7 Features of Full-Cloud CAD You Won’t Find in Desktop-installed CAD

By Daniel J. Murphy / January 5, 2016

When Onshape’s founders left SolidWorks to start a new CAD company, they wanted to start from scratch.

In a webinar last year, Jon Hirschtick discussed a gradual shift in his conversations with SolidWorks customers towards the end of his tenure. His discussions changed from how to design better products to the many hassles of desktop-installed CAD, such as installations, updates, instability, copying files, finding the latest version and so on.

Onshape was created to resolve those issues. As a result, many of the desktop-installed CAD pains you might be feeling today are hassles that Onshape has made disappear.

Here are 7 features of full-cloud CAD that eliminate your current CAD headaches. You won’t find any of these features in desktop-installed CAD:

1. Simultaneous Editing
Collaboration with colleagues, vendors or partners is a core element of full-cloud CAD. Because everyone is simultaneously accessing the same data, users can collaborate together in real time. Much like Google Docs, your entire team can work within one Document together to get your work done faster. Huge time savings can be realized when teams work together within an assembly, sharing required steps while checking each other’s work. Just like how a machine is built on the shop floor.

2. Branched Editing
Branched editing is when a user takes a design iteration in a different direction, while his or her colleagues work on the original design. What’s unique with full-cloud CAD is that two or more branches can be merged back together to form one final design.

3. Follow-me Mode
Sometimes seeing is believing. Again, because you’re accessing the same data, full-cloud CAD empowers users to share screens right within a Document. With simultaneous editing, simply double click your collaborator’s icon in the top right corner of the UI and you’ll be viewing their screen. You can see exactly what they’re working on.

4. Restore to Any Point in Time
A full-cloud CAD system stores all your actions in the cloud, not locally on your device. Onshape remembers all the steps used to create parts or assemblies, and any step can be viewed and restored as the current state. This remarkable feature enables design teams to recover from any mistake.

5. Any Device
Desktop-installed CAD runs on just one device, usually an expensive workstation. Full-cloud CAD runs on Mac, Windows or Linux – and on Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari browsers as well as Android and iOS devices. Users can work on their computer at the office and later sign in at home to finish a design on their tablet. Full-cloud CAD is as flexible as you need it to be.

6. Built in Version Control
We frequently hear about desktop-installed CAD users losing track of the latest version of their work. With full-cloud CAD, you’re always accessing the latest version of your work, because your data stays in one place – in the cloud. Your data and CAD system live together, which solves the problem of finding the latest file on your desktop, your PDM system or yelling at your colleague to return the file.

7. Your CAD System Gets Faster Everyday
CPU speed has stagnated. That’s reality.


Whereas bandwidth speeds are on the rise:


If you want faster CAD, full-cloud CAD is the solution.

Full-cloud CAD is the future. Interested in putting the hassles of desktop-installed CAD behind you? Try Onshape’s free plan today!

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Onshape's Free Plan has unlimited usage and storage on Public Documents.
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Topics: Industry Perspectives, Engineering Executives