vacations. Great app for people who drive a lot. It dynamically adjusts your to avoid traffic jams, and that feature has saved me hours of travel time to and from work.”


EXTRA TIP

Take some time to get to know Siri (iOS) or Google Assistant (Android). It feels a little strange or futuristic at first, but if you get the hang of it, you can save a lot of time just telling your device what to do or which info you need.

Stop wasting time by searching for the right app, or scrolling through your contact lists to make that phone call. Just tell Siri or Google Assistant to call someone, dictate a message, listen to messages while driving, tell them what kind of music you’d like to listen to, ask them for directions, ask a calender overview without picking up your device, and so much more. The options grow every day.


20 – Pocket Casts

Best apps for Architects - Pocket Casts | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Listening to podcasts
WORKS ON | iOS and Android
PRICE | Free, in-app purchases

As architects spend many hours on the road – visiting projects – why not try and make the most of this travel time by listening to an interesting podcast? Pocket Casts is our favorite podcast app because it’s simple yet powerful, easy to navigate and it comes with a customizable look and feel. We love its smart features like auto-sync and custom filtering.

Best apps for Architects - PocketCasts - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Not sure what to listen to? We did a poll on which podcasts architects are listening to, and here are the results:

Chart Architecture Podcasts | ArchiSnapper Blog
  • The #1 on the list is Business of Architecture in which Enoch Bartlett Sears discusses strategies, tactics, and tools needed to run a successful architecture practice.
  • Michael Riscica hosts the Young Architect podcast to help the next generation of architects become successful.
  • Entrepreneur Architect is a podcast by Mark R. Lepage for small firm architects who are seeking success in business, leadership and life.
  • Life of an Architect: Recorded bi-weekly, Bob Borson and Andrew Hawkins discuss all things architecture … with a little bit of life thrown in for balance.

And – for what it’s worth – here are the ArchiSnapper team’s all-time favorites:

  • [business] The Tim Ferriss show where each episode deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.
  • [inspiration] Ted Talks Daily brings you thought-provoking ideas on-the-go on every subject imaginable — from Artificial Intelligence to Zoology, and everything in between — given by the world’s leading thinkers and doers. This collection of talks, given at TED and TEDx conferences around the globe, is also available in video format.
  • [recreation] Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story — a true story — over the course of a season. Serial has won every major award for broadcasting, including the duPont-Columbia, Scripps Howard, Edward R. Murrow, and the first-ever Peabody awarded to a podcast.

BONUS apps


21 – Houzz

Best apps for Architects - Houzz | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Inspiration & Marketing your Architecture firm
WORKS ON | iOS and Android
PRICE | Free

Houzz is a combination of an inspirational, and a professional platform for everyone who is thinking about remodeling or renovating a home or project. As a professional, it’s a great way to showcase your projects and get in touch with prospects looking for the right design and construction professional.

Best apps for Architects - Houzz - screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Watch the VIDEO.

Features:

  • Create a professional profile and get found and hired by prospects
  • 16 million monthly users who you can showcase your work
  • Expand your professional network: connect with other home improvement professionals, including general contractors, interior decorators, and more.

How to get started:

We recommend checking the tutorial videos made by Eric Reinholdt from 30×40 Design Workshop on getting the most out of your Houzz profile. Here is Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 and Part 4 of his video tutorial.

Or read this article on the Business of Architecture blog, where Eric Reinholdt shares a case study of how he gets clients from Houzz.com for his modern residential design practice.


22 – Freedom

Best apps for Architects - Freedom | ArchiSnapper Blog

BEST FOR | Blocking distractions
WORKS ON | iOS and Android
PRICE | 7 free blocking sessions, then $ 29/yr

At ArchiSnapper, we’re huge fans of working in the zone, that’s why we’re so fond of the “Freedom” app. This app helps you block out all distractions so that you stay productive for as long as you need/want to. You can set-up a blocking list of apps and websites across your devices: smartphone, laptop, tablet … and take control of your (screen) time.

Best apps for Architects - Freedom screenshot | ArchiSnapper Blog

Features:

  • Blocks distraction across your devices (mobile, tablet, desktop)
  • Select from a pre-made blocklist or create your own list
  • “block the internet” button, blocks everything except for your texts and calls
  • Schedule your blocks or create recurring blocks

Client Reviews:

“Freedom is the most important app on my phone. It has honestly freed up so much time, it works great and I feel wonderful not being able to compulsively check social media. If you want to stop wasting your life online, get this program on all your devices. You won’t regret it.”

“Once the app figured out that I had upgraded my account I was able to set up a block. I think there’s room for improvement in UX, but overall this app fulfills my need to keep myself off social. I started with a total ban and got back ten hours of screen time PER WEEK. Could not have done it without this.”


And that’s it, folks. Taking advantage of these apps will help you save time, gain an edge on your peers — and work smarter instead of harder.

Don’t forget to complement your full suite of architecture apps with important day-to-day tools and software like Google Drive or Dropbox for cloud storage, FreshBooks for cloud accounting, and Trello for list management.

Check out this article if you want to know more about typical software (costs) for architects. Or check out this article on the ArchitectureQuote’s blog and discover 140 software tools for architects.

And that’s it folks. 😅

Don’t just use your phone for taking funny pictures of your cat stalking your socks.

Make your phone a powerful ally for work.

If you have any apps you think we should stick in our toolbox, then make sure to let us know in the comments below. 👇


Hey, while you’re here… could I ask you a little favor? It took me several days to write this blog post, but it would only take you a minute to share it.

So could you please tweet, like, or share this post? It motivates me to write better, and more — and it also helps me explain to my wife why I spend Sundays writing blog posts 😉


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