While helping CAD users transition to the Onshape environment, I have observed that many do not realize the full breadth and power of our Help documentation. While they are easy to find, traditional software Help tools can be hard-to-use and cumbersome, often resulting in frustrated users reaching out via other means.

Onshape’s Help system keeps up with our quick release cycle so you can stay current with all the latest features and enhancements. It is also context-sensitive when you are using Onshape. If you have questions around features or functionality, this should be your first place to look.

Let's say I am working on the assembly for a vortex damper and want to figure out how to use the replicate tool to help me repeat the mates of the vane sub-assembly. Within Onshape, you can do a long hover over the feature to get an in-app dialog with a brief description of how to use it.

vortex damper

At the same time, while you are in the feature, you can go to the question mark icon in the top right of your screen and select “Help.” This will automatically open up the Help index to the description of the function you are in the middle of using.

vortex damper 2
replicate functionality

What if you are not sure of what you are looking for, but have an idea of what you should search? With the Chrome browser, you can actually turn Onshape Help into a search engine! All you need to do is type your search term into the address bar.

Under Chrome’s settings, there is an option to “manage search engines.” If you click on that button, you will see a pop-up menu of all the search engines your browser is using today.

google search settings
google search settings 2

At the very bottom of this pop-up menu is the ability to create your own search engine from any website that you frequent. In this dialog, I used the label “Onshape Help” and the search key of ‘h’ (This key will trigger the search in your address bar by typing in ‘h’, then hitting the tab key. You can switch this to be your default search engine so all you have to do is type in the address bar). From here, you can copy and enter the following URL as the query URL:

https://cad.onshape.com/help/index.htm#search-%s

Then just hit the enter key on your keyboard and click the ‘done’ button.

Onshape help image

Now you can quickly learn about all of Onshape’s functionality without wasting precious time searching on your own! Look how fast you can find what you’re looking for:

example search gif

To finish our example, I was able to quickly create a new browser tab (Command + T) and search how to use the replicate feature (h + tab). I quickly discovered that I could select the subassembly instance that I wanted to replicate and the face I am mating to, so that Onshape could identify the patterned features to repeat.

example replicate gif
model manipulation

Many of the questions I see posted in the Onshape Forums can be answered even more quickly by looking at the Help index. It definitely should become your go-to destination whenever you hit a roadblock!