gCADPlus on an iMac

Landscape designers can use gCADPlus on a Mac by running Windows emulation software. Since gCADPlus is Windows software, it requires some type of Windows emulation software to run on your Mac. We recommend using CrossOver, but other alternatives such as Parallels and Fusion are also available. The image below shows the USA (Imperial) version of gCADPlus and CrossOver running on our iMac which is using the High Sierra operating system. You can find more information about gCADPlus on their website.

The image below shows the USA (Imperial) version of gCADPlus and CrossOver running on our iMac which is using the High Sierra operating system. More about gCADPlus.

Use gCADPlus on a Mac


Purge symbolsHere is a small movie that introduces the gCADPlus software interface using the metric version of gCADPlus. We use a template to help get started and import a plant symbol from the symbol library. Aided by the polar switch, we draw our first line of an accurately defined length and save (file) the developing design. We discuss the various types of files used by gCADPlus. Designs are always stored with the filename – .lcd, but as the design develops, a backup file (with the extension .bak), and an autosave file with the extension .lc$ to the filename are available. This provides several levels of data protection. An increment and save feature is also available.

If you need to work with a .bak or .lc$ file, both the .bak and .lc$ files need to be renamed removing the .bak or lc$ extension and giving the extension .lcd. Use the ‘Your Computer’ tool to do that. We suggest that rather than using the .bak or .lc$ file and renaming it directly, you work on a copy of either backup file and rename it to something like MyRecoveredFile.lcd. Once you are satisfied that you have the complete recovered file, please start using the incremental save feature from time to time in case the gCADPlus drawing contains a gremlin (see below).

In our view, the best tool to use when saving your gCADPlus drawings is the incremental save tool that’s found on the standard toolbar. This tool, as the name implies, saves a drawing and creates a new version of the file with a different name. This is useful because it allows you to keep track of changes made to your drawing over time. You can access previous versions of your drawing by opening the file with the appropriate name. This feature is especially useful if you need to revert to an earlier version of your drawing.

 This movie shows how to use the incremental backup tool.

Apple Time Machine


Time M

Apple Time Machine is a backup tool that provides a much higher level of protection for professional landscape designers. Once an external USB drive is connected to your Mac, a copy of all files on your Mac is stored. By default, files are backed up every 24 hours. Once Time Machine is run for the first time, these backups are very quick because Time Machine simply stores changes to files rather than the total file.

Importantly, it is possible to recover previous versions of files (designs). This capability can be very useful as clients may wish to ‘push’ the design in different directions.

To sum up, if you are working as a professional landscape designer on a Mac, your drawings are valuable property and need to be protected. We recommend using Time Machine to continuously monitor your store of drawings for each of your clients. Drawings are continuously backed up and at any point, you can revert to earlier versions of the design. The standard installation of gCADPlus creates a series of folders including one called Jobs in the Documents > gCADPlus folder. You might create a folder for your design practice with its own jobs folder to store design files, creating a new folder for each calendar year. The figure below shows how that might be done for a design studio called AWLD.

Design Studio

To back up the folder containing drawings to your Mac using Time Machine, follow these steps:

  1. Connect an external storage device, such as a USB drive or Thunderbolt drive, to your Mac.
  2. Set up the storage device as your backup disk by selecting it in the Time Machine preferences.
  3. Once set up, Time Machine will automatically back up your files, including your gCADPlus drawings, every 24 hours.
  4. To restore a previous version of a file, open the Time Machine app and navigate to the file you want to restore. You can then preview the file and select the version you want to restore.