Inventor 2013 or 2014?

I just got yself a new computer for CAD, and am downloading Inventor (it is the program I know how to use.) I know that Inventor Pro 2014 is available, but I do not know if I should get it, as opposed to the 2013 version that I know how to use.

Is is similar enough to 2013 that I could learn it in the next week and a half leading up to kickoff, or should I just wait a familiarize myself with it after the season? Is it more powerful/easier to use than the 2013 counterpart, making the learning curve worth it, or would I just be wasting my time?

Thanks for the help!
-Walter Deitzler

They’re very similar, you’ll have no issue switching from one to another.

I have used both Inventor 2013 and 2014, and I can say that for your basic needs there isn’t a whole lot different between the two. I wouldn’t say that there is a learning curve in upgrading to 2014, and if there is one you will be over it within a few hours.

One thing that I know 2014 has that I’m not sure 2013 has is Autodesk 360. This is something that I haven’t messed with, but I have heard that it is really useful.

Going with 2014 will also let you open up any Inventor CAD model that is out there this year. If you come across a 2014 model, but you are running 2013 you could be out of luck, and I would hate for that to happen to you.

So in short I would say definitely go with 2014. You will (most likely) love it, and it is still acts just like 2013.

I would say if computers at school run Inventor, then you should use the same version as those, to allow moving files to the school computers for more people to use. Otherwise I’d say go with 2014.

I have Inventor 2014. It is very similar to 2013, and as said above you won’t have any trouble getting used to it. The big thing to remember though is that the files are not backward compatible. 2013 cannot read 2014 files, so be sure that anyone else you may be working with also have 2014.

If you’re comfortable with 2013, then 2014 isn’t going to ‘feel’ that much different. Like most Inventor updates, the only significant changes are some new features and new add-on functions, but the basic 95% is more or less exactly the same as the previous version. Like Calvin mentioned above, you do want to be aware of whether or not those who you work with frequently are on 2013 or 2014, since the files aren’t backwards compatible.

Changing versions of inventor has almost no learning time. 2014 is no different. Autodesk is very good at making intuitive changes to their software. They are also very good at only making changes that make the software better and more well-organized.
Off the top of my head the biggest change you need to know about is that they merged “constraints” and “inserts” (or whatever they call the “smart constraints”) in the assembly tools, they are now calling them all “relationships”. You can still constrain just like you did before, it’s mostly an internal processing and terminology change.
The one thing that will be really useful for you is that you can now access a list of all of the relationships in the assembly (regardless of which components they use) at the top of the browser list in the folder called “Relationships”.
Everything else I know about changed stuff in the higher-level features which you probably won’t ever need in a robotics season.
As a rule I update to the new version of Inventor as soon as I can, it always makes my job easier.
Hope this helps :)!


Good comments. Autodesk will be posting the Kit of Parts and field model after the kick-off in early January. They will be available in Autodesk 2014 format and for those who are using an earlier version there will be STEP versions.

New functionality in 2014 that may of interest is the additional functionality for assembly constraints. Here is an overview from Cadalyst magazine.

You can also check Inventor Help for the work flow.

I will post some tips for 2014 that improves working with large assemblies such as your final robot model.

Inexplicably, Project Lead The Way kept its participating schools on Inventor 2013 this year. That factor has no doubt kept a lot of FRC teams on Inventor 2013 for a second year.

I’ll be looking forward to upgrading to 2014 (edit: 2015). It has a slot tool and symmetric mate tools.

I ended up going with 2014. While our school does use 2013, the robotics team does not use school computers for out CAD, we have an independent laptop, and now my new one. Seeing as the CAD is done primarily by myself and another kid who is still learning, this is not an issue.

I like how similar the two are, after playing around for the better part of the morning. One thing I have to ask though, how does one go about determining the weight of a system? I have all of my materials for my parts selected and all, I just need to figure out how to get the overall weight.

Thanks for all of the help guys!

Go into the assembly’s iProperties in the browser bar, then go to the Physical tab. You’ll probably have to hit Update.

I’d actually recommend 2013. Autodesk isn’t known for having polished first releases on their software, and 2014 is still pretty buggy for me. Importing our 2011 robot step file into 2013 takes 15 seconds. Importing the same file in 2014 takes 5 minutes. On the school computers, we have graphics issues, and when under load (zooming large assemblies, placing huge assemblies…) it locks up quite often.

The new features of 2014 aren’t really that spectacular, and if you can live without them, I’d stay away from it.

On Windows 8.1, you NEED to upgrade to Inventor 2014 Service Pack 1 as it’s the only version compatible. Otherwise you will notice odd issues like your file explorer randomly crashing.

I used to use inventor 2013 on 8 pro without an error. Now I don’t because I upgraded to 7. I’d say, just stick to 2014. It’ll contain new features and bug-fixes (as well as new bugs, of course). I doubt that you are a rookie, so you won’t have a problem with either.

I still run 2013 because I am too lazy to install 2014. However, if you haven’t installed inventor before, just go with the latest (2014)

Yeah, I have been experienced with Inventor for 4 years now (my first version was 2011) and I have seen the bugs and bug fixes. I am actually enjoying the new version, mostly due to the fact that it feels like a cleaner version of 2013.

Thanks for all of the advice guys!

That makes me want to upgrade :smiley:

However, that’ll only happen after I get over my obsession of Ubuntu and triboot back to Windows! :smiley:

Why can’t they make an Ubuntu one?

These two points are causing me a problem. Inventor 2013 worked fine on my shiny new Windows 8 PC at home until I upgraded to Windows 8.1 a few weeks ago. My school is using Inventor 2013 and I really want to be able move our files back and forth between my home PC and school.

Does anyone know a way to save files in Inventor 2014 so that Inventor 2013 can still read them?


To move files from 2014 to 2013 or earlier you have to save the 2014 file as a STEP file. The problem is that the parts loose their history, and assemblies loose their constraints. There are solutions but using the same release offers more flexibility.

Generally, if you can, the advice is to work with the same release on a large project such as designing the robot.